On being a
white NBA player hustle player
There are things you can control in basketball and then things you can’t. And I want to make sure everything I control, I do 100 percent. And hustling my face off every possession is one of the things that I can control.
Do you have a favorite superhero?
It’d have to be, I’d have to say Batman, probably, ’cause he’s just a normal rich dude. And anybody can be a humble rich dude if you work hard enough. So, I, that’s kind of what I strive for.
** Mom made him get a haircut. He does what “Mama Cooley” tells him to do because of the way she cooks.
** At David Locke’s request, Cooley tells his dog story yet again. Unlike the first time when Cooley said he stole the dog, this time he says he compensated its original owner.
Do you think you can earn the starting point guard spot through a training camp battle?
I don’t really look at, you know, starting or coming off the bench, whatever. My goal is to go out there, compete, get better. What these coaches telling me to do, I try to do that to the best of my abilities every night. And whatever happens as a result of that, you know, that’s what it is.
Which part of your game is not talked about enough or underappreciated?
I don’t know if I’ve necessarily earned that right yet, you know? I just got my foot into the door, so I’m fine with not being talked about right now ’cause I still have lot to prove.
Do you have a favorite superhero?
I don’t think I have a favorite superhero. I wasn’t really into that.
** Dealt with a rare form of epilepsy at the age of nine; doctors told his mom he wouldn’t make it past sixth grade
What do you need to do to solidify your spot on the team?
You know, just go in and play hard. Help my teammates get better. You know, competing, and you know, just doing whatever my coach asks me to do.
What did the coaching staff want you to work on this summer?
You know, told me, not even on the court — you know, just stretching. You know, getting my hips more looser. You know, working on ball-handling…shooting. Those are two main primary things. Get a little bit stronger. And just keeping that same, you know, competitive edge. You know, getting to my spots quickly on the court. And being consistent.
What did you work on this summer?
I wanted to go into the summer getting quicker and faster, and trying to lose weight. And of course, shooting corner threes.
How much weight have you lost?
I haven’t lost the weight yet. But coming into the season, I usually like to be at a certain weight and I’m at that weight right now. And I know during the course of the week, I’m going to shred that weight, and I’ll be where I need to be…Right now I’m at 220, and that’s the lightest I came into a season. So, after the week I should be less than 215.
Do you like the Tony Allen comparison?
I like the Elijah Millsap comparison. You know, I lo–I used to watch Tony Allen all the time. Guys like him, Wesley Matthews, Bruce Bowen. I’m real big on watching film, but I think I got my own flavor.
What can fans expect from you?
Just working hard, and whatever the team needs from me, that’s what Imma do. I’ve, over the years, I’ve become more of a defensive player, along with scoring. So, just being a really hard worker, and whatever the team needs from me, I’ll do.
Which NBA player do you model your defensive game after?
In college, I would say Paul Pierce, just how, the way he plays. He plays hard every game, but he’s more of a offensive player. But also, like, how Klay Thompson, he uses, he plays great defense, and he’s probably not known for his defense as much, but I see how hard he works on defense.
** Is an only child, but has a godbrother
* Jerrett was the only player that was not interviewed by Ron Boone and David Locke.
How was the injury recovery process from your torn labrum? When will you return to the court?
It was boring, but that’s part of it. It’s feeling really well. Honestly, I don’t know what the time-process or the timing will be to get back on the court. So, just take it day by day.
Will you be able to play in the preseason?
I have no clue. I mean, it feels fine, but it’s not really my call right now.
Do you have any odd pregame rituals or lucky charms?
I don’t have anything crazy. Nothing crazy.
What is the one aspect of your game that you’d say you’ve mastered?
I think just being able to be versatile. Guarding multiple positions and playing multiple positions on offense. Offense, defense. You know, in college I played the four and I played the point guard as well. I mean, that’s what I’ve done my whole life. I’ve guarded at point guard and I’ve guarded at center, so I think just being versatile is something that I’ve mastered.
What do you need to do to make the roster?
I think continuing to show my versatality* on offense and defense. Continuing to show the fact that I have a high basketball IQ. And show that I’ve improved my shooting a lot, and that I can knock down a NBA three, a corner three. I think those are the main things. Just versatality* and shooting.
* Not typos.
What is your next step if you don’t make the team?
I think we’d go down to the D-League probably, work our way up. Just get better, and you know, wait for the next opportunity.
