Locker Room Cleanout Part 3: Rudy Gobert, Alec Burks, Trey Burke and Jeremy Evans
** Which specific areas of your game will you be working on this summer?
My body. You know, getting stronger, especially my lower body, and getting more resistant because next season gonna be — I mean, I’m gonna play a lot of minutes, obviously, and I gotta be ready. And of course, keep working on my offensive game, my jump shot and my post moves.
** What do you credit your leap to, and do you think you should win Most Improved Player?
I think it’s pretty much everything, you know? Coach, I think coach believe in me a lot since he got here, and the work I’ve put in. The confidence of my teammates, who’ve been learning to play with me, especially offensively, you know, throwing me the ball and learning how to use me. It’s pretty much everything, like I said. For Most Improved, I think, yeah, of course. You know, I’m one of the player, if not the player, who improved the most since last year. So, why not?
** What are your personal goals for next year? All-Star?
To be honest, next year I’m just thinking about the playoff right now. I know that if I play at the high level, I’m gonna help the team to go to the playoff. And of course I want to be All-Star in my career. I don’t know if it’s gonna be next year or three years or more. But next year, I’m only thinking about the playoffs.
** On his relationship with Alex Jensen
It started last year, to be honest. I think last year, he really believed in me since the beginning, and he saw how much I want to work hard and to get, how much I want to get better, and he really help me. You know, watching film even when I wasn’t playing. You know, talk to the coaches, and keep telling me what I need to do, you know, to be, to get on the court. And we created a great relationship. I think he trust me; I trust him. Sometime we get mad to, mad at each other, but I think we just have a great relationship.
** David Locke’s Twitter advice to Rudy Gobert
You’ve gotten good. Don’t do anything stupid.
** What was this season like for you?
It was tough, you know? I mean, I was hurt all year. Then I had season-ending surgery. So, I ain’t never experienced nothing like that, sitting out so many games. But you know, I learned a lot…I’ll be able to play next year and you know, I can’t wait.
** How’s the rehab going?
I’m three months out right now of surgery, so it’s going good. You know, I can dribble and shoot and things, but you know, I can’t take contact for another three months.
** Are you looking forward to competing for minutes with Rodney Hood next season?
Man, I’m trying to compete with everybody. You know, I relish competition. I’m ready to compete against Gordon [Hayward] again, everybody. You know, Rodney, whoever. You know, I’m ready to play, you know, ’cause I sat out so much.
** What does this team need to become a playoff team?
Man, I’m s– I hope I’m the missing piece. I f–I really hope so. You know, I hope I take us over the, to the playoffs, you know, but you know, we’re gonna add some people. You know, Dennis [Lindsey] and you know, coach, they do a great job of what they do. You know, getting people, finding talent. So, I don’t got no problem with that.
** On the state of his shoulder before he had surgery
I don’t think people understand the pain I was in…I couldn’t lift my shoulder up. If I lift my shoulder up, it might pop out. So, I tried not to even use my left hand when I was playing. So, ’cause I didn’t wanna pass so I wouldn–I didn’t want to take no chances with it, ’cause I knew something ha–bad could happen…I usually play as well, really well around the rim, but I couldn’t lift my shoulder so I shot a lot more threes.
** What specifically will you be working on this summer, and would you be comfortable coming off the bench moving forward?
I think this off-season, you know, changing my body, getting stronger, getting quicker is something I really going, you know, really focus on. You know, just shooting a lot. You know, every day, getting in the gym. You know, trying to, you know, get to the point where my shot is more consistent. I know that’s one thing that I really wanna work on. As far as my role, you know, I think coming off the bench was different for me ’cause it’s something I never, you know, experienced playing basketball. But you know, I’m a team player, and I know, you know, what I can bring to the team…I think defensively is where [Quin Snyder] really wanted to see me grow, and I think that’s an area that I really made a big jump in…I really took that as a challenge, and I think defensively, I’ve grown a lot.
