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Utah Jazz Draft Workout: Darion Atkins, Richaun Holmes, Traevon Jackson, T.J. Price, T.J. Sapp and Shannon Scott

May 8, 2015

atkins

** Virginia – F – 6’8 – 234
** Would you consider defense your forte?
Oh yeah, definitely. I think that’s a, you know, that na–that comes, you know, natural to me…I pride myself on that. I won National Defensive Player of the Year. I won ACC Defensive Player of the Year. So it’s something I take seriously. I come from a defensive program.
** What do you need to work on?
As I transition, I think offense. My offensive game needs to develop more. Teams are looking for me to pick and pop, be more versatile. You know, tru–I’m, truly in, at the next level, I would be a 3-man, but I see myself being more of a “four” transitioning into a “three.” I think I have good touch. You know, out on the perimeter, I can shoot the 18-, the 19-, the 20-foot. Working on 3-point, so.
** Are you confident you can guard both NBA threes and fours?
Oh, most definitely. Yeah, I think I’m confident in that.

holmes

** Bowling Green (Moraine Valley Community College) – F – 6’8 – 232
** Comment on the altitude
It definitely was an adjustment. You know, when I first got here, you know, I wasn’t, I forgot all about it. And so when I got in here, it’s kind of an adjustment, but we was able to push through.
** How did this process get started for you?
[The Jazz] saw me at the Portsmouth — you know, I talked to a few teams down there. The Jazz was one of ’em. And soon after, my agent let me know they wanted to get me in for a workout as soon as possible. So, that’s how it worked out.
** Was there one skill you think the Jazz wanted to specifically see from you?
I think more than likely, my athleticism. You know, that’s the thing that kinda got me on the radar, so I just try to keep working and improve other parts of my game. But I definitely want to show off my strong suits.

jackson

** Wisconsin – G – 6’2 – 208
** First workout
** Do you think some teams hold you up to your dad’s level?
You know, I don’t know, man. I think that if they do, then my expectations are always higher. I want to be the greatest player I can possibly be, and you know, I won’t let anything stop me with that. And you know, as long as I have the Lord behind me in that, and Christ strengthening me with that, then that’s fine with me. So I can just, you know, I don’t look at my dad like that. He’s just my dad, at the end of the day. We just have a good time, so.
** How much of these workouts will be you proving you can shoot?
You know, my thing is, you got about three, four point guards in the league that really can shoot the three. Other than that, guys that, you know, can knock down the open shot, and that’s my main focus now, just knocking down the open shot. Not too many Steph Currys, Kyrie [Irving]s out there that can just come off and just light you up for five, six 3s a game. So as long as I can knock down that open shot, be comfortable, be consistent with it, the rest of my game will take care of itself. The good thing about the league is, is so much space. It’s so much opening, I don’t have to settle as much as I did in college. So I mean, I’m just, I’ve worked on it, and I know that I’m capable of shooting.
** On working out with Shannon Scott
I’ve been playing with Shannon since — I remember going to a camp with him in sixth grade, I think. And Shannon was always one of the top guys, so it was great to compete with him, have fun with him, encourage him, man. I thought he had a great workout as well today.
** Who wins one-on-one games between you and your dad now?
He doesn’t play me. He’s scared, so. He’s really, really scared…Last time he played me, I was in ninth grade, and I was right, when I started really getting a feel for the game. And once I hit junior, senior year, he was, he hung up his shoes…All he does is golf and smoke cigars and analyze on TV, so.

price

** Western Kentucky – G – 6’4 – 223
** Does Jeremy Evans mean anything to you?
Yeah, my first visit to Western Kentucky, he was kinda my host. Coaches — he was there for the summer, and when I went there, he was the one who scooped me up. So, we was up in his, and we was in his car. He was taking me everywhere. I got to know Jeremy real well…I spoke to him, like, a week ago, and, but I was gonna talk to him more when we got up here, but he end up leaving because he went to go watch a former player who he played with at WKU. They in the playoffs overseas, so he went to go watch one of his players overseas, so he over there right now. So I didn’t get to talk to him when I got up here.
** What is Jeremy Evans’ legacy at Western Kentucky?
Really, everybody, nobody ain’t really talk about Jeremy there as a basketball player. Really, Courtney Lee really got the basketball aspect. But Jeremy got the aspect of being the greatest person to ever come through there with all smiles and being goofy and just making everybody day. That’s the aspect he got, and that’s the kind of aspect I really want. Everybody can be, you know, a really great basketball player, but sometimes, great basketball players can, you know, be jerks off the court too as well. So, I don’t wanna have that aspect. I wanna be that guy leaving off the court to be that good person that everybody loves, so.
** Are you going to transition to the “one,” or are you a combo guard?
Yeah, I feel like I can transition to the one. I can handle it pretty well. You know, in the workouts, I feel like I handled the pick-and-roll situation pretty well too, so I feel like I can transition to the one. But like I said, whatever they want me to do, they want me to transition to the one or be a combo, I’m all with it. I just wanna do whatever it takes, really, so.

sapp

** Murray State – G – 6’3 – 190
** Comment on the altitude
Everybody says about how the altitude plays a big part, and you get in and you learn it plays a big part. You can try to prepare yourself for it, but you really gonna meet them, meet it once you get here. You’re not really gonna get a real understanding of how much it’ll affect you, but it was a really good workout.
** What are your strengths?
My strength is really, I come out and bring energy. I bring a lot of energy to the court. I try to focus on defense first ’cause you can always control what you do on defense. Offense, you can’t control it all the time, but yeah, when I’m on offense, Imma, I can knock down shots. Today, I wasn’t as much on my shot like I needed to be, but I still was knocking down shots. And also, like, I’m working on becoming a true, true point guard. Playing in the last season I was in, I was moreso — I would be a tweener. Sometimes at the point, moreso at the two…I mainly focus on, I try to focus on defense first, and then offense plays its part.