On guarding the block
I would say that’s definitely what I hold my hat on, is defense. Shot-blocking, especially. That’s what I like to do. I think that fits very well with this team, being a great defensive team last year and finishing in the league on the top. You know, with Rudy [Gobert] and me and some other guys down low, I think that we have a chance to really shut down the paint.
And you know, I look re–I look forward to it because, you know, I feel like this is just such a good fit for me. But yeah, that’s what I love to do, is block shots. Love to run the floor, get easy baskets, pick and roll. I’ve been working on my 15-foot jump shot, feel really confident with that. But yeah, just trying to keep on getting better and better.
On getting his chance in Utah
You know, New Orleans last year was a crazy team, or crazy year, just because, you know, the, we had some injuries, but at the same time we were fighting for that playoff spot, and y–coach didn’t really hit the rotation ’cause he was so worried about that playoff spot. So, a couple guys didn’t get, you know, a chance, and I was one of those guys. And so, you know, this year I definitely feel like I have a chance and I can show what I can do.
Do you have any odd pregame rituals or lucky charms?
No, nothing, you know, snack or food or anything like that that gets me going. So, no.
** Loves the beach and being outdoors. Is a “really chill guy,” just likes to hang out, go outside, and enjoy the weather. Is “pretty close” with Chase Budinger, though not close enough to say “Budinger” correctly
** Being from California, he experienced bad culture shock being landlocked at the University of Kansas
Player body talk
I do think you’ll notice — we had some coaches in, and one local high school coach noted, and it was pretty good, that you can, you could tell visually the players who had been in the program because there’s, their bodies were just more mature and developed.
So you’ll notice some physical differences in Gordon [Hayward]. Derrick [Favors]’ body looks unbelievable. It’s what you would draw up as a prototypical NBA body.*
* So, Karl Malone’s body?
On the Jazz’s pace of play
We were…a good running team [last year]. We could send three back on the defense, get our defense set with our unique size and length, athleticism. And we were a very good defensive rebounding team, so we could secure the ball.
We didn’t advance it up — even though we didn’t play with the greatest pace, one thing that statistics showed us is the ball actually moving, we were superior, and the actions within, once we moved into the halfcourt, our pace of the action moving. So screening the ball, swinging from one side, cuts, back cuts, pin downs, was very high; actually the highest in the league.
In my opinion, we grinded teams with our pace in the halfcourt offensively. So, and then, there’s ball possession, right? … We just had the ball a lot, so the other team can’t score. We weren’t the best shooting team. We weren’t awful. But it allowed us to get the ball in the glass.
And then we, I believe we were top four, top five in offensive rebounding percentage, and number one in actually finishing. So, those were Derrick and Rudy [Gobert] in particular; Trevor Booker as well.
So, some–you just want a virtuous cycle, right? Things that you can replicate. And I sit here today and I think we can replicate that. So, do we want to be a one-pass-and-shot-goes-up team, and the integrity of our balance is then compromised? That’s open for debate.
So, it’s not pace, slow pace is all bad, all good. And neither is a fast-paced team all bad or all good. It’s the other parts that put the puzzle together. And again, it’s what you can replicate.
** People calling Raul Neto “Raul” with a hard “R” but immediately correcting himself: Dennis Lindsey
Is Tibor Pleiss a guy who can come in and help you in short order?
We’ll see. I’m not sure yet. Quin [Snyder] and I have had quite a few conversations. He’s a very intriguing talent. He played really well, really efficiently, this summer with the German national team.
You’ll soon see, much like Rudy, he’s very eager to please. He’s really task-oriented. So our fans — he’s gonna give you everything he’s got, so our fans will gravitate to his unique size and his effort. I think that’s a place to start.
And then, he’s an excellent free throw shooter. So, some of the notes, like when I got back from the EuroBasket in Berlin watching him play is, you can play him when you’re in the bonus, a little bit…Tibor, as he gets stronger, will get fouled some…He’s close to a 90 percent free throw shooter.
He’s an excellent finisher at the rim. We’ll see on the perimeter shooting if we’re able to deploy that. There’s some argument on pick and pops. Can he get his feet down? Will we want to pick and pop him, because he’s such a good roller?
I think that’s what, a little bit of what the European coaches have got to, is he’s such a presence screening, that he can really get guys open. And I noticed that in a couple pickup games, that he, when he screens you, you’re screened.*
And so, Gordon, Rodney [Hood], Alec [Burks], those guys, Trey [Burke] pulling up, you can imagine that. And he’s a little underrated defensively. He just is, just has a really good presence.
