My how times have changed around the Utah Jazz organization. There's a new general manager (Dennis Lindsey), three new veterans (Mo Williams, Marvin Williams and Randy Foye) and only one player who's been here for two years (Paul Millsap). Utah media members, including our Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy, recently chatted with Jazz CEO Greg Miller about his thoughts on his evolving franchise.
Q: What is the attitude around the Jazz organization with all the recent changes?
A: For me, it's a very exciting time in the franchise history. We've made some exciting additions to the team, bringing Dennis on in the front office. All of those moves are very positive. They make us a better franchise and ultimately they'll help us win more games.
Q: Paul Millsap is the only player here from two years ago. Is it exciting to have all of that recent turnover?
A: I wouldn't say that I'm excited about the turnover, but I'm excited about where we are now. I'm excited about the mix of veterans and youth that we have. I'm excited primarily about the upcoming season and the opportunity that's right in front of us to see what we can do with this group of guys. Personally, I'm as excited about being a part of the Utah Jazz as I've ever been just because of the ingredients and the factors that have come together to put us where we are now. It's amazing to me how quick everybody seems to integrate into the Utah Jazz family. I think that says a lot about the guys who have been here the longest and how willing they are to make the new guys feel welcome and just continue some of those traditions.
Q: During this transition, how important is it to stay in touch with the foundation that was put into place by your dad and Coach Jerry Sloan?
A: It's been critically important. It's something that as a family and an organization we take a lot of pride in those traditions and the culture that we've been able to establish since the early 80s. As long as I'm in a position where I can influence it, I intend to just continue those traditions and look for opportunities to build on them and get better whenever and wherever we can. Those elements of hard work and personal accountability and giving everything you can every night, those will always be there. That's one of the reasons that this organization has had the longevity that it has is because people who have been around it really buy into it. I think maybe (coach) Tyrone Corbin is great example of that because he was exposed to that for as long as he was. It was very easy and very natural for him to step into that head coach role when Jerry decided he wanted to step down, and that continuity has been a blessing to the organization.
Q: Is it too early to set an expectation beyond making the playoffs like you did last year?
A: I told (the team) that I would never ask them to win a game, but I'll always ask them to give everything they've got, which is something my dad (the late Larry H. Miller) used to ask of them. And I think if we do that every night and everybody gives everything they've got that we're going to have a great season and we'll exceed the performance of last season. ... If I try to quantify then I think I put undue pressure on these guys and I don't want to be unfair to them. But I would certainly expect an improvement over last season in terms of ... percentage of wins (54.5 percent) and it'd be great to go deeper in the playoffs (first round) than we did last year, for sure.
Q: Looking at the Jazz roster, is there a player whom you'd consider to be the face of the franchise?
A: I think the face of our franchise right now is collective. I think it's youthful. It's excitement. It's teamwork. It's good chemistry. That may change at some point in the season if some player really emerges as kind of a dominant player or perhaps gets picked up by the national media. But for me right now I think it's just a group of good young guys who are really excited to develop into the best players they can. I think they all feel a sense of responsibility to shoulder their part of the load and help us win games.
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