Locker Room Cleanout Part 2: Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, Elijah Millsap and Trevor Booker
** On his first 82-game season
Obviously, it was exhausting. But you know, it was a good experience and you know, I wanted to make sure I played all 82 games to, you know, get the most of the opportunity I’ve been given this year. So, you know, I’m just happy I was able to play.
** On Joe Ingles’ leadership
You know, Joe came in, you know, as, like, a rookie with me. But you know, he definitely was someone that helped me, and then, you know, kind of turned into that voice on the court. You know, he, when Alec [Burks] went down and Rodney went down for a bit as well, he was, you know, starting with us, so, as–along with Gordon [Hayward] and [Derrick] Fav[ors]. You know, they’re a bit quiet, but he was kind of that guy that, you know, didn–wasn’t afraid to say something, and kind of took on that role.
** Did starting games benefit your development?
I think it’s definitely made the game easier. You know, watching the game, getting, like, two or three minutes on All-Star-type point guards, you know, was good for me at the start, but I thought, you know, making that jump into the starting lineup, and you know, having to go against them every night, gave me, you know, the confidence that, you know, I can go at and guard them and you know, setting the challenge to myself to, you know, keep ’em under this many points, assists, whatever. So you know, it only built confidence for me, and you know, seeing what they’ve done in this league, and what I can do against them, so.
** On his relationship with Quin Snyder
Me and Quin, you know, have a great relationship. And you know, you saw it every time, every ch–every opportunity he got, he was, you know, teaching me. You know, what I should’ve done there, or what I could’ve done better. And even behind closed doors, he was, you know, helping me get better and just with the little things in my game, even if it’s just some footwork stuff. And you know, it helped me a lot knowing during the game, even, that I’m not just walking past him to the bench to think about, and you know, be in my own thoughts. That, you know, he was helping me get better even in that moment so when I go back in, I can improve.
** On his pink backpack
I told Gordon and Fav that I’m not a rookie anymore. They seemed to not believe it, but you know, in my mind, I’m not…I’ve told them that it doesn’t matter if we don’t draft anyone, if I’m the youngest. You know, I’ve done my first year. I’m not a rookie anymore.
Ron Boone: Did you ever have anything in your pink backpack?
Exum: No, never. It was just there for looks…I had one lady that just said to me, “You must be very comfortable with yourself.” I’m like, “Yes ma’am, I am.”
** What was the coolest part about being in the NBA?
I think, you know, after games, just getting straight on the plane and going home. I, that was the best, and at first, you know, I loved going on the road and you know, going to different hotels. And after that first month, I was like, let’s go home…I’m over hotels now.
** With Alec Burks coming back this year, would you prefer to start or come off the bench?
I don’t have a preference. You know, I came off the bench and started. You know, I, you know, we want Alec back healthy. And you know, he’s been great, you know, in my improvement, and you know, regardless of what happens, you know, we both gon be effective, you know, on the court. So you know, I mean, it’s exciting. You know, he’s, he was starting before he left, so I, it’s, that’s probably gon happen. So you know, I’m comfortable coming off the bench, you know, or starting if I have to step up, so.
** On the biggest lesson he’s learned this year
Just handling adversity. I think that’s been the biggest thing for me. You know, growing up, you really don’t have, you don’t really have that many adversity ’cause you the most talented player. But going through injuries, playing with more talented players, learning the NBA game, I think it was a, you know, adjustment for me, and you know, I just gotta continue to learn, and learn from it.
** On Quin Snyder’s “unconventional” thinking
You know, as you’re taught as a child, you know, right hand, right layup, and left hand, left layup. But you know, he just told me, you know, it’s some of the best players like [Manu] Ginobili, who’s a left-hand player, he never uses his right hand. You know, so it’s all about finishing, you know, not about what’s politically correct. And I think that’s something that helped me over the course of time. He doesn’t want us to be regular, typical players. You know, something that we can use to my advantage ’cause I am left-handed.
** Are you getting married this summer?
Hood: Next summer.
David Locke: Do you guys play one-on-one?
Hood: Yeah, man. I kill her. I kill her. I don’t — you know, ’cause she talks a lot, you know, to my family.
Ron Boone: You mean, smack? What do you mean, talk a lot?
Hood: She talks smack all the time. You know, I let her beat me one time last year when we was in college, and I never heard the last of it…I blame myself for letting her beat me.