So I think as we understand him, his body, help him improve his strength, there’s something intriguing there, and we’ll see what it means relative to the team going forward.
* This needs to be on a T-shirt.
Update on Alec Burks
He’s full speed. There’s always going to be some ongoing shoulder-upper thoracic mobility exercises. He was doing that prior to the injury…but he’s doing well. He still has his dynamic athletic ability.
I can see him at the free throw line a great deal. He’s really passed the ball well when we’ve played pickup basketball, and he’s very anxious to get back.
He, Alec doesn’t have a lot of interests, and he really loves basketball. That’s one of the things that I love about him, is that he’s single-minded in his focus. And so, I think we have a very hungry, motivated Alec Burks.
You talked about how good Derrick Favors’ body looks. Is he at a point now where he can be a hungry offensive player and call for the ball? Will there be a time and place for him to do that with regularity?
Absolutely. An–yes to all those questions. I think the hunger, last year, grew. I, in many ways — Derrick always told us there was more offense there. And going forward, I think how we’ve practiced, the pace that he’s practiced, you just really see a lot of forward momentum with him.
I was, he was doing some individuals this week, and pulling out a few things that — just with his superior balance, his length, his, just, total body power, for lack of better description. And then there’s some touch, and there were a few things that were very reminiscent with Al Jefferson, with, in interior moves that he was working on.
And so, the progression in the last 14, 16 months have, has been amazing to me, and I’m just so proud of him. He’s really put a lot into it, and he wants the responsibility of the team. And so, I think you’ll see — if you’re asking can he be more gregarious, you know, towards the want of the ball, I think that, I think you’ll see that. (1280)
What was the day of Dante Exum’s injury like?
More than anything, I think you just, kinda sick for him. He had really worked. He’d stayed here in preparation for both the summer league and then, you know, his national team. And it was the way he had worked.
He really, I think, there was a good plan to address some of the things — his aggressiveness. And you can’t just say, like, “Attack more. Be more aggressive.” It’s really how are you gonna do that, you know? What move do you have, what bounce do you have, and you know, how strong are you, what’s your mindset. And he had attacked all those things.
And just seeing him in summer league the first — the good thing about the summer league that was exciting, that made it, I think, even harder when he got hurt, was he had a really poor first quarter and didn’t do the things he’s been doing, and all of a sudden, he got to the foul line, which — guys used to give him a hard time, you know, he goes there twice a year.
So he, and then he started, he had a great game. So you started to see the maturity, and like I said, more than anything, for him, you just felt bad for him…
[Exum’s injury] requires a different level of planning, different, little different type of team and we gotta figure that out. We probably won’t be able to figure that out before we start playing games…but you know, he’ll be back, you know?
What are your expectations for Trey Lyles’ rookie season?
Trey’s got a chance to really become an excellent player, and part of it, he’s still figuring out who he is. I think we see him [as] a guy that can make plays. He can pass the ball, he can put it on the floor. Really, he played on the perimeter a little bit in Kentucky.
He’s 19. It’s gonna take him some time to get comfortable, but you know, we’ve had, you, OT–we call it OTA, and, optional training activity…It’s been a really, really good period, and Trey’s — you see the young guys, Trey and Raul* [Neto] too, they start to find their comfort zone, and you start to see a little more of who they are as players, and that’s a process.
* People calling Raul Neto “Raul” with a hard “R”: Quin Snyder
Can you transform Trey Burke into the point guard that you want him to be? Was there some disconnect between you last season?
Well, I, you know, what I want is probably a bar that not, you know, that’s my job, is to want more for these guys. All of them, Trey included. The way that we’ve tried to play, is, takes time. I mean, it’ll, there’s some corporate knowledge that’s required, and for a point guard, it’s really hard, and particularly a guy who’s used to having the ball in his hands.
We’re asking him to play with the pass. Sometimes the tempo with which he’s played with his whole career at Michigan was, the best offensive team in the country, but they played with, they just played slow. They played with the slowest pace.
So you know, pushing the ball up the court and some of those things that we wanted at the beginning of the year, we found our team maybe was better, more efficient not doing that. So, there’s a lot of, kind of adjustments that everybody makes, and that I think Trey will continue to make.
The biggest thing for me is as the season progressed, he became much more defensively sound. And that, you know, the other stuff will just all grow together, but that’s, you know, that has to be there, and it was late.
What are you expecting from Gordon Hayward this year?
