** Jordan Loveridge (Utah / Forward): He shot the ball pretty well from the three, which I kind of, after looking at him early and watching him during the year, I thought he might struggle a little bit more than he did today, with the NBA three.
I think he’s gotta, first and foremost, he’s gotta probably get in better shape, and I’ve told his coaches that. I don’t think he’s in great shape for a kid from Salt Lake, or from anywhere in Utah, ’cause of the altitude. So, he’s gotta get his body in great shape.
He’s gotta, I think, improve his shooting. I know he’s gotta improve his shooting, especially with the NBA three, ’cause he’s a little flat right now. But he did shoot high 50s out of 100, which was one of the better ones here.
** Thomas Walkup (Stephen F. Austin / Forward): One of the few guys I haven’t seen. I don’t know for sure yet [what is his NBA position], so I need to see more tape on him, see where he plays on our level. As one of our staff members says, he’s just a player at, [who] may not have a position right now but plays multiple positions, so.
** Ryan Anderson (Arizona / Forward): It’s something we, that I noticed as I watched him play. He showed he really knows how to play the game. He’s got a good understanding and a good feel on how to play.
He showed the ability, and I kept re–I don’t think he shot extremely well from the Jazz thre–or 100, but he showed in a game situation he can knock down the three.
** Jared Uthoff (Iowa / Forward): Jared shows he knows how to play. He was good in as–some aspects of the workout and he needs to work on some other things, naturally. His shooting of the Jazz 100 was…upper 50s…I think he needs to become a better ball-handler that are, being b–able to probably make plays off the dribble a little bit more.
** Ryan Arcidiacono (Villanova / Guard): He’s a tough-nosed kid, smart, plays well, plays hard. Competes on both ends of the court. Knows how to get shots in the paint because of, he knows how to use his fee–footwork, pivots. So I mean, he had a good workout.
** Retin Obasohan (Alabama / Guard): It’s the first time I’ve seen him. I didn’t get a chance to see him at Alabama, so. I mean, he’s just a great athlete. Built like a football player…
He’s, again, s–just such a great athlete. It was a pleasure for me to see. He’s, does a very good job of getting into the lane and finishing strong at the basket. Again, he’s one that really competes hard, so it was nice to get him in here, and especially nice for me to see him play.
** Thon Maker (Australia / Forward-Center): If we’re gonna say he can’t play until his body gets ready, that’s probably gonna be three years…You know, again, I’ve seen him play, and that’s better than watching him in the workouts…He’s gotten a l–I think a lot stronger in terms of how to play. I thought he shot it a little bit better than when I saw him two years ago, also…
Because of his body size, you know, he’s gonna have a tough time posting up people. And he is a good shooter, so you probably look at him more as a face-up player than, moreso than a back-to-the-basket player…
I think for his size, he’s a very good athlete from baseline to baseline. I think, again, for his size, as a vertical athlete, probably about average, just to, just a little bit above average. Baseline to baseline, he’s really good for his size…He’s got a ways to go to improve his body…
His rebounding numbers, again, at, players in his age group, were pretty good. In terms of being a defender, again, with his body size, he could have problems with a power player inside. Can he guard out on the perimeter? I think with his length, he probably could be able to keep guys in front of him…
He’s a very smart player, ’cause he picks up things fairly easily. Has he had the greatest of coaching in the last four years? Probably not. But he’s one that’s willing to learn. He’s gonna work at it…He’s an extremely well-spoken, smart guy.
** Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame / Guard): [He looked] good, strong. He’s able to get to the basket pretty well. Shot it, I know he shot it well during drills. I think his 3-point shooting was, probably a little bit above average. Played pretty well…
Like all college guys, [his defense] has a ways to go. [He may be short, but] he’s so strong, though. I mean, I think that’s gonna help him at his position. And he’s, you know, pretty quick.
** Marcus Paige (North Carolina – Guard): I think, you know, Marcus is really a smart basketball player. It’s a little bit, I mean, at North Carolina, because of what they had on their team and what they needed, they needed Marcus to play off-guard and be a shooter. Marcus was a point guard coming out of high school, so it’s not like he doesn’t know how to play the point guard spot. He does, so.
He can be a coach on the court for you. A very smart player. He can knock down big shots for you. So, he can, there’s a few things he can do to help a team pla–help a team win.
** Andrew Andrews (Washington – Guard): He competed. I think he’s one of the guys that kind of struggled with his shooting a bit at times, and, but he did compete. He played as hard as he could, and he tried to play as a point guard.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of Draft Workouts (UDQM)
** Walt Perrin on draft workouts: I think it’s gonna be a struggle getting some of the guys we want in that’s gonna be in our range, let alone people who are above us, because of the nature of our team. So, I will work it. I will see if I can get them in. But I’m not overly optimistic I will be able to get them in.
** Andy Larsen to Perrin: If it’s a North Carolina guy, does Quin go extra hard on him?
** Perrin on finding late first round steals: We think there could — again, history will show you that there’s somebody down there that becomes very good, and we just gotta figure out who it might be and if we wanna pursue it.
** Perrin on the 12th pick: We’re gonna try to get in guys above us. We’ll get guys in below us.
** Thon Maker on film study: [When] somebody would explain to me something that I’m doing wrong, I would ask somebody to tape it so I can see it. You know, how I did the footwork, what I did wrong, what I could improve, how I can make it faster, how I can slow it down, you know, to get a better shot.
On the Dominique Wilkins trade and how the Jazz survived
I was up at Jeremy Ranch and I got a phone call on a Saturday afternoon. A guy came out and said, “Hey, you’re wanted on the phone. It’s very important. It’s Mr. [Sam] Battistone.”
