On the work Rodney Hood has put in so far this summer
Yeah, he needs to calm down and save his best basketball for May and June.
So, no, we’ve, I’m on the Internet, and I’ve, every so often I’ll get a Twitter update or a Vine video of Rodney making his pull-up. I’m as interested as anybody to see his work and progress, and he’s great people…
Frankly, Quin [Snyder] and I both challenged him defensively when he came in, and he was much better defensively his rookie year than we thought he would be. So, you couple that with his size and ability to pull up, and he’s a good passer. We have high hopes for him.
* The point of this quote is this: DL says he’s on Twitter. Back in December 2013, he was asked about joining Twitter and his response was:
You know, I’ve been told by media experts that maybe I should consider that, and you know, typical me, I’m deliberate in making decisions. So it has been something that has been under consideration for awhile, to reach out and make it more personable…
I think you have to [consider it] in today’s age. I don’t think you ever want to look where you’re not technology-savvy or, you know, in some cases, old-school, and not hip. But you know, I, there, it, you know, there are certain parts of the Twitter that obviously would worry, you know, someone in my position.
What can Gordon Hayward get better at?
He and Johnnie Bryant really worked hard at lowering his level off the dribble when he’s breaking through the line of the defense, and dropping his hips, and all the finishes that come out of those situations…
There’s some situations that Quin put him in that, it was a very good vision. You know, Quin had some thoughts and studied him, and turned out he was right. So, I think we can capitalize on Quin knowing him a little bit better after a year with experience.
But closing games, I think, is, Gordon being safer, more fundamentally sound during the last five minutes. We played a lotta close games, and if our defense can hold up and we can build around our unique size and length and youth and mobility and character, then by definition you’ll play a lot of close games.
And so, Gordon and Derrick [Favors] are by definition, again, going to have to be really good closers for us to win our fair share of those games.
What’s going on with Dante Exum?
Well, he looks real big. In a good way, not in a fat way…I’m not sure about height, but he was doing a couple drills the other day, and he had to hike up his shorts to be able to get down and slide, and he’s just a big — you know, he’s 19, so young man’s probably the best description.
But if you’ve ever been around Dante’s dad, who played at North Carolina, he’s a big guy. And so — his dad played in Australia. And so, if he starts taking on the characteristics of Dad, who knows what his body could look like with some dedicated work over the next two or three years.
But his weight’s up, in a good way. He and Isaiah Wright have been working hard this past week, getting in the gym. He’s been with several of our development coaches working on a variety of things, and then Monday heads out to P3 to get some technical analysis.
Mark McKown and some of our people are out there, and the people at P3 are very anxious to get their hands on Dante and test him and go through the paces. He didn’t get the opportunity to do that last year ’cause of national team commitments.
So, it’s safe to say he’s going — he already is very big for the position, but if he keeps moving in that direction, you know, he could be physically unique, I guess would be the best way to describe it.
Is there a player in the league that’s comparable to where you want Dante Exum to be?
Dante’s a little bit of a conundrum now, ’cause he had a really definitive playing style as a young player, where he is an attacker and a driver. Last year, he deferred to all of our young veterans and was more of a setup guy, but a unique defender.
You know, there’s, the old Seattle Supersonics with Nate McMillan as a defensive point guard, was something that, you know, kinda came to top of mind. And he’s even taller than Nate was. So, you just don’t get guys who are 6-6 that have that length that are able to move the way he can move.
So, I think Dante and Quin both get credit. They quickly found out a way for him to contribute to the team in a positive way on the defensive side of the ball.
And then, you know, we’re gonna have to improve his skillset and clean up a couple things, but there’s frankly nothing that is fundamentally broken…It may be a while, like it was for Gordon or Derrick to be able to lead a team offensively, but there’s no reason why we can’t get there in a few years with him. (1280)
What is the first thing about a player that catches your eye or that flashes importance to you?
Well, the first thing is naturally the body. So, you just look at the body. You look at the athleticism, and then you, as the game progresses or as they’re in drill situations, you look at their mechanics.