** What was it that Quin Snyder and his staff did to produce so much success and growth?
Just every day, you know, every single day he held us accountable. We came in every day ready to work. We came in every day ready to practice. And even days where we were tired or we didn’t feel like practicing, you know, he pushed us. And from the players to the coaching staff, he held everybody accountable. So, I think it was a level of respect that we all have for him, and the coaching staff. And we knew that it was gon be a process.
** How did Gordon Hayward change this year compared to last year?
I think the pressure was off of him. You know, last year I think he had a, I think he kinda put pressure on himself and I think this year he kinda, you know — obviously I know a lot of that has to do with, you know, the, him signing his contract. He wasn’t out there thinking anymore. You know, he was just playing basketball, and you know, he was able to show the world what type of player he was.
** On the day he moved to the bench
I knew that I had to, you know, react to that in a positive way, and you know, still produce for the team the way that they wanted me to. So you know, I never, ever wanted to, you know, show that I was a cancer to the team or show that I, you know, that I was bigger than the team or anything like that. So, I understood where coach was going. We had a con–a long conversation before he had, did that.
** Where do you think you stand with the organization?
Just great. I feel like, you know, they have confidence in me and I trust them that they’re gonna make the right decision. You know, that’s what they’re here for. And if I’m here, I’m gonna be, you know, so happy. I feel like this is my home. If not, I’m, I know it’s still gonna be a bright future and wish everybody the best.
** On Gordon Hayward’s development
Just him, as a player, I think he’s developed so much. And I think far as his leadership role, he’s been good but he has a long way to go. And I think he’s gonna get there and just make the team better.
** What is it about Quin Snyder that made all the players buy in?
Just the way he looks at you. He comes in, and we know he’s not playing. And you don’t wanna get on his bad side. So, just doing what he tells you. I think that tells you a lot.
** What has the team asked you to improve on, specifically?
Of course, like always, still try to get stronger in size. Course I’m not gonna be the biggest guy, but I can always get stronger. And I feel like for myself, my close-outs, I’m really not too proud of those. I feel like I can guard guys on the perimeter a lot better. And just still getting confident shooting. I had a couple shots last night that I didn’t even wanna take, and I don’t know why. But just shooting the ball.
** What has been your favorite experience here?
I just wouldn’t change it for the — for nothing. The people here, great. The fans. Just, you know, I’m so happy to start my career here in Utah. Like I said, even far as the traffic here, like, being in the city, I feel like it’s great just being able to get out, downtown on time, all the time. So, just everything.
** How has your relationship with Hayward changed over the last five years?
Just, maybe not hanging out as much. Of course you’ve got your wife and him now, he’s having a kid. So, but still, kinda the same far as road trips. Sometimes, you know, maybe I don’t get much conversation outta each other just because we’re talking to, you know, family or someone. But for the most part, still go out and eat, and maybe watch a movie or something…Subway’s still on the list.
** On Quin Snyder wanting the embrace the things he can do rather than focus on things he can’t do (gain weight)
I’m glad he, you know, understood that, because I’ve tried. You know, I just, for myself, from Day One, that’s how I’m here now, that I know that I’ve been blessed just to be, you know, athletic and can run the floor and course, sometimes it’s matchup problems and he knew that. You know, that’s a couple times I can play, but when he does put me out there, I think he has the confidence that, you know, I’ll use my quickness to try to get around the guys. And I feel like, you know, that’s a plus and that’s the reason I’m here.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines (UDQM)
** David Locke on Jeremy Evans’ professionalism: Quin went on a long thing about how every guy on this team can learn from Jeremy.
** David Locke on watching Alec Burks shoot before the last game: I thought your base looked wider, and you weren’t kicking your feet out as much. Is that an accurate observation?
** Alec Burks on learning how to shoot again after his shoulder surgery: Not much of a line-drive like I used to shoot. You know, just more lifting the ball, you know, and finishing high.