Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interview, 7/2
Which is more likely for the Jazz, signing a player or being on the receiving end of a salary dump trade?
I think, I’m not sure, because, look, there was a call today that I didn’t expect. And so, when could we line up things? When could we conceivably, if you will, put someone on our roster that’s a positional and/or skillset and/or fit into the culture, that, u–just a unique chemistry that our guys are gaining? …
Could there be a time where I put on the GM hat and recommend to Quin and ownership that they, this asset-accumulation deal, it’d be worth the roster spot; it’s worth the possible interruption to chemistry at a short level? It’s hard to say.
And then, again, there’s, there are free agents available that we wanna continue to look at at various price points, and, but again, to state the obvious somewhat, we really ne–are excited about this group. And even more so than the excitement, we’re eager to learn more going into next year.
“We tactically decided to stay out of the free agent wing market in a big way”
I had a conversation with Rodney Hood yesterday, and we tactically decided to stay out of the free agent wing market in a big way, if you will, for a couple of reasons:
Gordon [Hayward]’s improved level as a primary player. Alec Burn–Burks’ return back to health. He’s now free for contact, so he’ll take part in portions of our summer league training camp if he’s in town.
Rodney Hood’s ability just to make plays off the dribble, getting to a short pullup, finding guys. You know, he’s a 6-8, 6-9 2-guard in skillset, so.
Elijah Millsap’s unique defensive ability to blow up screens. And as Coach [Jerry] Sloan said — we were, we’ve talked a lot about Elijah relative to some other defensive wings, and Coach Sloan appropriately said this. It was r–just really well stated. He said, “Look, there’s guys that are defenders, and then there’s guys that scare people when they’re defending.” And that list is much smaller.
So Elijah’s an exceptional defender, but there’s also a force and a power and an energy and a mindset where you put him out there and say, “Sic him,” he does — we were, you know, per 100 possessions, we, when Elijah’s out there, we were plus-5…The returns were good. The d–returns were surprising, and we need to know more going forward.
What about the free agent point guard market?
Look, we’re looking all the way through, and want to have those conversations. Really, the higher tier of point guards have either gone off the board — they were gonna stay with their teams or they’re restricted free agents.
So, there’s always the issue of making a good offer. But if it’s a good offer, teams are smart. They’ll match. So, it wasn’t as predominant a thought just because of what was available there.
Was the Jazz’s defensive improvement last year simply due to Enes Kanter’s departure?
We were turn[ing] a corner before that, we — before we became unique defensively. We became average and above average. So, I wouldn’t wanna lay that all on Enes. Look, it’s a, it was a young group and early on, we didn’t have practice time that we had in training camp.
So you saw in the preseason, we were defending very well, and things fell apart temporarily just ’cause we couldn’t reinforce the habits, and our players hadn’t been here seven, eight, nine years like the Spurs were. “If they do this, we, here’s our response.” Our guys just hadn’t been in the league long enough, and more importantly, hadn’t been together.
And so, as we were — we just decided we’re gonna practice more. If we’re gonna be challenged from a win-loss record standpoint, we were really going to reinforce we’re a work program. And so, that started turning end of December into January.
And then Elijah joined the program, and Dante [Exum] started finding his defensive footing. Trey [Burke] made a big improvement, relative to pick and rolls and body position. We were still — Rodney was going in and out of the lineup, but we were starting to get him back.
And then, of course Rudy [Gobert]’s unique at the five, and he has that mindset where he’s going to really intimidate and clean things up and communicate. And you know, that’s just part of his DNA.
And then as we mentioned before, maybe none of it works unless Derrick Favors at 6-10 and 260 pounds with great length, isn’t really smart with the game plan [and] very instinctive. Good on mobile forwards out on the floor; great with his interior defense, especially as now a second shot blocker. And so, that tandem, to, it’s quite unique, and quite young, and we’re very proud of them. They’ve done everything that we’ve asked them to do.
On Dante Exum’s body (UDQM)
All I can tell you is, come out June* 6 and take a look at his body. I was giving him the business yesterday. I told him he was wearing an extra large toddler’s shirt, to stretch it over his body. So we think he found some muscles. (1280)
* July, probably.