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Bits from Randy Rigby Interview, 9/3

September 4, 2014


Gordon Hayward didn’t make the USA team, but it’s been fun watching Raul Neto play for Brazil. He’s got a nice stroke and is a good-looking player.*
Raul, I’m been very impressed as I’ve been watching him, and it’s giving me a lot of excitement and encouragement to say, “You know what? I think we may have had, we have, may have a little jewel here that I think can continue to develop, and I hope will be a really great asset for the Utah Jazz over some time.”

And Rudy Gobert has played, I think, for France, very well, and I haven’t seen as much, watching, from Dante [Exum], from Australia yet, but you know, it’s really, I’m excited to see that our young players are getting some experience and some playing time on the international competition.

* This is really how Spencer Checketts phrased the question.

It seems like Dante Exum could be in better shape and develop some things in his game. What should fans expect out of him this year?
I think we need to be s–to look at, well, number one, we need to expect him to continue to discipline himself. He’s now made it into the big leagues. He was a No. 5 pick in the draft, and there was an expectation that sh–goes with that, and I think Dante will rise to the expectation of, really, taking his game, taking this opportunity serious.

Now, from a s–fan perspective of, from a team perspective, I think we need to also show some patience, but show continual improvement and growth. But I think his best years are going to be in the next three to, hopefully, 13 years.

So I think it’s, he’s 19 years old. He just turned 19. And so I think it’s going to take some time for his body to continue to mature, to continue to improve, and he’s got some improvement that we’ve identified in his game.

But what I do like from him, his talent level is there. His heart and his desire to improve is giving us in need, in the, every indication that he wants to improve. So I think all the signs are there. But it’s gonna take a couple years of discipline and hard work for him to really be at a level where he can really compete on the NBA pla–top level.

In your analyzation and from what you’ve heard, where exactly does Exum need to improve?
Well, I think the biggest area he needs to improve is in his shooting. I see, his, and then i–bef–behind that, I think disciplining himself and really controlling himself in, I think his natural athletic instincts has allowed him to steal the ball quick and do some things, but I think he’s gonna have to discipline himself to s–play tougher defense and not try to just gra–quick grabs at, but really stay, play tough, tight defense.

But his biggest improvement in my evaluation and from talking with Dennis [Lindsey], is really also going to be in his shooting, and really learning how to shoot the ball with NBA-type players i–on him.

On this particular team, from where will the leadership germinate, do you suspect?
Well, I think, I’m hoping that we see it in a number of fronts. Number one, I’m really hopeful that with what, the marrying of Gordon Hayward, of maturing that he’s had in the last couple years, the indications I’ve heard about how his body has really grown and developed, I’m hoping that’s gonna translate into, also, mentally, his, also, growing and developing into a real leader as an NBA player.

And I think his experience of going out and now playing with the USA team, of seeing what, you know, qualities it takes and that competitive nature and that desire to be the best, I’m hoping we see some real leadership from Gordon.

He’s, now, can take the contract things and put it behind him, and now really focus on playing the game and leading our team. I’m looking, that, as an example of leadership.

I think, now, we’ve had another year, Trey Burke, is, sorry, Burke is one that also, that I think has, Trey, is one that, I, wants to be a leader. But I think he needs to continue to work on his own personal game, and you know, you need to, you can’t just talk the talk. You need to be, do it by example first.

Derrick Favors showed up this summer…

I think Derrick Favors has shown, his body, trans–has really transposed itself. He looks very good. He’s been in the gym regularly, improving himself. He’s had a desire to want to, also, ask our people “How do I improve myself, and also my relationship out in the community, out with the players?” That’s telling me that he wants to be more of a role with a leader.

With so many young players, should a lot of the leadership come from the coaching staff?
Well, and that’s gonna be, I’m excited to see what our coaches, coaching staff does this year. I will tell you this. I just got done reviewing, and I haven’t done it at, in depth yet, but we had a coach’s retreat this last week, and the work that was put into it with both, with The Quin, and his coaching staff, was very impressive.