scott

** Ohio State – G – 6-1 – 185
** Which aspects of your game are you working on?
Just being a more consistent shooter, staying aggressive for the offensive end. I know my defense gonna be fine. Just wanna stay aggressive on offense…In the back of my head, obviously I’m thinking about defense, but I gotta get my offensive game out there to show I can still do it.
** On working out with Traevon Jackson
I known him since about sixth grade, I think, and going to the Big Ten with him too. He did a great job at Wisconsin. But it’s good seeing him out here, just knowing that we both keep growing in our game and keep playing as long as we can.
** What do you know about the current Utah Jazz roster?
I know they have a tall team. I’ve heard that a lot, but I’m just looking forward to try to meet up with the guys and just learning from there.
** Talk about chasing your dream.
It’s definitely tough. I mean, everybody can’t get away with doing that, but I mean, I love working out every morning and getting better every day, so I mean, I enjoy it.

udqm

** On whether he likes seeing guys play five-on-five at the combine: I will hold off on that to see who’s gonna be doing five-on-five.
** On the Rudy Gobert draft day deal: It’s one that comes together that night, but is put into motion maybe earlier.
** On getting draft prospects in for workouts: I try. I’m not overly successful all the time, but I try, for the most part.
** On getting draft prospects in for workouts: I lose sleep by being prepared. I don’t lose sleep by not getting guys in.

Utah Jazz Draft Workout: Russell Byrd, Denzel Livingston, DJ Newbill, Maurice Ndour, Rayvonte Rice and Trey Zeigler

May 7, 2015
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byrd

** Master’s College – G – 6’8 – 215
** Comment on the altitude
[Shooting drills were] pretty challenging after an hour long of going hard, and altitude like this.
** What do you bring?
I think I’m pretty versatile. I think coming out of high school and coming into college, I was just a shooter. A guy who can spot up and knock it down, and I think I’ve kinda evolved into more of a multi-faceted player. You know, I can defend. I feel like I can score inside the 3-point line as well, and then you know, still knock down the 3-pointer when it comes my way…I’m an athlete, but I’m not any, I’m not a freak athlete. I’m not a LeBron [James], so I gotta use my head and my footwork and my body better than those guys with more God-given ability have to. So, the years definitely give me that advantage, and something I’ve learned how to do.
** Talk about chasing your dream.
This is something I’ve been dreaming about since I was little. You know, just the opportunity to even be here in this gym. You got Coach [Jerry] Sloan over there. I mean, it’s just crazy, you know, to be where I’m at…I’m happy to be here, and I’m ready to keep, you know, making the most of whatever opportunities come my way.

livingston

** Incarnate Word – G – 6’4 – 178
** First workout
** Comment on the altitude
I was kinda sluggish from the beginning, but at the end I started to pick it up. ‘Cause I’m not used to the altitude, since I’m from Texas…I thought I was well conditioned at home, but when I came here, I don’t know, it just snuck up on me.
** What do you bring?
I like to score the ball, so I was, you know, three in the nation in scoring, and I like to just, any way I can get the ball in the hole, that’s the way I like to do it. [That’s my] main focus….I’m more of an offensive player.
** Talk about chasing your dream.
It’s a dream come true, basically, ’cause I never thought I would do this — be in this position that I am now since I come from a small school. But you never know who watching you, and I guess, they [saw] something, and they brought me up here. And I’m glad to be out here.

ndour

** Ohio (Monroe) – F – 6’9 – 200
** First workout
** Comment on the altitude
The altitude kinda got me, in the first 35 minutes, I would say…You just gotta push through it. I mean, it’s just that kinda thing that, you know, during the workout, it’s just hard for you to g–you know, to breathe.
** What do you bring?
I like to see myself as a versatile player, so you know, I’m trying to do, you know, pretty much anything on the court. Anything I can do to get my team, you know, a win, so Imma do it. But you know, when it’s come to the game, I think I’m just a guy that, you know, bring a lot of energy. I play my heart out. You know, I’m an effort guy, so you know, that’s something that you don’t have to worry about me.
** Talk about chasing your dream.
It’s just unbelievable, man, and it’s a blessing. I mean, four days ago I was sitting with my mom, ’cause she came for my graduation. And when I knew that I was coming here to work out, I was just like, well, you know, I never thought that, you know, growing up, I would be able to work out with a NBA team at some point in my life. So, it’s just a blessing, and you know, I’m embracing it. You know, and I don’t have nothing to lose, so you know, I’m just keep going forward and do the best I can.

newbill

** Penn State (Southern Mississippi) – G – 6’4 – 210
** First workout
** Comment on the altitude
The altitude was kinda challenging at first, but I warmed up to it…Kinda when I first started going, I was kinda a little winded at first. Then I kinda got my second wind and picked it up.
** What do you bring?
Definitely intensity, energy, effort. I’m a guy who raises the level when I’m out there out there on the court. Just play hard and play tough. Definitely physical toughness and mental toughness.
** What do you know about the Utah Jazz?
Utah Jazz? This is a hall of fame program. You know, guys like Coach Sloan helped make it a hall of fame program. John Stockton, Karl Malone. You know, I played against Trey Burke in college, so I kinda know about the type of player he is, and the type of guys they like.

