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Utah Jazz Draft Workout: Rakeem Christmas, George de Paula, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Keifer Sykes

June 15, 2015
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Also working out, but with no interviews posted: Will Cummings (Temple), K.T. Harrell (Auburn), Chris Walker (Florida), Ousmane Drame (Quinnipiac), Derrick Marks (Boise State), Royce O’Neale (Baylor), Levi Randolph (Alabama) and Jarvis Williams (Murray State)

christmas

** Syracuse – F – 6’10 – 243 – Senior – 23 years old
** What were you trying to show in the workout today?
I’m athletic. I’m aggressive. I don’t take any plays off…I can shoot the ball. A lot of people don’t think I can shoot the ball that good, so I mean, I was out there shooting the ball well and I mean, that’s something I’ve been working on for awhile now.
** Do you feel like you’re capable of playing man-to-man defense?
Yeah, I haven’t played the zone since I left [Syracuse]. I mean, that’s three months ago. But I mean, we’ve been playing five-on-five, three-on-three and stuff…I’ve been playing against stretch “fours” and just keeping people in front of me, so I think I can do it.

de paula

** Brazil – G/F – 6’6 – 197 – 19 years old
** Tenth workout
** Is the “George” Lucas Dias Silva talked about during his workout with the Jazz
** Do you have a relationship with Raul Neto?
No. He’s Brazilian but he’s four years older than me, so I don’t have contact with him.
** Did you always have big hands?
Yeah. Big hand and big feet, yeah.
** Who is your favorite Brazilian basketball player?
Oscar Schmidt, yeah. He’s Hall of Famer. He’s awesome.

oubre

** Kansas – G – 6’7 – 203 – Freshman – 19 years old
** What do you want to prove in your workouts?
You know, that I’m a complete player. That defense is first. That my offensive game has come a long way, and that, you know, I potentially can be one of the best in this league one day, you know, through hard work. I still have a long way to go, but you know, I’m just setting my foundation right now, [and] showing that I can do some of the things that people said I couldn’t.
** What skills in particular are you trying to show?
My handle. My IQ. My shot’s gotten better. You know, I’m a good defender, so. Great defender, actually, you know what I mean? So, I’m pretty confident in my game, that I can stack up with the best.
Why is defense so important to you?
I mean, that’s what every team needs to win a championship. That’s what I bring to the table, and you know, I want to help a team win a championship. So you know, whoever calls my name on draft night, I’m going to help them win a championship…That’s why defense is so important to me, because I know I can excel at the next level.
** Which NBA player do you pattern your game after?
You know, Jimmy Butler’s a guy that’s blossoming into a star right now. You know, he’s a guy I look up to. Kawhi Leonard. James Harden’s offensive skill is something that’s, you know, compare with the best. So you know, those three guys I really watch film on, and I study. And I feel I can be, you know, as good as or better than those guys.
** Did you view having to earn your way into Bill Self’s rotation as a positive, or something other than a positive?
Nothing but positive coming from that, because you know, I got a chance to learn. You know, I was used to, you know, everything being spoof–spoon-fed to me, getting everything my way. Coach never promised me anything. He made me work from Day One, and he was on my butt every single step of the way. So he made me a better, you know, basketball player, and a better young man from, you know, the things that he put me through. And I thank him and owe him the world for that…I’m here now, and coach Self is, you know, one of the biggest reasons why I’m here.
** What is your motivation?
I come from nothing. You know, I come from New Orleans. You know, we moved to Houston [after Hurricane Katrina], you know, when I was [nine years old], so I left my family behind to trace, chase my dream. And you know, I owe my dad the world for sacrificing some of the stuff that he did for me, so I’m here with a chip on my shoulder, man, and I will not be denied. You know, I’m relentless at everything that I do, and you know, you can’t — you can say stuff about me, but Imma prove you wrong 100 percent of the time. So you know, I’m just here with a smile on my for–face and you know, a calm, cool demeanor because I know that Imma be great one day.

sykes

** Wisconsin Green Bay – G – 6’0 – 167 – Senior – 21 years old
** What are you trying to show to teams that never saw you play in college?
Well, that’s what makes it special for me, I think. People are more skeptical, so it give me a chance, you know, to gain much more than the other guys that, you know, been watched and you know, had a microscope on. You know, they have 30 games in one year, or they have two years or however many years they did. So, I know for me, that gives them a chance to, you know, see my athleticism. You know, see me, you know, make shots. You know, they could see me from outside of a statistical standpoint. And then, you know, when they go to the film, I have a lot of, you know, filmwork with me playing a four-year college career.
** How do you feel like your game will carry over to the NBA?
It can carry over a ton. I think my leadership definitely. My will to win games. I mean, I’ve won a lot of games. I’ve been in a lot of games, analyzed a lot of game situations, have a lot of game experience. So I’m able to adapt to more situations with me being, you know, more of a mature guy on the floor. And then, of course, with my athleticism — I think with the league today, they kinda, you know, dial into how athletic you are with all the testing. And every team does different testing, so they dial into that and I’m able to have a good showing as well as, you know, showing on the basketball floor.

perrin

** On Kelly Oubre Jr.’s workout
He played well. He competed. Shot well at times…He had a really good workout…[Ball-handling] is still a work in progress…He’s probably gotta learn to handle it a little bit better with his off-hand…He shows confidence on the court. I mean, he’s a skilled kid…He knows how to play. He plays hard…He’s got a chance to be pretty good…All intel we have, he’s a hard worker. He didn’t struggle that much with the altitude here. He was in pretty good shape…He might be able to become a very good defender.
** On Rakeem Christmas’ workout
Rakeem, again, competed. And don’t read into anything here.* But he had a good workout, so I, what he shows you that he doesn’t show at Syracuse, he’s got the ability to knock down a 15-foot jump shot, 18-foot jump shot. He’s never been allowed to show that in Syracuse. He’s got a pretty good offensive game. We know he’s a tough kid. We know he can, he’s long. We know he can rebound. We know he can play defense. So, it was good to see him be able to get away from the basket and show some skills.
Can he play the “four” and the “five”?
Depends on what your system is…Is he gonna be a stretch four? No. Can he play against a four, guard a four? Probably yes. But he can play five also. So, he’s versatile.