I think one of the biggest things with Gordon is just establishing trust, and you know, being able to, for him, when you tell him something, he’s gotta, he’s very bright. He knows the game, and I think the thing I try to do with him is tell him why. And once he understood why, you know, he embraced everything.
And that’s an ongoing process, and you know, we all learn from our players too. But what we’ve seen, I think the way we play really fits him as well, because he is a playmaker…
What I see him doing is being more vocal, and being more of a leader, which I, absolutely in my mind just comes with confidence and comfort level, and we’re gonna see a guy that continues to be more outward and hopefully more aggressive.
What kind of difference do you think best free agent Alec Burks will make this year?
Well, he’s unique, and we talked about, you know, how we attack. And he’s a guy that, his ability to get to the free throw line, his ability to attack in the open floor…
And I think his ability, it’s gonna help Rodney [Hood] attack. It’s gonna help Gordon attack. And he does that better than any — in fact, sometimes we want to slow him down and help him read a little better. So, a few less circus shots and a few more easy layups.
But he clearly is a unique player. The thing that is gonna have to happen with Alec is that, we were all working on our habits defensively, and we hadn’t, that hadn’t become instinctive yet. And when he went out, that process was beginning to gel.
And I’ve been impressed with his understanding and commitment to that on the front end. And it’ll take him some time, but I think that’ll also be something that we see from him, maybe that we didn’t think about, is that maybe he can make us an even better defensive team.
Will Derrick Favors be an emphasis on offense this year? What about Rudy Gobert?
It’s gotta be. And I think they’re two different players. Where Fav had a lot of success last year, was, you know, in pick and roll, and that little pocket, and he’s worked on that floater.
I think, you know, he may not space the floor from three, but you know, that elbow jump shot, you know, however his range evolves over the cour–another guy, right, that’s pretty young. He’s put a lot of time in this summer. I think he’s gotten more comfortable on the post. I think he’s been able to overpower people for a long time, so just get it.
We like to see him, you know, prepare more for his opportunities and recognize them. And some of that’s on him. You know, when he’s in situations, that, it’s there for you, big fella. You know, go take it. You know, demand the ball. And I think he’s getting more comfortable doing that, to make him show the team film of them not throwing it to him.
And Rudy’s, you know, Rudy’s unique offensively as well as defensively with his length. You know, we’d like to throw the ball up to him more, the way he gets it on the glass offensively.
Some of it for Rudy is, the league’s gonna adjust to Rudy, you know, on offense. And we’re gonna see situations where they just jam and they don’t let him roll. We’re gonna see situations, I think, where they put a smaller player on him, and switch, and try to stay under him.
And so, part of it for Rudy is gonna be patient and try to understand what you can do now; knowing what you can do tomorrow. You know, today, tomorrow.
And there’s some things that, you know, we wanna limit. You know, he doesn’t need to shoot threes. But when you think about what he’s doing at the foul line, you kinda see progression offensively that I think will happen over time.
Can Elijah Millsap be Tony Allen?
He’s gotta be a better decision-maker. You know, Tony Allen, I think knows — and I hope he’s listening, first of all. I don’t usually talk about my players like this, but I really like him, and I see something in him. And obviously, Dennis [Lindsey] did, and Justin [Zanik] did. You know who really liked him? Coach [Jerry] Sloan…
Eli needs to keep understanding — he’s where he is, in his mind, because he’s just absolutely not accepted people’s belief about him as a player. He had a chip on his shoulder. Now, he can’t lose that, but he’s gotta allow other things to kinda come into that, where it can’t be only who he is.
He’s gotta start thinking more, and he — developing his own identity as a player, Tony Allen has that. He’s like, you know, he won’t even, sometimes he’ll take a corner three, sometimes he won’t, whatever, but he knows who he is. And I think Eli’s finding out who he is, you know, and his shot selection will be good this year…
He’s got a good shooting stroke. He’s on balance. He’s just gotta take good shots. And some of it’s just, maybe that’s a good shot I don’t want you to shoot, not because I don’t believe in you.
