Utah Jazz Locker Clean-Out Highlights: Pt. I Dennis Lindsey, Quin Snyder


Utah Jazz locker clean-out with GM Dennis Lindsey and head coach Quin Snyder

The final game of the 2014-15 season has been played by 14 of the NBA’s 30 teams, including the one near and dear to our hearts. But before they take a few weeks respite, Utah Jazz locker clean-out and exit interviews were on tap today. What follows are some of the highlights from the fellas.

Ed: These are only snippets, highlights. We encourage you to catch the full interviews with the links given. There is much to be gleaned from these insights

Utah Jazz locker clean-out Pt II: The Players can be found here

Part I: Utah Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey and Head Coach Quin Snyder

The Podium

Lindsey: Even though you’re in the beginning stages of a rebuilding process, you always have to deal with the post mortems of not getting in the NBA playoffs. That’s where we’re at and we have to own it.

We really had three or four seasons in a season. This was a series of short stories of extreme youth. We started out well, then took a couple body blows during the early portion of the season.

After Christmas we started showing signs of a lot of hard work. We became more competitive after Christmas, into January, and then, obviously, after the All-Star break, and after the trade deadline the nature of our group and how we defended changed.

Snyder: The thing that’s most encouraging to me is the perseverance that our team found throughout that process, their ability to stay committed to a process.

We feel no pressure whatsoever — I think teams can get in trouble when they feel pressure to spend dollars

Lindsey on upcoming free agency: Management, scouts…we’ve encouraged our guys to argue. We’ll put every scenario up on the board. Beyond timelines, we gotta get back to what’s fundamental for the Utah Jazz. If it’s to use all the money we’ve saved on one guy, then so be it.*

*Dennis Lindsey has intimated previously that he has a specific free agent target in mind for this off-season already

But it has to be the right player with the right mindset that fits the group. We don’t take lightly the character of the group we have right now, the chemistry is really unique. It’s collegiate in many ways. It’s pure.

Other than Alec Burks this year we didn’t experience many injuries. We’ll come up with something that’s sound, and if sound means bold, we’ll do that. The great news is, the best arc of improvement is our internal improvement. We have a full set of alternatives in front of us.

We feel no pressure whatsoever — I think teams can get in trouble when they feel pressure to spend dollars — it always gets back to the fundamental question: Are you spending wisely? Good decisions are born out of a good set of options. Do we feel obligated that we have to do it? Absolutely not.

It’s about the group. Look, it’s tough when you come in and the average age of your starters (are) younger than the BYU starters in a man’s league. That’s daunting

Snyder: I think we have a lot of players like Rudy (Gobert) that have a lot of upside. He’s really committed and diligent in the weight room. We can focus a lot on his offense, his defense is really impactful, particularly as a leader.

Lindsey on chemistry and Alec Burks: Frankly, chemistry is fragile and we all know it when we see it, when we feel it. The history of the Jazz is one that fans expect team play on both ends of the court. When you enter potentially new people into the equation you have to talk that out. Those conversations are delicate, but you have to be completely honest. It will be a topic that we talk about on a daily basis.

Snyder on chemistry: From a developmental standpoint, the player’s progress being aligned with the things that the team needs, wherever that overlap occurs, I think accelerates chemistry. When that doesn’t occur, which is a lot, we get back to the character of the players, and the tradition, the people that have come before that established that culture by being willing to put the group first.

Lindsey on point guard play: From a baseline level of production, it has to improve. But there’s no reason it can’t improve with the three young players we have.

We’re fortunate to have good wings that have a great deal of ball-handling responsibility. As much as maybe we want it to look like John (Stockton) and the past, the way the league’s moving, the way our particular team has evolved, we have some excellent wings that need the ball.

We’re going to bring Burks back, Gordon’s one of our better play-makers, decision-makers, Rodney Hood‘s shown some ability to have the ball, Joe Ingles‘ best quality is probably as a ball mover. So that can mean different things for Trey (Burke) and Dante (Exum) and Bryce (Cotton): proving their open shooting, for example, being great team defenders, quickly getting us into our offense.

The one thing that I’d say, relative to Dante, for example, is when you look at his individual stats, they’re humble. But the impact on the team was huge. It was because he didn’t force himself on the game, and there’s no stat for that. His length, his intelligence, his character allowed him to become a plus-defender at 19 years old. It’s something that, frankly, Quin and I didn’t expect.