And there was probably a book about two inches deep of, really, this whole retreat.

And they, of what they’re doing defensively; offensively; the mindset that we’re, they want to establish with the players. And there was some real thought into, we talked about leadership, but both on and off the court, and what they expected.

And these men worked from early in the morning ’til late at night in this retreat, in really preparing so that they were of one mind of exactly where we’re going and what we’re going to try to accomplish, to really help this young team to maximize their potential, and to get them on a trajectory as fast as possible.

How will Rudy Gobert be handled this year, compared to last year when he was seen as a project?
I’ve been really impressed. Rudy was one that also stayed around right after the season, worked hard and really prepared himself before he, then, left for France to play on the national team. His body has made nice improvement, I, as well. His mindset has made great improvement, and he’s really disciplined himself.

And so then as I then watched him, on a couple of the games, in these FIBA World [Cup] games, I, you could see the fruits of that effort coming to fruition, and I’m very high a–on Rudy, and thinking that if he continues on this tra–on this path that he’s going, he’s gonna be a player that can make a difference for the Utah Jazz, and he’s gonna be a player to reckon with in the NBA. He has great shot-blocking abilities, and I’ll tell you what.

In a couple of instances, they made good passes to him, and then he finished ’em off in some remarkable slam dunks. And a very impressive player. And I know a lot of the play-by-play people were really talking about, they caught his eye. So I think the people in the NBA are gonna see, potentially, a force to be reckoned with in the future.

How did the Dream Team globalize and impact the game of basketball?
It did two things. One thing, in a positive way. One thing, I still feel I have a little bit of concern with.

The positive thing is li–what we just talked about, in bringing basketball alive internationally, and it’s only kept up that momentum now, and, what that team did with [Michael] Jordan and a lot of the players on that Dream Team has continued to do.

The negative part of it, I, that I still have some concerns about, is a lot of these players have now become, as they play together, it’s built friendships…A lot of these players now, I think, they’ll want to compete, and wanna get their, other players to be their friends, and not to have to compete against ’em, but to compete together.*

And I think that t–mentality, I think, has hurt, to me, a little bit. I like people wanting to compete and be, liking to compete against one another instead of just, “Hey, let’s team up.” I think that weakens the league instead of strengthens it,** and so, I’m always happy to see when we have people stay with a com–a team, and go after another team.

* Rigby shared similar sentiments two summers ago about players getting friendly as a reason why he didn’t like [American] Jazz players playing for the national team.

** In his sales pitch at the end of the interview, Rigby said fans should buy tickets because “The competition in the NBA is as good as it’s ever been, if not great.”

Will the World Cup ever be as big as the NBA Finals?
I see the vision that David [Stern], that Adam [Silver] has, in, and what I think is magical about it in, and soccer has, is a great sport, but there is not the organization.

There’s a competitiveness between some of the top leagues in soccer, that actually serves to hurt each other. The NBA has done a masterful job of, I think, organizing basketball to come, to work together towards the culmination of the NBA. And I think that’s a wise plan.

I think you’ll continue to see, we’ve seen how the rules have actually started to get more and more in harmony with the NBA. And in some cases the NBA, we’ve made some concessions to bring it in harmony with the international community, so that, again, we can make it one common game. And I think you’ll continue to see that more.

Randy Rigby: Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine (UDQM)
** On leadership: I think that’s a very important part for our big guys.
** On Rudy Gobert’s French national teammates: They made good passes to him, and then he finished ’em off.
** On competition: I think there’s something magical, to me, in life about having that kind of competitive desire, of liking to compete, and h–finding a good foe, but wanting to continue to, you know, compete against them and measure up how I’m doing and how they’re doing.
** On the World Cup: I think it’s going to continue to get bigger.
** On the Jazz’s Select-A-Seat open house: Having you two, you know that it’s gonna be big when we have The Big Show there. (1280)

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