These Weeks in the Utah Jazz
One. Quin Snyder on Shelvin Mack: One of the things you probably can’t see is that he really has the respect of his teammates. And you know, there are situations out there, because of his experience, he really is able to have a leadership role in many respects.
And you know, that’s even more surprising for a player, you know, that’s been out for a period of time, to have a chance with his, you know, with his teammates, with me, you know, to have that trust. And you know, I just can’t say enough about him and obviously he’s — you know, without him, you know, we may have [a worse record].
Snyder on Mack’s contributions of late: That’s why we traded for him last year…He stays involved mentally. You know, I think, for a guy to be out that long, he knows the plays better than I do. And, so there’s an immediate rapport that he has on the court, and a comfort level, because he’s prepared mentally.
And then I think the other thing is he’s connected with his teammates. You know, he’s never allowed himself to kind of, to detach, which is very difficult to do. And as a result, you know, at that position especially, he’s able to come in and provide some leadership capability moreso than you’d think from a guy that hasn’t played in a while.
Two. This last stretch of schedule has been brutal and late games are the worst.
Three. From John Stockton interview with Dan Patrick:
Stockton on how important playing 82 games was to him: [It was] pretty much everything. I mean, it’s such a privilege. I mean, I never took one day for granted. That was — and there’s, there are people that go to watch everybody. I mean, even if you’re a backup or — there’s people that go to watch you and see. I think it’s a really important thing to play every game, and to battle through little injuries in order to do so a lot of times.
Stockton on players resting: Jerry [Sloan] did limit us. He limited us in practice, especially in the last couple years of our careers. [Karl Malone and I] didn’t practice a whole heck of a lot, grudgingly. I mean, we liked to practice. That’s part of the fun, is going out there with the fellas, being part of the team.
So, even that we fought. But, and he limited my minutes a lot more than Karl’s towards the end as well. I just think that they felt Karl’s body would hold up better than my little body…I get that, but I didn’t enjoy it. I wanted to play every minute, just kind of, as if it were a ratball game.
Fellow former Jazzman Olden Polynice also had his say on the rest issue:
Four. Rudy Gobert’s teammates on his end-to-end Eurostep finish:
** Gordon Hayward: It was a, uh, it was a good move. Um, I don’t know if we want to see him do that regularly.
** Shelvin Mack: Uh, yeah, yeah. It’s nice. Pretty sure we’re gonna hear about it for the next few days. You know, he’s been working all year on that, so hopefully — hopefully it’ll be the last of that. But, we gon see.
** Joe Ingles: There were four dudes open.
Five. UGGGGGHHHHHHHHH. This is worse than what Rudy Gobert said in the first place.
Quin Snyder, asked if Gobert had tried talking to the team before his public comments and it didn’t work: Yeah. Well, I don’t — yeah. Let me try to process that a bit. I think that, you know, I think it’s what people are used to a little bit too. Like, there was a frustration and an angst about our team during that period. We weren’t playing great. We still hadn’t lost, other than Chicago. You know, the schedule was not friendly…
I think there was a frustration that was there, and as a result, you know, things maybe came out then that people thought about and expressed maybe in a softer, different way, and then it reached a point where it just kinda spilled out. I think a lot of people liked it, to be honest.
I mean, I heard — like, I was curious. I kinda asked what people thought, and there was people that I talked to that was like, “Good.” You know, “I’m glad someone said something.” And you know what? Like, I felt that way a little bit too. …
Kobe [Bryant] used to talk to Pau Gasol through the media. Pau never took offense to it…We don’t really have that yet within our team.
Dennis Lindsey, asked what he hopes Gobert learned the most: There’s basic English, right, and then there’s slang. There’s abbreviation. Then there’s basketball vernacular. And just, as an observer of basketball and of international basketball, it’s always interesting to me the international player that does have leadership qualities, but they’re trying to express themselves in a second language, and expressing themselves to different cultures.
So I think it’s a little bit of a unique test tube for all of us, for society at large that — basketball in particular’s, you’re so team-dependent, and therefore communication becomes even more important. And then trying to lead a group, and in Rudy’s case is somewhat soiling*, you know, his oats as a leader, and, the be–maybe the beginning of that, maybe planting himself as a leader is more appropriate — and then doing that in, you know, a tongue that’s not native to you. So it’s, to me, it’s interesting.
* Not a typo.
To each his own, but I really did not like that Rudy’s comments 1) were made into such a big deal; 2) apparently had to be be justified; 3) apparently had to possibly be justified due to English being his second language and packaged as some ESL faux pas.
If you ever read quotes or transcripts on this site (which are posted as is and never edited or “cleaned up”) or his posts on social media, Rudy’s English is as good as anyone’s. Sure, he has an accent, but his grammar and vocabulary are as good as any native English speakers on the team. To say the reaction to his comments was due to language reasons is a disservice to him. Somehow doubt his choice of words would have differed had he been speaking in French at the time.
