This Week in the Utah Jazz
One. Gordon Hayward on why the Jazz are winning more close games this year: I think experience. I think being in those situations a lot in the past where we’ve faltered and haven’t had success. I think some of the veterans coming in, playing alongside them with their poise, ’cause they’ve been in those [situations] before and have been successful, and honestly have won us some of those games as well.
Derrick Favors on why the Jazz are winning more close games this year: I think it’s just growth, and you know, adding more players, more veteran players with experience.
Bonus quote from Rudy Gobert on the Jazz acquiring Boris Diaw: I was really excited. That was one of the things I wanted, you know, having some veterans.
Two. Rudy Gobert on not making the All-Star team: I have more chances to make it…The league is how it is, and we can’t control that. So, like I said, I just control what I can control and keep getting better, and you know, I make sure it’s not an option in the future.
Quin Snyder on Rudy Gobert not making the All-Star team: I talked to Rudy that night. I just called him in, ’cause I knew he was disappointed. …
The good thing about the season that he’s having is that he’s really found that balance [between improving at the right pace and playing efficiently]. I think, you know, the things that he’s doing…and he likes to show you, right? I mean, he’ll throw a little behind-the-back pass and he’ll, li–almost, like, wink at you and let you know that, you know, that’s on the horizon. And I like that.
You know, I like that he’s challenging himself, and you can see the joy that he has playing the game. And it’s fun to see. I think, you know, I think we’re gonna see more and more from Rudy, and you know, we’re gonna look back at this All-Star Game, you know, I think, and say OK, you’re gonna forget that he didn’t make it one year ’cause he’s gonna make it a lot.
And you know, his drive’s been great. He doesn’t need a lot to drive him. I think he’s back to wanting to win right now.
Dennis Lindsey on Rudy Gobert not making the All-Star team: I’m disappointed. I think he not only deserved it, but deserved it in front of a few people that did make it. And I’m not gonna name names, and — I will say this. I’m much like Quin. I think those guys who did make it deserved it…I just believe that, you know, our guy did deserve it, and deserved it more…
Utah currently leads the NBA in points [allowed] per game at 95 points per game, more than three less than any other team. Ranks second in opponent field goal percentage. Who are we gonna ascribe the yeoman’s credit? It’s a team credit and a team credit to Quin, but Rudy’s quite unique.
He’s the only player in the league with averages of 12.8 points, 12.6 rebounds, 2.5 blocks. Only player in the NBA currently ranked in the top five in both rebounds and block. Only player ranked in the top three in blocks per game the last three seasons. Ten streaks of 31 games with 10-plus rebounds, the fifth longest streak in — since 1997…Recorded the only 25 and 25 re–points and rebound game, and, this season; only fourth in Jazz history.
Here are the number one — here are the categories that Rudy ranks number one in: total blocks, blocks per games, defensive rating, defensive win shares, true shooting percentage, points per shot, defensive real plus-minus, offensive rebounds.
Here are the categories that — and I know I’m being obnoxious, and yeah, writers, tweet it, frankly — here are the categories that Rudy ranked number two in: field goal percentage, effective field goal percentage, dunks, block percentage, defensive block pe–plus-minus.
Here are the categories Rudy ranks number three in: total rebounds, s–player screens assists, offensive rating. You know, again, his vertical spacing means a lot.
There’s more. There’s all kinds of crazy statistics, and so, you know, I am. I’m disappointed. He deserved it. You know, I think he will use it. You know, that’s good, but Rudy Gobert doesn’t need any motivation. You guys see how he plays every game. …
I wanted to be able to, you know, in more of an empirical way, and then some emotion, express, you know, that we don’t believe in, that he has to, you know, prove his way over a three- or four-year period. If he was all-star quality and deserved it, you know, he should’ve been voted in this year.
Three. In case you’re not keeping track at home, this is what Rudy Gobert’s former and current teammates think he looks like:
*Lyles’ tweet was in response to this tweet from Gobert:
Four. DJ/PK to Joe Ingles: Do you know, does Rudy [Gobert] read stuff that’s said a–
DJ/PK: –bout him?
Ingles: Rudy’s one of those guys that — and it’s not a bad thing. I think — a lot of people are different. I think some people like to know what everybody’s saying about them, and some people don’t want to know anything ’cause it can affect them. Some people maybe a little bit here and there. Rudy’s definitely a reader. Yeah, he reads it all.
And I mean, it obviously doesn’t affect him in a bad way, so he can keep doing whatever he needs to do. But yeah, I think i–I think for him it’s a motivation thing. I think he likes to read good and bad stuff, and obviously more the bad stuff motivates him to get better and we’ve seen huge progress from him this year. So, he can k–I’m gonna keep forwarding him every article that I find.
Five. “Two decades later, Spurs’ Popovich still following Sloan’s path.” From the San Antonio Express-News:
When he was a young man at the Air Force Academy, Gregg Popovich would often return home to Gary, Indiana, on break and reconnect with friends at a local watering hole.
If it was basketball season, they would probably watch the Chicago Bulls on television. Popovich’s favorite player was a pugnacious, hard-nosed guard named Jerry Sloan.