I rushed back in my car — I didn’t know whether it was an accident or something was wrong, but he told me that we couldn’t make the payroll on Monday, and that we had to come up with somewhere in the area of about a million dollars. And he was wondering — he was asking me could I think of a way to do it.
And the only thing I thought, the greatest asset we had was the No. 1 pick, and, in the draft. And I said, “Well” — I was already having discussions with the agent for Dominique Wilkins. And so I said, “Well, w–maybe, I don’t know. Maybe Atlanta would come up.”
And so, I called Ted Turner, and believe it or not, he was home. And I told him, I said, “Mr. Turner, I’m looking for a million dollars in cash. I gotta have it Monday, and it’s for the rights to Dominique Wilkins. There’s not any guarantee you’re gonna sign him. They, he doesn’t want to sign with us. He told his agents that he absolutely would not play in Salt Lake City.*”
So anyway, as it turned out, I got a call back from Stan Kasten, who now is the fellow that runs the Dodgers, and he said, “We can come up with a million bucks. But you have to take tw–couple players off our hands,” he said, “that are making a lot of money.”
One was Freeman Williams, who was a great All-American but didn’t cut it in the pros; had some problems, personal problems. And of course, the other one was Deuces — was John Drew…
When we got the money, we got a million and a half. Ted Turner told me, he says, “Son, whenever you ever need money and you’re desperate, never ask for exactly what you need.” He says, “Always ask for more,” and he sent a million and a half dollars.
* Dominique Wilkins: the original Derek Harper. Fitting that his career started with the Jazz and was ended by young hotshot and future Jazzman Matt Harpring.
On Jerry Sloan
Jerry brought [the Jazz] up a level. He raised the standards, you know? He made us much better than I thought we ever would really be…He was demanding. He was driving. He was never allowing guys to just say, “It’s good enough. I just wanna get by.”
And I’ll tell you [what], we got guys in the Hall of Fame right now, and I know they would feel the same way as I’m saying it right now, is they know that he got them there. He made them play up to the best they could be, and people out of a small market like this, took them right to the heights. …
Jerry’s very s–generous. I mean, if you go back to his hometown, McLeansboro, all right, you see the Sloans are all over the place. It’s a park. It’s a tree. It’s a, you know, part of the school. It’s, you know, he has given back more than enough, and you kn–I’ll tell you what, he tips, it’s 100 percent.
You know, I mean, you know, he’s that type of guy. No, he’s not a type that in any way is smug about his success. If anything, he’s humble about it, and he is one of the most generous men I know.
You know, every time the staff used to go out, Jerry would take everybody out to dinner after a game. We’d be on the road. He always picked up the tab. You know, and the other guys got their per diem and everything else, but Jerry insisted that, “Hey, listen, I know I make more money than everybody else here.” And he always [paid].
The other thing about Jerry, he wasn’t an excuse-maker. He didn’t blame no refs. He didn’t blame injuries. He didn’t blame people. You know, he said, “This is the cards we were dealt. We gave it everything we got. That’s all we can ask.” And I think that’s the way athletics should be played, should be coached, and the way we should accept it as fans.
Kenny Mauer once said Jerry is “one of the toughest, meanest guys that you’ll ever see. But he is fair.”
Questions would come up in league meetings about more pay for the refs, more, getting more refs so that they didn’t have to work so many games. Jerry was always in their corner, and I think that the referees respected him for that.
His fellow coaches — you know, a lot of them are, “Jerry’s mean. Jerry’s tough. Jerry’s that.” But I never saw any — I’ve never met a coach who said Jerry isn’t the best, you know, and they wouldn’t like to be like him, and have his standards. …
He’s gonna fight now, too, by the way. This game he’s in now isn’t over. I’ve been out with him, and he — Jerry’s gonna be fine, and we just gotta love him more, that’s all. (KSL)
One. This is a piece about Jerry Sloan written by his long-time hunting buddy, Tony Abbott. Read it. Read it now.
Two. Dante Exum on being in the sunshine in LA right now: It’s good. Obviously, it kind of sucks, you know, having to play during winter, but definitely being injured and having to stay kind of in the cold, but I, you know, it’s good to kind of get out of Utah and trying to get back in the flow of things. …
It is the off-season, so as much as I am focusing on rehab and stuff, you know, being able to go down to the beach and, you know, just kind of relax and you know, take some time off from being in Utah, just kind of reenergize before I have to head back.
Exum on where he is in his rehab: I’m pretty much in that, kind of that last bit of my rehab. I’m just, you know, I’m, I got an appointment on the 26th to kind of just sort of clear me for everything.
But I’ve been pretty much doing a lot of the, you know, normal stuff, day-to-day stuff, except for playing. That’s the biggest thing that I haven’t kind of picked up yet…So May 26, I’ll start to play one-on-one, two-on-two, and stuff like that.
Three. From the Steve Starks deleted tweets files, in which he rescinds an invitation:
Four. Lest anyone is getting any fanciful ideas that the Jazz, led by Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors (both going into their seventh seasons) can no longer be called a young team, let’s nip such nonsense in the bud right now.
** Dennis Lindsey, Apr. 22: We have an extremely young team, especially when you do a winted–a weighted minute average for who’s actually playing and who’s scoring for us. I think we’re second in the league in points under 25 years old.
** Steve Starks, May 17: People forget how young we still are, and, in terms of minutes played and age.
** Quin Snyder, May 19: I mentioned the fact that we were young a lot [during the season], and I mentioned it ’cause it was true. At some point, that can begin to sound like an explanation or an excuse or whatnot, and it’s really not. It’s just the reality, and hopefully the reality next year is we’re a little older, and those young guys get better.
Five. Will this be the first time in history this line works on an NBA player? Stay tuned this summer to find out!