Let’s not forget, this is a team with years of interviews with native English speakers Randy Rigby and Tyrone Corbin in the books. Seems to me all this reaction from team officials is more about being scared of some other player(s) getting their feelings hurt than what Rudy said. The one thing Rudy probably learned from this was that it’s not OK for him to say what he thinks unless he gets his thoughts preapproved by higher-ups first.
P.S. Funny Steve Starks tweeted this while the brouhaha was ongoing:
Seven. Derek Fisher on Jerry Sloan: Talk about a coach that coached everybody the same way. He understood that he had stars and superstars on his roster, but Jerry literally coached everyone the same way. He gave guys space to be themselves, but he held everyone accountable at the same level. An absolute pleasure to be a player here.
Literally, the, you know, the Utah Jazz taught us how to play, as a young Lakers team in the late 90s, as you see them winning the Western Conference Championship in 96-97 and 97-98, after they completely destroyed us in the Western Conference Playoffs in both of those seasons and sent us home early. They taught us what it meant to be grown men and what it took to win in the playoffs, and I don’t think we would’ve become the team that we became in the 2000s without playing against the Jazz as many times as we did.
Brent Barry: I think they were also a shining example, though, for a lot of young teams who were trying to make their bones in the league about how it is that you handle success. I mean, years and years of 50-plus wins and playoff performances but you didn’t hear much coming out of the Utah Jazz in terms of problems with their team. All you saw was humility. All you saw was hard work and determination. A direct reflection of what Jerry Sloan stood for, but they also set an example for players around the league, in my opinion.
Fisher: For sure, and Jerry didn’t accept anything less. He had the same standards for Karl Malone, for John Stockton, and for Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams. Anybody that came here, the standard was set that the team was bigger than you. You had to put the team first. And that’s the way he coached, and that’s what he believes.
Kenyon Martin on Jerry Sloan (in Player’s Tribune post “The 5 Guys Everybody Hated Playing Against”):
Eight. Dennis Lindsey on NBA officiating (Vertical podcast): It’s been a little bit of a philosophical debate that we’ve had with the management of the league, that in many ways, because we move bodies and we move the ball more than any other team once we enter the half court, it’s very difficult to call us on certain angles.
So, the [league’s] data does tell us at times when we’re grabbed, held, push and pulled — it’s about every third or fourth game — if it, that’s not appropriately called, we’ll suffer from what we call a high-discrepancy game, which we define as four or more missed calls either in our favor or our opponent’s favor…
Where we’re, we’ve moved av–as we’ve studied all this information, we’ve moved to really where Mark Cuban’s at, and, meaning that, the overall idea that we have more disagreements with the management of the officials than we do with the officials.
I personally believe we have the 60 best officials in the world…Where our concern comes in is how management chooses to either specifically or in this case not specifically educate the officials on particular datas. …
In many ways, what we’re asking is, is that, for the league to catch up with [the Jazz’s] style of play.
Nine. Lindsey on [the Jazz’s lack of] technical fouls (Vertical podcast):
I just don’t believe there’s ever a good reason to lose your competitive poise. I found the best competitors, whether it be boxing or football or basketball, that can keep their sensibilities about them and compete great.
This is funny, because as of 2007 Jerry Sloan held the Guinness world record for most technical fouls and was in a class by himself as the only individual to record over 400. Per Jazz Basketball, he retired with at least 446.
There doesn’t appear to be official stats on career technical fouls published anywhere, but according to one site, the NBA player with the most career technical fouls is…
Ten. Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Week (UDQM)
** Joe Ingles on the Jazz clinching a playoff spot: Obviously, we were in a position that we were pretty much gonna get in there.
** Quin Snyder on Rudy Gobert and competitive fire: That’s the challenge of being a good teammate, is pulling it out of each other, and that’s clearly what Rudy was trying to do.
** Ingles on what happens after Gobert screens: Sometimes we can go in there and finish ourselves.
** Snyder on difficult conversations: They’re hard, so they come out sideways.
** Snyder on being asked about books and movies: That’s why I clam up on you guys, ’cause I’m trying to fake it.
** Dennis Lindsey on having his iPad with him while scouting: I knew if I pulled it out, that I would do a very poor job of paying attention.
** Lindsey on time: I’m selfish in one area, my wife tells me constantly.
** Joe Johnson on basketball teams: No one likes to be soft.
** Snyder on Johnson: We’re using him. It’s been fun for me to figure out how to use him. And that’s been more of a process. But on the front end, I mean, we knew, you know, his versatility…He’s very experimentally inclined. Open-minded. He’s got a curious mind.
** Lindsey on being able to play in the playoffs: It’s awesome to be inside. I can’t tell you.
** Snyder on Gordon Hayward against the Wizards: I pulled him out a couple times just to kinda settle him, and then I put him back in right away.
** Matt Harpring on Johnson miss: You see Joe mad at himself on that one. Just a few inches too much.
** Harpring: Karl Anthony Towns has gotten a lot better at getting deeper…Right now, tonight especially, he’s trying to get that deep position.
** Craig Bolerjack to Harpring on Hayward and Ingles’ impending free agency: Could you work a package for those two?