Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interview, 5/17
Has DL been indulging in too much fry sauce?
On the draft lottery
** Will be bringing pictures of his family, “the ultimate good luck charm,” to the draft lottery
** May talk a walk around Central Park and look for an additional good luck charm
** Also has a lucky watch his brother-in-law gave him
Are you satisfied with the baby steps that Dante Exum took?
I think we achieved a lot. Going, look, if you’re 18-slash-19 years old and you make it through an NBA season without an injury — he played in all 82 games — and you know what that means around here with John [Stockton] and Karl [Malone] and the legacy they left.
And frankly, it was very important for Dante — it was a big goal of his personally — to get through all 82 games even though he was really fatigued at points in the season and we wanted to sit him. He fought us on that, and we appreciated his mentality towards that.
The other thing that’s hidden, and we’re starting to be able to track it a little more with advanced stats, is Dante’s already shown unique defensive abilities. Frankly, he’s two or three levels ahead of where we thought he’d be defensively. I think we were +5 per 100 possessions when he was on the court last year.
So, for a 19-year-old point guard, and most of those margins were gain because of his defensive mobility, his size and his length. And you add that with intelligence and character — we’re thinking he’s already a good offen–or defensive player and in time he’ll be a good offensive player.
How many days a week will he be working on driving to the rim and attacking the rim?
So, there’s a couple things to that, and Quin [Snyder] and I just visited about that yesterday on the plane back from Chicago. There’s no question that he’ll move forward, and next year, it may be incrementally, but when Dante’s 22, 23, 24, we’re gonna be looking at a much different player. We’re very confident in his character. We’re very confident in his work ethic.
And we’ve already laid some plans about what we wanted to do with him in the off-season. Some will be a little non-traditional, so he can start using his size. As soon as his strength and his physicality match his size, I think that’s when magic will happen.
And the thing that I would say to everyone relative to Dante and the offensive part, he really deferred to Gordon [Hayward], to Derrick [Favors], some of our more mature players. He didn’t try to force himself on the game, and I think that’s why, even though his per-game stats were humble, the team functioned very well when he was in the game.
On why Gordon Hayward is a fit for the city, state and organization
His parents are great people. Really, the type of person, now married, his wife, his new wife is with baby. It just fits — there’s certain fits, right, with Salt Lake and Utah, and especially the Jazz. And Gordon is one that we’d like to see…when [he] retire[s], it’s gonna be a career Jazzman. That’s our hope.
How does Rudy Gobert keep improving?
I think there’s some fundamental things. He needs to continue to be stronger. We saw teams become more physical with Rudy the last third of the season, and push and sove.* So, for him to handle the physicality, to remain effective, he’s gonna have to get stronger. For him to be a safer athlete, frankly, he needs to get stronger. But Rudy’s committed to that.
We changed — he and Alex Jensen — changed the slot on his free throw, so we, now that he’s able to feel comfortable around the free throw line when the game’s stopped, hopefully when play is going on, he’s gonna be comfortable with that 15-footer.
Rudy quickly needs to move to spots so our offense can function. We wanna still be able to capitalize on those improvements. Improvement in his jump hook, his duck-in to get deeper position, all those things are attainable goals…It goes without saying we’re very proud of him and his improvement, and we look forward to him being a foundational piece for a long time.
* Not a typo.
On expectations for Derrick Favors
Yeah, so Quin and the coaches, they get a lot of credit [for Favors’ offensive improvement]. They were able to m–put guys in the right positions…
Derrick’s improvement was really significant, and in many ways he was our most effective player and a lotta positions. So, his ability to make that 17-footer — we still need to improve his free throw shooting.
I still want him to be a defensive anchor. He’s gonna have to do it out of the power forward spot instead of the center spot now that Rudy’s in the fold and established, but we have high hopes and we’re really proud of Derrick and his improvement. (KSL)