rice

** Illinois (Drake) – G – 6’4 – 230
** First workout
** Comment on the altitude
Getting used to this altitude ain’t no joke, but I mean, [the workout] was good, man.
** What’s good about your game and what do you need to work on?
I would say I got a lot better with my shot, but I mean, obviously it could get better. Sliding my feet guarding quicker guards, just working on my agility.
** Talk about chasing your dream.
I mean, it’s just great. I mean, trying to make one of my, I mean, my dream come true, working out in front of these guys, trying to impress these guys, I mean, you can’t ask for nothing better.

zeigler

** TCU (Pitt, Central Michigan) – G – 6’5 – 203
** First workout
** Comment on the altitude
The altitude is different here, so it’s harder to go. The conditioning, you gotta be in shape.
** What do you bring?
Just all-around. I’m a versatile guard. I pass, make plays for guys, and I create my own shot as well. And defensively, just taking on ownership of guarding, you know, if it’s the point guard, the 2-guard, you know, just taking ownership of that.
** Talk about chasing your dream.
[Making an NBA team] would be amazing. It would be a dream come true. It’s what I’ve been working for since I was, like, five. So it, I would love to play in the NBA.
** What do you know about the Utah Jazz?
The tradition. You know, obviously John Stockton and Karl Malone. When I started watching basketball, those guys were playing and winning a lot, so the tradition of them, and other guards like Deron* Williams that played here. So, they’ve always been a playoff team.
* “Duh-RON”

perrin

** Did any of the prospects stand out today?
Stand out in terms of what?
Talent or fit?
I would say, I don’t know if I wanna give a particular name. But I would say there was one or two guys that was a little bit intriguing. But again, I, you know, with this early workout and even though they are seniors, they still have a long way to go to be an NBA player.
** Does the workout process change from year to year, or do you have a set routine?
There’s been a little bit of change this year, ’cause we have a fairly new staff…A lot of guys we have on our coaching staff right now were not here for most of our workouts last year, so they have come in. Quin [Snyder]’s, has, tweaked a little, few things that we’ve done last year. Brad Jones, who is running our workouts, he’s tweaked a few things. So, it’s an ever-lu — ever-going process, changing process.
** How involved is Quin Snyder in the process?
All the coaches, including Quin, will be very involved in the draft process. They’ll have a say. They won’t have the final say. That’ll be on Dennis [Lindsey], and Kevin [O’Connor]. But they are very involved. Now, Quin wasn’t here today, because he’s, you know, away for this week. But going forward, we expect Quin to be involved, just like the coaches.
** Thoughts on the 2015 draft?
I don’t see a lot of so-called “NBA superstars,” if any. But that’s not to say, somebody may jump forward and become the next Stephen Curry or somebody like that.

Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interview, 5/1

May 2, 2015
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lindsey

With the NBA, it’s first draft, then free agency. With the NFL, it’s free agency, then draft. Do you have a preference?
Yeah, I think they get it right, to be honest. I, but there have been proposals. I know of one current proposal that’s sitting in front of the league by another team that would change our schedule around a great deal, and free agency would come and the draft would come after that.

Can you comment on reports that Ante Tomic has signed a deal to stay with Barcelona?
I really, I still can’t. We’re trying to find out the details of it, was there an offer, is the contract signed. You know, we’ve had some conversations with Ante’s American-based agent, and I’ll just leave it at that.

You know, I, for the time being, we’ve got a pretty good center, and Derrick [Favors] has played a lot of minutes as the “five.” We’re pinching ourselves a little bit as far as the level of talent we have at the big man positions, and Tibor Pleiss, draft picks, money — I think, you know, we’ll, while we have great respect for Ante and his talents, we have a few contingencies built in.

What questions did you have to start the year that you feel like you have answers to now, that are surprising answers to you?
So, I think, clearly from Day One, we wanted to create a defensive identity, and early in the season, that was lacking. Now, we came out during the preseason and we showed some signs, but the nature of our schedule and our inexperience and lack of familiarity in November, that all showed. And we were awful defensively, and we had to own that.

And I felt like the work that we put in and some of the players that we had, with their physical tools, that we could get better defensively. I was surprised to the degree and the speed that that took hold.

I don’t think even Quin [Snyder] and I — we had a lotta discussions, you know, about what we wanted to do, where we wanted to move the group, and the emphasis on that. I don’t think either one of us would have anticipated that the defense takes hold.

And so, I think you, that coupled with some individual development — there were some guys that developed, I think, beyond even the most trained eye in basketball would’ve expected. A lot of Gordon [Hayward] and Derrick’s development, frankly, got swept under the rug ’cause Rudy [Gobert] developed in such a big way.

Mayweather or Pacquiao?
Oh, man. I can’t wait for tomorrow. Think about it. Kentucky Derby and Mayweather-Pacquiao and Spurs-Clippers. Tomorrow’s gonna be a great day for the average sports fan.

I, you know, look, [Manny] Pacquiao, his ability to throw punches. I’m interested to see, you know, [Floyd] Mayweather and, you know, his jab and his overhand right, is, if he’s able to out-point Pacquiao with Pacquiao’s ability just to throw a volume of punches.

And as you can tell, I’m a little bit of a fight fan. And I think Pacquiao’s been susceptible to overhand rights, and Mayweather’s overhand right is very significant. So, it, to me, it’s gonna be a great night and as usual, I’ll stay away from predictions. And, but I’m really going to enjoy watching the fight.

When did you turn into Bert Sugar? That was impressive.