Talk about the difference in draft process philosophy between Kevin O’Connor and Dennis Lindsey.
[Dennis Lindsey] has done it in San Antonio. He’s done it over in Houston, and, in terms of bringing in a lot of players. Especially with us having a D-League team, bringing in a lot of players.
Getting to know players, as people and as players. Looking at players for not only our draft this year; looking at players for the draft for the D-League. Look at possible trade scenarios, maybe down the road in the future. It’s just getting to know more and more information and more and more about what kind of players these people are.
How does the draft process work? Who’s involved?
Well, I arrange to bring in the players. I get, of course, input from our consultants, our college consultants, our people within the office, on who we would like to bring in. But I arrange all the, try to put them together the best possible way. Player versus player that we would, we want to see. It doesn’t always work that way, but sometimes it does come to fruition.
So I put it together. I bring them in. The people involved are the coaches — are on the court with the players — they coach them. They teach them. They put them through the drills. Sitting in the stands is Dennis, Justin [Zanik], Kevin when he’s in town, Coach [Jerry] Sloan when he’s around. Coach [Phil] Johnson comes in every once in a while. And then our media people.
And we just sit there — and Dave Fredman also. We sit there and watch them go through the workout process. We have interviews after our workouts, with the players. And then we’ll talk about each of them right after our interviews with them. Then we’ll usually go into the theater and start watching video tapes of players that may be coming in the future or players we’re thinking about drafting.
After all that is said and done, come the day of the draft or a couple days before the draft, we’ll sit down and we’ll try to prioritize players we like. We’ll try to look at scenarios in terms of who will be where if we want to make a trade…
And then we all get together the day of the draft. We talk it over again and decide on who we like and put them in a list and you know, wait for the draft. And then we take who we think’s the best player for us at that spot.
Do arguments break out? Is it a healthy debate?
Yes. We do have quite a few debates about players…Dennis does a great job of asking questions, making sure that we have a strong feel on who we like and who we don’t like, and why, what are the reasons why.
Who ultimately decides who to draft?
Well, it ultimately comes down to Dennis Lindsey…He listens to everybody. He weighs what we all say. But the final decision is always Dennis.
Which do you value more, years of game tape or interviews/workouts?
Well, I don’t know if you can put one above the other. I think it’s all part of the puzzle, as I’ve always said. The tapes, the live game action, the interviews, the workout if you can get it, the background and intel information that we try to gather on every player — so it’s all somewhat equal in regards to how we look at it.
And if we find out there’s something in that, in one of those pieces of the puzzle that is very glaring to us, then it may become more important.
What does “best player available” actually mean?
The best player available is the best player you think that will — over his career. Not necessarily this statistical year or next year, but over his career. You see growth; you see ability to — you see dedication in his game; you see a desire in him getting better and being able to work with coaches…
You try to find players who will be your core for a number of years and will help you become a, you know, championship-caliber team.
Does how a player will fit into your team matter less the higher your pick is?
No. Again, I think wherever you pick in the draft, whether it’s 1-60, I think you pick the best available player regardless of position. You try to bring in that player ’cause it’s, it gives you an asset in terms of going forward, whether he is with your team or whether or not you can trade him later down the road or trade somebody else at his position down the road, to get better.
Any–the only time you kind of look at position and draft by position is…if players are in a tier, and you’ve got them ranked one through whatever in that tier, that your one and two guys are so close that you might take the No. 2 guy in your tier because he does fit a positional need, versus the No. 1 guy who may be the best pl–available player, but he’s not that much better than the No. 2 guy.
What did Rudy Gobert show during his draft workout?