Fournier did not publicly reply to Rudy, “You go live in Utah,” so I mean, that’s a good sign.
Six. Did y’all catch Barack Obama consorting with a known felon?
Seven. Quin Snyder on what he’s been up to this summer: You know, I live up by the Capitol(?) area…so I’ve been doing some hiking, which is always good to kinda, clears your head. I’m gonna try to get out and do some mountain hiking. I want to get my hip feeling real good.
Things are, you know, I’m enjoying my family, really. I’ve got these little ones that are wrestling with me all the time, which is fun…Kinda trying to get to know everything, and know the area, so it’s, that’s been great…
I’m not gonna go into the very beach book literature that I’m grinding out to get my mind a break from basketball, but I’m trying to get away from it as best I can, and you know, hopefully as the summer progresses, I’m able to do that some more.
I think it’ll probably make me a better coach if I can have some balance, you know? But, I’ll work at it…I’m trying to not think about our team as much as I can for the next two weeks.
Eight. You just keep doing you, Booz (via @mrcbooz).
(Guess it’s true what they say about time healing all wounds. As a Jazzman, he frustrated me to no end. Now, he just makes me laugh.)
Nine. If the Jazz must roll out sleeved jerseys, and apparently they must, this is probably as good as it gets (via @utahjazz).
Now let’s bring the purple back to the court.
Ten. Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Week (UDQM)
** Dennis Lindsey on vertical alignment within the organization: Things aren’t always going to be perfect. Quin’s gonna bang me around. I’m gonna bang him around. Millers are gonna bang both of us, around.
** Quin Snyder on the draft: The level of detail and how deep we dig into potential picks and, is on a level with anybody.
** Lindsey on enjoying debate with his staff: If you do it the right way — we do try to have fun with it. And I do try to keep it loose and give guys the business, and vice versa.
On Quin Snyder’s extension
We’ve very pleased to extend Quin. We rolled out some initiatives prior to hiring him, relative to our defense and building that foundational piece for us. And he’s done truly well there with our young players…
We have many young players that needed to be developed, and that’s really hard to do on a simultaneous basis, and he’s done that extremely well. We wanted to have a disciplined approach. How we, you know, just raised our young players inside of [the system], so how we work, how we travel, what we do, and Quin’s done well with our coach as in support staff in that area as well.
You wonder how high DL’s standards are for a coach working with young guys though. From three summers ago:
On keeping his distance from Quin Snyder’s contract talks
If you want a true partnership, the way to ruin a partnership is to get in the way of a coach and his wife’s money. I think it’s just common sense…
I just think it’s a real simple best practice that, if Quin and I can have the best possible relationship going forward, there are just times where he’s gonna have to recuse himself from certain things, and I’m gonna have to recuse myself…
I recommended that Steve [Starks] handle it.* Steve and Quin are both gentlemen, and very bright guys, and they were able to say a few words to each other that, now I have a new team president and a relatively new team head coach that has gate–great chemistry where they need it, and I was able to stay away from the fray where, you know, I don’t think it would’ve been personal, but certainly the potential for it to get personal was there if you handle too many of the details and the particulars.
On American Jazz players playing for the national team this summer (Rodney Hood getting selected to the USA Select Team)
We couldn’t be happier for him. This is a good step for him and it’s a huge honor for him. It’s good for his progression and we feel like he deserves the opportunity to allow the men’s team to prepare for the Olympics. (Trib)
On foreign Jazz players playing for their national teams this summer
The positives are a young player can develop. The negatives are, as Mark Cuban has most notably stated is, you’re, the NBA, the NBA team specifically, the owners, are in effect acting as an insurance agency and indemnifying the player, because when you lose a player, even though there’s ins–there’s an insurance process, there’s not an insurance process if you get a player who comes back tired at one level, or comes back and misses just a few games because of an injury that he may have played in — or had in summer competition.
And then, of course, there’s the catastrophic injury that you had, w–that we had relative to Dante [Exum] and missing a full season because of an ACL, or even worse, an injury that ends a player’s career. And so, it’s complex and I’m gonna beg off a lot of commentary a–besides what I’ve already given.
Transactions that were not to be
** There were two that, frankly, when I was trying to, and what I should say, when we were trying to make a decision on whether it was the right for the team, thing for the team or not, there was no question in the short term it was the right thing to do.
But it did give us pause that in a year or two, not having a first round pick, or let’s just say it would’ve, one deal would have cost us a first and a second and a very significant part of our salary cap this year. And then if we were to want to resign the player going forward, the following season, and what can we do with those picks, with that room, I don’t know.
And while it could’ve been the right deal to help us make a push and feel a little bit better about our record in the second season [playoffs] and as it relates to ’15-’16, you can make an argument it would not be as good, especially if we weren’t able to s–resign this player, who’s on a one-year deal going forward.
** Last year, and a little bit like this season as well, I’d love to find a trade for the right veteran, right? I think we’re moving in the right direction and I don’t think wo–speeding it up with the right vet would be tricking it up. So, but will that become available to us? Is that player a one-year deal where it’s a one-off versus slowly grinding with a four-year player?*
I–loo–one of the proudest things — I can give you this information and I think it’ll be interesting to our listeners. We, early on in the season, we had a team approach us on Trey Lyles. They were like us. They liked him during the [draft] process.
Trey wasn’t playing a whole bunch at the time and wasn’t playing as well as he did the latter part of the year, wasn’t banging shots and driving by people, and he was a little overwhelmed defensively, and so a play–a veteran became available and Trey wouldn’t–would’ve been the primary piece inside of this with the team that approached us.
So, being collaborative, you know, we brought it to Quin and the coaches, and they evaluated it, and this was even before, again, that Trey emerged. They just said, “Look, we think we have something unique with Trey, and he’s smart and committed, and you know, the results on his shooting when we’re working on him are, may be better than what he’s shown in the games.”