* “Rakeem, again, competed” actually went “(long pause) Um (moves mouth around) (long pause) Rakeem, um, again, competed.”

Utah Jazz Draft Workout: Jerian Grant, Olivier Hanlan, Mouhammadou Jaiteh, Trey Lyles and Myles Turner

June 14, 2015
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Also working out, but with no interviews posted: Cady Lalanne (UMass), Jonathan Holmes (Texas), Gabriel Olaseni (Iowa), Charles Jackson (Tennessee Tech), Kenneth Smith (Louisiana Tech), J.J. O’Brien (San Diego State) and Marcus Thornton (William and Mary)

grant

** Notre Dame – G – 6’4 – 198 – Senior – 22 years old
** On being an older player in the draft
I talk [to teams] about maturity, and then, like you said, you know, I’m a guy who doesn’t, you know, is not gonna need three years to be able to crack the rotation. You know, at the same time, I’m only 22, so I’ll be able to get better, but I think I’ll be able to help a team right now.
** Would it worry you to come here given that the Jazz already have Dante Exum and Trey Burke on the roster?
No, not at all. You know, I think I’m a guy who can play with either one of those guys, and I think, you know, it’ll be good to have some young guys, you know, pushing each other.
** Do you have any good Jack Cooley stories?
No…
What kind of teammate was he?
Great. You know, he does whatever the team needs to win. You know, if it’s, you know, score four points but grab 20 rebounds, you know, that’s the thing he’s gonna do. So you know, he works as hard as he can to do whatever he can for the team.
** People calling Alec Burks “Alec Burke”: Jerian Grant

hanlan

** Boston College – G – 6’4 – 186 – Junior – 22 years old
** Comment on the altitude
This workout was kinda up-tempo. Obviously, you have to get used to the altitude a bit, but you know, it was fun.
How would you describe what the altitude feels like? Like a belt tightening around your chest?
Yeah, kinda belt tightening around your chest. You can get through, like, 10, 15 minutes, and then after that you kinda feel it for, you know, about 10 minutes. And after that you kinda get used to it, but nothing too crazy.
** What do you bring to an NBA team?
You know, I’m an aggressive point guard. You know, I attack the rim. I scored the ball pretty well in college, and I want to translate that to this level. Pretty good passer also, just off the pick and roll. You know, I love playing off the pick and roll.
** Are you worried about transitioning to a smaller role in the NBA?
I think I’ll be fine with that, because, you know, obviously at BC, I was playing, you know, 30-plus minutes a game, and obviously I was never getting subbed out, but…in prep school, sometimes I came off the bench, and the national team also. So, I’m used to, you know, having, being that dude and sometimes coming off the bench and kind of, you know, be an energy guy. So, I’ll be good.

jaiteh

** France – C – 6’11 – 247 – 20 years old
** Do you know Rudy Gobert?
Yeah, I know him a little bit from France. And he can give some advices, and what he did just like an example to follow.
** What was it like going against Myles Turner and guys like that?
I’m just focused about playing harder that I can, and giving my best every time. So, I don’t really like pay attention about who is in front of me or not. I just give all I have to give, and the workouts been pretty good for me. So, I just, I enjoy it.
** What are the differences between the NBA game and the international game?
[The NBA game] is more, it’s faster and athletic than Europe basketball. And the, I think it’s more on the one-on-one situation in the State than Europe. [The European game], it’s more about team, team plays.

lyles

** Kentucky – F – 6’10 – 241 – Freshman – 19 years old
** Fourth workout
** Comment on the altitude
I’ve been over here, in Denver and Utah, a few times, so I’ve been kind of used to it, when I was younger. And you know, really just tried to work out, ’cause I knew coming here, you know, the altitude was gonna, you know, hurt some guys. I wanted to try and set myself apart.
** What do you bring to an NBA team?
Just knowing how to play the game. Being a smart player. Team-first, like I said. A guy that can come in and make an instant threat on offense and defense, and a guy that just does whatever the coach needs from him.
** Do you notice a real young enthusiasm in Quin Snyder as a second-year head coach?
For sure. You know, he came out on the court and he was telling me things, and you know, talking to me, and I appreciate that. And it just shows that he has enthusiasm about the game, and he has enthusiasm about the guys.
** How big is Gordon Hayward still in Indiana?
You know, he’s from a different area than I am, so you know, we talk about different people.

turner

** Texas – F/C – 7’0 – 239 – Freshman – 19 years old
** First workout
** Comment on the altitude
This was a great first workout, especially being out here in the altitude, man….I think [it’ll get] me acclimated pretty quickly, and I’m gonna do well once I, you know, get over to these other places ’cause I’ll be in better shape.
** What do you bring to an NBA team?
First thing I tell [teams] is my adaptability. I think I’ll be able to come here and learn right away. I mean, just learn about the NBA game. You know, do what they need me to do.
** Can you see yourself fitting in here?
Yeah, I definitely think I can play out here. Coming out here, getting, building a relationship with the coaching staff, it’s been, that’s been huge. You know, I’ve had a couple interviews with them in the past, you know, at the combine, you know, talked to them and I’m pretty sure my agent’s talked to them as well.
** Are you a “four” or a “five” in the NBA?
I mean, I’m more than capable of playing both positions. I’m comfortable doing both. You know, here, if you have someone like [Rudy] Gobert at the five and I play the four, or you got someone like Trevor Booker at the four, I can play the five. I feel like it’s interchangeable.

perrin

** On Myles Turner’s workout
I’ve seen him practice. I’ve seen him play. It was good to get him in here so we can take a look at a few different things. He is impressive. He’s a very talented kid. He’s got a pretty good upside, so you know, whoever’s, gets him’s gonna have something to work with. … He’s got a low-post game. He’s got ability to step out and shoot the jumpshot, so he’s what you call inside-outside guy.
Does he have the lateral speed to stay with a Trey Lyles in the NBA?
He could have a fe–a little problem on the perimeter ’cause Trey handles the ball pretty well. Moves really smooth, so, but I mean, if you’re talking i–Myles guarding somebody else who’s a bigger four like he is, he probably could handle it.
** What have you seen from Trey Lyles that you didn’t see when he was at Kentucky?
Well, Trey’s one of those guys I’ve seen, I saw a few times before he even went to Kentucky, so I saw him outside that system at Kentucky, where he wasn’t able to do a lot of different things. So I’ve seen a lot, and it was good to get, again, to get him in here and look at some other things.