For us, it’s how well he goes through a workout. How well he pushes through fatigue in a workout, because of the altitude. Rudy came in in great shape. He worked extremely hard throughout our workout. He reacted extremely well. He ran the court well. He did a lot of things that we like to see in workouts, that a lot of times you don’t get the chance to see because guys get tired…
They may, I don’t want to say quit, but they may kind of lay down and not go as hard. They may not be able to push through the fatigue well enough, or hard enough for us. And with Rudy, it was, he was able to do all that, besides showing us, you know, a little bit more offensive skills than we kind of saw when he was in France. (1280, 700, 1320)
Utah Jazz Draft Workout: Dallin Bachynski, Kendall Gray, Hugh Greenwood, Ryan Harrow, Tyler Harvey, and Tyler Kalinoski
** Utah – C – 7’0 – 265
** First workout. Will try to play in Europe if NBA doesn’t work out.
** Patterns his game after Dirk Nowitzki
** Comment on the altitude
The one thing that helped me was the altitude, being used to it a little bit and being able to get up and down. But the other guys did a really good job keeping in shape, and it was competitive all day.
** What are the parts of your game you can show NBA teams that you weren’t able to show in college?
I feel like I can shoot better from the perimeter than I was able to this last year. I’m able to shoot a college three, even though coach [Larry] K[rystkowiak] didn’t want me to. We had plenty of guys to do that, so I’m more than willing to hit that 18-footer that was open most of the year for us. I also am able to take the ball a little bit to the rim, dribbling — at least moreso than I did this last year with the ball mostly in Delon [Wright]’s hands and me setting screens for him. So, those are a couple things I know I can do a lot better than I was able to at Utah.
** What has been Larry Krystkowiak’s take on this process for you?
Coach K has been as supportive as he can. He’d always ask me if there’s anything he could do for me. I know that when Utah as well as a couple of other teams have called the coaches, he’s been willing to speak well about me, and just speak the truth about me. Because not only am I a decent basketball player, but I feel like I’m a decent person as well, which makes it a lot easier than having to deal with a, some immature guys or guys that just haven’t dealt with any real struggles in life.
** Delaware State – C – 6’10 – 240
** What do you bring?
I’m definitely a rebounder and a high-energy guy. Just bringing my energy and defensive intensity to the game. You know, sorta like a Tristan Thompson t–like, in a, that’s what I showcase.
** Talk about chasing your dream.
It’s a great feeling. It’s something I always dreamed of. Coming into college freshman year, I seen fellow classmates of different schools, like Kyle O’Quinn, come through the same process from Norfolk City. And I was just like, man, I wanna be like this guy. Like, he’s been doing it. He won a [Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference] championship, which I was unfortunate not to get one. But he definitely set the path, and I’m just, it’s just a dream. I wake up every day, traveling city to city. Like, man, I’m really doing this.
** New Mexico – G – 6’3 – 205
** First workout
** Comment on the altitude
Missed some shots. A little bit, I think just a bit of anxious, bit of nerves, bit of this and that; coming back to altitude. But I’m not making excuses. Just, like I said, just had fun.
** Have you talked to Dante Exum or Joe Ingles?
I saw Dante [Exum] walk through. I heard he was out in California but I saw him walk past, so I’ll try and catch up with him. And Joe and I have had a good relationship for a number of years now. So he reached out to me. I told him I was gonna raid whatever he left in his locker, so — he’s size 13 as well, so I’m gonna have to have a look around. But no, he gave me some words of advice.
What were said words of advice?
Just play hard. Play hard, work hard, which is, it’s second nature to us Aussies. You know, we play hard. It’s how we get this far. And just to experience, just have fun. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be here, and it’s an honor to be here, so just have fun.
** On raising breast cancer awareness
It means a lot. It’s something I’m very, very passionate about. Obviously, my mum battling incurable second-degree breast cancer, so it’s a priority in my life. She, my family and her are my priority. Basketball’s, comes second, and being able to give back to my community in New Mexico — obviously being from Australia, it’s a long way from home, but New Mexico is my home. And to raise $65,000 for local research and facilities and patients was huge for me, and it’s in honor of my mum and in honor of everyone that’s battled breast cancer…If we can provide and help patients and their families as much as we can in the meantime [until there is a cure], it’s gonna help in the long run and that’s why my mum is still here today. She had a great support network, great treatment, great care. I’m trying to emulate that in New Mexico.