So, and this was a good veteran player on a solid contract that was moving forward. And look, would have this veteran allowed us to win a few more games initially and maybe even arguably at the end of the year? Maybe. And did that cost us? You know, certainly gotta question that in the overall process.
But the go-forward, the arc of improvement, the things that he allowed us to do differently the last 40 games once he did emerge was so unique…Even though we could’ve sped up or improved our experience level, we still think we made that the right long-term decision for the Utah Jazz.
On Quin Snyder not getting technical fouls
If coach is over there acting foolish or going off on every play, then it, that’s gonna disseminate to the players, and it leads to chaos…It’s intentional…
Is there ever a time that you lost your poise and acted like a fool that you’re really proud of?…His poise and respect of officials…to me, is remarkable.
On the Jazz being on the wrong end of more wrong calls than any other team in the NBA based on L2M reports
We do not — it’s very important for the Miller family, just talking about our values-based M.O., it’s very important to us to be a, the right partner with the league. And that’s really Miller family-driven. So, we do not want to be the squeaky wheel…
We don’t want to be the team that’s Chicken Little: “The sky’s falling, the sky’s falling.” … The one thing that’s really interesting is that in some ways, these L2M reports that are coming out — the Jeremy Lin thing between Charlotte and Miami — it’s driving hits on YouTube, on blogs, on sports radio conversations. So in a weird way, I think we’re all having pretty mature conversations, and it makes the league more relevant.
Basketball should be fun
I’m scared to death, all right, of people who can’t smile, can’t laugh, and can’t have fun. And it took a while, by the way, for me to have that reach Larry Miller. He used to say, “What’s with all this kidding around? What’s all this fun? W–you know, what are you doing?”
And I used to say, “Hey, listen. This is supposed to be fun.”
(in high-pitched, agitated voice) “Well, losing’s not fun!” You know, he was so uptight he didn’t know how to have fun, and that’s not right.
Let me say one thing. If right now I was to take over the Jazz, all right, if I was back as president of the Jazz, you know what I would do? I would go to the front of the building. I’d tear down those pictures of those guys all scowling, and I’d put up pictures of a team that was smiling and laughing and having a good time.
I mean, what is this? Wha–you tell me the next time you see a picture anywhere, on these posts out here where they put up the picture of the players, or all around this building, and find one player we c–that smiles, or laughs.
Listen, I mean it. I mean, I, you know, what the heck, I, is this grim? I thought I was coming to a basketball game, you know?…It has to be fun, you know? I think the players will do whatever you allow them to do.
And I used to…when we took the team picture, as soon as everybody was lined up and the camera was ready, I’d say, “Hold it” — and this is the truth. I’d walk out, walk in front and say, “Anybody who’s not smiling can get the hell out of this picture. You gotta be happy around the Jazz.” And then I’d go back and get in position.
Here’s the Jazz’s team photo this year.
Players that can get the hell out of the picture: Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Jeff Withey, Trevor Booker, Joe Ingles, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood and Dante Exum. The training staff is pretty much all good, but Mike Wells, Igor Kokoskov, Quin Snyder and Brad Jones are also in trouble.
On Scott Layden winning a ring with the Spurs
So now Scott goes with the Spurs. And it was, you know, he would, he was discouraged. He thought, you know, “I’d always be with the Jazz” and what have you.
And the w–and I often think, I mean, when I look at what’s happened recently, I always say, “Would Scott have made a difference in two games?” Who knows, you know? He might have. But anyway, with the idea that he went with that team, I said this is a great learning experience.
So, every time we’re there, and I, you know, I see R.C. [Buford] and I see, you know, the coach [Gregg] Popovich, Pop, they remind me, “Don’t forget, we modeled this after you. We modeled this after the Jazz.”
And they have made no secret about it. They’ll say, “Oh, we liked the way the Jazz did things. You know, we equated ourselves with the Jazz in size, buildings, philosophy, stuff like that. And the way they played the game.” …
So when Scott, at the end of that year, when he got the ring — and Scott is not, you know, he doesn’t, those kind of things aren’t important to him, really, you know? When he got the ring…I was very proud.
I was very proud, and I said, “Wow, that was hard, wasn’t it, for the Laydens to get a ring?” My gosh, you know, it was that hard just trying to get a college ring. And then to get an engagement ring. And I mean, there was a lot of suffer-ring.
But yeah, I was very proud of him. And what always makes me feel good…when I go to San Antonio and people say, “Wow. Hey, thanks a lot. Scott’s great. He’s really helping us.” You know, that makes me feel very, very good.
** Frank Layden never had a written contract with Larry Miller. There was only a handshake agreement in place and they never negotiated.
On the game then vs. the game today
When I came in the league — let’s go back to that — it was, Hubie Brown hired me because we were roommates and close friends back in college. But anyway, I went with him in Atlanta.
You know, at that time, it wasn’t unusual for several coaches in the league, including Red Auerbach and Red Holzman, to be by themselves. They didn’t even have one assistant, all right? It always amazes me…When I was coaching a team and a guy needed help with his shooting, I worked with him. You know, did I need another guy to do that? We only had 12 players…
I don’t quite understand why you call a timeout, and the staff — you know, five, six guys — meet away from the bench to discuss what you’re gonna talk about on the timeout. I used to ha–I used to think, I already know what I’m gonna talk about. That’s why I called timeout. I mean, I, yeah, but you know, this is the way they do it.
I’ll say this. The athletes today are bigger, better, stronger, faster. There’s not a doubt in the world about that. I’m not sure the game is better. Maybe we don’t give enough freedom to the players to exercise their skills and let them innovate themselves.