“I used to come home on leave and eat fried mushrooms and drink Stroh’s (beer) while I watched him beat the hell out of people on TV,” Popovich once recalled. “He’s more of an idol to me than anything else.”
Sloan, of course, went on to a career as a pugnacious, hard-nosed coach of the Utah Jazz for 23 seasons. Even as Popovich began piling up years and victory totals with the Spurs that would rival Sloan’s, he never considered himself in the same peer group.
Popovich still doesn’t.
“He’s in a different league than me,” Popovich said.
When it came time to truly build the Spurs, Sloan became more than an idol to Popovich.
He became a model.
[Brett] Brown recalls Sloan’s name coming up often in the early days of the Spurs’ dynasty.
From 1988 to his abrupt retirement in 2011, Sloan ruled the Jazz with an iron hand. Along with future Hall of Famers John Stockton and Karl Malone, he fashioned small-market Utah into a Western Conference power.
“Pop had tremendous respect for Coach Sloan and how he was — the toughness, the defense, the system — the subtle things like ‘tuck your shirt in,’” Brown said. “That was beaten into me from Day 1 in Spur Land.”
Six. Quin Snyder on resting Derrick Favors against the Memphis Grizzlies: After he warmed up, we just felt like it was, you know, he wasn’t, he didn’t have life, and decided to rest him.
Derrick Favors on resting against the Memphis Grizzlies: Just being smart. It’s a little sore, so just being smart. Talking to the trainers, talking to coach, just being smart. Thinking about long term and just, you know, just taking a break, letting it rest, letting it heal. Do all the treatment. Just getting better.
Is there concern this could be a long-term thing?
Nope…Just being smart with it though. You know, I missed a couple of games. You know, it’s been sore here and there, but you know, just taking a smart approach. Think of long term and just being smart with it. Just making sure I’m 100 percent healthy when we need it.
What’s the main issue?
It’s just sore. You know, just being sore from time to time. Not constantly. Just, nah, just here and there sometimes. You know, just want to be safe with it. Don’t want to overwork it, overpush it. Just want to be safe. You know, we playing well, we winning, playing good basketball. You know, just wanna be safe…It’s not pain. It’s just soreness.
Gordon Hayward on Derrick Favors’ injury situation: We’re trying to get him back 100 percent, ’cause when he’s 100 percent, he’s obviously really effective for us, so. We gotta get him back 100 percent.
Seven. Derrick Favors, asked how he deals mentally with not closing games: You know, it’s just the way that [Quin Snyder] wants to do it, and you know, it’s been working for us. And you know, I just support the team, support whoever’s out there. And when I’m out there, I just make sure I do what I can, play as hard as I can. And you know, we winning, so I don’t mind.
Eight. Boris Diaw on the inversion: That inversion. I don’t see anything out my window. I want the inversion to go.
Nine. Quin Snyder on Dante Exum’s performance against the Charlotte Hornets: Yeah, I mean, I think just the way that we’ve tried to make clear that, like, why are we doing this to Dante? Continuing to ask about how he’s doing, how he’s doing. He’s a second-year player, who’s coming off a knee surgery. I know he’s in his third year, but he didn’t play last year and he’s learning.
So, what he’s been doing is really, really working hard, and I think he’s been committed to the process of his development and not getting hung up on, you know, all the things that he can’t control…
He’s worked hard, and he helped us win. That’s the biggest thing. It’s not about Dante. It’s about what Dante did for the Jazz tonight, and he gave us a huge boost.
Ten. Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Week (UDQM)
** Gordon Hayward on working with Kobe Bryant last summer: Yeah, I mean, I think it was huge for me, for a lot of different reasons. But, really happy that I was able to do that.
** DJ/PK’s suggestion for a nickname for Joe Ingles: Down Under Magic, i.e. the Magic Johnson of Down Under (this was retracted not because of #UDQMness, but because the acronym is DUM)
** Joe Ingles on seeing Australian fans at games: I’ve had a lot of friends and family that have come all over the place.
** Quin Snyder on Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley after the Memphis Grizzlies game: They were men. And they came.
** Alec Burks on his Houdininess: Dennis, Quin, everybody’s on me about my finishing, but you know, that’s what everybody like me doing.
** Snyder on Burks: I think he’s continuing to understand, you know, how he can best be effective sometimes by, you know, going half speed before he goes full speed.
** Snyder on the Burks-Ingles combo: They’ve both got good size. I think Joe’s shooting stretches the floor for Alec’s penetration.
** Dennis Lindsey on the Jazz’s scouting: So we go through and check where our holes are at, and why do we have holes…And so, if there’re holes in any particular area or on a particular player, we’ve gotta get those filled by our scouting consultants and our management people.
** Lindsey: We’ve been very intentional about how we develop players’ bodies.
** Spencer Checketts on Lindsey’s reaction to Rudy Gobert not making the All-Star team: That’s about as strong as I’ve ever heard Dennis come…He was ready to fire today. He came ready, ready to go.
** Quin Snyder on Dante Exum embracing playing through adversity: When guys do that, and they grind, it feels good.