How long will you keep growing the hair?
I’ve become attached to it. I was meant to shave it off towards the end of the season, but became a little bit of attached. Raised a lot of money, so I think when we hit a certain goal, I’ll eventually shave it off. In the meantime, I like it. Mum likes it too, so whatever she says goes. So, hold on to it for awhile.
** On people calling Matthew Dellavedova a dirty player
Hey, no, no. He’s, the crazy thing, you ask Dante, you ask Joe. He’s literally the nicest guy I’ve ever met. And there’s a difference between playing dirty and playing hard. I think if you went back and watch my play, it’s, you know, I play hard. I don’t think it’s dirty. I don’t think Delly plays dirty. I think he just plays hard…You gotta be willing to put your body on the line. It’s guys who go in half-hearted that end up getting hurt. Delly doesn’t go in half-hearted. He jumps guys on loose balls, and fortunately — I mean, his teammates stick up for him, and that’s all that matters. His teammates are around him. At the end of the day, he’s playing well. He’s not just injuring guys. He’s actually playing at a high level, scoring double-digit points every night. So, he’s just playing hard.
** Georgia State – G – 6’2 – 160
** Comment on the altitude
It’s definitely tough for me. This only my second time playing somewhere like this. During the season, we played at Colorado State and I don’t even think that’s this high. So, it’s a little tough, but I ran on the treadmill last night just to get used to it. So I think I did all right.
** What do you bring?
Just being able to make the right decision. I think everybody knows I can score and everybody knows I can play the game, so then I want everybody to see that I’m a leader and I can make the right decisions at the point guard position.
** Do you know Derrick Favors?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know D-Fav. He’s, you know, he’s from Atlanta; I’m from Atlanta. We’re actually under the same agent, went to schools pretty close, so, and we played for the same AAU team, so yeah.
Did you talk to him before the workout?
I actually talked to Kevin Murphy, who, you know, he was here. I know him as well. One of my cousins, Tre Bussey, he plays on the D-League team for here, so I talked to him right before. You know, talked to people like Dion Glover, who works me out back at home, just to, you know, get a feel.
What did they say?
They just talked about the altitude. They said that’s the biggest thing. You know, not looking like you’re tired out here, and just pushing through.
** Talk about chasing your dream.
It’s just a fun experience. It’s just a blessing, really, to even be out here, ’cause you don’t have to get invited. This is a business now, so for them to show interest in you, you know, it’s a blessing but you have to be ready to work and ready to show and prove.
** Eastern Washington – G – 6’4 – 181
** Third workout; has around 10 more
** Comment on the altitude
[I thought] the altitude would get to me, but you know, I’ve been conditioning a lot. But you know, every workout’s tough. You know, you just gotta make sure you’re in the best shape when you come to these workouts, and just give it your all.
** What position would you play in the NBA?
Definitely a combo guard. You know, a “one” when necessary and a “two” when necessary. I feel like I can play both positions well, so.
** On his high school growth spurt
Coming into high school, I was 5-4. So I mean, the chance of playing basketball at 5-4, 130 pounds, is not too high. But fortunately by the grace of God I grew 10 inches in high school and was able to hit 6-4 in college. So you know, hopefully I can still grow a couple more inches.
** Davidson – G – 6’4 – 180
** Compares his game to/patterns game after Matthew Dellavedova
** Do you see yourself as a combo guard in the NBA?
Yeah, yeah. I think, you know, I’m a guard that can run the offense, knock down threes when I need to. You know, I don’t see myself as a big-time slasher, but you know, I can do that. But yeah, as a combo guard, handle the ball, shoot it when I need to, and knock down the open shot.
** Talk about chasing your dream.
Yeah, it’s awesome. You know, coming into college, I didn’t think I would really have a shot at that. Going throughout college, getting an opportunity to come to these workouts to showcase what I can do at the next level, you know, it’s a dream that I’ve always had, and it’s awesome to live that dream and hopefully I get a chan–a shot at the next level.
