Bits from Summer League Training Camp, 7/8: Dante Exum, Trey Burke and Quin Snyder
** How was the first practice?
It was good, you know? We started just running up and down, and the high altitude got to me a bit, so, but I had the coaches on the sideline stressing defense, so I was trying to stay locked in and get through the practice.
** What was the first experience playing with Trey Burke like?
It was good. It was, like I’ve said, with our Australian team it’s whoever gets the ball, and we had Ian [Clark] as well playing the point with us. We had all three of us on, and it was, if he got the rebound, he goes. If Trey got it, he goes. So you know, it wasn’t a problem for me, and it’s good to get off the ball sometime and let someone else run the show.
** What are your summer league goals?
I just wanna go in and play hard. Coach [Quin Snyder] has stressed defense a lot and I know a lot of people have knocked me on my defense, but people haven’t watched me play in awhile. So I wanna go out there and play as hard as I can. Try and help my team on the defensive end and turn defense into offense, and I know coach Snyder has stressed that a lot, and all the coaches. So yeah, it’s just about working together on the defense, and we’ve been doing drills, and everything in preparation for that.
** What is your impression of Quin Snyder in a practice setting?
I think he’s a great coach. He knows the team, and I think that’s important, because coming in, running the plays that we’re running, he knows that we’ve got two point guards that can run the show. So it’s not this kind of set offense. It’s kind of a free flowing-type offense. So I think that benefits us a lot. For him to notice that and be able to adjust to that in coaching style, I think it’s been great.
** On the present he got from Derrick Favors
Second day there and I’m already getting gifts, so the veterans aren’t too hard on me…He gave me Aussie shampoo, which I actually haven’t seen before. So, about to go hit the showers and test that out.
** You posted a picture on Instagram of John Stockton’s autobiography on your shelf. Is he someone you look up to?
It’s actually funny. My dad roomed with him at the Portsmouth Invitational, and so my dad’s talked about him and how he didn’t, how he got into the league…He kinda worked his way up, and you know, you look at him and ho–and what he’s done over his career, and definitely as a point guard and what he’s done, you definitely look up to that. And it’s an interesting book, so yeah. I hope I get to talk to him and the Jazz bring him in and [he can] teach me a few things…I’m sure he’ll be happy to come in and help the Jazz out in any way possible.
** What is your first impression of the new coaching staff?
I’m excited, man. I think they’re giving us a lot more freedom, and they’re emphasizing defense a lot and you know, that’s one thing that I think myself and everybody that was here last year, you know, was concerned about, you know? The coaching staff coming in, you know, what they would emphasize and what they wanted out of us. And you know since Day One, since we’ve been here, they’ve been emphasizing defense a lot and kinda getting on us about making that a priority. So that’s good.
** How has the Trey-Dante relationship gotten off?
It’s going good, s–thus far. You know, I didn’t know him before he got drafted, but he’s really a good player. He has a lot of potential. Still young, but his work ethic is, you know, is gonna allow him to continue to grow and get better in this league. So, I definitely think we can play together. You know, I like how coach allows me to bring the ball up, and then sometimes he’ll tell me to just go to the corner, let him bring the ball up and kinda play off the ball. So, you know, it’ll be interesting to see how it works.
** On whether he’s feeling more comfortable now than he did at this time last year
Much more comfortable. You know the game’s slowed down, you know, a lot for me. You know, I’m seeing things, you know, quicker out there. Slow in the mind, fast on the court. So I feel good right now. Just looking forward to continuing to get better.
** Have you been able to get a sense of Quin Snyder’s personality?
Yeah, I’ve already, you know, built, a personal relationship with him already, you know? He br–he pulls me to the side, gets on me about being that leader out there, you know, being that voice that the team needs to hear. So you know, I’m excited to play for him. Very excited.
** Have you talked to Gordon Hayward at all during this process?
A little bit. You know, I texted him, you know, a couple months back, you know, when he got married…If he decides to come back, that’ll be great. If not, then, you know, I wish him the best of luck.