But who knows? I’m not gonna say it’s right, it’s wrong. I, it would confuse me. I’m not smart enough to look around and have 10 assistants. And somewhere along those assistants, all right, just like Jesus, you know, he had the Apostles, and they used to see him do miracles and doing, do all sorts of things. And yet, one betrayed him. Another doubted him.
I, you know, there’s too many guys. It’s too many guys to control. It’s enough to control the 12 players or 15 players, let alone 10 more coaches.
On the Golden State Warriors
One thing we overlook about that team, the Warriors, and why they can win even without [Steph] Curry, is that they know how to defend. They have a defensive scheme. It works.
[Steve Kerr] knows how to use his bench, all right? He does a good job of putting combinations together to attack the opposition. I just think he has a good feel for the game, and of course, you know, that for instance, Mark Jackson didn’t have. Mark Jackson had the same players and even said they were great shooters and great that.
It isn’t just being able to shoot. It isn’t, you know, you’ve gotta combine ball-handling, you’ve gotta combine positioning, you’ve gotta combine the pick and roll, the utilization of your big men, and knowing where to get the ball. (1280)
Yes, I transcribed that last bit just for the Mark Jackson part.
2010: Kevin O’Connor
2011: Kevin O’Connor
2013: Randy Rigby
2014: Bryan Miller
2015: Dennis Lindsey
2016: Steve Starks
2010/2011: Kevin O’Connor
2013: Randy Rigby
So my fly fishing guy says, “I’ve got just what you need.” And he gave me his lucky grasshopper, that he uses to catch a lot of fly fishing, a lot of fish, on the Green River.
One of the most interesting stories is, it had been heard on the radio, and one of our season ticket holders called. And her father was a veteran of World War II. And she says, “My father was on Pearl Harbor the day that the Japanese attacked. He was on one of the main ships there, right, in the middle of the harbor. And his ship had not been hit nor had he in any way been injured, and so I want you to take back with you my father’s dog tags from World War II.” And so I’ve also got his dog tags.
2014: Bryan Miller
9 was the number my dad wore when he played softball. I had a number 9 jersey made with “Miller” on the back that I’ll be wearing today in his honor.
My mom said he never washed his uniform as long as he was winning. I haven’t washed this baby yet.
2015: Dennis Lindsey brought pictures of his family, “the ultimate good luck charm”; and a lucky watch his brother-in-law gave him.
Randy Rigby, meanwhile, brought his lucky shirt, his lucky pair of Jazz socks, and Dennis Lindsey.
2016: Steve Starks brought a lucky quarter his wife gave him.
2011: As told by Randy Rigby
Chris Baum, my senior vice president of broadcasting…last evening was taking his family to a Chinese restaurant, and he said he opened his fortune cookie literally ten minutes before the lottery began…and the fortune said, “Your lucky number is 3.” So it started right there.
I have no information on whether Kevin O’Connor, Randy Rigby, Bryan Miller and Dennis Lindsey got their makeup did before the draft lottery.
2016: Steve Starks
What are you up to?
I’ve been with the Milwaukee Bucks for the past two years as an assistant coach on Jason Kidd’s staff. You know, prior to that I was with Philadelphia for a year with Brett Brown, so he gave me my start. So yeah, up here in Milwaukee having a good ol’ time.
On John Stockton
There’s a big misconception with John when it comes to [his scoring ability]. I mean, I, if you ever had the opportunity to watch him play summer ball, or if you’re just playing, basically playing street ball, the, I think the misconception comes with, you know, everybody thought he needed the pick and roll. He needed the system.
I’ve seen him annihilate guys just playing pickup ball. Getting to the basket; handling the ball; no real pick and roll; playing one on one. So yeah, I’ve seen him do that, so I always knew, but you know, when it came time, came down to execution and winning basketball games, you know, he was selfless in that way.
What do you remember most fondly about your time in Salt Lake?
Well, there’s no doubt that, you know, my time in Salt Lake City was, were the best years of my career. You know, I had a home finally after bouncing around. You know, I felt like I belonged somewhere, so that was big for me. And, you know, we’ve got a lot of great friends. We just met so many wonderful people out there that we know to this day and we stay in touch with.
So, you know, the camaraderie of the team, the discipline of the team, and then being able to, you know, get the chance to take that next step. Even though we came up short in winning a world championship, you know, we played the right way, we played hard, and I think we all had fun doing it.
So, you know, I still, when I run into those guys, you know, like Howard [Eisley] and Bryon [Russell] and you know, Karl [Malone], you know, we all have fond memories, laugh about those successful years that we had.
On Jerry Sloan
He used to say that, when I would give him a hard time, that is, that someday when you guys are gonna be coaches, you’re gonna be dealing with guys just like yourself. So I always used to get a chuckle out of that, and I’ve never forgotten that.
You know, he was a tough-nosed guy. He was a disciplinarian. We butted heads quite a bit, but at the end of the day, he was the kind of guy that you could have a beer with after the fact and it was all over. And you came back to work the next day, and you guys had a common goal.
So, was he the easiest guy to play for? No. But he got the m–absolutely most out of me, and in hindsight and looking back, I really don’t, I don’t try to do it any differently. Even though kids today in the NBA are a little different — you know, you’ve gotta be creative in how you motivate them and how demonstrative you can be, which can be frustrating from a coaching perspective at times, but it is what it is.
But I have a lot of respect for Jerry Sloan, who, we did some special things together.
What could have happened differently in the Finals years that would have led to a different outcome?
Well, you know, I mean, [the Bulls] were pretty good. You know, I think the first year we might’ve been just excited to get there. But that second year, you know, we really tried to go ahead and win that thing.