** On Dallin Bachynski’s workout
He looked good. He looked really good, to tell you the truth. He shot the ball well. Kinda surprised us. He’s got a good shot from 15, 18 feet, which we didn’t get a chance to see much at Utah. So, that surprised me for sure.
Do you see any Dirk Nowitzki in him?
[silence] Uh, no.
** On Tyler Harvey’s workout
He does a good job of getting it off fairly quickly. I think he’s still gonna probably have to work a little bit more on his form. But he shot it well. He shot better than anybody so far this year in our [shooting drill], so he did a good job…Like most guys coming into the NBA, there’s very few who are ready to play NBA basketball defensively, and he’s got some things he’s gotta work on.
** On Hugh Greenwood’s workout
Hugh had a pretty good day today. Very smart player. Good basketball IQ for a point guard. He was helping the other players in our workouts, so it was good to bring him in.
Also at the workout but no interviews posted: Vince Hunter (UTEP), Treveon Graham (VCU) and Aaron White (Iowa)
** Kentucky – G – 6’6 – 213
** Second workout
** Comment on the altitude
First two minutes, you’re like, oh my goodness, how am I gonna make it? But you gotta get your second wind and be tough, and fight through it.
** On playing and working out without his brother
It’s gonna be tough, but I’m excited to show, what he can show without me, and you know, what I can do without him. So, it’ll be exciting to be looked at as individuals…I kinda like being in the room by myself, you know what I mean? But I mean, he’s doing fine. He’s in California. He’s waiting for his workouts. He didn’t do that well in the combine, but he’s excited to get in the workouts.
** Louisville – G – 6’2 – 190
** Third workout; has 17 scheduled. Has already worked out for Chicago and Houston; headed to San Antonio next
** Comment on the altitude
I kind of felt it a little bit. It’s kind of weird. It’s, like, hard to breathe a little bit. But yeah, I work out with this mask, and you know, it’s like you’re in a high altitude place. So, I’m kind of used to it a little bit.
** What do you bring?
Toughness, defense. You know, scrapping for the ball, winner’s mentality, things like that…Tough, got that winning mentality, want to win. So, take pride in defense. That’s the type of guy I am.
** On transitioning from shooting guard to point guard
I’ve been playing point guard all my life. I sacrificed for my team to play 2-guard this year. So, a lotta people may have doubts, but I know that I can play the point guard. So that’s something I’m just, you know, I’m trying to show people in the workouts, what I can do.
** North Carolina – F – 6’6 – 196
** First workout; has roughly 13 more
** Comment on the altitude
[There were] water breaks, ’cause of the altitude and stuff, and guys being tired, like myself. But overall, it was a great workout.
** Why do you take so much pride in defense?
I mean, laterally, laterally moving, I’ve always been able to do that. So you know, cutting a guy off is a little easier. I have good hands. I get the, my hand on the ball a lot. You know, deflections. You know, with those tools, why wouldn’t you, you know, give it all on your defensive end? That was kinda my mindset.
** What do you bring to an NBA team?
I mean, definitely it’s always defense. You know, that’s first. It’s number one. It’s what I’m known for. Getting out on the break, making plays, finishing or dishing off. Those are the main things. And what I tried to stress, that, you know, in the interviews at the combine was, I’ve been working very diligently on my jump shot down at the IMG Academy, and had some great work down there. Some great coaches, and they’ve helped me fix a lot of things that I needed to fix…Just mechanical things, like, you know, keeping my elbow in; snapping my wrist towards the rim, not away from it; stepping into my shot; you know, extending my hands when I’m reaching for the ball instead of having it back here and letting it hit me; just having a consistent rhythm. Just keep doing the same thing over and over again. It’s all about repetition.
** Is the workout process lonely?
No, it’s not. ‘Cause like I said, I have guys like Terry Rozier who I’ve known. Andrew Harrison. You make friends at the combine. I’ve always been a friendly guy, so it’s really easy. Aaron White was working out today; he was my roommate at the combine. So I mean, you make friendships, and you know guys just from playing AAU and from, you know, playing in college. So, it’s not that lonely.