You know, that’s where he can — “They don’t believe in me, I can make it. I’m gonna to show you.” No, I know you can make it. Just pass it to Gordon. Let him drive it. And throw a lob to Fav, and he’ll dunk it. That’s better. (1280)
On the Jazz’s mid-season defensive turning point
We made a decision — you know, you’ve got Rudy [Gobert] and [Derrick] Fav[ors] and these guys that, they’re rim protectors. So, in some sense, the way the league is going, it’s, you know, protect the rim and take away the threes, makes them want to beat you with the mid-range two or get to the ba–what was happening to us is, we weren’t doing a good enough job containing the ball, and we just decided we needed to get more aggressive with our bigs…
Some of the guys in the West and [Victor] Oladipo in the East were big, powerful guards, and they get going downhill. So we tried to bring our bigs up and help each other more, and what we found is, you know, we had guys that still could protect the rim. And we went, started playing bigger…
This is a really interesting trend that we’re gonna see and watch, and you know, the league going to the, kind of the playmaking four — Draymond Green being the best example, right? At this point, you know, I think you also have to play to who you are, and you know, that may be who we are.
You know, I think [Trevor] Book[er]’s gonna continue to shoot the ball better. Trey [Lyles] is 19. You know, but right now, I mean, Derrick Favors is a good player. So is Rudy Gobert. So, having those guys on the court for us makes sense, and if that means that we don’t look like, you know, some of the teams that are having success right now, I think that’s OK. We just gotta maximize what we do.
Can you use your bigs but still run?
First of all, one of the challenges, I think, for our team and for me more specifically, is how to space your bigs. And the way we play offense, sometimes if you can just face a guy who’s a shooter, it’s easier. The floor is more open.
We have to space more with movement, with screens, to occupy people that way. So, that’s the first thing that we can be efficient doing.
Now, the second thing is, I think, that there’s opportunities depending on how your possession starts. If there is a made field goal, you’re inbounding the ball, there’s a certain, there’s certain opportunities you have offensively.
If there’s a mi–most obvious one is you steal the ball, right? You got numbers, you make, you know, you attack. For us, that middle ground, I think we can be better, where, you know we get the ball on a miss, and we can be more aggressive attacking. I think Alec [Burks] will help us with that, and we get our bigs running. And that’s kinda how I see it.
How do you handle conflict with a player?
I think it’s, like, “can not” or “will not.”
You know, I mean, “can not” means maybe I’m not doing as good a job as I need to do, and maybe we need to be more clear about what we’re teaching. You know, I feel like for us, it, you know, we have to teach them to understand and know what we want before we can hold them accountable.
And then once they do it, you know, th–once they understand it and are capable of doing it, that’s another level. And then beyond that is when it’s theirs. And they can do it, they’re doing it, and then they want to do it because it’s who they are, you know, and they see those nuances of the game that way.
When guys aren’t willing to do that and they’re capable of doing it, you know — I don’t think our guys, it might be just a def–it’s not, I don’t think it’s necessarily defiance. You know, “Hey, screw you. I’m not gonna do that. I’m pissed off,” whatever.
And I think you’d address that by — there’s probably a reason he’s pissed off. Maybe it’s a good one that I don’t know about. But a lot of times with our players, it’s hard to do everything the coach wants. I mean, I know didn’t and I respected my coach.
So it’s, I think there’s, you know, “will not,” you know, there’s, sometimes there’s reasons. Maybe he’s tired, you know, and I can’t ignore that. You know, and sometimes, you know, I do ignore it because I feel like even though he’s tired, he can still do that. …
It’s a fine line. At some point, there’s a level of discipline or commitment that I think a group has to have even when someone doesn’t necessarily agree with what you’re doing. You know, that’s, you may disagree and maybe there’s a better time to disagree, but in this moment, hey, go do it.
You know, you may not agree with it, but hopefully there’s enough respect there when, even when there’s disagreement, it’s like, look, not at this time. Come on. Boom. We’ll talk about it later, and maybe I can show them on — we use a lot of film, just for that exact reason. And sometimes the film’s on me. I’m like, yelling at Eli[jah Millsap] to get back, and it’s not him. You know, so [I’m wrong sometimes]. (1280)
What’s it like to be in an NBA front office at this time of year?
Well, it’s busy on a number of fronts. You know, we’ve got a great front office on the business side as well. And of course, you have your sponsors and your ticket people…[LHM and Jazz executives] are all busy working on all of the fronts of things so that we can have a fun, exciting season.
There’s gonna be some new things that they’re doing as it relates to in the building, and, with food services, and some new activities at the game itself. So, those things are bus–that we’re busy working on those, and working with sponsors and with clients on that front. Working with our, you know, getting the tickets sold and out and going.
From there, our basketball side. We’re busy trying to get some* — looking at some new approaches that we’re taking to the game as well. And Quin [Snyder] and the coaching staff have been very busy on some of the work that they’re doing.