Is Bert Sugar a ba–a boxing expert? Is that the older guy? …

Some friends of mine that I grew up with, their dad was a boxing trainer down the street. Jerry and Ricky Stoner. And they were both, they, I think they got to top ten in the world in their weight classification.

And so, the Stoner family was right down the street, and I put on a pair of gloves enough to know that I wouldn’t be very good and it could be the most lonely place in the world. And, but, you know, since then, I’ve always kind of had a few guys I like to follow in boxing. (1280)

Utah has really aged Joe Ingles

April 30, 2015
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Eleven months ago, Joe Ingles was a carefree young lad in a backwards snapback enjoying a good ol’ time with his boys.

joe-1a

joe-2a

joe-4a

joe-7a

It’s truly shocking what a move across the pond and being charged with Dantecare can do to a guy. Like many new parents, Ingles could no longer find time to shower or shave, expressing expectations in February that he would probably look like a werewolf by the end of the season.

That’s not all. Now known to all as “Slo-Mo Joe,” Ingles was full of vitality, athleticism and youthful verticality less than a year ago.

joe-5a

Seven months in Utah has really done a number on Ingles. Witness the transformation below for yourself. Crazy, huh?!

before and after

Joe Ingles talks Quin Snyder, his teammates, Vegemite and Ben Simmons

April 28, 2015
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ingles

On Rudy Gobert
I think, really, the sky’s the limit for Rudy. Like I said, from the things you hear from last year, he was pretty average, just in everything. He was obviously a big talent, and that off-season, obviously worked pretty hard on everything and came back really good.

And I mean, he got, obviously got to play a lot as well [this season], and I think that helped his confidence, was probably one of the main things.

And I mean, he, no doubt he’ll be Defensive Player of the Year in the coming years, I think. And if he can get a couple moves down the block and finish around the rim a little bit stronger — he’s obviously still pretty wiry and I think he’s only 22 or something. So yeah, huge future for him. …

[On defense,] all Rudy talked about was letting, if [the guy you were defending] did blow by you, just don’t foul and, ’cause he wanted to block the shot. So really, to have that guy talking behind you is, you couldn’t understand him half the time ’cause of his accent.

On Derrick Favors
He’s 6-10, 6-11, and probably w–he doesn’t really look athletic. He looks kind of, bit out of it most times, but he’s one of the most athletic guys I’ve played with.

On Dante Exum
The progress he made himself, and also with the team, with 39 wins and he started half of ’em, I think, round about. And yeah, he got a lot more confident throughout the year too.

I think at the start of the year, people were scouting him for, obviously, his shot, and were going under and under and under and under and under. And at the start, he didn’t want to shoot that, and as the year went on he got more confident. And I think the starting role did help, honestly, to be thrown in there and knowing that you’re the starting point guard.

How much time did you put into Dante?

Yeah, I could probably thank Dante for my first job in the NBA. I don’t, I think it did help that, obviously, with the relationship we had. And personally, a, we spent a lot of time together. We sat next to each other on the plane.

We lived a street, pretty much a street away from each other, and for the first half of the year, he didn’t have his license so it was either his mum dropping him at games or me picking him up. So, it was hilarious.

On Quin Snyder(‘s honest approach to coaching)
He was pretty brutal at times, and not necessarily in a rude way or a bad way, but it was, you could tell the way he was doing it was to help me or whoever it was, and the team…His passion for our team and the development of our team and the, everything, he’s just so driven to make this a great franchise…

We were in video [session] one day, and it was a few games in a row I didn’t have a rebound. And I guess he thought for my size — and I think at that point I was starting in the “two.” So I was, it was me and Gordon [Hayward], and so, to be out there, and I was playing pretty big minutes, and I didn’t have a rebound.

Something happened on the video that I should’ve got it, and I kind of didn’t leak out, but I was getting ready to leak out, and he told me that I was the worst rebounder that he’s, I think he — it was either that he’s ever coached or that he’s ever seen in his life.

And the whole team was — I used to sit in the front row with a few of the other guys, and all I could hear behind me was, like, Gordon and these guys laughing, and it went on for a while. And I didn’t have a rebound the next game, and then I got a couple the one after, so.

Did you tell Matt Harpring that Vegemite tastes like Nutella?
I did hear that story. I don’t know where he got that from…I think it was when he got the Vegemite, he was showing me and he had a packet of double-coated Tim Tams…He left the Tim Tams at the arena, so…he was a bit confused.

Is Ben Simmons in the Boomers’ WhatsApp group chat?
He’s not in the group just yet…Originally it was just the team from the Worlds, it kinda started, and then obviously a couple got added from the squad that’s from the last couple years. And so, it’s been a few little — it’s actually a little messed up too, ’cause dudes have different numbers.

Lightning Round
@downtownball posted on their Instagram that people could post questions for Ingles in the comments. Melbourne-based comedian Ronny Chieng “went ham” on the comment section, so all the questions in the lightning round are from him.

** How do you deal with trash talking in the NBA?
I didn’t really have anything to say back to most of those guys. It was a little bit intimidating.

** Did you learn any sports science from NBA trainers that you didn’t know before?
No.

** What playing shoes do you favor?
I can’t remem–on the ru–the ones James Harden wears.
Were you guarding him wearing his shoes?
Yeah, it’s a bit embarrassing.

** Who’s the loudest in-game coach in the NBA?
I know this because he really annoyed me one game. When the Denver guy, Brian Shaw, got fired, the assistant took over for him.

Host: Melvin Hunt.

