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The Downbeat #1288: The One Where Randy Rigby Describes His Perfect Coach

Your Friday Downbeat! Randy Rigby, Greg Miller, Gail Miller and more.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Having the Downbeat on Friday is pretty cool because Randy Rigby has his interviews with 1280 on Thursdays. Its also nice because it seems like NBA news likes to come out before the weekend. I loved my Thursday Downbeat last season because it seemed like the Jazz nearly always had a game on Wednesday. I have been fortunate in the timing of my Downbeats.

I love writing Downbeats really anytime because of all of you! I'd quickly like to thank everyone for making SLC Dunk so wonderful. You would think that writing about the Jazz this season would be a chore, or the last three seasons for that matter, it hasn't been a chore however, because of the community at SLC Dunk. Just knowing that I can discuss the Jazz no matter how I feel about them at the moment here with all of you makes it so fun. I know I am piggybacking off of Amar's DB on Saturday but I had to publicly thank everyone here who shows me kindness, who endures my rants, who endures my uber-excitement at the silliest things. I feel like my fandom has only grown since joining SLC Dunk and making friendships with all of you. It's funny how my fandom has grown even when it's also during the time when I've been the most disappointed at the Jazz more regularly than I ever have in nearly 25 years of being a fan. So thanks to all of you, my Jazz peeps!

Relating friendship to the Jazz. Here is a great post Moni did about Karl and John's friendship a few years ago.

One highlight

There were once two dear friends who were not just friends, but colleagues. We’ll call them "J" and "K." All of their co-workers, including J, had sons. As the only guy in the company without a son, K was subjected to a great deal of teasing from his colleagues.

One day, J could no longer stand seeing his friend being ridiculed and drew him aside. "Listen," he told K. "This is how you have a son. Take your wife out to dinner and get her drunk. Bring her home and call me. I’ll be right over."

And of course John and Karl's friendship shining through on Karl's 50th Birthday.





Friendships are the best, especially friendships formed because of the Utah Jazz :)

Anyways going back to Randy Rigby. This week Rigby gives the characteristics of a good head coach. I'll list them and you guys tell me:

1) If the characteristics are important to you in a head coach

2) If Ty possesses them

3) What else you would add to the list

Randy's list (please read Moni's transcript for reasoning behind the characteristics/traits):

  • Character
  • Ability to communicate (sorry I just have to stop myself from laughing to type that correctly)*
  • Promoter of the Utah Jazz and the community
  • Passionate love for the game of basketball,and a desire to keep learning and growing and improving their own skills and their own abilities.

*Lately I have been thinking about Raja Bell. I have been thinking about the bum rap he received from the media. I know I have shared this but my in-laws were neighbors with Bell. They heard what really happened. Bell was clearly a scapegoat so the Jazz could usher in the Ty Corbin era, they had to show that undivided loyalty to Ty early on to not even insinuate that anything was wrong with the Jazz, that there was no drama. They had to make it seem like Sloan was fully supported and there was no drama between Sloan and DWill, since they were still going with the "tired" story then for Sloan's departure. Anyways Bell received such an extreme punishment from the Jazz for not getting along with COACH. A coach who has proven that communication is not his greatest skill. Watson, Carroll, Harris, Miles and some current players can attest to that also.

Greg Miller appears tonight on Undercover Boss on CBS. The Utah Jazz will be the first NBA franchise to appear on the show. The Huffington Post wrote an article on Miller's experience:

During his undercover period, Miller engaged in roles ranging from a halftime performance with the Utah Jazz Dunk Team and acting as a human basketball hoop during his work with the Jazz's Interactive Team. Additionally, he worked alongside the team's facilities department and tried his hand as a concessions staff member. Throughout each of these roles, Miller saw firsthand the ways in which his organization thrives, but also noted areas in which it could improve. "There were a couple of issues that jumped out right away. One issue was that some of the equipment that we use to set up the arena for Jazz games was in desperate need of repair. The mechanisms in place were installed when the building was built 23-years ago, so they were tired," Miller explained.