** On Andrew Harrison’s workout
I thought Andrew, I think he could’ve shot better. I think he had some shots, especially in our shooting drill, where he would normally make, and I think he got mad at himself for not making them. I thought he played pretty well. He’s coming in off of a slight injury he had two days ago.
** On J.P. Tokoto’s workout
He shot it very well in Chicago. He struggled here today. If he can become a much better shooter than what he’s shown, with his athleticism, with his ability to play defense, with his length, yeah, he could find a way onto a team.
Is he a guy whose shot can be fixed?
That’s a tough one to answer right now.
** On Terry Rozier’s workout
He’s a fighter. Terry’s not backing down from anybody. So, Terry had a very good workout today…Played very well. Competed. Shot it well.
** Any pleasant surprises today? Anyone do anything you weren’t expecting?
On the draft lottery
I had the opportunity of actually being in the back room with the ping pong balls, and I’ll just tell you. We didn’t have any ping pong balls even get close to sniffing our number.
On draft trades
I don’t know if that’s necessarily moving up, staying where we’re at, moving back, moving out. We’re, we had tha–have a bunch of conversations. And sometimes, as you guys know, you wanna do something, but you just don’t have a willing partner.
So we, but, normally, there, we’re dealing with a tighter set of prospects. This year, I think it’s a, in my opinion at least, it’s a wider set. And I think because of that, potentially, you know, there’s a much wider set of alternatives. And that’s good news, by and large, but as you guys know, it can make you a little nervous as well.
Is there an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a potential move now, or does that stuff come right at the end?
Yeah, so, we were talking about this at dinner last night. I think there are some things that come up right now, and every so often, it’s not, it’s more unusual than usual that you find something very early in the process [that makes] you say, “Hey, I’m willing to do that” with another team. That does come up.
Usually, it’s more, it happens more where people are on the clock, and then they show you, and you show them, vice versa, your best hand, and what are you really willing to do…
And so, you know, it’s, there are a lot of things that come up last second, but that’s even more reason why you have to be, in my opinion, overly prepared. ‘Cause you’ll have to give quick answers. And you know, many times you’ll have worked on something for weeks, and then something comes up in the last five minutes. (1280)
What are your thoughts on draft lottery reform?
I like the system that we have, and I think it works well. It has functioned well for the draft and for teams, and right now I’d like to see us continue to just stay with it until we really, as we look at other issues as it relates to the draft, I think before we adopt something else, we oughta really make sure that it has the test of time and has the test of being able to avoid any potential bigger issues that could cause more problems than maybe some of the minor ones that we’re dealing when it’s with the draft right now…
You know, I think it’s, most, I think a lot of [the calls for draft reform] is misunderstanding from not only the fans, and also the media. As we looked at the issues, over, some of the last presentations that the NBA actually provided for us, it really helped cement, a lot of us went into that, I mean, a little bit skeptical, but as we really saw the facts and the information, it really cemented that we have a really pretty good system that has w–is working well and doing exactly what, as an organization, we would like to see it do. And so, I think a lot of it needs to be better understanding and better education for our fan base.
On his intimate relations with Kevin O’Connor and Dennis Lindsey
We were a small organization [in 1986]. I think, like, we started when we literally had 12 players, three coaches, and a trainer and an assistant trainer, and then with 12 in our front office. So, it was always a very intimate group.
But to really be involved in the [draft] process really took place when I became the president, which was eight years ago. And really, getting much closer to, then, Kevin [O’Connor] and the process that was involved then, and very intimately involved now over the last four years with Dennis [Lindsey], and the processes that we’re, we continue to improve on and work on.
On the Jazz’s database of players
That information becomes very valuable for us to cont–to have it, and to continue to update it, so that we can, again, continue to assess the pool of talent.