With Trey, his pull-up shooting, handling late-clock possessions. Bryce has shown some speed that’s increased our pace. I think we have some raw material to work with. There’s no reason all three of those guys can’t improve.

Lindsey on Snyder: It’s safe to say it’s not about me, it’s not about Quin, it’s not about Gordon and Derrick (Favors). It’s about the group. Look, it’s tough when you come in and the average age of your starters (are) younger than the BYU starters in a man’s league. That’s daunting.

Snyder on Lindsey: Wait, critique Dennis!

You can catch the full video from UtahJazz.com here


David Locke, Radio Voice of the Utah Jazz, on what an NBA season entials

Dennis Lindsey with David Locke and Ron Boone

Lindsey on Joe Ingles: So, Joe. 27 (years old), been a professional for a number of years. Quite intuitive. He was able to compartmentalize the different parts of our season. Joe, specifically, we talked about his body and being more fit, stronger. I think Joe’s always relied on his ability to see the game well, his natural inclination to make the right play and his size.

 “Who could you be like?” and all of a sudden (Lindsey laughing) there’s a big guy that says he’s gonna be the next Scottie Pippen! It’s like, okay

Luckily with Joe he’s able to look at himself, laugh at himself.

Lindsey on player character: The guy that’s completely un-self-aware — if un-self-aware’s a word — they very rarely make it this far in the process. Dante’s 19, but he’s very self-aware and really intelligent beyond his years, self sufficient already. You don’t have to worry about Dante off the court.

There are those interviews where it’s like… “Who could you be like?” and all of a sudden (Lindsey laughing) there’s a big guy that says he’s gonna be the next Scottie Pippen! It’s like, okay, check that box…

That’s where I think our group’s fairly unique, is it’s an unselfish group of young men and they’re mature beyond their years.

Lindsey on player off-season improvement: Players are smart, as you know, Booner. They’re very intuitive. Gordon came in with a couple things for us to think about, organizationally. Very well pointed, very well thought out, and we’ll share those with ownership.

 Players are smart, as you know, Booner. They’re very intuitive. Gordon came in with a couple things for us to think about, organizationally

That’s really the environment we’re trying to create: the player feels safe, and is able to share things, and feel supported.

Lindsey on Hayward and Favors taking over leadership roles: I don’t want to share too much, ’cause these are personal things, but Gordon shared how it had impacted his sleep the year before last, and the new role, and obviously our record and expectations and going into a contract… (trails off)… those are all pretty heavy.

Really, it was a big enough point I had to (big sigh) say, “Hey, look, Gordon I did that to ya. We didn’t wanna give you and Derrick a crutch. This, year, last, you guys had to stand on your own two legs.”

Did we do it a year too soon?  A year or two late? Depends on who you ask.

I’m very confident we’ll see a much better Gordon Hayward next year. Yeah, he was terrific this year. Gordon’s wise enough to do that. There was some very Jeter references.

Listen to the whole Dennis Lindsey interview from 1280/97.5 The Zone here

Quin Snyder with David Locke and Ron Boone

Snyder sounds as worn as pebble in a flash flood 

Snyder: I think (the players) were receptive from the outset, I just don’t think we saw everything click — I won’t say it didn’t sink in — it’s like someone trying to… there’s a difference between teaching them verbally, then translating to a game when thing get competitive.

There’s an adversarial component when the other team is trying to not let you do things. When you meet some adversity, at early stages you lose focus, and like I said, the habits can’t carry you through.

As the season progressed, their commitment to those things was stronger because they began to feel a little bit of success, intermittently, it became more consistent.

Boone: That’s basically what we heard from players today. They were very much receptive towards the end of the season. They understood why you did something over, and over, and over.

Snyder: (Chuckles, sounding like a worn father) I don’t think they understood it early on. That’s why you practice. That’s why you grind. It gets harder. And harder. The incremental games… they’re gonna have the same problem next year…

Listen to the whole Quin Snyder interview from 1280/97.5 The Zone here


That, my friends and readers, is commitment to “the process” we keep hearing about. For all the progress the Utah Jazz made this year, each step thereafter, up the ladder, bears all the more weight with it. Especially in the Western Conference.

More from The J-Notes