I think a couple plays here and there — you know, the one that comes to my mind obviously is when [Michael] Jordan double-backed on Karl and was able to get that steal. And there were some free throws that we missed, you know, that could’ve probably, you know, turned the momentum in our favor and maybe got us one.
But hey, you know, again, there were some great runs. No crying over it, and just some wonderful memories from those years. (KALL)
** On his diagnosis: It’s kinda a tough situation ’cause you’re getting away from something you’ve always loved to do. I haven’t heard anybody say it’s gonna be easy, so my whole saying is take your lumps and go on.
** What’s the toughest part of all this? Not knowing…I’m not scared. I’m just scared of the shaking all over, days on days. If I could get that stopped, I’d be in pretty good shape. You gotta take advantage of every day you can, ’cause it might be a rough road ahead of you.
** On the future: We were always taught to fight our way out. I’ve been lucky so far. This may be the end, though…The bottom line is, you try to enjoy the day and see what tomorrow brings. That’s the way I’m looking at it. It’s the only way I know.
Dennis Lindsey, asked if the way the season ended will mean more urgency to be less process-oriented and more results-oriented: If it’s fundamental, I think we’re certainly going to explore every option relative to the draft. We have a number of picks, and we may not select them all, right? We may use them to get another veteran if w–the analysis says that we need to do that, in our opinion, and that opportunity arises, but that has to be fundamental.
Very comfortable, with that said, with the number of returning players, the core that we have, the internal improvement that’s taken place, that, in addition to some, I think, reasonable projections. So, but, look, we, we’re not going to arbitrarily try to speed up the timeline or slow it down to be process-oriented. …
One of the worst things that we can do i–frankly, is to overreact…Greg [Miller] pulled me aside, you know, not long after he hired me, and said, “Hey, look, we’re operators. We’re not traders.”…
But with that said, there won’t be anything that won’t be examined, and if it’s quicker and more experience, then that may be the right thing to do, or as we continue to slow-growth it as well, and hope and work towards better help, health and continuity, that might provide us the solution as well.
Lindsey on whether the Jazz are still in “rebuild” mode, and if there is a point of diminishing returns: There could be, sure. There’s always risk and threats relative to something that becomes too prolonged. I think we’re, fundamentally, and if you look at the metrics, we’re towards the tail end of that. We’re a competitive team. …
If there’s one criticism I think you could make that’s fair, is we erred towards chemistry, continuity, continued development because we felt like the players, and in particular the coaching staff, showed great progress.
But the opportunity cost of that is, is was there a veteran that could’ve helped us stabilize? I think we did fairly well with Shelvin [Mack] at the trade deadline. But there were two particular deals that were actually proposed to us, and we said yes to, and for whatever reason, we weren’t able to consummate, that we were more short term-oriented.
I was willing to give up a first round pick, multiple picks, very significant salary slot, ’cause we had built that into the equation, and for whatever reason, we weren’t able to consummate.
Lindsey on Dante Exum, UDQM: You can’t really know how big and long he is…at the, you know, at the point of entry’s — you know, it’s the first point of contact.
Quin Snyder on the Jazz’s lack of an alpha dog: Some of [our turnovers], in my mind, comes from even leadership on the court…It’s not a criticism of our current group, as much as it is recognition that there’s a possibility for growth in that regard. You know, w–y–there’s some teams that just have this kind of alpha, you know, leader, like a Chris Paul maybe being the best example.
And there’s other teams where that either evolves, or it’s shared, and you can kind of point to Golden State as an interesting example, where Steph Curry’s clearly their best player, but there’s an argument to be made on some level that Draymond Green, in many instances, is, provides a type of leadership that’s unique.
And I think for our group, we have to continue to try to cultivate that, recognize it, and demand it. And when I say demand it, on the court, that’s an important place, and I think that runs through a lot of the — you know, that thin red line goes through the turnovers. It goes through some late-game situations. It goes through defensive focus that I spoke about before.
And I would circle all the way back to the growth process, and that some of that can only come through experience. And some of it, we just have to continue to be honest with ourselves and be aware of and try to work on it as best we can.
Snyder on how much of an emphasis there will be on making the playoffs next year: I just don’t completely, on a personal level, buy into just a results-only focus. I just think, I don’t think in the long term, it gets you, necessarily the results that you want. I think it’s counter-intuitive.
It, I do believe that we want to maximize what we have, and as we continue to look at where our team is through the summer — certainly we thought we had a different team last year at this time than it turned out we did with Dante’s injury. So, there’s all kinds of variables involved.
Suffice to say, if that can be something we do, that’s what we want, but I don’t wanna set it up as a be-all, end-all, you know, that suddenly if we don’t do that, we’re, you know, we’re no good and we’re failing.
Snyder on how Year Two Quin Snyder differed from Year One Quin Snyder: I think at a certain point, I trusted our players more. I didn’t earlier in the year, because I don’t think they earned it. I wanted to. I wanted to kind of shift our preparation a little bit, and maybe go a little deeper and less habitual, and we needed to grind.* And we did that, and then we got to a point where, you know, I was able to really, not ease up, but let go of certain things.
And you know, they began to take more ownership. You know, I think we got more efficient too. You know, our, so, be a little, micro-manage our staff a little less. Try to teach a little less, and let our players figure stuff out, although we still did a lot of teaching.
Which, I don’t mind, you know, at, I don’t mind teaching at all, but at some point, you don’t wanna, that means you still got more and more to learn. Like, you’d rather, you know, have a foundation and then begin to, you know, polish and sculpt and things like that, as opposed to kind of introducing something that’s new again.
So, we got further down that continuum. You know, I think at times I was equally emotional or unemotional, or you know, poised or fiery. That really just depended on the game more than the season.
Trevor Booker on his future with the Jazz: I mean, I would definitely love to stay, but I know it’s a business, so I’m not sure what’s gonna happen. I know, you know, other teams are interested. But I would definitely love to stay, but you never know.