Ingles: That was it…We played them when he was an assistant, and he was yelling — ’cause I started that game. I was — I’ll never forget this either. He, I was guarded by Gary Harris, one of the youngest, smaller, quick, little two-men. Me being big, slow and old, it wasn’t a great matchup for me. But did get past me a few times, and he was yelling out all this stuff about how, “You can’t let that guy beat you.” Like, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then he was coaching the next time we played them after all that had happened, and I ran down in front of him one time, and he said something. I said, “Do you ever, do you, like, do you stop talking?” He said, “That’s what I’m here for. That’s what I do.” And I was like, “Well, you’re the head coach now. You, when you’re the assistant, you can probably do that but — ” So, he was really loud. He was non-stop.

** Did you know Gordon Hayward is a high-level Starcraft 2 player?
Yeah, see, Gordon Hayward and Dante Exum are, like, the two biggest computer geeks I’ve ever met in my life. They used to, they all had these, like, high-tech computers that they’d be playing games in…At Gordon’s house, he had one of those, like, zillion-screen things…Derrick Favors was into it a bit. Jeremy Evans. A lot of our team were, but I didn’t really understand. Rudy Gobert too, actually. I didn’t really understand. (Downtown)

Former Jazzmen Get-Togethers

April 27, 2015
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Andrei Kirilenko and Kyrylo Fesenko’s teams (CSKA Moscow and Avtodor Saratov, respectively) played each other in Russia’s VTB League yesterday. Couldn’t not watch it :)

AK47 vs Fes in 15 seconds (aka CSKA vs Avtodor) @ak47cska @armarius44 #kirilenko #fesenko #utahjazz

A video posted by moni (@monilogue) on

 

Meanwhile, Mehmet Okur and Ronnie Price’s families were hanging out (via @mehmetokur13):

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Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interview, 4/23 (Part 2 of 2)

April 25, 2015
tags: ,

lindsey-air-quotes

Are you looking for more experience at the point guard position?
The baseline production of the position needs to get better, but there’s no reason why it can’t. We have very good, young raw material.

Dante [Exum]’s physical dimensions are great, and we started — that, and his mindset and his intelligence, he really impacted the team in a unique way, at 19 years old.

There was a point in time when we were still challenged as a team, I think late December, early January. I, you know, I consistently look at our stat pack on a weekly basis, and it was counter-intuitive, but at one or two points in the season, it was fairly large minutes, Dante was the only player of the group that had a positive plus-minus.

And so, there’s so many things that go into playing that position. There’s so many — we call ’em intangibles, but we’re getting in good enough statistically with on-off numbers, with the SportVU cameras, that we’re s–we’re able to, you know, attach indirectly when someone’s bringing intangibles back to the group.

It may not be a one-for-one correlation. It may be an indirect stat like real plus-minus or defense on and off, and the things of the such, but he, you know, it was unique that when you’re playing with a 19-year-old on a win-challenged team, that you are winning inside of his minutes.

And then obviously when the team turned, it turned in a big way, and I think he was close to plus-5 per 48 minutes when he was on the court.

And there were a lotta reasons that were going into that. One, he wasn’t forcing himself on the game. Two, he knew our schemes and could get us into our offense. Three, at 19 years old, we c–we didn’t know if he’d be a good defender for a number of years.

And with, inside of a few months, he was a plus defender at his position, and now, you know, we’re thinking about him in the terms of being one of the better defenders going forward at that position for the next 10 years.

And you guys know what that means, when the pick and roll is such a large percentage of opposing teams’ attack, to have someone that you have individual integrity that can stay in front of guys.

And then Trey [Burke], you know, we, Trey, it seems like he’s been around for a while, but he’s 22. This should’ve been his senior year at Michigan, and everybody knows about his pull-up ability and his late-clock ability…And Trey’s a dedicated worker. He’s a smart player. He’s safe with the ball, and I think he’ll move forward.

And then we added Bryce Cotton from the D-League, and you guys saw his speed and his ability to score. He’s a good shooter, and what happened with Bryce when we put him in our possessions, our offensive possessions picked up.

And so, we talked about Raul [Neto] as well, and we do have draft picks going forward, and we’ll continue to work with what we have, and then take a deep look at our other alternatives as well.

On Derrick Favors’ personality
I tell you what, people, the, you know, he’s from the south, and he has that, you know, charming Atlanta drawl. But Derrick is a thinker. He has very good insights, and he can rib players and his teammates.

He was getting after Dante in a funny way, and ther–not, in Derrick, the beauty in Derrick is, is he doesn’t have a malicious bone in his body. He’s really good people.

And so I think as, you know, Derrick h–again, it seems like he’s been around forever. He’s 23. We’re just ecstatic with his development, but he’s grown into a leader, in a subtle way.

And you know, he’s very, that relationship between he and Quin [Snyder], those, that key player-coach relationship’s always important. But Quin’s gained a lot of appreciation for Derrick and who he is.

And you know, I’m just thrilled for the guy, and we’re proud to have him, and his humor is good. You just got to, you have to get to know him a little bit, and I think, again, as he gets older, he’ll feel more and more comfortable to show more personality to the public.

On Salt Lake City and Free Agency
Are there certain types of players that wouldn’t fit here? Absolutely. You know, the DNA of the culture of Salt Lake and the Jazz organization, but that’s a little bit of what I was speaking about earlier, is that an important part of your process is the deselection process.

And so, I love it. I love that we won’t go certain places. And to be frank, there are certain backgrounds that line up very well with the Jazz organization. You know, strong parental influence. A player with a significant other. A player that, with a significant other, with child. And, that would really appreciate the family environment we have in our community.

