Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interview, 6/9
Note: Whether it’s because he’s been celebrating that he got his man or is drunk in love, Dennis Lindsey sounded delightfully hammered in this interview.
So Quin Snyder must’ve impressed you…
Yeah so, I think Quin’s an easy mark, relative to intelligence, ability to communicate, some charisma. You don’t have to be in this business to understand all those things, and why they’re important in a head coaching position. But those, again, I’ve stated that in the press conference, those aren’t the, they weren’t the highest criteria.
It was where he’s moved, as a coach. Working with him up close for three years; having not only professional colleagues share about where he’s at, but some of my closest friends, and most trusted colleagues in the business.
So, again, what I can tell you is, is when we had several times during San Anto–my San Antonio period where we had coaches, management, people, people with the Austin Toros, they got job opportunities, and I’ve had several conversations with [Gregg] Pop[ovich] and R.C. [Buford] that, “Hey, if this coach leaves, does Quin fit here?”
And for whatever reason, our coaches didn’t leave during that period, and so Quin had to advance, you know, to a player development role in Philly, and he quickly advanced within the league based upon, really, merit.
There were some relationships there, and those are, you never wanna minimize those things, but again, the basketball pedigree; who he’s worked with; his educational background; what he did as a player, in high school and leading Duke to three Final Fours, and captain of the team.
Those are all key but I think you know people best when you live with ’em, work with ’em, compete with ’em. And we competed with him in San Antonio, and Dell Demps and Mike Budenholzer and Danny Ferry, and Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford all came to the same conclusion I did, and so, I think that was a big reason why we looked strongly at Quin as a good candidate for our job.
How important was it to you that these great basketball minds thought Snyder was a great basketball mind?
Yeah. I haven’t thought about it on those terms. I think we’re all, our experiences and the people that we work with, and our parents, and how are raised, all those things really go into the equation.
And, but this league is about individual merit in a team format. It’s what you bring to the table that allows the group to move forward. So, all those things that you described, I think are well-documented. And that’s great. But I would say this.
To be a great basketball mind, sometimes it’s the lowest common denominator. It’s building player trust, and building player habits, and building player connectivity. So I think it’s very important to have a high level of mental accuity. Certainly, you never wanna underestimate someone with a great mind.
But there’s work ethic, and there’s consistency, and there’s communication. And so I think, I don’t wanna sell Quin short on some of the other characteristics, just because of his noted intelligence, in, as a student or as a player or as a coach.
But all of those things can, again, lead to important characteristics when you’re making a coaching decision or making a critical personnel decision in your business.
What is your relationship with Quin, and what is the next step in this relationship?
Yeah, so Quin and I were actually talking about this a little bit today. While we’re friendly–not like we’re confidants–I think Quin and I have had several good moments over the years.
Some from us calling each other, and Quin called last year with Ettore Messina on the phone, and they were arguing about big man prospects. And it was funny.
Quin didn’t win initially, the year that he was there. But the, one of the players they were talking about, they, that player tied, I should say, they grabbed the following year after Quin left Atlanta, and Ettore stayed in CSKA.
So, we’ve shared, relative to those terms, and again, Dell Demps was the person that he worked with in Austin, and from a win-loss total, they, most wins over a three-year period. Simultaneously, they had the most call-ups. They got a lot accomplished for the San Antonio Spurs, the parent company.
And as great as a league as it is, the, for players, it’s a better league for coaches. So again, that relationship grew. It started, but now that we’re in this, in the same organization, and it’s really not Dennis and Quin. It’s Dennis and the, or it’s Quin and the organization.
Richard Smith, relative to player development; and David Fredman, with pro personnel; and Walt Perrin, in charge of our personnel; and Justin Zanik, in charge of many different things as assistant GM. Our international relationships, our contracts, our negotiations. Randy Rigby; you know, Quin managing; up to our president. All those things are key.
So really, what we tried to do with each of the candidates is give everybody in the management structure some time with the head coach to describe what they were getting into, r–and so, I think our relationship is one that’s forming, and I like the openness.
I like that I already see a very good listener. I think all, like all of us, get to a certain stage in life, we, we’re more patient, and not looking to have all the answers. Found him to be very humble, in things that, you know, the analytics question, for example.
Quin has great capacity, you know, capacity, much further past mine, and, but, you know, his experience with the math of the game is good, but you answered that question, I think, to the best of his ability, and showed some insight to who he is even though he’s a bright guy. He’s a terrific listener, so I anticipate it being a great relationship with the organization.
Did you have a singular moment when you knew Quin was The One?
Hahaha. I hadn’t thought about it on those terms, and I’m not sure why I’m laughing. So. I’m not sure. I. Maybe n–maybe it’s not my nature to operate that way.
I think you’re grinding so hard, in listening. After each interview, I went home that night and crashed. Just ’cause you’re really trying to put the person in the seat, and see how, the best way to complement* them moving forward, and so, yeah. I’ve never thought about a moment.
I just know that when it got down to decision-making time, the conversation was open and dynamic, and thorough. And as Greg [Miller] mentioned, our goal is to be championship-caliber, and we have a lot of steps. Some large, some small, but many in total.
And so, there, again, we tried to stick to our criteria, but in the end, I guess to answer your question, it was the moment that, the moment of truth where we all had to, you know, submit our order.
* Up for interpretation whether Lindsey said “complement” or “compliment,” especially with this history.
Have any decisions been made on filling out the coaching staff?
I think Quin has some strong ideas. I think he has some strong ideas and leads. And we’ll let nature take its course here. We gotta give him some time and space, and we’re talking out several alternatives and what’s complementary to him, what’s complementary to our players, the organization.
And again, I think Quin being Quin, and the coaching insider, knowing who he is, and what he stands for and what type of coach he is, there’s some attractive possibilities, and so, that’s really exciting for a head coach, to think about his team, and the chemistry, the skillsets, the backgrounds.
We, you know, diversity of background’s very important. Diversity of skillset, is very important. So Quin, like most coaches who coach in this league who wanna be head coaches, have actively worked those lists and relationships for years to, in anticipation of getting to this point. So, I wouldn’t say decisions are made, but we have some very strong leads and indications of where we wanna move towards. (1280)