Utah Jazz: Kevin O'Connor gives 'State of the Jazz' address
Q: What is Kirilenko's future like with the Jazz?
KOC: I wouldn't have a comment on it. It's going to be up to him. What does he want to do? He's got an opportunity to test the free-agent market. There's nothing we can do about it. He's fulfilled his contract. We've fulfilled our side of it. Would we like him back? Sure. Absolutely. And that's a conversation we'll have.
He's got other options because he's a foreign player ... He likes it here. That's what he's told us. Andrei said he'd like to be back. He's said he likes it here. That's the only thing. I take a man at his word, and that's what I'm taking from him.
Q: Some basketball experts are calling this a weak draft. Is it?
KOC: I always hear that kind of stuff, but there will be somebody that steps up that plays and plays better than they're supposed to. And you say boy, that kid shouldn't have been drafted at 14 or 13 or 12, but he was and he's done great, and I hope that's the guy we pick if that's the case. It's our responsibility to find those players that can help ya.
You don't compare drafts. You take the talent and you try to evaluate it from one to where you're drafting and even after that obviously. You can't say, 'The 18th pick is not a good pick. I like 15 players and that's all I like.' You've got to draft 18th unless you want to pass on the draft or unless you want to try and figure a way to move up or move back.
I've always liked what football does. Football has value picks, they always call them. I've tried to always emulate that and say where is the pick that will do it. Fortunately for us, we have the ability to sign a player and there's a level that you can sign them at because of the rookie pay scale.
I would wait and see what people say after that. I think there's some good players in the draft to be honest. I think I'll tell you better May 9th (when early draft declarations become official). We'll wait and see. I can't talk about a guy. On May 9th it'll be in writing, and then you've got to kind of evaluate it.
Q: What are the chances you'll try to package your two (potential) first-round picks and move up? (The Jazz have New Jersey's pick and will keep their own first-round selection if they don't make the playoffs.)
KOC: Well, we did that once before and it worked pretty good (in 2005 when Utah traded up to get Deron Williams). If you go back and look at the number of people that have done that over the years, I think you'll see that there's very few. History tells you that one through five is something that works percentage-wise as far as good players go (more often) than after that. ... If I've done it before then people aren't probably going to want to do it with me.
Q: How much did your scouting strategy change after the trade?
KOC: None. We said at the beginning of the year we've got to treat this draft ... like any other draft. What you try to do is you don't have a microcosm. You kind of go macro. You see all of the players. ... Every year we treat it like it's an expansion draft and we've got to know every player in the draft. That's how we treat it. In today's day and age, depending on who comes out and who doesn't come out, we also have to say everybody's a player. (We can't say) 'Well, he's only a freshman, or he's only a sophomore.' We try to evaluate what level they're at and can they play in the league? And if they can, we've got to evaluate it.
Q: Did you have a problem with the way Coach Corbin played the rookies at the end of Monday's game?
KOC: Our head coach makes those decisions. Before Jerry (Sloan), Frank (Layden) made them ... so the coach makes the decisions. I would also say, coming from 12 down to going two ahead in the game, they earned the right to be on the court. There's never any second-guessing with what the coach does. We support everything that he does as far as that goes. He's the one that's on the front lines and he's the one that's with them every day.
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