It was very interesting to me, and I w–let me just, pulling behind the curtain, to just give a small sampling of this. As they’re trying out some things during this open training time-period, they’ve, the players have invited us to actually [sound cuts out] some things and look at some things, ’cause they like to kind of break things up.
But we had the opportunity of having coach [John] Beilein from Michigan**, who was in town, and I was visiting with him, actually, yesterday. And his comment to me was, some of the training proce–some of the training, and some of the drills that the players are doing are remarkable and very fresh.
He says, he was writing down notes and saying, “I’m taking these back and incorporating them into my workout.” Y–he says, “I’m excited about this team that Dennis Lindsey’s put together.” And he says, “I’m so impressed with the development programs that Quin Snyder has, is incorporated in on this team.”
That was a great endorsement to me, that, to continue to reinforce we’re taking the right steps in all fronts, of really building this team, that’s going to be a real competitive team, for the long term.
** Trey Burke’s college coach and father of short-lived Jazz coaching staff member Patrick Beilein
Do you let fans watch practice?
We have very limited opportunities for fans to come.* We do have some open practices, from time to time, in the season. It j–of course, you know, we do that.
One of the things that the league has encouraged and we’ve been supportive of, is, we do have once a year, a open scrimmage that we do invite anyone — season ticket holder or non-season ticket holder — to come and see and fo–and get to enjoy.
We then have some very limited, also, practices that some of our key sponsors or, and guests of our sponsors, or key s–ticket holders, can also come and be a part of.
Traditionally though, we also kept those, most of our practices are very, though, closed and very private. We’re about really being able to compete, and keeping our information very close to the vest, because we want, it’s about this team winning.
Do you have an update on the Jazz players who are playing internationally? [Updates on Tibor Pleiss and Rodney Hood’s bodies]
Well, watched yesterday, France played Latvia, and I’ll tell you, Rudy [Gobert] continues to impress me of how his maturity, his dominance, his influence on the court continues to be felt. And I’m really excited to see his continued growth and development. I, our fans are gonna be very happy with the efforts and the work that Rudy is putting into developing his game.
Tibor, has actually, Pleiss has actually finished his playing, and flew in the day before yesterday and has been at practice — was done practicing with the Germans, and so he’s been actually coming and starting to come to our optional training activity.
And I’ll tell you what, I’m very impressed with the body, with the touch, and the length of Tibor Pleiss. He’s gonna be a shot-blocker. He’s gonna be another, really, person to reckon with defensively, I think, for us as a team.
And I’ll tell you, Jeff Withey* has been also, been very impressed with his play, as I’ve watched him in his, some of his training, that he’s doing. So, I’m excited about our big guys, of what they’re doing. [Derrick] Favors** has always been working hard.
Let me give another mention that I should say, our fans are gonna be excited to see. I’ve been very impressed that the body [sound cuts out] and the s–the play and abilities of Rodney Hood.*** He i–his body seems to have changed. He’s slimmed down, but he’s strengthened his upper body. He’s moving extremely well, and I’m excited to see what his game’s gonna look like this coming year. (1280)
* Not playing internationally
** Not playing internationally
*** Not playing internationally
Derrick Favors, asked in 2013 which three people, dead or alive, he’d like to have dinner with:
“Sanaa Lathan. Imma have to go with Sanaa Lathan the whole time…Just me and her, man. And my girlfriend know this too. I told her, I said, ‘Man, if we go out one night and I see Sanaa Lathan, you know, you gon have to be mad at me. ‘Cause I’m going over there, I’m saying something to her.”
Favors’ girlfriend is a good sport lol.
On what he does when a young man asks for permission to marry one of his daughters
Literally, my daughters and my children mean the world to Sandra and I, and I don’t take it lightly. And so, literally, when I sit down with these young men, they come in to ask for their han–for their, her hand in marriage, and my permission, I spend about an hour and a half asking the hard questions. And I literally want to know about their background, some of their issues and their challenges and where their goals are, what their aspects are, of, in life, and things. …
After I do that, then I have a little tradition. I then, also, after they’ve asked and I’ve given permission, I says, now you’ve come to ask a question, a favor from me. I says, now I want to ask one of you.
And I set out in front of them a box, wh–that’s wrapped up. And I ask them to open it up, and they open it up, and inside of it is a pearl. And I open up the Bible, the story of a pearl of great price. And I said, you’ve come here and you’ve asked for one of my pearls. And it is of the greatest price to me. And I says, I want you to then take this pearl, and I want you to then keep it into your pocket.
And I says, then, as you go out into the world and get confronted and maybe approached by people that look, you know what, you’re having a bad day with my daughter or things aren’t going well or you’ve had a fight, and all of a sudden maybe a secretary or a assistant or a nurse or something else that looks attractive to you* when you’re having a hard time.**
I says, I want you to reach in your pocket and remember the pearl that is into your pocket that I’ve given you, and you’ve promised to treat and take care of for the rest of your life, and I expect you to honor that commitment. And it’s been a good little effect.
* Secretaries, assistants and nurses. Harlots, the lot of them.
** UDQM. Lol.
On the Jazz’s open gym
We’re doing open gym right now, and we’ve got 15 of our players in the gym right now. The only — we’re gonna have — Derrick [Favors], who’s just had, of course, twins, and so, we’ve, wanting him to have a little father time, bonding.
But he’s gonna be here, then, next week, and, with the exception of Rudy Gobert, and Pleese,* we’ve got, and who are playing both for Germany and for France, we’ve got all of our players that are in our gym, enjoying themselves and having some organized structure together, of them just kind of really getting ready for this season. …
A year ago, in our open gym, we had our players starting to come in, but they were, you know, we did three weeks of open gym, and it started with maybe one or two of them in the first week; a couple more, and by the third week we had a pretty good showing, of our players. Probably 60-70 percent of our team.
Here we are now, fast forward to this year. We have 15 of our 20 players. Now, the only two players that aren’t here are, because they’re playing nationally. And the other two are injured, and one that will be here within a week’s time. The rest of them are here at the very start of open gym, and are going, and are committed to be here through the whole thing.
That speaks to me of the trust and the confidence level that, and excitement, that they have, in one another and in this coaching staff and this team.
* People calling Tibor Pleiss “[no first name] Pleese”: Randy Rigby
Dante Exum update
We’ve kept him down — he’s in Los Angeles recovering, because he’s gonna do some therapy there. He will then be travelling back, and he’ll be here eventually, but we wanted him, right at that time, dealing with some follow-up visits to the doctor. And he’s doing all of the things that we would hope that he would do to f–make a speedy recovery.
It’s very good reports to this point. He’s in great hands, and we’re, you know, to us, and we keep telling Dante, “You know what, each day is gonna get better.”
And we have great expectations for him, and we’re happy that he’s been able to now get past, to this point, to have the re–the successful surgery, and things moving along, and great young man that we expect a great future with, and you know, we feel that everything looks very positive.
Your front line is shaping up well with Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Tibor Pleiss, Trey Lyles, and Trevor Booker.*
This is shaping up very well, and we’re really excited about it. You, at the front line, then we have, of course, Alec Burks, and we have Trey Burke. Rodney Hood is looking — I was watching Rodney and talking to Jerry Sloan today.
We were both watching a little bit of the scrimmage these guys were doing, and I’ll tell you, Rodney Hood is looking very good as well, and in very good shape, extre–shooting the ball extremely well. So, between Alec and Rodney out there at the two position, then we, you’ve got these young guys with Raul Neto**, and Trey Burke, and then also Bryce Cotton.
Let me tell you a little side thing about Bryce Cotton. Bryce Cotton went down to P3, and these guys measure a lot of athletes. The highest vertical jump and percentage jumping ability that they’ve ever seen from a athlete. Bryce Cotton.
So, the kid’s got, he’s got hops, on, and you know, he can really jump, and we’re excited about them. He’s playing very well, and it’s exciting to see these guys competing with one another.
* The question is about the Jazz’s front line, so naturally Rigby decides to talk about the back court.
** People calling Raul Neto “Raul” with a hard “R”: Randy Rigby
Trey Burke appeared to handle his demotion to the bench well. Are you comfortable with your point guard position going into the season?
We are. We’re very comfortable with what we have, and the work ethic — you know, Trey has heard a lot of the question, or a lot of the discussion about his ability, and about his play. And he’s an athlete and a player that I think has answered the call of liking challenge, and liking people questioning, and him stepping up and performing. And this is an opportunity for him to step up and perform.
I think he’s recognized now, with Dante being in our lineup, that, he was challenged all of a sudden, that I think, maybe sometimes you thought it was oh, it was just my team, and I was the point guard. And then we pick up on Dante, and it, all of a sudden, it’s now pushed him, and I think that’s a positive thing.