Trey Burke, asked to evaluate his season: You know, I think at the beginning of the season, I think it was pretty good. Preseason, I think I had a pretty well preseason going into the actual regular season. I think I shot the ball, percentage-wise, better than I did my first two years.
But then obviously once, you know, the rotation changed up, I think I actually handled it pretty well, personally. You know, I don’t wanna be the one that judges that, but personally, I think I did pretty well staying locked in, and you know, basically rooting for the team and then just basically going out there and doing what I did when my number was called. …
I don’t think it went wrong anywhere, honestly. I just think it was a decision [Quin Snyder] made. And you know, me and coach, we always talked. He always told me why he did certain things. You know, for me, I didn’t really understand it, but it was just something that he wanted to do. It was s–it was a route that he took, so for me, I just wanted to make sure I was staying professional, staying mature. …
[Snyder] basically was just saying he felt like, you know, with Shelvin Mack coming in and you know, h–that being one of his guys, and you know, obviously Shelvin had to go through some of the things that I had to go through this year. You know, Shelvin came in, he had a really good game, obviously, against Portland. And you know, from there on, [Snyder] told me that he was giving [Mack] an opportunity, so that was pretty much, you know, what he shared with me.
You know, we always was up front with each other. He always was honest with me and vice versa. So, I just wanted to know what it was that I was doing, and basically he was saying I was being professional. It wasn’t nothing that I did, you know, for me to actually stop getting minutes.
Alec Burks on what he needs to improve this summer: First thing fir–I want to get 100 percent healthy. I want my, I want to be 100 percent. I want to be that Alec that I’m known to be. And on my game, I just want to take that next step. I think — I’m 24; it’s about to be my sixth year in the league. I’m ready to take that next step to be great, so I’m gonna do that.
Dante Exum on whether he feels pressure being labeled as next year’s savior (biggest offseason free agent acquisition): You know, I, our team obviously has a lot of potential, and you know, we’re very young. And, I mean, the, you know, we, you know, stepped up a lot defensively when I was playing in that last bit of the season. So, you know, I don’t listen too much to, you know, what everyone’s saying, and you know, I know why I’m here, and you know, what I gotta do. So, I’m just focusing on that, and you know, I’m gonna do the best I can to make everyone around me better, and myself, so.
** People calling Alec Burks “Alex”: Dante Exum
Derrick Favors on his and Gordon Hayward’s leadership: You know, our leadership improved a lot this year. You know, we, both of us led by example. A couple of times during the games, you know, when the team was in, the team needed a basket or the team needed a stop or just needed motivation, you know, me and Gordon was there to make the big plays or said things in the huddles or whatever.
Favors on the way the season ended: It was definitely heartbreaking. You know, the way the whole playoff race was set up with us, Dallas, Houston, you know, it was heartbreaking, man. You know, a lot of guys took it kind of hard. I know I did. And you know, just give us something to look forward to and work on during the offseason. You know, that we was that close to making the playoffs, and you know, we let a couple of games go, that we probably could’ve ro–could’ve won. But it was definitely tough.
Rudy Gobert on what he will work on this offseason: Can’t really see it on stats, but I feel like I got better. I’ve learned a lot this season, and this off-season, most important gonna be to work on my strength, especially lower body, my resistance. You know, make sure I keep getting stronger, and, to be able to be dominant as I want to be.
Gordon Hayward on the way the season ended: Obviously disappointed. Came into the season with a lot of expectations of making the playoffs…I think with the adversities that we had this year, and the injuries, and the timing of the injuries, you know, I think the one thing that I can say is that we continued to fight ’til the end. We gave ourselves a chance, and we had opportunities, and I think that’s all you can ask for.
Hayward on if “youth” and “inexperience” can still be used as an excuse: I think for some of us, yes. For others of us, no. We’re still extremely young as a team. We’re extremely young collectively. And you know, I think, like I said earlier, we need to use the experiences we had this year for the upcoming years, and I think it’ll make us as better players. …
It’s definitely not BS. I think experience is huge, and you know, being, like, what is it, the s–we’re the second least experienced or whatever…Plus, then you say with it, that inexperience, then guys get injured, and now you’re bringing in other guys that are just as equally inexperienced. So it is, it’s tough.
Rodney Hood on how much body work he needs to do: I gotta do a lot. You know, and it’s not just about muscle. It’s just about, you know, stamina. You know, just being able to last for long periods of time. And it’s something you just gotta go through, you know, your first full season. And you know, you can talk about it all day. You gotta stretch, and you gotta do this. But it’s just gonna be certain times you just feel like you fighting in quicksand, but you know, s–you can do more to prepare for those moments so you can still be successful.
Joe Ingles on his kerfluffle with Dirk Nowitzki in the last home game of the season: He said something to me, and honestly, without trying to be, like, rude or anything, I didn’t understand what he said. And then that’s when he came and, like, got really close, and I still honestly don’t really know what I said, but I might’ve mentioned something about some bad breath or something like that.
Chris Johnson on being so close yet so far away: There was a lot of adversity this year. You know, the ups and downs of injuries, and you know, just whatever the situation was, but you know, everybody’s feeling down about it, but you know, we can learn something from it, and try to find ways next season to not be in the same position and make sure we there next year.
Trey Lyles on what drives him: Just being able to play basketball every day. You know, being able to come here, and you know, not really take it as a job. You know, a lot of people don’t get to do what they love, and I get to do what I love every day, so I might as well go out there and you know, work hard and play hard and just have fun with it every day.