Bits from Randy Rigby Interview, 6/10

June 11, 2015
tags: , ,

randy rigby

Tell us about the dynamic of what the summer league can mean for your team.
We’ve got a great lineup of teams, between Philadelphia, the 76ers, the Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and the Jazz. So, we’ll have of course two games on, it’ll be July 6, 7. On the 8th, we’ll be off, and then we play again on the 9th.

So we’re gonna have two games each day on this, on those three days. And literally for our fans, for $15, you can buy a pass, to see two games every day, for three days. It’s a killer deal, and there’s gonna be some great basketball being played. …

And then on the off-day, we have actually lined up as well, that we’re gonna have a coach’s clinic for all of the high school, men’s and women’s high school coaches in the state, to also come up and hear from people like Quin Snyder, Jerry Sloan, Phil Johnson. Dave Rose from the Uni–from BYU’s gonna be up there.

And, so it’s going to be, and then we’re going to have a great festival atmosphere on the plaza before the games, of sports courts, and blow-up doll*–blow-up activities on the concourse. We’re gonna have foods, carts out there, a rea–we’re gonna have a lot of fun.

* Yes, this really happened.

How was it determined which teams would play in the Jazz summer league?
We actually invited teams, and reached out to teams, and told them we’re starting to do this. We’re not trying to take away from what’s happening in Las Vegas. This is a complementary summer league prior to, also, the summer league in Vegas…We invited all the NBA teams, and these three teams have stepped up.

Update on players’ bodies
We’ve s–we’ve had some very positive reports. Rudy [Gobert] has been out. I saw Rudy earlier this week. Looks very good. He is, looks like he has added some strength and a little weight, in a positive way.

The report I just got as well on Dante [Exum] is, is that he’s actually put on about six pounds of muscle and upper-body strength, which i–we’ve always, we felt that he’s needed to do that. And you know, as you look at, if you’ve met Dante’s parents, his father is a good-sized man. And that, we’ve always felt like Dante was one that, to continue to maybe even add some height and m–and of course, more muscle, and he seems to be doing that, and working hard and improving.

I’ve had good reports on a number of our players, that are also continuing in their gr–their development, and their workout. Derrick Favors has been in town, and we’ve seen him regularly at the practice facility, and involved. So, we’re really excited about the growth and the improvement of the team. As I talk with the players, they’re very excited, and very, there seems to be a quiet hunger and fire burning in each of our players.

On the changes Gordon Hayward’s body has recently undergone
We’re very excited and happy that we’ve added another person into the Jazz family. Gordon and Robyn gave birth to a little baby girl, Bernadette Marie Hayward. (1280)

Utah Jazz Draft Workout: Norman Powell, Chasson Randle and Josh Richardson

June 10, 2015
tags: , ,

Also working out, but with no interviews posted: Ryan Boatright (Connecticut), Dustin Hogue (Iowa State) and Sir’Dominic Pointer (St. John’s)

powell

** UCLA – G – 6’4 – 215 – Senior – 22 years old
** Eighth workout
** Comment on the altitude
I’ve played up here multiple times against Utah. But yeah, I haven’t been up here since the season, so it got to me a little bit but I was able to push through. I was conditioning myself to be in great shape, so it didn’t affect me too much.
** Why would you be a good fit for the Jazz?
I’m young. I’m athletic. I play defense; two-way player. Definitely take pride in locking guys down, and getting out in transition and putting pressure on opposing teams to be able to get to the rim and finish over the big. So, I think every team needs a guy like me — a guy who’s got a lot of heart, desire, and the will to get better and be great.
** What comes to mind when you think about the Jazz franchise?
I’ve been a, I watched the Jazz all the time. You know, I watched the battles between [Michael] Jordan and John Stockton and Karl Malone. You know, those are games I always watch and study and, to see how passionate those guys are, and how hard they work and the work ethic to be great. You know, and the Utah Jazz is a great organization.

randle

** Stanford – G – 6’2 – 179 – Senior – 22 years old
** What do you like about the Jazz as a franchise? It’s young top to bottom; you know, second-year head coach coming in.
Yeah, like you said, they’re young, but they got a lot of talent. A lot of history within this organization. And I think things are going in the uprise for them.
** Will NBA spacing help your game?
Absolutely. Yeah, I think, you know, the width of the lane will definitely help my game, and spacing is key in basketball. So, at the next level, I think it’ll help.
** 87 questions about the Pac-12

richardson

** Tennessee – G – 6’6 – 200 – Senior – 21 years old
** What do you bring?
I think just versatility, and a guy that can, you know, come in and get stops, and knock down the open shot. And play-make, if I need to.
** Is it difficult to adjust to the NBA 3-pointer?
Yeah, it was at first, but I mean, we been shooting it for a couple, probably, a month or two now. So, it’s getting a lot easier.
What about going from zone to man-to-man defense?
A little bit. Just, you know, from playing it so long, the principles are different. But I’ve been getting back into the mode of, you know, straight up man-to-man, so I’ve been figuring it out.
** What do you think about the storied history of the Utah Jazz?
The what?
The storied history.
Oh, I think it’s great. I mean, John Stockton, [Karl] Malone. Pete Maravich is probably one of my favorite guys to, like, you know, look at the film, ’cause you know, he was just, like, the original. So I mean, the Jazz have a long, great history.