And so, there’ll eventually be that player that will totally get us and will be the right fit. I don’t know if it will be in this free agency, but I’ve said it before [and before]. You know, Reggie White moving from Philly to Green Bay, there will come a day when we will have our Reggie White.

someday dl

Do you have any concerns about your ability to pay everyone?
We’ll continue to have very good flexibility and ability to maneuver for the next three or four years. And then those contracts will become due and players will make an ex–percentage mark up moving forward because of the new TV deal, and we’ll have to make tough decisions going forward.

But I’m very confident that if the players do their part, if they act the right way, if they develop, if they follow Quin’s lead, if they’re unselfish, that we can keep ’em all, yes. (1280)

Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interview, 4/23 (Part 1 of 2)

April 24, 2015
tags: , ,

lindsey

How will you measure and weigh chemistry in making off-season decisions?
We’ve let good players that have potentially come our way via the draft and free agency and trade go away because they’re just not the right DNA for the organization…

I think we have a good handle on what fits here from a mentality standpoint, from a work ethic standpoint. And, so that, I was making a speech yesterday, and that deselection process is very important. You know, the, some of the best businesses in the world, in my opinion, are very high-minded on deselecting players and staying away from potential trouble.

When did you realize you had something in Rudy Gobert, that it was no longer just potential?
You know, there were signs along the way. The first time I rea–besides the draft workout, and we saw some things when we went over to see him in France, and so, there, he was unique, right? It doesn’t take a basketball expert to say, see, you know, his dimensions say “whoa.”

But I think the first preseason game, or not the first, but the preseason game in Anaheim versus the Lakers…Even though it was a preseason game, it took me aback a little bit. He had great minutes.

People don’t realize this, but he and Hassan Whiteside both had great minutes in the D-League: Hassan this year; Rudy last year. And there were minutes that, at least statistically, were so dominating that, you know, if you’re paying attention to the analytics and advanced stats, that it’d be like, whoa. You know, if he’s able to pull together two-thirds of his production that he’s had on the, in the D-League, he could impact in a big way. So you know, I’ve looked at a few spreadsheets over the years, and I knew that that was unusual, or our group knew that that was unusual.

And then of course, the start of the off-season with our summer league. He wasn’t, he didn’t perform good in the summer league. He was great. And the thing that made me personally anxious is every time he was off the floor, I felt nekkid defensively. It just didn’t feel the same. The group didn’t feel the same. And you put Rudy back in, and all of a sudden, the game got much more imposing for our opponents, in, and, how they were coming at us.

And then of course, you know, everybody talked about the World Championships and his role with France. And you know, we’ve, we’re lucky. Look, it’s, you don’t get guys at 22 years old with these dimensions that have a, has a really high care factor, that use themself as, “Hey, you know, I’m a defensive player or I’m big brother, and you know, build this thing around me,” that really is willing to contribute without the ball.

There’s only so many possessions in an, inside an NBA game, so when you got a guy like Mark Eaton or Rudy Gorbert* that says “Hey, I’m gonna take care of the things that a lot of average NBA players don’t wanna take care of,” then you have something that you can build around.

* Not a typo

Because you are so young, are you more inclined to trade this year’s draft picks?
I think certainly we have to be mindful of where the team moved the last third of the season, and look at those opportunities. We would’ve looked at those opportunities anyway, even if we, let’s just say, improved to 30 wins. But I think we definitely have to look to see if there’s something that can accelerate the process.

But I’m also a little greedy too. I’ve got a coaching staff that is very good with young players. That’s why we hired Quin. That’s why we set up the staff the way we did, and they’ve been able to advance a few young guys well beyond their years of experience.

So again, I think we have an advantage there, an inherent advantage. So all of a sudden, [if] we do have a young prospect that we really like, I think the ace is the hole is, is that we have a coach that can accelerate his growth, who’s willing to play him.* And so, I don’t wanna give up that prematurely just ’cause we have an idea that we need a vet.

* Emphasis mine

When might Ante Tomic and Raul Neto come over?
It’s very unusual that you have a set of bigs that we’ve had — some bigs that, frankly, predated me. And so, we could never really activate that asset and have serious conversations, just ’cause we had several centers, and Ante is a stone-cold “five.” But he’s someone that I really appreciated over the year — over the years, I should say.

He’s really improved, and Quin’s experience in the Euroleague, when he was in Moscow one year with Ettore Messina, he got to see a lot of these players which is a huge advantage for us, because he knew Joe Ingles. You know, as soon as Joe got waived, you know, he had corporate knowledge — they had coffee together in a lobby in Europe, and he knew that [Ingles] could fit the culture that we’re trying to build.

And the same thing with Ante. You know, immediately, he, Quin knew we had his rights before he ever took the job, and he was very excited about Ante, his size at 7-2, and his unique passing skills. And so, there are some things that are very intriguing, and we hope to have some serious dialogue going forward, and you never know.

But certainly with how we’ve positioned the team, we’d have a chance to activate that asset that we’ve never had before.

Raul is Raul. He’s, plays with great energy. Even though he’s a little undersized, he’s an excellent defender already. Very good lateral movement. He plays with great imagination. He’s a pass-first guy.

He didn’t shoot the ball so far this year with his club team as well as he shot the ball this summer with Brazil, but he’s someone that we’re very excited about moving forward. And we don’t know what that means relative to this year or future seasons, but again, we think he’s, you know, he’s a good player that could fit our group. (1280)

** Dennis Lindsey on talking about Ante Tomic, Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine: I don’t wanna get too deep, ’cause I wanna respect him.

