Dennis Lindsey talks Dante Exum and Rodney Hood
I have so many questions.
–Who decided that everyone should wear the same outfit?
–Why the matching outfits?
–Did everyone get dressed at home and arrive at the practice facility in matching outfits?
–Or did everyone get there, head to the locker room, change and come out in matching outfits?
Why should fans be excited about Exum?
The tools. He’s 6-6 in his shoes. He’s got close to a 6-10 wingspan. He has the ability to accelerate in a short period of time, and he makes it look smooth. Some of us, when we run hard, we’re gritting our teeth, and Dante seems to make everything look easy.
And so, there’s some ability to break through the line of the defense, array of finishes, his ability to score. And so, as much as anything, there were some speed and some tools that really intrigued us, and we’re gonna have to spend a lot of time working with him [on] his body, his skills, his mindset. But I think we have a development program that will allow all that to come to fruition.
On Quin Snyder’s impression of Exum
We were playing catch-up with Quin, and then the assistant coaches that have been hired in the last 10 days or so. And so, I really appreciated Quin’s approach. He came in, and was listening to our management and scouting group talk about each prospect.
And so, Dante we watched a few times on video, and Quin initially didn’t have a lot to offer. And we had a quiet moment. We were talking, and he asked, “What about Dante?” And “Are you seeing what I’m seeing with his speed and ability to get to the rim?” And I said, “Yeah, that’s who he is.”
On how Exum and Hood will fit into the Jazz system
Within our, what we call our motion-based offensive system, it’s a very dynamic offense where we use pick and rolls to create the lead and separation. And then, like some of the better teams, we don’t want the ball to stop.*
So we really like Dante’s ability to create on the front end of the possession, and we really, for a young guy, we liked his decisions once he was able to get into the paint. So, we think there’s significant ability there to do that.
And then with Rodney, Rodney’s a very good pick and roll player. He was really efficient in what they did with Duke, and Duke has some of the similar spacing that we wanna have, and the nice thing with Rodney is his size and shooting ability. I think he’ll also complement our primary players that will have the ball in Trey [Burke], and Alec [Burks] and Gordon [Hayward].
* I like how Lindsey pretends the last few years didn’t happen.
At 6-6, does Exum have the lateral quickness to guard all three positions on the perimeter?
I think going forward, that will be Dante’s biggest challenge, is the size, physicality relative to the 24-sh–second shot clock and defense. And, but the one thing that we found out through the interviews and through our diligence, he’s a very competitive, driven young man.
So, I think in time he’ll be a good defender, and certainly [has] the size to play the wing, the speed to play the point guard. But Dante’s in store for a NBA introduction on how quick, how fast, how violent NBA basketball will be. But we’re confident over time that his makeup and work ethic, he’ll be a good player.
Lindsey’s version of Kevin O’Connor’s “Judge this pick in two years”
The evaluation will be years from now on how Dante develops and how Rodney contributes.
Why did you decide to trade away the last pick [Jarnell Stokes]? Too young of a team?
We actually liked the player that we traded away, but with our youth movement last year, adding two very young players and one extremely young in Dante, we felt like we needed to push out that pick going forward. It’s something that we did last year, so our ability to accumulate assets is key for us to be able to make deals in the future.
Was the organization close to making a deal to move up at any point tonight?
We really looked at trades in all directions, and certainly moving up was something that we were very aggressive in doing. There, I’m glad you asked the question. There were several media reports that were wildly inaccurate. And so, those type of things are unfortunate, but we were looking several different directions.
What was wildly inaccurate?
I won’t get into specifics.
On Hood the person
Rodney, our intel around Rodney was top-shelf individual, first-class all the way. So, the Jazz fiber, culture that we always talk about, he really fits in seamless.
We got another Dukie in here, so, we’ve added a few of those over the past few weeks. But it’s safe to say the connections that we have with coach [Mike] K[rzyzewski] and the Duke program gave us good certainty that Rodney could fit our group.
Exum is handsome, among other things
There was real maturity there [in the way Dante dealt with being away from home], and we were really impressed. And you won’t ever make a selection because of an interview. You make the selection on their basketball talent, but certainly their health and their character and makeup, and we felt really good with the interview, and that was a key part of our decision-making process.
And so, he’s handsome.* You know, he has the natural Aussie charm. He’s very humble and self-effacing, so I think the media and the market will really appreciate him.
** Exum’s agent is Rob Pelinka. Ugh.