Richard Jefferson – Calm, cool, real. Did not beat around the bush. Realizes he’s here to play a role but also excited at the chance of more playing time. Has no problem being a mentor. He’s going to be a nice veteran presence in the locker room.
Marvin Williams – Always upbeat. Sounds like he had a long, hard offseason of rehab. Not anywhere near ready to play. Don’t expect to see him until December at the earliest.
Alec Burks – Alec’s interviews crack me up, the man gives the shortest answers! Always confident and that hasn’t changed. Big season for this young man.
Andris Biedrins – He’s excited for the opportunity to prove himself. Seems like a good guy and someone willing to do whatever is asked of him. Should be a good locker room presence as well.
John Lucas III – Also a tennis player a la Gordon Hayward. Seems like another good guy who’s going to be a calming veteran influence on this team. He won’t do anything flashy but he’s going to come in and run the offense and be the “bring the lunch pail to work” guy the Jazz love. I expect the fans to embrace him like they did with Jamal Tinsley. He “wants to win and be a part of building something great.” Lucas says that Trey Burke “listens and wants to get better.” He enjoys working with him already. I like the sound of this.
Jeremy Evans – Jeremy sounds like a much more confident player. I think he realizes the opportunity for playing time is there and this season will determine his future in the league. He has a great personality and is a great glue guy that teams need. I wish nothing but success for Jeremy Evans.
Brandon Rush – Doing 1 on 1 stuff. Should be interesting to see if he’s ready by the start of the season. He said there is no time table for his return. My guess would be he’s not ready for game 1, but maybe toward the end of November/beginning of December we could see him suit up.
Enes Kanter – Mr. Personality. Kanter is still very young but he has a great personality. You can tell he learned a lot from Malone. He pointed out that Karl worked with him on balance and keeping his legs strong. He said Karl told him “if your legs aren’t strong then you’ll get pushed around.” Great advice for a big guy.
Gordon Hayward – Business. Gordon Hayward is not messing around. He is ready for the season to get underway and show what he’s all about. He’s ready to lead and take this team by the horns. I love how he is his own worst critic. All the great ones are. Admits that being vocal will be the toughest part of being a leader.
Derrick Favors – Derrick also admits that being vocal will be the toughest part of being a leader. I loved how he mentioned that Malone talked to him about coming to camp in the best shape possible. That way you’re ahead of most players and can take your game to another level. Sounds like Favors still doesn’t have a signature move which is why he said his go to move is “scoring the basketball.” Right now, that’s good enough for me.
Trey Burke – Said it was “an honor first and foremost just to meet” John Stockton. Said Stockton taught him about coming off screens, making the right reads, basically just have a full knowledge of what is supposed to be happening on the court. Trey is a confident and mature player. You can tell he’s eager to play but also willing to listen, learn and get better. He should be a fun player to watch this year.
Ian Clarke – A player comfortable in his own skin and confident in his abilities. With the revelation that Brandon Rush probably won’t be ready at the start of the season, Ian very well could be the back up 2 until Brandon is healthy. Jefferson will also get solid minutes but I expect Clarke to earn some playing time early in the season. Should be interesting to see what he can do.
Rudy Gobert – This may not seem like a big deal but I think it’s a great point; Rudy Gobert is proud to be tall. One of my biggest pet peeves is big guys not playing tall. If he can go in and play confident and “tall” he should give the Jazz some productive minutes off the bench. I’m excited to see him play and I like the confidence he has.
In a nutshell: This season will be all about the young guys to begin with. We knew Marvin Williams wouldn’t be ready to start the season, but it doesn’t sound like Rush will be ready either. This means that not only will Alec Burks start but it creates opportunities for a young guy like Ian Clarke and a hungry vet like Richard Jefferson to play meaningful backup minutes. The Jazz will be fielding a starting lineup all of guys 23 and younger. How crazy is that? It’s also very exciting too! Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors are ready. They are ready to be leaders. They are ready to have their imprint made on a franchise. Watching those two grow as players and leaders will be the biggest story of this season. They will have a learning curve as they feel this out, but make no mistake, they’ve been waiting their turn and they know it’s their time.