Hey everyone! Today is the official last day of the 2013-14 season for the Utah Jazz. The last day before players and coaches can begin their summer vacations is a bittersweet day for nearly everyone involved. Today, each player will be individually interviewed to review how the season went for them and to learn what the offseason has in store for them and their careers. Salt City Hoops will be updating this post live with all of the latest updates from Locker Room Cleanout day.
Jazz coach Ty Corbin just spoke for 10+ minutes on the state of the season and the team. The first story is that he has not yet had a discussion with Dennis Lindsey and the Jazz’s management about his future for next year, though he says that discussion will come in the days to come. He also praised his players, including his young guys, for their willingness to work during a long season.
But there was an interesting tone to Corbin’s quotes, more revealing of the negative side than ever before. When asked how he felt about those who wanted him fired, he said “misery loves company” and “there’s a lot of miserable people out there.” He also spoke about the impact that the negative talk had on the players themselves, and how the coaching staff often had to respond with relentless positivity.
Gordon talked at length about being the #1 guy this season, and how that affected his season both on and off the floor. On the floor, it meant that defenses came at him relentlessly, trying to stop him and forcing him into contested jump shots that he couldn’t really make consistently. (Perhaps more worrying, though, was that he also wasn’t making the open jump shots consistently.) Off the floor, he said being the “man” to have to answer for the Jazz’s woes all season wore him down.
He did insist that the contract year speculation never got to him. I want to believe him, and he really does seem earnest, but comments from Richard Jefferson and others would seem to indicate that it weighed heavier on his mind that he let on.
On coaching, Hayward said that the entire team supported Ty Corbin throughout the season, but he felt that the Jazz should have ran more, as a team, in order to take better advantage of the Jazz’s youth’s speed and athleticism. He said departed coach Jeff Hornacek “is my guy”, but said ultimately coaching was not different with Brad Jones and Johnnie Bryant working with him throughout the year.
Marvin is a free agent this season, but said definitively that he would like to stay in Utah. That’s a big step for a veteran free agent who might like tok play on a contending team, instead, he seems like he’ll tell his agent to try to keep him here if the Jazz would like him back.
Also interesting was his talk about playing SF compared to PF. He says it’s not important to him on offense that both play really similar roles spacing the floor, but on defense, guarding the PFs of the league is “a little harder”.
Jefferson started by saying that Ty Corbin is a “veteran coach, and by that I mean a guy who coaches veterans well”. Jefferson was effusive in his praise for the job Corbin did during the season, both in managing his personal career and in the development of the young guys.
Jefferson also added that at this point in his career, he’d like to play a role on a contending team, but if that weren’t possible, that he’d prefer the rebuilding situation in Utah. He also mentioned that, while it wasn’t the case everywhere he’s been in his career, that everyone in the Jazz locker room was positive and he’d be happy to work with again.
Finally, he mentioned an ongoing debate between himself, Marvin Williams, and Enes Kanter as to which side of the ball was more important. RJ and Marvin said defense, as the veterans on the squad, but Enes Kanter said offense. Perhaps that isn’t surprising.
Jeremy said that he would like to be invited back to the dunk contest, and that he “expects to see him [Gordon Hayward] back here next year”. He also said that you can purchase any of the art he had on display by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Derrick had a lot of good things to say about the team, saying he felt every single player on the team improved during the course of the season. As for himself, he felt he had 20-10 potential, or even 25-15 potential(!). He wasn’t sure if he was going to work with Karl Malone again this offseason, but did say he felt Hayward would be back with the Jazz next season.
Rudy spoke before his meeting with coaches and management, so he wasn’t able to shed light on how that meeting went. He did mention that it was hard at times to remain patient over the course of the lengthened 82 game schedule, especially seeing so many games from the bench. He did anticipate having a bigger role next season. He also mentioned that Richard Jefferson acted as an important mentor to him, calling him an “old man” in the NBA.
Alec, as usual, was a man of few words in his locker room cleanout media appearance. That being said, he mentioned that he thinks he can become a #1 offensive option in the league, should he mature as a player. He feels that shooting is the most important next step for him to become that player. He also feels like he needs to grow off the court, “as a man”, as he said, in order to get to that level.
Enes was interesting, maybe the most confrontational of the players thus far about his role. He says that he’s looked at the other top 5 guys in his draft class and sees them playing “major minutes”, and is disappointed when he sees that his two year average is around 18 MPG (his estimate). He also mentioned the 3 point shot that he’s been working on, and has said that he plans to unveil it in game next season. He felt irked by the talk of him and Favors not being able to work together on the court, saying it was foolish, as they’ve worked together for 3 years now. Interestingly, he also pointed at Corbin’s experience, or lack thereof, calling him “a new coach”.
Trey is just so good at interviews, stellar as a rookie. He mentioned that he never stopped feeling like a rookie off the court, due to the various responsibilities of being a rookie given by the veterans on the squad, but that he started to feel like a veteran on the court in the last month of the season, especially as he felt comfortable in the last few minutes of the game, especially when hitting game winning shots.
I brought up his stated goal from the beginning of the season, that he feels he can become an all-star in the NBA, and asked him what he needed to do to catch up to that caliber of player. He said there was a huge difference between himself and those players. He mentioned getting to the line and finishing at the rim as important goals for him offensively. On defense, he mentioned that he had no consistency, essentially, he would let someone score on him once or twice and then get mad, deciding to stay tough on D throughout. He said he needs to watch guys like Chris Paul to understand how consistently fight on defense as a small point guard on a possession-by-possession basis.
More updates and quotes to come from Jazz Locker Room Cleanout Day.