I think Trey Burke is being pushed to a limit, and now has some people saying are you rilling* to really step up and take it to another level. And I think he’s challenging himself, and every indication that I’ve seen to this point during this off-season, he’s responded to the bell. And we’ve challenged him. We’re pushing him. We have big expectations. …
I think Trey has some opportunities. He has some talent that really can respond if, as he continues to push himself.
* “rilling” = really willing?
Has Trey Burke had a mental adjustment about what he has to do to improve since Dante Exum was drafted?
There’s a growing-up process. He’s been a young man. And you step into the league, and a luttl–little bit, you feel like, hey, this is pretty neat, and I kind of, I deserve, I, it’s nice being here now.
Then all of a sudden, reality hits you. And competition hits you. And you have to decide whether you’re just gonna be complacent, and accept, just, enjoying the ride, or really wanting to be a difference-maker.
And I th–that’s, I think, a crossroad that Trey has been at, and I think he’s now grown up to really say, hey, there’s more, and there’s more I can give, and there’s more that I can do, and to be where I want to be, and be where this team needs me to be, I need to take those other steps.
And I’m happy that I’m seeing every sign that he is wanting and showing all indications that he’s wanting to be better and to make those steps and those improvements. (1280)
Talk about new Jazz signees J.J. O’Brien and Jeff Withey.
Well, with J.J., we, the locals will know him with his one-year stint up at the U, and then he finished his career at San Diego State. And we had him this summer, and J.J. acquitted him we–himself well, especially defensively.
And so, he’s someone that we’re going to take a long look at the rest of the summer [in] open gym, end of training camp, and preseason. And he, we think he’s somebody that can defend the position, and he did a nice job also making open shots for us this summer both in practice and games.
And then Jeff is, we just felt like it was a unique opportunity, especially at this point in the summer, to add someone with his type of size, length, shot-blocking ability. I think over the last two years, he’s played 90 games and he’s been in the top 10 percentile at defending the rim inside of his minutes.
He’s, we got a little intel from University of Kansas that he’s a underrated shooter, and just looking at him technically this week, we would concur with that. And we’ll see where we can extenge* his range to like we’ve done with many of our big guys.
And so, again, we’ll take a look at him all the way through open gym and into training camp and preseason, and we have hopes that he can add something unique to our group.
* Not a typo.
What about Quin Snyder makes him the right personality fit for this team?
Yeah, interesting question. Coaches are a very unique bunch, and they come from all places and many different races and backgrounds…
And Quin is unique. He’s got a very unique personality, and obviously the first thing that comes to mind is his work ethic, for me. I know everybody, many people will grab onto his intelligence, but Quin grinds. And, but he’s able to do so with some personality.
I think it’s very unique when you get a coach that can instruct, coach a player hard and really get after him, but yet the player still likes to be coached by that person. And so, Quin has that unique balance like many of the good ones do, that they can really get after the group, and an individual, and the individual and the group doesn’t take it personally.
So yeah, he’s obviously very motivated and energetic, and I think our group does feed off some of his characteristics.
Do you think the no Sunday home games situation will change in the future?
You know, that’s a real personal question. I’ll deflect that to people that have a higher pay grade than me, and ultimately, that’s a real personal decision for the Miller family.
And look, we have a, we live in an area that is very faithful towards their religion, and so, sometimes there are truly greater callings in life than a basketball or a football or a baseball game. And we need to be mindful of that, and respectful of that.
So, if there comes a day, I think, you know, there, obviously there would be, need to be a lotta people seated at the table. My, you, probably people even outside the Utah Jazz organization, and make sure that that’s the right thing for the community.
But yeah, so I would withhold any, you know, personal opinion, just in deference to, you know, where we live, and the history of the organization.
You had players ready to step in when other players got injured last year. How much of the message that was sent last year will Trey Burke need to heed now that his role has changed with Dante Exum sidelined?
I think it goes beyond Trey…
We just feel very fortunate and grateful to have a coach like Quin that can help individuals develop and get better. And, but maybe as important, that can tie the individual development back to team production.
And so, that’s the exciting thing about the group, as constituted today is, we range from age 19 to 28, so our capacity for work, we have to be a work team. We have to work longer and harder and smarter to make up for the experience deficit that we currently have.
And so, many of our decisions have got back to a core principle: Can this player handle the work capacity that Quin and the coaching staff will demand of him?
And so, we put a lot of players together that have a high work capacity, and certainly [Bryce Cotton and Raul Neto], and if Alec Burks has some time there at that point guard position as well, they’re gonna have to work hard to integrate themselves into the group. (1280)