perrin

** How do you think Josh Richardson will do playing man-to-man in the NBA?
We’ve got tapes going back to, or Synergy going back to when he was a freshman when they played man-to-man quite a bit, so him playing zone last year doesn’t have that much of an effect, ’cause we do have a lot of video we can watch on, that he can play man-to-man. And he was a very good defender. So, it doesn’t matter. I mean, it’s, the ones we have concerns with, or, shouldn’t be concerns, but the ones we have to really dig deep is, like, a Syracuse, ’cause they always play zone. But with Cuonzo Martin at Tennessee before they brought in Donnie [Tyndall], he played man.
** How much has Norman Powell improved over his college career?
I think his shot has gotten better. I think he’s learned how to play a little bit better. He’s always been a guy who played with great intensity, and he’s been a fairly good defender. So, I mean, he’s gotten a little bit better.
** What’s it been like working with Quin Snyder through these sessions and getting to know him better?
I knew Quin when Quin was in high school. I rec–we recruited Quin, so I’ve known Quin many, many years. So, but being able to work with him’s been great, ’cause he’s a very knowledgable guy. He knows what he wants, what he’s looking for, so it helps us. And he’s been great in terms of talking with certain players and talking with the coaches on what he wants out of them.

Utah Jazz Draft Workout: Quinn Cook, Montrezl Harrell and Terran Petteway

June 8, 2015

Also working out, but with no interviews posted: Kenny Chery (Baylor), Darrun Hillard (Villanova) and Maurice Walker (Minnesota)

cook

** Duke – G – 6’2 – 179 – Senior – 22 years old
** Comment on the altitude
It’s different. It’s different. I think guys caught our second wind, and we competed out there.
** On the workout
Guys were picking up things, picking up plays. It’s the first place I’ve been to where the coaches were giving us, you know, set plays and we had to run them or execute them, so you know, all six of us did a great job out there.
** Did you talk to Rodney Hood about the workout?
Yeah, I called him to see if he was out here, maybe we could’ve got some food or something…He just told me [the altitude] is a mental thing. You know, if you in shape, you will be in shape. And you know, once I caught my second wind, I remembered what he said. And you know, he gave me some great advice for the day.

harrell

** Louisville – F – 6’8 – 253 – Junior – 21 years old
** Comment on the altitude
It’s definitely tough, being at this altitude. You know, something that you’re not used to. Something that you don’t have in your training to go through every day, you know, but I feel like we definitely got in here and got out there, you know, even though we haven’t been accustomed to these altitude change.
** On winning the 2015 Karl Malone Award
It was a great feeling, you know, actually to be up there and accept the award. And you know, just to be able to talk to him and kinda get some insight and knowledge on the game that, you know, he’s played multiple years of and been so successful at. You know, so it’s hon–it was honestly and truly a blessing…He said play with the same passion and energy that you have every night. You know, when you, in a game situation or in practice situation, you know, let, make your presence be known.
** Is it weird working out with someone from Kentucky (Trey Lyles)?
I mean, it’s not. You know, that’s moreso the things that’s on college terms. I went to Louisville; he went to Kentucky. You know, that’s more the rivalry that you keep in school type things, but you know, outside of it, it’s a whole different world. You know, it’s a whole different ball game. It’s all about getting to the next level and we both trying to become great players in the NBA. So, I mean, it’s not, honestly, it doesn’t bother me. Like I said, that’s moreso the college thing. But we’re not in college anymore.
** What’s it like to shatter a backboard?
It’s a great feeling. I was blessed and able to, be able to take down three…I did one in high school. I did two this past summer.

petteway

** Nebraska – F – 6’6 – 209 – Junior – 22 years old
** Comment on the altitude
It was fine. You know, it’s a little different. You know, hard to breathe. Had to wait for that second wind to come in, but it was a good workout so far.
** Are you a point guard or shooting guard at the next level?
I’m a 2-guard, but I feel like I’m very versatile so I can play the “one” through the “three” if any team needs me to do that.
** Which NBA player do you pattern your game after?
If I had to pick, it’d be, like, a guy like Latrell Sprewell. But I really just try to come in, you know, bring a lot of energy to the game, and just try to be myself. I really don’t try to compare myself to anybody else in the league.
** On Montrezl Harrell, UDQM
He got a hot motor. That’s what I like about him. He keeps going no matter what.

perrin

** On Montrezl Harrell
You know, I think Montrezl is a, is one of those players that, you know, 3-on-3 is good, but I think a 5-on-5 fullcourt is better for his skillset. He’s a high-energy guy. He’s a athletic player, and sometimes when you’re in a halfcourt, 3-on-3 situation, you don’t get a chance to see his, what he does very well…He shoots the ball very well on the move. He probably needs a little bit of, a little bit more work on his spot-up, standstill jumpshot…He’s a power dunker, yeah. He gets some oohs and aahs when he puts the ball in the basket.
** On Quinn Cook’s ability to guard bigger guys
Well, his size is not, he’s not that bad. He’s listed at 6-2. He’s got good strength, so he should be able to guard bigger guys. [The question is], can he stay in front of quicker guards?..With most college guys, there’s some things they need to learn defensively once they come to our level, and he’s just like everybody else.

Bits from Dennis Lindsey (6/4) and Quin Snyder (6/5) Interviews

June 7, 2015
tags: ,

lindsey

On his presence on Twitter
I lurk and read, but I don’t contribute for a lot of reasons. I’m getting some grief on that.

If the Jazz staff had a 3-point shootout, who is your money on? Is it on yourself?
No, no, I’m old. I’ve got a–

Yeah, but the motion never leaves you, Dennis. It’s that muscle memory. You’ve been shooting all your life.

No, that left ankle is bad. It’s garbage. I can barely get to the rim. People don’t realize until you get up to an NBA line how far that shot is, and how athletic and how good of shape you need to be, and how healthy you need to be.

And in my case, I can be a hack out there, but there’s no question tha–from a 3-point shooting competition standpoint, Johnnie Bryant will be leading the pack. He’s a, he was an excellent shooter at the [University of Utah], and Johnnie’s done a good job of keeping himself fit. So, I’m afraid that contest wouldn’t even be close.