If all of a sudden you can find those ri–those little gems, that all of a sudden — an Elijah Millsap, that has been hanging around in the D-League, and being around, and understanding his style, his family, that, you know, personal information as well as their talent information, is very valuable for us in helping us make good decisions, that may be the little nuggets and differences, that make you, from just a decent team, to a good team, to maybe a championship-caliber team. And so, that information is critical for us.
Have you had any response or feedback that the Jazz are a rising team and this is therefore an attractive situation for free agents?
Well, I’ll tell you. Dennis’ phone, and Justin [Zanik]’s phone stay very active. And we are an organization and we’re a team that, you know, and as I’ve visited with a lot of other team presidents, team executives, executives in the NBA, it’s constantly is commented back, “Boy, I’m impressed with what’s going on in Utah. I’m impressed with how you guys ended your season. I’m impressed with some of these young players you have.”
I–what it’s telling me, in people’s mind, they see where we’re going. They see what we have. And when that happens, then people are wanting to talk to you and they’re looking at — we’re in the minds of individuals, in how they want to negotiate with us. And that’s a positive position to be in.
On the return of the summer league
We felt slighted and frustrated that, in a lot of ways, [the Rocky Mountain Revue] was taken out from underneath us when they kind of developed Las Vegas. And the league didn’t do that purposefully, but it happened.
We worked very hard, both Kevin O’Connor, myself; then Dennis, myself. Greg Miller helped us in dealing with the commissioner, and we’re really happy that we’re able to get the summer league back…
For $8, you literally can go to two games each day, for $8. Or if you buy it for the three-day pass, $15 for five double-headers a day, you get to watch two NBA s–basketball games. It’s a remarkable deal. (KTIK, 1280)
On the drafting process
It is a big production…There’s all kinds of international activity. And frankly, it’s just harder with international guys. We’re not as familiar. The video is much better than it was 15 years ago, but sometimes that’s a challenge. To get intel on them and their family is a real chore. Medical, again, sometimes the medical around the international player.
And then you add that to the domestic players as well, and early entries where we basically gotta go start the process assuming everybody’s in. You don’t wanna assume someone’s out, and then all of a sudden you haven’t done your work. So, you have to start with a very wide process.
Have you never not drafted a player due to a bad interview?
Certainly, there are those interviews that corroborate the intel and consistent pattern of behavior that you have. And so, most of the time the intel’s fine but there are times that an intel and an interview, they kind of, corroborates — your information will eliminate a player, and you know, we’ll, those sometimes are tough because they can be good players.
And, but there’s certain things that you wanna stand for, and so what we found out is, while all past behavior doesn’t necessarily predict the future, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.
Complete this sentence: This Utah Jazz team must get better at…?
Boy, there’s so many…They have to get better at ball security. They ha–this Utah Jazz team has to grow beyond its years of experience. So we have to accelerate that process. This Utah Jazz team has to shoot the ball more consistently, out of more spots. This Utah Jazz team has to continue to be very unselfish and not worry about where the credit’s going. So, there, I could go on and on.
How difficult was it to get a summer league back in Utah?
When I first took the job, Randy [Rigby] and I had this conversation, and really it was a plea to Randy towards me, and, that, hey, we might not be able to get the Utah Jazz summer league back, but we’ve got to do, give our best effort.
And so, we strategized, and look, we had to talk to the league and we had to make sure that they understood that we wanted to partner with the Vegas Summer League, not compete with the Vegas Summer League. And so, we had to jump through a few hoops. (1280)
Dennis Lindsey on Randy Rigby’s infamous draft lottery moment two years ago: Randy has suffered — we’ve given him the business…We’ve gotten a big kick out of that one. I’ll try to be a little more poised.
Randy Rigby on the draft lottery: I’ve been very happy with the trend that we’ve been making, though, as an organization, to hopefully see that this old trend that we’ve been doing can stop and we can continue on the trend that we’ve been really building towards this last season, and that is, is getting out of the lottery, and working, and be towards, be the playoff team and really a winning team in this league, and for hopefully some, many years to come.
Rigby’s good luck charms: I brought my lucky shirt and my lucky se–pair of Jazz socks, that are gonna bring us some luck, but I’m counting on Dennis.