Bits from Randy Rigby Interview, 4/22

April 23, 2015
tags: , ,

randy rigby

How nice is it to know you have the right coach and the right GM?
Well, we’ve always taken the approach that we’re very cautious in making change. And when we’ve done it, we’ve always been very methodical, and very strategic. And we feel very good about the approaches and the decisions that have been made, and they’ve proved up. And they’ve been, deserved now, that confidence that we have as an organization.

And I know, speaking for the Millers, from our front office, we’ve had great support as well, I kn–we’ve made, with, Steve Starks is now our president of Miller Sports Properties. Very supportive of the direction that we’re going, and we’re really excited about moving forward.

And we’ll, Dennis [Lindsey], and Quin [Snyder], myself, Justin Zanik, we haven’t let any grass grow under our feet. We’ve really been si–we immediately sat, been sitting down, and moving forward with the plans.

Is it a good thing or bad thing that Quin Snyder came in eighth in Coach of the Year voting?
I think Quin, well deserved for Quin to be recognized top eight. That’s, and when you look at that group of eight coaches, that’s a pretty impressive group to be affiliated with, and I thought some of the compliments that some of the writers and people gave towards Quin and what he was able to accomplish the back half of the season, to me what we’ve been able to accomplish from where we started out defensively, as an organization, to where we ended up, is nothing short of remarkable. I think, very impressive.

And those things just don’t happen when you’re playing NBA-caliber ball…And so, I think it was well, it was very well deserved from Quin.

What goes through your mind when you see the Hawks-Nets series and you see Paul Millsap, Deron Williams, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll playing in the postseason?
Well, I’m, you know what, number one, I’m happy for them…I still talk with Kyle, and Paul, and DeMarre, as they’re coming* — and Deron, le–I will add, on that. And they have fond memories of being involved with the Utah Jazz. …

Now, we made some decisions in, for the good of us, and really f–they had decisions as well for the good of their career, that we parted company. But they’ve worked hard to be where they’re at now. I’m excited for ’em.

* UDQM

The ascent to the playoffs is tougher in the West, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, isn’t it?
Well, you know what, if you wanna be the best, you’re gonna eventually have to go through all of ’em anyway, and then, you know what, it’s kinda like that refining fire, and that is, is that the harder it burns, then, early on, maybe it’s gonna make us better, you know, and make that steel a little tougher. And that’s what we have to look at it.

And in a lot of ways, you say, “Hey, we think we can be there, but boy, what of those eight teams in the West, now, are you gonna be beating out?” But some of these teams are getting a little bit older. Injuries always comes into play on it.

We are a good, very good young team; a very good, disciplined team, and I think as we add improvement and we add some maturity to it, it’s going to only help us to be, I think, able to compete even better.

How many games will the Jazz win next year?
I’m not gonna put that on Quin Snyder. But I’m, I’ll say this. We will all be disappointed, and, that, we want to take that, we want, as we’ve said a year ago, and we’ve been saying, is we aren’t gonna skip steps, but we’re gonna keep growing and taking the next steps.

And I th–and we’ve been doing that. And I expect us to continue to be doing that. And we’ve seen that we have the capabilities, and I really know that we have the team that can do that. So, let’s see where that goes.

Rajon Rondo is a jerk and Rick Carlisle is one of the nicest guys and best coaches. Talk about team-building.
Well, you know, to that point, one of the things that we really have been t–instilling in, Jerry [Sloan?] talked about this. Quin has been, really, a disciple of, and I think the foundation to me, of team-building.

The, one of the most critical foundational points of team-building is communication. And I’ve seen it impact teams. I’ve seen it impact relationships inside teams. I’ve seen it impacting coaches and players inside that. And that’s where it starts unraveling.

And I would say communication and selfishness, and that, when all of a sudden, you have individual players that are more concerned about their own stats, their own contracts, and their own future than the good of the team, and then you have a lack of communication, or sometimes over-communicating your selfish attitudes inside the locker room, that creates, that starts that whole unraveling, and the negative attitude that can be in a locker room…

So you’re constantly trying to communicate those type of principles, communicating the principles of teamwork and pass and working together. You gotta constantly be driving that into these players because if you don’t, they’re gonna go to the lowest grade, and that is their own selfish desires and attitudes. And that’s when teams start unraveling.

What is Steve Starks’ role and background?
Well, let me clarify as well, ’cause really, Greg [Miller] was the CEO of Miller Management Corp. Now, and Greg also had the hat of being our member of the [NBA’s] Board of Governors. He was our governor for the NBA. Greg will continue to remain as the governor for the NBA…

starks tweet

Clark Whitworth has been, now, given the role from Gail Miller, and the Miller family, to be the president of Miller Management Corp. In that, there are actually seven divisions and organizations. The automotive. We have a finance division that’s, has, a part of it. The real estate division.

Then we have a retail and Miller Motor — Miller Retail, and also Miller Sports Properties. Steve Starks is now the president of Miller Sports Properties and Miller Retail, which are the Fanzz stores, the theaters, and also, then, the entities underneath that.

Steve, I work with now, directly with Steve, and we work, then, directly with the Miller family on decisions that are made. And we also include Clark Whitworth, who is overseeing, then, and working overall at Miller Management Corp.

So, that’s the new structure of the reporting and Steve has been with the organization for eight years. Has a great relationship — he was mentored by Larry Miller early on when he was a part of, if you remember, the governor’s kind of “kitchen cabinet.” It was a lot of business owners. He was kinda the executive secretary of that group of businessmen.