Who you got winning the Finals?
I’d never wor–had the pleasure to work with Steve Kerr, but I got to know him well just through the San Antonio connections.

And David Blatt has actually become a friend of mine as well, just through international travel. And David and the Russian national team practiced at our practice facility to qualify for the Olympics when I was back in San Antonio. So, I’ve become quite fond of him as well.

So I’m going to stay away from who I want to win, and I’m just an interested observer.

I think, I do think Golden State has had the best season, and I think their level’s very high. But I also think that LeBron James’ greatness cannot ever be underestimated, and, ’cause he, along with Kyrie Irving and what has become a very good group of role players for Cleveland that really fit. That mid-season trade, they’re a different team with [Timofey] Mozgov and J.R. Smith and even [Iman] Shumpert.

So I think it’s gonna go seven. And I think if you looked at the numbers, they would tell you that Golden State would be the favorite there. (700)

snyder

On his summer vacation
We went down to Florida for a little while. My wife’s family is down there, and did the obligatory trip to Disney with the kids, which, I’m not sure that was a vacation, that, for those of you that have done that. I wasn’t aware of what I was getting into, but it was fun.

How good can Rudy Gobert be, and how much of that is up to him and how much is up to you?
I think it’s a partnership, you know? I think, you know, I think one of Rudy’s assets is he’s, his intelligence, you know, so you know, he needs to take ownership of his development. We need to work with him, ’cause i–you know, it’s his game, and it’s our team, and it’s his team. So I think the thing that, you know, it really is a partnership.

The thing that you get excited about with Rudy, frankly, to me, is, in addition to his intelligence and obviously his physical gifts, is his competitiveness. So, I think he’ll improve. I think you’ll see him — it’s a little bit like our team, though. We don’t, you know, Rudy’s got time. He’s gonna develop but I think it’s a question of getting a foundation and taking one step at a time.

You know, you saw what he did with his free throws last year. You know, I think he’ll continue to — you saw what he did with his passing. His body’s gonna get better. So, Rudy’s got so many areas where he’s capable of improving that it’s exciting, but it’s hard to do ’em all at once. And I don’t want him to get ahead of himself with that.

You know, a lot of the specific things he needs to improve on, the most important ones have to do him performing for our team in the game, and fortunately I think those things are lined up pretty frequently.

Is all that true for Dante Exum as well?
I almost said that when you — when I was talking about it with Rudy, and I think it’s very true. It’s maybe, in some ways, a little harder for Dante because of the position that he’s playing, and you know, what he’s asked to do for other people on the floor.

We’re, you know, he’s back right now. We’ve been in the gym. I think we’ve got some, pretty rigorous schedule for him, with shooting separately from a lot of his playing, you know, just the general skill work. And he’s working on his body, and you know, he’s had a really good couple weeks.

And we got committed guys, you know? That’s part of the reason you don’t wanna just say, oh, you know, “We gotta go find this today,” because I think, I got a lotta faith in our guys’ ability, and it’s just, to work and get better, and until we see that that’s not the case, I think it’s wise for us to keep believing and grinding on the guys we got, as long as they’re as committed as we want them to be.

Were you satisfied with what you saw from Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors this past year?
You know, unequivocally I want more. I mean, I’m absolutely thrilled with the year they had, just because of the way they went and got it. They bought in; they were committed; they worked. But I think both of them have a chance to take some steps.

I mean, it may not be as obvious because, you know, it gets to a point as a player where those incremental gains become harder. But I think both of those guys can take steps. I think, I’d like to think that this off-season for them is gonna be different than previous off-seasons they’ve had…

I think we’ll start to get really specific about the things where they can really, you know, make the most progress to. (1280)

Bits from Randy Rigby Interview, 6/3

June 6, 2015
tags: , ,

rigby

Things that are literally happening in Jazzland
** On the Jazz’s draft workouts
These are some of the top collegiate players, that are fighting and giving their all, to, now, try to make it to a different level, and literally, not e–only to be considered maybe in a top draft pick, but even just to be, having the opportunity to make it and be invited to a summer league, and a veteran league, and make it to that next level, and it just reinforced to me, the talent level that we’re dealing with on this, at this level, with, and with this league. It’s very impressive.
** On the importance of getting draft picks right, as shown by the Golden State Warriors
It’s critical. It’s, and particularly for, well, for all teams. But for ourselves, you know, for smaller markets or for emerging markets, and I would clount* Golden State as one of those emerging markets. He–I, literally, having, you know, quite a dry spell of being able to make the playoffs until, as of late. And now, to see them growing, it shows you how critical it is to really not only have the picks, but able to pull the right trigger of finding those right players, and then becomes the part that is, you know, is the, almost the secret sauce and the unknown sauce, and that is are those players gonna come together…I take my hats* off to the Warriors. They’ve done a very good job.
* Not a typo
** On whether the Jazz will make any dramatic moves in the next few weeks
Well, that’s one of the key things in, really, as we’ve s–tried to be strategic and looked at, literally, every move that we make, of trying to, and that’s what I appreciate from Dennis [Lindsey], in his mind and his direction, is he looks at every move that we make.
** More on his appreciation for Dennis Lindsey’s mind
We were talking about, really, our selection process, and I really appreciate continually seeing Dennis’ mind and watching how he works, and literally saying, if this is what this player’s value, in my mind, is, if we were to take that value, it means maybe more or less than what our pick might be…And as I look back at the moves that we’ve continued to make, we’ve done that very thing, and that’s what’s been the difference for me, in our continued growth and success, and the steps that we’re making as we’re making not only the right moves, but we’re making sure they’re the right value move for us and getting the maximum out of that value for us.

Andrei Kirilenko officially hung it up yesterday.* When you think back on AK’s career, what comes to mind?
* except he didn’t…

Well, number one, a young man with a lot of talent. He was, to me, one of the early foreign pioneers, in really, the league, in, when you look at some of those, that first wave of international players who came into the league, and I, had blazed a lot of ground, that — I think international players, for many of our organizations, coaches, front offices, is, they were many times misunderstood.

