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Excerpts from a media interview with Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan prior to a Wednesday morning workout at the team's practice facility.
Tuesday night's practice:
It went very well. Obviously, coach is never satisfied. But I thought it went well for the second practice. A lot of stuff for guys to try and pick up and understand. And then you've got young guys that are not familiar with stuff, so it takes a little bit of time. But that's what we're here for.
Read on conditioning:
No. Not really. Some. But not really as much as I'll be able to in the next three or four days. Because after you get about three two-a-days in on them, we'll kind of see where they are; see how much they hang on to their shorts.
Enough to play a game. We want 'em to try to be comfortable in what we're trying to do in the first game. We have to have some form to go by. Out of bounds play. Inline; sideline out of bounds; full court stuff. Just our general we try to play like we'll play all year with this stuff, but not all of it. You can't get it all done in a day or two, so it takes a while to do that.
It's the same stuff. Younger guys just have a little bit more it's difficult to recognize because they haven't played.
Backup point guard battle between Earl Watson and Ronnie Price:
I don't worry about that now. We'll just play somebody and see how they go; see how they do. I don't think there's anybody that can say he's going to step in and backup behind Deron. We just want to see them compete against each other, so we can make the decision we think is the best for our team.
I don't make it until if I have to make cuts, I have to. Sometimes you make cuts if you're going to take a long trip in exhibition season. It's hard to get 16 guys in the ballgame. So, if we feel like one player's ahead of another, we might make some cuts. But we're not in a hurry to do that. It's hard for us to talk and coach and teach and see guys play. We're not that smart. I'm not. The other coaches are, but I'm not I've got to slow down.
I really like a lot of these guys we brought in here. I've been really pleased with the way they worked. The Evans kid, and, of course, Gordon. … Ryan Thompson, Demetris. Those guys worked really hard, and that's why they have a chance everyday. We can't make them work. We've got all the time in the world, but we can't make them work. We can try to encourage them to. Hope they realize they can feed their family a lot easier playing this than playing bingo or something.
He'll be a rookie all year. He's got a whole year to be a rookie. He'll be fine. Expectations, obviously: You pick a guy, and people think he's going to come in and take a game over and go crazy. But he's 20 years old. C.J. Miles was 18 or 19, and he's been here a long time. He's just started to come into the position where he can play and we can use him and we can get something out of him. And it takes a while.
He's a very smart guy. He's got everything. He's a young guy, he's got everything in his favor. The work still has to be done. Nobody cares what you did yesterday in the basketball world; they want to know what you're going to get done today. But you find that out after practices, hard practices; guys lose confidence for a period of time, and how they fight back. That's our biggest battle a lot of times. You lose two out of three games, and everybody thinks the season's over. And how do the guys fight out of that? Some guys do and some guys don't.
Miles and Hayward comparison:
I hope it doesn't take six years for [Hayward]. If it does ... [Laughs]
Four point guards and a problem with a lack of playing/teaching time:
No. I don't think so. We have things we do. Some guys are involved in one play. Some guys are setting out. With Deron, we try not to play him every posession, so the other guys get an opportunity to compete and play. I think it works out real well.
I thought he had one of the best practices he's had last night. All the way around. Everything that he did, I thought he did it with an attitude to be better. Rather than the casual approach, which he has a tendency to do. And you can't play this game as a point guard if you're going to be casual and cool. It would be cool sitting up in the stands, and that's where you'll end up in that situation. So that's important. I think we told him that. I'm not saying that speaking out of school. I told him that when he was in Orlando. 'You've got to play with a high level.' He's got a great body. Don't try to preserve it. Get out and let it get some bumps and bruises on it.
He's here with us. I never say I'm going to cut this guy or take this guy over this guy right now. I've been burned trying to do that. I don't make my decisions before I have to make them. That's why I don't make decisions until I have to make them.
I don't know. Kevin always tells me if we need to cut down. Plus, generally, he says 'When you're ready.' And that's usually the way we work.
Watson helping the team with his experience:
That's all well and good. But maybe we've got somebody that's better or something like that. That's why we don't make cuts now; don't make decisions now. I thought he's played pretty well. But, again, it's unfair to judge guys on 1 or 2 [practices].
Brian T. Smith