Lindsey, reacting with poise:
Lindsey and Rigby speaking with Jazz media after the lottery:
Reassurance from Rudy Gobert:
Has DL been indulging in too much fry sauce?
On the draft lottery
** Will be bringing pictures of his family, “the ultimate good luck charm,” to the draft lottery
** May talk a walk around Central Park and look for an additional good luck charm
** Also has a lucky watch his brother-in-law gave him
Are you satisfied with the baby steps that Dante Exum took?
I think we achieved a lot. Going, look, if you’re 18-slash-19 years old and you make it through an NBA season without an injury — he played in all 82 games — and you know what that means around here with John [Stockton] and Karl [Malone] and the legacy they left.
And frankly, it was very important for Dante — it was a big goal of his personally — to get through all 82 games even though he was really fatigued at points in the season and we wanted to sit him. He fought us on that, and we appreciated his mentality towards that.
The other thing that’s hidden, and we’re starting to be able to track it a little more with advanced stats, is Dante’s already shown unique defensive abilities. Frankly, he’s two or three levels ahead of where we thought he’d be defensively. I think we were +5 per 100 possessions when he was on the court last year.
So, for a 19-year-old point guard, and most of those margins were gain because of his defensive mobility, his size and his length. And you add that with intelligence and character — we’re thinking he’s already a good offen–or defensive player and in time he’ll be a good offensive player.
How many days a week will he be working on driving to the rim and attacking the rim?
So, there’s a couple things to that, and Quin [Snyder] and I just visited about that yesterday on the plane back from Chicago. There’s no question that he’ll move forward, and next year, it may be incrementally, but when Dante’s 22, 23, 24, we’re gonna be looking at a much different player. We’re very confident in his character. We’re very confident in his work ethic.
And we’ve already laid some plans about what we wanted to do with him in the off-season. Some will be a little non-traditional, so he can start using his size. As soon as his strength and his physicality match his size, I think that’s when magic will happen.
And the thing that I would say to everyone relative to Dante and the offensive part, he really deferred to Gordon [Hayward], to Derrick [Favors], some of our more mature players. He didn’t try to force himself on the game, and I think that’s why, even though his per-game stats were humble, the team functioned very well when he was in the game.
On why Gordon Hayward is a fit for the city, state and organization
His parents are great people. Really, the type of person, now married, his wife, his new wife is with baby. It just fits — there’s certain fits, right, with Salt Lake and Utah, and especially the Jazz. And Gordon is one that we’d like to see…when [he] retire[s], it’s gonna be a career Jazzman. That’s our hope.
How does Rudy Gobert keep improving?
I think there’s some fundamental things. He needs to continue to be stronger. We saw teams become more physical with Rudy the last third of the season, and push and sove.* So, for him to handle the physicality, to remain effective, he’s gonna have to get stronger. For him to be a safer athlete, frankly, he needs to get stronger. But Rudy’s committed to that.
We changed — he and Alex Jensen — changed the slot on his free throw, so we, now that he’s able to feel comfortable around the free throw line when the game’s stopped, hopefully when play is going on, he’s gonna be comfortable with that 15-footer.
Rudy quickly needs to move to spots so our offense can function. We wanna still be able to capitalize on those improvements. Improvement in his jump hook, his duck-in to get deeper position, all those things are attainable goals…It goes without saying we’re very proud of him and his improvement, and we look forward to him being a foundational piece for a long time.
* Not a typo.
On expectations for Derrick Favors
Yeah, so Quin and the coaches, they get a lot of credit [for Favors’ offensive improvement]. They were able to m–put guys in the right positions…
Derrick’s improvement was really significant, and in many ways he was our most effective player and a lotta positions. So, his ability to make that 17-footer — we still need to improve his free throw shooting.
I still want him to be a defensive anchor. He’s gonna have to do it out of the power forward spot instead of the center spot now that Rudy’s in the fold and established, but we have high hopes and we’re really proud of Derrick and his improvement. (KSL)