And I know a lot of the misunderstanding that I think had fell onto AK, was a lack of just, the public’s perception of his, and because of how he came across sometimes, that was really, not the intention of AK’s. But even though it was what he said, I, it was not what he necessarily meant. But it then, was, he was branded with some of those things.

Now, having said that, would I have continued to like a little more intensity from Andrei Kirilenko? Yes. I think, again, that’s a little bit of maybe that, the style that he had played in, and underneath, in European basketball, that, again, I think it’s had its growth, and they’ve had ways that they’ve needed to improve, and, as they’ve come in to realizing what the NBA is like. There has been some education there that he’s had to go through.

But you know what, from off the court, you couldn’t find a nicer, kinder individual than Andrei Kirilenko, who really, really did love this community. Really was a gentleman. Really had a good heart, and I think a very respectable career.

We want the great basketball minds to weigh in on this. Who is your all-time NBA starting five?
Well, I’ve gotta give you, you know what, I, there’s a little bias here. But I’ll tell you what. The, my point guard is John Stockton. I could argue with Jerry West, but I’ll tell you what, I’m going with John Stockton…

I’m gonna go with the, my shooting guard, I’m gonna call him a shooting guard, and I’m going with Michael Jordan.

I’m gonna go then with, my center position, I’m going with Bill Russell.

Now, my two forwards, wow. Tha–this gets very interesting for me. Ooooh. I love my Mailman. And I’ve gotta go with a small forward. Hmm. Well, I’ll tell you what. LeBron James is, you know what, I could’ve put LeBron in my “two,” “three” or “four” position.* But I would go with LeBron James, just because, his versatility. (1280)

* UDQM

Utah Jazz Draft Workout: Aaron Harrison and Trevor Lacey

June 6, 2015
tags: , ,

Also working out, but with no interviews posted: Phil Greene IV (St. John’s), Yanick Moreira (SMU), Jaleel Roberts (UNC Ashville) and Dez Wells (Maryland)

harrison2

** Kentucky – G – 6’6 – 209
** Fifth workout
** Comment on the altitude
You gotta get used to the altitude, definitely.
** What do you bring?
Definitely a hard worker. A great scorer, and definitely a winner. I’d do anything to win, and play really hard, so.
** Are you and your brother communicating a lot through this process?
I guess. I mean, we talk, like, once a day, and just see how we, how each other’s doing. Not nothing too much.
** Who was your favorite player growing up?
Allen Iverson, definitely.
** People calling Alec Burks “Alec Burke”: Aaron Harrison

lacey

** North Carolina State – G – 6’3 – 210
** Fifth workout; has six more.
** Comment on the altitude
Had to adjust to the altitude. You know, thin air, hard to breathe a little bit. But once I got adjusted to that, you know, it was all fun…Worked out in a high-altitude mask before, but it’s still not the same as, you know, actually going through a workout.
** What did you want to show today?
My scoring ability. Me handling the ball as a point guard; passing the ball. Just really my all-around game. A lot of people know me for scoring the ball. You know, showing that I can, you know, facilitate and get others involved also.
** Talk about the draft workout process.
Oh yeah, it’s fun, I mean, just because, you know, this is your dream and this what it takes to reach your ultimate goal. It’s a little difficult far as, you know, adjusting to time zones and you know, flying around and then having to wake up the next day for a workout, but you know, you don’t have anything else to do. It’s not like I have class and then workouts and all that. So this is right now, is my, a full-time job and I’m willing to take it on, head-on.
** What do you know about the Utah Jazz?
I know just a little bit. Not that much. I mean, Trey Burke, Alex Burke, the big kid in the middle. That’s pret–the kid that went to Butler. [Gordon] Hayward. Yeah, yeah. Know a little bit about the Jazz, not that much. Young team, up and coming. Know a little history. [John] Stockton and Karl Malone, but other than that, you know, it’s, know some of the younger guys that’s on the team right now.
** People calling Alec Burks “Alex Burke”: Trevor Lacey

507 perrin

** On Aaron Harrison’s workout
He showed the ability to get to the basket, use his size and strength. He did that well. Again, you know, with most kids, gotta figure out ho–you know, how well will they be able to play defense at their position, and he’s got the strength. Gotta work on the quickness, probably…[He didn’t shoot] as well as he, as I thought he was going to shoot. I think he was, I mean, the shots he missed were right on line. He wasn’t off left or right. It was just a little short, just a little bit off, maybe left or right, but a couple went in and out, so. He shot it well during the 3-on-3, but in our Jazz 100, he didn’t shoot as well as I hoped, and I’m sure as well as he had hoped he would’ve shot.
** On Yanick Moreira’s workout
Yanick shot it well from the 15-foot area; competed real well.

Utah Jazz Draft Workout: Pat Connaughton, Kevon Looney and Bobby Portis

June 5, 2015

Also working out, but with no interviews posted: Andre Hollins (Minnesota), Malcolm Miller (Holy Cross) and Deonta Stocks (West Georgia)