Shelvin Mack on how he sees his role next year with Dante Exum returning: I think I fit in real good. You know, I can play multiple positions; he can play multiple positions. Like, next year, might be some times that we might be on the court together. So, no, not really, not too caught up, man. You know, that, this can, like I said, just control the things I can control.
Raul Neto on what he learned in his rookie season: It was different. You know, I think everything. The style of practices. English. I think everything. Country. People love basketball here. I go on this trip and people recognize me sometimes, and that never happened in Spain or in Brazil. And I think everything from practice to how the Utah Jazz get me this season. I think everything was great.
Tibor Pleiss on his rookie season: I think everybody thinks for sure that’s it was a tough situation for me [to bounce back and forth between the Jazz and Stampede], but for me it was a great experience this year. You know, I went to the D-League; I played a lot; I was on the court ar–I think around, for 32 minutes per game. So, I really improved my basketball skills, and it helped me lots to be on the court. So, yeah, but I still felt like, when I came back, I still felt like a part of the team. So, I really appreciates to be here. …
I hopefully, I want to play for the team here, for the Utah Jazz. That’s why I came here. I didn’t came here to play for the D-League team. I came here f–to play for the first team, to be a part of the team, and to help. So, I really look forward for next year.
Jeff Withey on how difficult it was to get playing time and then sit on the bench for wide swathes of the season: Yeah, it’s tough. You go from, you know, playing, like, 35 minutes a game, and you start building all this confidence, and then when you stop playing, you understand why, because, you know, you have these guys that are in front of you, and you know, we were definitely fighting for a playoff spot.
So you know, I understood, but at the same time, as a competitor, you want to always be out there. You always want to be playing. But the coaches did a really good job with bringing me aside and talking to me, and you know, kind of telling me how I was. And so, [Snyder] never left me in the dark, and was, like, made me think, like I was doing something wrong. So, he did a good job with that and was professional about that.
1280 guy’s anthropological analysis of Salt Lake City in the NBA landscape: I’ve always thought the stereotype was the African-American player isn’t going to be happy here away from the game, what have you. But I always thought, listening to [Jazz players] talk, having lived here for 22 years now, that the African-American player, when he gets here, and lives here, and plays here, he finds that he actually likes it, and it’s not that way, the way people think.
Dante Exum on playing for the Boomers this summer: I won’t do it unless I’m 100 percent confident in myself. You know, the last thing that I want —
Joe Ingles: We got Patty Mills and [Matthew] Dellavedova. We don’t need him. We got real point guards.
David Locke: Do you feel there’s any value in trying to get some action in before you get here Oct. 1?
Exum: I do.
Exum: You’re so immature. Go-lly.
Locke: You have gained how much weight?
Ingles: [high-pitched squeal] I’m so glad I’m here for this.
Exum: I’ve only gained, like, 10 pounds. Which is good, like —
Ingles: Good 10 pounds or a bad 10 pounds?
Exum: It’s good 10 pounds. You know, all muscle. All I could do was lift…At this time, I’m most definitely stronger than Joe, so I could play one through three.
Ingles: I can shoot better than you with my eyes closed, so.
Exum on how added strength will help him when he drives to the basket: I mean, I haven’t gone at anyone or any contact in, you know, a while, but I’m definitely stronger. So I think, you know, I’m gonna be doing more of the bumping next year.
Exum: [cracks up]
Ingles: [cracks up] [more snorting]
Ingles: …on daytime radio?
Exum: Just unplug his mic.
Ingles on legendary tightwad Gordon Hayward: Gordon’s the tightest NBA player in the world.
Locke: He doesn’t pay? He’s, like, two years away from making $30 [million a year].
Ingles: Oh, my gosh. Yeah, he doesn’t. He’s, I hope he’s listening on his drive home right now. He probably — if we tallied up every time we’d been to dinner and every time someone had paid, he’d definitely be the least.
Exum: We went to a steak restaurant, and I think Joe paid, and then the next time, we went to a P.F. Chang’s, and you know, I picked that one up.
Ingles: Of course, [Exum] decides to go and buy a $1 million car.
Exum: It was not a $1 million car.
Ingles: Look at that right there.
Trey Lyles: Look at what?
Ingles: I wish we had a Periscope on this so we could see the Rolex.
Lyles: I don’t have a Rolex. It’s fake.
Ingles: You swear?
Lyles: No. I don’t.
Locke: Do you think [Lyles] took a pay cut when he came to the NBA?
Ingles: He obviously took a pay cut.
Lyles: It’s so disrespectful when they say that. I had to go to class and everything. Signing off. Mamba out.
David Locke: Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine (UDQM)
** Locke to Derrick Favors (presumably) on his twins: Have fun with the little girls.
** Locke to Rudy Gobert on when he got injured: You were face down and just pounded on the floor. I think you let out probably about seven months of frustration right there in one moment.
** Locke to Chris Johnson on his shot: Is it s–did it, were you surprised it didn’t go in more?
** Locke to Trey Lyles at the end of the interview: I’m sorry. I really, I apologize, Trey, ’cause I was done, actually, like, a minute ago. And I, you really should have been free from this.
** Locke to Raul Neto on talking to Quin Snyder about his one DNP-CD of the season: You should get on him right now.
** Locke, quoting himself on a call he made earlier in the season: “Raul Neto just went, ‘Oh my. That’s the s–that’s what the size of these guys are at my position now.'”
** Locke to Tibor Pleiss on the pics he took during Kobe Bryant’s final game: I got the picture of the night last night.
Pleiss: Yeah? Show me.
Locke: Here, I’ll show you.
Pleiss: I’ll show you my picture.
Locke: All right…It’s very strange for us to show pictures while on the radio.
Pleiss: So, that’s my picture.
Locke: That’s mine.
Pleiss: OK. Yours is better.
Locke: Who’s is better?
Pleiss: Yours. Yeah.