Locke: You were still courting, though, at that point.
Hood: Yeah, so I had to.
** On free agency
We’ll obviously see what happens. I think everyone knows I’m free. So, we’ll see what happens. But definitely, mutual interest.
** Did you feel a need to provide leadership?
Yeah, I think I, I mean, I think I earned the guys’ respect. They probably all had no idea who I was before I came here, except Dante. But I think I earned the guys’ respect through my, kind of actions more than anything. And I would talk to guys, or they would come and talk to me. And I ended up being the oldest on the team when Steve [Novak] got traded, so I mean, Eli[jah Millsap], and yeah, so I think it, kind of naturally I’ve always tried to be a leader…It’s kind of just my personality, really, to try and help out and be vocal when I can.
** Did the Enes Kanter trade impact team chemistry on the floor and in the locker room?
I don’t think really. I mean, I’ve said it a million times, that Enes was a good guy. There was no issues in the locker room. There was no issues on the court…No ma–I think if he was here or wasn’t here, I think we would have similar results of the kind of win-loss, defensive ratings that we ended up getting up to. And I mean Qu–coach was a new coach, we had a lot of new guys. It’s kind of learning that system, and once you get used to it, you get more comfortable, you play more, and it’s obviously gonna get better and I think that showed throughout–from the start to the end of the year, not just from that one break.
** On playing for the Jazz after years of watching brother Paul in a Jazz uniform
I’ve been around for a while…I know a lot of faces. I even know the ushers’ names. So, it made me feel a lot comfortable, and you know, coming here and just, you know, making me feel a lot relaxed. So, playing here was just, is fun, and easy.
** What will your focus be this summer?
It’s been a pretty long grind for me. So, it’s gonna be — I gotta get a lotta rest, first and foremost. But my mindset is always, you know, get better. And I just wanna be quicker. I wanna lose a lot of weight, start eating healthier, and, just, so I can have a lot more endurance, you know, when I come in the game. Wherever I’m playing, it’s just gonna be, you know, defense, defense, defense.
** On the trust level between Quin Snyder and players that joined the team during the season
Me and Quin have a pretty unique situation, a pretty good relationship. So, I’m able to pretty much talk to him about anything that’s on my mind. You know, ask him questions about my role on the team. And we’ve been nip and tuck on a l–on some things, but you know, we always, you know, have the same interests and same goal at mind, and that’s winning. So, he’s gonna put me in my position and put me in my place where I can be successful, and I just gotta listen and get better.
** Are you secure in your position with the team, or do you feel like you still have to prove yourself?
I don’t have to prove nothing. I think I’ve pretty much played myself onto the NBA, into this league, and I’m good. You know, I just feel like right now, I just gotta get better, and going into the summer, that’s my whole mindset. And if I’m here, I’m here. And if I’m not, then you know, I have, took full advantage of my resources.
** More on Quin Snyder
Coming here with a coach like Quin, you know, that helps you, you know, there’s a lot of little things that I picked up on that I didn’t know before. So, he’s really good at, you know, bringing it out of me. So, I really appreciate him.
** Do you want to be back here?
Of course I wanna be back. I got the sense that they want me back, so I feel it’s mutual. But you know, at the end of the day, it’s still always business, so we’ll see.
** Summer plans
Doing a lotta shooting. Working on my 3-pointer. Definitely take some time off to rest.
** On Enes Kanter
His comments, it’s, I just feel like they were wrong, what he did, to the organization. … The locker room was fine when he was here. I mean, and it was great after he left. So, not much change.
** Did you feel like you were a key to team chemistry?
Yeah. I feel like they came, I mean, they told me before I came that they wanted me to come in, be a leader.
** On Quin Snyder compared to other coaches he’s had
He’s definitely different. You know, he does a great job of teaching. The, I think that’s why we’ve developed so quickly as a team. He does a great job of teaching, and he really cares about his players. You can actually tell that, and that’s what sets him apart.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines (UDQM)
** David Locke to Trevor Booker on his tweet: It was so good. I gotta tell you, it was so good.
** Locke to Rodney Hood: Scoot in a little bit.
** Locke to Dante Exum: Enjoyable?
Locke: It was?
Exum: Oh, what?
Locke: The season.
Exum: Yeah, no. I had a good time.
** Joe Ingles on his shot: I’ve never had a pretty shot. But I’ve always been told is, is whatever is effective for you, to do it.