connaughton

** Notre Dame – G/F – 6’5 – 215
** Comment on the altitude
The altitude wasn’t as bad as I, you know, expected it to be, as bad as everyone talked it up. So, maybe I was just expecting a little worse, but it was fun. I enjoyed it.
** On basketball vs. baseball
You know, for me, I’m just gonna be basketball 100 percent, you know, from here on out until, you know, I get kicked out of the league or don’t make the league, whatever that ends up being. I think, you know, obviously I have a love for both sports, but you know, when you look at it, you know, with all the time and effort I put into basketball, and you know, the athleticism and stuff you need for basketball is something I, you know, I feel like I have to do first. It’s something I want to do first…If someone was just like, hey, maybe go to Europe for a few years and you know, try to come back in a little while, I think that’s where, you know, I kind of draw the line. That’s where it’d probably be, with having a business degree from Notre Dame, it’s probably be financially unsavvy of me to, you know, just go over there when I can stay here [in the D-League].
** Do you have a relationship with Jack Cooley?
Absolutely. Me and Jack played together for two years. I was just talking to him before the workout. You know, it’s no surprise to me the success that he’s having. I mean, he was always one of the hardest working guys, and it’s just cool to hear, you know, about the Utah Jazz from his perspective being on the team.
** Which NBA player do you pattern your game after?
You know, for me, I think it’s Wesley Matthews. I think, you know, if you look at the way, you know, he kinda came up through the ranks — you know, he even went undrafted. He was a guy that’s about similar size to me. Similar height, similar, you know, weight, and you know, he’s obviously developed his shooting. He’s obviously been able to develop other things. You know, defend, you know, rebound, handle the ball, things of that nature.
** What was it like working with Quin Snyder?
It was fun. I mean, you learn so much. I think, you know, the biggest thing for me is just learning things I can work on my game, and just, you know, working with him for a short period of time, it was amazing the things that I learned.

connaughton tweet

connaughton-snyder

looney

** UCLA – F – 6’9 – 222
** First week of workouts; has eight more
** Comment on the altitude
It was pretty tough. I mean, it was, this is my second time playing here, and the first time I played terrible when I came to Utah. So I did a little better today, this time. But it was, it’s always tough breathing out here, so it was tough to get through the workout but I finished pretty well.
** Which parts of your game do you need to improve?
Everybody wants to, wants you to work on your body. It’s all, whole, enough, different physicality at the next level, and another speed. And they want me to continue to work on my shooting. They want me to be able to stretch the floor out, and space it out for other, for the centers down there. And they want me to be able to defend, so work on my defense.
** What do you know about the Utah Jazz?
I know a lot, actually. I always grew up watching the Western Conference playoffs. I watched the Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer era with Jerry Sloan. They was, always made it to the Western Conference Finals. I know about the John Stockton-Karl Malone, and my dad used to always talk about Adrian Dantley and all them guys back in the day. So, I know a little bit about the Jazz.
** What impressed you about the Utah Jazz coaching staff?
They’re, they really pay attention to detail. They really helped me out a lot on my shooting, it’s, my footwork even in the short time here. So they, they’re really helpful and real good coaches and I improved since I’ve been here.
** Which NBA players do you like to watch?
I like to watch Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, and, just because they’re so good and I’m built sort of like them guys.
** What do the Utah Utes have in store for them against UCLA next year?
I see two losses for the Utah Utes.

portis

** Arkansas – F – 6’11 – 246
** Fourth workout; has eight more. Phoenix before Utah and Detroit after.
** Comment on the altitude
It was kinda tough in the beginning, ’cause you know, the altitude is kinda different from here than Arkansas…but you know, I got through it and I feel like it was a productive day.
** What did you want to show today?
You know, that I’m a competitor, and that, like, I like to go out here and just, you know, play as hard as I can, you know, and then just, like, show my versatility…That, like, I can face up, I can back down people on the block, and you know, I can make a jumper.
** Which NBA player do you pattern your game after?
Three players, actually. I like Kevin Garnett, because you know, he brings that certain edge…I like Tristan Thompson because he’s motivated…I like Chris Bosh because, you know, he always plays off the pick and roll real well.

perrin

** On Kevon Looney’s workout
He did well. He did real well. Matter of fact, he did couple extra drills, in terms of shooting, and he got through them all. So he did real well…He looked like he was moving as well as he ha–he’s always has.
** On Pat Connaughton’s workout
Pat played well. Shot it well. Competed, which he does every day…Before the combine, he played pretty well at Portsmouth too, so yes, he has been building on the way he’s been playing. Been playing better.
** Can Bobby Portis be a stretch four in the NBA?
He has some work he has to do to become a stretch four…Some of it is related to [his shot/stroke/release]. We got to, as a staff, as a coaching staff, they’ve got to take a look at it and see how much it can be worked in terms of changing it, tweaking it a little bit. Probably a little bit of pace also, in terms of his shot.
** On Portis’ defense
He was able to show he can move his feet. He can get, probably, a little bit stronger, but yeah, he showed us some of the things we needed to see.
** On the Looney-Portis matchup, UDQM
Kevon has an advantage in a certain aspect on the floor, and Bobby has an advantage in a different ass–area on the floor.

Utah Jazz Draft Workout: Askia Booker, R.J. Hunter, T.J. McConnell and Nick Paulos

June 4, 2015

Also working out, but with no interviews posted: Gary Bell Jr. (Gonzaga) and Shaquielle McKissic (Arizona State)

booker

** Colorado – G – 6’2 – 175
** First workout
** Comment on the altitude
It affected me just a little bit. I’ve been in L.A. for the most part, so coming back was a little adjustment, but it didn’t take over me. You know, I was just fine.
** What do you bring?
Energy, speed, my athleticism. Disrupting plays, man. I can guard the ball. I can talk on defense. I can knock down the open three. You know, utility guys as of right now. You know, I’m not gonna be asked to be a star player right away. But I’m gonna asked be to, you know, make shots and disrupt plays on defense.
** Talk about chasing your dream.
It’s beyond fun. You know, working out every day; trying to get better at my craft. It’s something you have to cherish, man. Every day’s a blessing, so I try to work out as hard as I can, and get as much rest as I can, and you know, be prepared for these workouts.
** Do you know Alec Burks?
Yeah, I’ve talked to Alec. Actually, he usually comes back to school every now and then and I usually hang out with him when he comes back, so we’re pretty familiar with each other.
Did he have any advice for you?
Stay in shape. That’s his big thing, man. You know, they wanna see somebody that’s conditioned and can, you know, fight through the workout and seem like they don’t have any problem through it. So, stay in shape was the biggest piece of advice.