** What do you want to work on during summer league?
I think, first and foremost, being the leader. You know, I think that’s something that I, you know, gotta continue to grow it, specifically at this level. You know, I was used to it at Michigan, going into my second year, and now I’m tryna, you know, get all the way used to it now going into my second year here. So, I think that’s one thing. And then just being confident out there. You know, not second-guessing anything. You know, playing aggressive, and you know, doing what it takes to win.
** What are the biggest differences between this year’s coaching staff and last year’s coaching staff?
Well, you know, I think last year’s coaching staff was good as well, you know? As much as, as much negativity as they got from, you know, the fans or whoever, you know, threw negative things at ‘em. You know, I think, you know, they knew what they were doing. I think we were just a young team and it was a rebuilding process for us last year. You know, now with the new coaching staff, I think they’re giving us a little more freedom on the offensive end, allowing us to, you know, play more and you know, bringing that potential out of everybody even more, so. And then on another note, you know, I think both coaching staffs really emphasize defense, and that’s one thing that I really like about this new coaching staff as well, ’cause coach Snyder and you know, all the other guys are really on us about, you know, being in our spots, talking, and we’re gonna need that, you know, coming up for this next season.
** How did the first practice go?
It’s kinda half empty, half full. You know, there’s things you can get excited about, and there’s always things you feel like, you know, you wanna do better, so. A lotta new habits. I think the main thing is you want ‘em to embrace those things, and I feel like that’s, you know, probably haven’t embraced them as much as we want, but there’s definitely an effort.
** What is your first impression of Dante Exum?
He’s fast. I think, more than anything, he really looks like he knows how to play. And you say that, you know, you have to illustrate situations, but he knows how to play in pick and roll, he kicks the ball ahead, you know, willing passer. It was fun to see him and Trey interact…Clearly, they’ve done a really good job teaching him in Australia, and he knows how to play. I also, you know, there’s an aptitude that sometimes guys that just, you know, the game comes easy to ‘em, and he’s one of those guys. The neat thing is, he loves to play. And I think you could see his personality come out when he played.
** What were you looking for as you assembled your staff?
Wanted to get guys that can really coach. You know, it’s just a premium on guys, and when I say “coach,” that can teach, that are capable of organizing…Obviously, we got a couple D-League guys with D-League experience in Brad [Jones] and Alex [Jensen]. And Mike Wells has, you know, been coaching a long time. He’s probably had every job in the NBA except head coach. Tony Lang’s been a head coach in Japan. Talk about trying to communicate, you know, he’s learns Japanese. And Johnnie Bryant, you know, is very good. You know, he’s been here teaching everyone from Paul Millsap to Trey Burke.
** What have you seen from Trey Burke in the last few days?
Yeah, you know, he, there’s a willingness from him, right away. I mean, you talk to him; he’s engaged. You know, I wanna see him get over screens. I wanna see him defend pick and roll and the ball. And he’s, you know, you can tell it’s important to him. That gets me excited. I think, you know, offensively, he’s got a great tempo. You know, he just has a really good feel for the game and pick and roll…I think, you know, there’s gonna be a pride that we all have in defense, and specifically pick and roll defense. That’s gonna be an emphasis. And it’s not easy, you know, especially in the West.
** What are your impressions of Rodney Hood?
Good. He’s bigger than, you know, any time I’m around him, I’m like, “Yeah, you really are 6-9.” So, you know, I think Rodney’ll be a good piece for us this year. Like all our young guys, he’s got a ways to go, but again, there’s a willingness to learn and I [think] that’s what you want.
** How involved will you be in the summer league?
I’ll be involved in practice. You know, like I am now. If I see something, I’m gonna go talk to the coaches about it. Maybe, you know talk to one of the players as we’re going, and, or do something afterwards if we feel like I need to. But once we get to Veg–you know, I, again, Brad’s terrific, and he’s gonna coach the team, and you know, we’re, we feel comfortable, you know, with me not distracting them. (KALL)
** Gordon Hayward and the Charlotte Hornets have reportedly agreed to a four-year, $63 million offer sheet.
** Alec Burks is celebrating his 23rd birthday on July 20 and he wants you to be there:
** Dante is finally getting some real fan mail: