Utah Jazz: Kevin O'Connor gives 'State of the Jazz' address
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — It began as a simple announcement about how the Utah Jazz were going to sign a D-League player because of the wounded team's injury situation.
But after briefing media members on new Jazzman Kyle Weaver, general manager Kevin O'Connor spent another 15 minutes fielding a variety of reporters' questions — with topics ranging from the team's current and future situations, the upcoming draft, Andrei Kirilenko's impending free agency, Al Jefferson avoiding the media to, yep, The Jimmer (well, sort of).
Q: Will this be an audition of sorts for Kyle Weaver or will he be signed simply to fill the injury void?
KOC: More because of the injuries, if you want the honest assessment. What we do is we have a list that we keep of every position in the D-League and every guy that's out there. We call it an emergency list. We evaluate what the emergency is. Marcus Cousin was an emergency when we had all of the big guys out.
(Weaver's) had NBA experience. He's been with a program like Oklahoma City, who does things the right way.
There's two or three reasons you bring somebody up at this time of the year, and I think he fills all three reasons. 1) He's somebody that we want to take a serious look at; 2) He's somebody that we're going to need to probably put in the game; and, 3) What kind of guy is he? And he comes up in good light on all of those.
If you look at him, one of the things you question was his outside shooting. If you look at him statistically on his NBD-League (stats), he's really improved that. He's in his 40s on his 3-point shooting.
Q: How do you feel about the situation the team is in right now?
KOC: It's lousy. We were here when we won 26 games (in 2004-05), and I think we came out of that OK. We had a lot of injuries that year, if I remember. Andrei missed over 40 games and Carlos (Boozer) missed a lot of games and Raja (Bell) missed games at the end of the year ... so we understand what it is and we appreciate it.
As far as the whole thing goes, it's lousy. If they don't make a miracle shot, New Orleans, and (Jordan) Crawford doesn't hit the jump shot (for Washington), then we've won two out of last three and we feel a lot better about ourselves. But you understand that this is part of what you go through. You're teaching the young players you have to do the right things.
Whatever the scoreboard says is what it is and you are who you are with that and you've got to continue to do the right things. You've got to be on time for practice. You've got to do all of the things that you're supposed to do. This organization and the Miller family, that's one of their trademarks. ... We're responsible for doing things professionally in the right way.
Q: What is the core of this team going ahead, and do you consider Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors part of that?
KOC: We're going to have to put it all back together a little bit going into next season. Devin Harris, to me, is a very good point guard. And I think Raja would say this to you that he probably didn't have the kind of season he wanted to have. Defensively, I think he's done a good job, and hopefully he'll bounce back next year with that.
The only guy that's significant that plays that we don't have back next year is Andrei. We have a couple of draft picks, so I think it's a matter of evaluating in the offseason. It's their responsibility, too, as players to get better. Look, Al's 25, it's not like he's coming into the prime of his career hopefully. He needs to get better. We need to do a better job managing. I need to do a better job. Ty (Corbin) needs to do a better job.
The Miller family has given us everything we've asked for, so it's our responsibility and it's right on us. It starts with me and works all the way down to the coaches, to the players, to the people trying to keep them healthy — everybody. Everybody's involved with this and everybody's got to do it. We'll be judged accordingly. Our report card is public.
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