hunter
** Georgia State – G/F – 6’6 – 185
** Second workout; has seven more in four days. Phoenix got next.
** Comment on the altitude
I felt like I jumped out of a airplane the first five minutes. I didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t see. I was like, what is this? But you know, it only takes, like, 10 minutes, you know what I mean? It just hits you so fast.
** Do you see yourself as a role player or an All-Star in the NBA?
Absolutely be an All-Star, but I think earlier, of course, rookies don’t get a lot of love. So I gotta come in and do my job, which is make shots. And I think that’s second nature to me, so when I am run off the line, and then when I am, and that’s taken away, I can show my skill set. I think that’s when it’ll open up for me.
** Your release is reminiscent of Ian Clark’s,* which is a scary comp for Jazz fans, and Ian has never found a way to get it off. So are you worried about where your release point is?
* Hunter: Oh, man.
I don’t think so. I’ve got my sh–my three blocked at least four times in my life, you know what I mean, and there’s some–I just have a feel to when I can get it off, you know what I mean…It’s just about how quick you can get it off and have a good shot, you know what I mean, so I don’t think that’ll be a problem. But, I am open if a coach wants me to fix it and he thinks it’ll be better for me, I’m all for that.
** What is the best part of your game that you didn’t get to show today?
Passing. I’m a great passer, and I didn’t get to do that a lot ’cause I was playing on the wing. And I think that’s a underrated — I haven’t heard a lot about that during this whole process, and I think I’m a unbelievable passer.
** Is there an NBA player you compare yourself to?
Comparable, no. I think I have a super unique game. I pattern my game a lot after Steph Curry. I’ve been watching him since I was, you know, 14 years old. There’s something about his game that was super appealing to me. I don’t know if it was the short little release like I have, or just his demeanor on the court. So I watch a lot of tape on him…So I would say I watch, mostly I’m like guys like Steph Curry and Reggie Miller.
** What’s your biggest concern about the NBA?
Just the lifestyle, you know what I mean? You have so much time on your hands…It’s practice, work out, work on your game. You got 3 o’clock to midnight, what do you do, you know what I’m saying? Just trying to find ways, you know, just to stay out of trouble and just keep my mind focused on everything.
** On his dad’s torn Achilles
He’s got, like, a colorful boot and a cane, so he’s like Pimp Ron right now…He’s old too, so the Achilles will take a little longer than it would for a young guy, but he’s loving it.

mcconnell
** Arizona – G – 6’2 – 188
** Sixth workout
** Comment on the altitude
You know, it hits you for, like, the first 10 minutes, and then you’re used to it. But it’s tough. I’ve been playing here for a couple years. I’m pretty used to it, so just gotta be in good shape or if not, it’s gonna catch you out here.
** What are you trying to show teams?
I’m just trying to be a knockdown shooter. I know people are gonna go under and, with me open, and I gotta keep defense honest and you know, make open shots.
** Do you think your defense and tenacity will carry over into the NBA?
Yeah, it has to. I think that’s part of the reason I’m here. You know, if I lose that, I don’t think I would have a chance. So, it’s, I’ve gotta keep that for as long as I play.

paulos
** UNC Greensboro – F – 6’7 – 185
** First workout
** Comment on the altitude
You know, I grew up here, so I’m accustomed to it a little bit. But I flew back from Greensboro just, earlier this weekend, so I’m still getting a, you know, a little readjusted to it.
** What do you bring?
I’m someone who is gonna come out, and I’m gonna be the ideal teammate and the consummate professional, someone who’s gonna come to work every day ready to get better, and help the team improve. And you know, I think I can positively affe–impact any team with my ability to defend and rebound, and then also space the floor and knock down shots.
** On working out for the Jazz
It’s pretty, it was pretty crazy. You know, growing up in Salt Lake City, I was a huge Jazz fan as a kid, and you know, my family and I were fortunate enough to get to go to some of the games growing up, and you know, it’s kind of a surreal moment to see, you know, “Utah Jazz” across my chest. And to come here and work out is a pretty great experience, and I’m just, you know, really thankful for the Jazz for giving me this opportunity to help a, help me pursue my dream and play the next level, so.
** On meeting Jerry Sloan
I did meet Jerry Sloan. You know, he’s a legend. So you know, whenever you get a chance to meet a guy like that, pick his brain a little bit, it’s a pretty cool opportunity.
Did you have to suppress the fanboy in you?
It’s one of those things where, you know, growing up, seeing him, and it’s pretty cool, but at the same time, you know, you just gotta respect him and understand that, you know, he’s someone that’s done it at the highest level and done it, was one of the best to ever do it…He’s a down-to-earth guy, so it makes it pretty easy.
** Which NBA player do you model your game after?
I wouldn’t say anyone in particular. I know at this stage in my career, I’m watching a lot of film on guys like Klay Thompson, J.J. Redick, Mike Miller — a lotta guys that have had success playing a similar style and s–and I’m trying to incorporate some of the things that they’ve had success doing into my own game, so.

perrin
** On R.J. Hunter’s workout
Saw ability to get the shot off quickly. Saw ability to have NBA range. Saw ability that he can handle the ball. Still has a lotta work he’s gotta do on his game…He has a lotta work he has to do, work on the defensive end…He closes out like he’s in a zone defense versus playing man to man. So, there’s some things he’s really gonna have to work on during the summer, whoever drafts him, in terms of man-to-man defense, and he’s gonna have to continue to work on it in the fall with the vet camp.
Does he need to change his shot?
Personally, I would like to see him maybe raise it up a little bit on his release, because he’s going to be playing against taller, quicker, faster players who can jump also…Other than that, it’s, his finish is good.
** On T.J. McConnell’s workout
He shot it pretty well, which we weren’t sure on. I know his shot has gotten better since he’s been at Arizona last couple years, but he shot it well in our Jazz 100 [shooting drill]…Tough kid, leader. Helps his teammates become better. Will play, try to play as hard defensively as he possibly can.
** On Nick Paulos’ workout
I can’t see everybody, so I didn’t know anything about Nick…He competed, played hard. And I’m not sure what he did with the Jazz 100, but I think he struggled a little bit on his NBA 3-point shooting. Not used to that. Does he belong? I mean, that’s still to be seen. Is he a draftable, for us, draftable player? Probably not.

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