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Off-Season Odds and Ends

June 4, 2014
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One. More warm fuzzies, this time via Andrei and Masha Kirilenko:

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Two. Jerry Sloan, asked if he’d have any interest in getting back into coaching:

I think it’d be, it’d have to be the right situation. I’m not campaigning for jobs or anything like that, but if something came along I thought was worthwhile and interesting, and there was a commitment to trying to win and trying to do it the right way, then I would get interested. (SiriusXM NBA)

Three. Dennis Lindsey, asked how concerned he is about Gordon Hayward’s contract situation:

[He’s a] great kid, smart kid, comes from a terrific family. And all those intangibles are, that are really important to our rebuild is something that, frankly, we wanna keep around the program.

And he’s a good player. I think there are several things that Gordon will work on in the coming seasons, and he’ll hit higher levels.

And so, we’re very confident. One of the reasons why we decided to go very young and give our younger players a bigger platform to play from was in anticipation of our young players’ developing and subsequently having to pay ’em.

So, many of the things that we did relative to our cap was in anticipation of getting an extension done with Derrick [Favors] or Gordon, or having to match an offer sheet. So, we wanted to get in front of those issues instead of be reacting to ’em, and getting leveraged because of that.* (SVP & Russillo)

* AKA “getting KOC’ed”

Four. Phil Johnson on why the Jazz took Gordon Hayward over Paul George:

Well, we thought [George] was gonna be a good player. I don’t know if anyone could’ve predicted that he’d be this good. I just, I, that’d be impossible. What, he came and worked out. I thought he had a decent workout.

He played on a team at Fresno State that didn’t, weren’t successful. And it’s kinda hard to ta–say that a guy that’s gonna be an NBA player, in a, you know, in a, the WAC is not a, you know, it’s a fairly decent league, but if you have an NBA player, and, you should have a pretty good team. I, you know, if you have anybody around you at all.

And so that, I think, that kinda weighed in to, a little bit, it’s so hard to judge a guy if he doesn’t have talent around him, if they don’t win. So, I think that had some to do with it. I, you know, it’s in the back of your mind a little bit. (1280)

Five. Phil Johnson texted Hans Olsen to welcome him to 1280. Texted.

Six. Phil Johnson on what are three characteristics the head coach of the Utah Jazz should have:

I think you’ve gotta have a knowledge of the game. I think you gotta be, have a knowledge of how to coach and how to, the knowledge of the game itself, how to, the X’s and O’s part of it, I think that you need to know that. I think unless you have, if you don’t have that, you better have a great, a couple of great assistants that do.

But, and I think that you really just have to be, I think you have to have discipline. I think there has to be so–I’m gonna give you more than three–I think you have to have respect. And the players have to respect what you’re gonna do, and that comes from discipline and doing, try–and coaching and making the right decisions. …

I think experience on the bench and that type of stuff is important as well.

Seven. Tom Chambers on last season’s Jazz:

I love Jazz’s team. I really do. I thought that they underachieved at times last year, and I thought that they had a chance to be a better team, at just, you know, execution. …

Players didn’t seem to be in the right spot or taking shots at the right spot or getting the ball in the right spot. It just didn’t seem like that team jelled the way I thought they would.

I thought [Enes] Kanter would have a tremendous season. You know, everybody on the team, for that, for the most part, was inconsistent last season, and they just hope to have a season like the Suns had last year, ’cause I actually believe that the Jazz have as much or more talent than the Suns do. (1280)

Eight. Chambers on whether there are lessons for the Jazz to learn from Jeff Hornacek’s success with the Suns:

Jeff was, you know, a perfect, you know, guy for the job down there. You know, it really, really helps a lot when a guy comes in who’s done what he’s asking the players to do.

I mean, you look at what Gerald Green did this year, you know, better than he’s ever done. I mean, Goran [Dragic] was better than he’s ever been. Everybody on the team had career seasons, and you have to give a lot of credit, in fact, almost all the credit, to Jeff and what he really instilled in his guys down there.

How did Hornacek find a balance between being liked and respected and trusted by his players?

They bought into everything he said from Day One. I mean, he just, you know, they just, they believed.

It’s amazing to have a new general manager and a new coach, and have everything come together like it did. Usually, you’ve gotta have Larry Bird sitting up there when you get a coach who hasn’t coached before, you know? A Pat Riley, or somebody who’s making sure that you’re paying attention to what this guy says.

But in Jeff’s case, in [Suns GM] Ryan McDonough’s case, they came in and the guys, you know, they were a bunch of guys, really, that had been cast off, if you will, who wanted an opportunity, were given an opportunity and just had tremendous seasons. So, yeah, I, it, you know, Jeff came in with klout and respect from the players, because he hadn’t been out of the league that long. They all knew who he was. They all knew what he had accomplished.

Nine. Lindsey on how the Spurs are able to consistently operate at a higher level than every other team:

[They] have just created this unbelievable foundation and culture, and a culture of humility and unselfishness, but yet very competitive. So I think when you get a foundational player like [Tim Duncan], like frankly the Jazz had in Karl Malone and John Stockton, it can give you a clear playing identity and a set of characteristics that you can procure to guys.

So, and then from there, I think, I, pers–you know, R.C. [Buford]’s, if not my best friend in the business, certainly one of, you know, I think he’s a Hall of Famer relative to what he’s built in management, and how he’s deferred to [Gregg] Pop[ovich], and pop, propped Pop up relative to be in favor within the organization, and humbly doing so.

But you have R.C., his ability to hire great personnel people and management people and help, he’s helped many of us move on to very prominent jobs in the league.

I think that’s one of the great untold stories, but you know, specifically on why he and Pop are good, I think they’re terrific listeners. I think they are great at hiring people and letting them do their jobs and giving ’em great resources to do their jobs. And staff rating, you know, out of the San Antonio front office and coaching tree, is very significant.

So I was, when I joined the organization in 2007, I was really impressed at how on top of R.C. was about, toward the better people in the business that fit the Spurs culture relative to the personnel department. So, the adjectives go on and on.

They’re just, they really care and they really are good at what they do, and you know, once a Spur, always a Spur. They really care about their people.

Ten. The only part of Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals Jerry has watched is Michael Jordan’s push-off on Bryon Russell.

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