Has a very bright business mind, and Steve does a marvelous job. Understands exactly, and well connect–and well connected with the Miller family in meeting with Gail and Greg, Steve [Miller], all of the family, in making sure they’re in the loop while we’re also making our decisions. So, in, from that area, we’ll continue to work directly with Steve and the Miller family…From a fan’s perstepective,* there’s no real difference. (1280)

* Not a typo.

Season End: Highlights of Opponent Game Thread Highlights

April 20, 2015
tags: ,

Sports fans are funny…and can be quite colorful and creative in their use of words. Below are some of the descriptions of Quin Snyder and a few Jazz players found in opponent game threads in the second half of this season.

Highlights from the first 41 games of the season can be found here.

snyder

** Excellent future as some sort of evil executive actor. Maybe one of those rich dudes on Law and Order who kills everyone (Cavaliers)
** An evil, money-obsessed cokehead on Wall Street (Cavaliers)
** Straight-to-video American Psycho 5 (Cavaliers)
** How often does Quin Snyder go tanning? Twice a day? (Bucks)
** What’s up with Quin Snyder’s hair? It’s fantastic. (Blazers)
** Scary looking (Blazers)
** Could kill someone by looking at them (Blazers)
** Knows what really happened to that Nationwide kid (Blazers)
** Always looks like he’s gonna murder everyone in the building (Suns)
** An evil scientist (Mavericks)
** Scary as fuck (Mavericks)
** About to pull out a 9 and start bustin’ some caps (Mavericks)
** A musician from the 80s (Mavericks)
** Top 3 for sure in intimidation factor (Knicks)
** Scary (Knicks)
** Drunk Stepfather (Pistons)
** Belthazor (Pistons)
** Evil version of Leo in Wolf of Wall Street (Pistons)
** The guy the spawn of Satan sent to prepare the Earth for his arrival. The dude that would kidnap the virgin witch to sacrifice in his crossover ritual (Pistons)
** Looking thinner. As if he graduated to coke (Pistons)
** A bit of an American Psycho look (Wizards)
** Ludwig von Beethoven (Blazers)
** Dude from American Psycho (Blazers)
** Harry Houdini (Blazers)
** Has DEFINITELY shot up a bank before (Blazers)
** Somebody take Utah’s coach out before he kills Batman or something (Blazers)
** Slimy movie villain (Blazers)
** American Psycho (Blazers)

hayward
** Which actor does Hayward look like with those damn cheekbones and that godawful slick haircut? (Cavaliers)
** Chris Klein? (Cavaliers)
** I wanna say Ryan Gosling but the fact that I even thought about saying Gordon Hayward looks like Ryan Gosling has just made me physically ill (Cavaliers)
** Chris Evans in Captain America before he gets ripped (Cavaliers)
** Gets his toughness/conditioning from constantly battling hydra (Warriors)
** Scruffy beard in a vain attempt to look like he’s not in high school (Trail Blazers)
** Still has the second most punchable face in the NBA (Blazers)
** I bet everything he says comes out in a nasal whine (Blazers)
** His work in The Rivers Edge and as McFly in Back to the Future are classics tho (Blazers)
** Hair is an atrocity (Suns)
** Captain America before his transformation (Kings)
** What the hell does Hayward put in his hair to keep it in place during a basketball game, rubber cement? (Kings)
** That’s too much Brylcreem (Spurs)
** A 1940s farmboy about to join the army (Blazers)
** Yes but it’s more like war for oil so he can keep his hair slicked back (Blazers)
** Hair drives me kind of crazy – he looks like Charlie Sheen in Wall Street (Celtics)
** Don Draper (Hornets)
** Pretty boy Hayward (Wizards)
** An extra from The Great Gatsby (Wizards)
** I don’t like Gordon Hayward’s face (Warriors)
** His hair (Warriors)
** Yeah I agree his hair like Luke Babbit last night. Too annoying (Warriors)
** Hayward is so white he thought about talking shit to Green there, but then thought better of it (Nuggets)
** He was thinking about what to get a Bed Bath and Beyond instead (Nuggets)
** I hear he is going to pick up a new French press after the game (Nuggets)

gobert
** Freakishly long (Celtics)
** Gobzilla (Celtics)
** Long enough to block a helicopter (Warriors)
** Goober (Blazers)
** A freaking mutant (Blazers)
** His arms are probably longer than I am (Blazers)
** Going to be a monster for a long time (Bucks)
** You have to get someone to just fucking club Gobert (Rockets)
** A fucking monster (Rockets)
** Trouble (Wizards)
** Has nice body control for a guy that is 11 feet tall (Timberwolves)
** Xerxes from 300 (Blazers)

ingles 112
** What is a Joe Ingles? (Cavaliers)
** What is a Joe Ingles? (Blazers)
** Who the hell is Joe Ingalls? (Nuggets)
** Who is Ingles? (Clippers)
** Fucking Joe Engles (Spurs)
** Is he the owner’s nephew or something? (Blazers)
** Ingliss reminds me of a guy I used to play with in over 35 ball. My guy had more hair (Bucks)
** A two-pack-a-day smoker (Blazers)
** Looks like he was promoted from the stadium maintenance crew (Timberwolves)
** One of the least athletic looking NBA players (Blazers)
** An alcoholic, pack-a-day smoker (Blazers)
** Meth looks like the more likely substance to be honest (Blazers)
** Nah, those people are skinny. Joe has the doughy thing going (Blazers)
** Ingles, like Babbit yesterday, are both guys that look like NBA players from the 70s — especially guys that were only in the league because the ABA thinned out the depth pool (Timberwolves)

Honorable Mention
** Fuck Utah. Team of long ostriches (Wizards)

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