Another issue uncovered during his stint as an undercover boss resonated largely with Miller. "I realized that we need to do a better job as an organization expressing gratitude to our employees," he noted. Miller has focused on showing gratitude to the organization's employees since becoming CEO in 2008 by sending over 30 handwritten notes to employees monthly. Hence, he was surprised by this revelation. "I asked one of the employees I worked with when I was undercover how he likes working here. He said he loves everything about it, except that the employees don't get as much recognition as he thought they should for a job well done. That was a little hard for me to hear, because I take a lot of pride in how many handwritten thank you notes I send to our employees each month," Miller said.

Greg Miller was recently interviewed by Shauna Lake of KUTV (remember her interview with Kyle Korver). I would post Miller's interview here but there is not a way to embed from the KUTV website. Go here to watch and/or read the transcript of the video.

Greg's answer about if he misses his dad, Larry

SHAUNA LAKE: Do you miss him?

GREG MILLER: I do. Yeah I don’t know if you’re aware but it was five years ago today that he passed away, and I miss him. He was a great blessing in my life, and I learned a lot from him, and I enjoyed being with him. Especially towards the end when he realized him time was winding down and he sort of lost the pressure of the businessman and sort of that need to be invincible and become more of a person. We spent a lot of time in some of the cars. Cars were a magical connection for us, and we got to spend some time in some of the special cars that we both loved, and just talking about other things that were important. We went fishing. We talked about fishing. I saw his humorous side emerge in ways that I hadn’t very many times before that. So yeah I definitely miss him.

Gail Miller also is in the news Recently she gave an interview with Utah Business: The Magazine for the Decision Makers. It's interesting to hear Gail's perspective about Larry and the Jazz.

Why they bought the Jazz:

UBM: Larry H. Miller always emphasized that he considered the Utah Jazz a gift to the community, and that drove his efforts to save and build up the team. Do you share that same view of the team?

GM: I did then and I do now. Absolutely. The thing people don’t understand, for the most part, is we didn’t buy the team because we like basketball. We bought the team because it was an important asset to the community. If it had been lost, our community would have a big hole in it. It wouldn’t have the economy that it has. Now that sounds very self-serving, but it’s a true statement. The Utah Jazz bring a vibrancy to Salt Lake City and the state that wouldn’t be there if the Utah Jazz weren’t here. So Larry understood how important it was to keep it here. And that’s the reason we bought it. It wasn’t because we could afford it. It wasn’t because we liked basketball. The real reason we bought it was that it was something the community needed to keep.

When we did buy it, it wasn’t recreation to us. It was a business. Larry ran it like a business and made money right from the beginning with it. It had never made money up to that point. I don’t know if that was the difference—that we ran it like a business rather than used it as recreation. ... Since then, it has become a very important part of our business. I think if we sold it now, we’d probably have to move. And we’re not intending to sell it.

How involved is Gail in the day-today business?

BM: In terms of day-to-day operations, what sort of role do you take with the company?

GM: When Larry and I started this company, he worked long hours and I stayed at home with the children. But he always came home and told me what he was doing, how things were going, what he was working on, who the people were and asked my advice and talked about things. We’d spend hours and hours [talking] and I was fully engaged in what he was doing. In fact, there were times where I thought, "He looks at me like another employee," because he would say, "Will you do this?" or "Will you do that?" as he’d leave the house in the morning. He had a whole list of things for me to do. So I was very much involved, even though I took a background role.

I didn’t like being in the public eye. As we grew our business, he was the front person and he liked that. He was good at it and I preferred to stay in the background. But we were very much a team. Before he died, he said to me, "You have so much institutional knowledge. You need to stay involved and you need to be the bridge from me to the boys until they get their footing." And so I’ve done that—probably a little too long. But I find I really like business now that I’m in it.

After Greg took over, I was not getting those day-to-day downloads, so I said, "Greg, I’m not getting enough information. You’re going to either have to start reporting to me or I’m going to have to start coming to the meetings." So that’s what I have done. I go to the meetings Greg has daily. The buck stops with me. If Greg wants to buy a dealership, he has to get my OK. So I’m very much involved in what’s going on in the business, even though I don’t run it.

Finally going back to Randy Rigby, he was asked about Jimmer in his interview yesterday with 1280:

Would the Jazz have interest in James Taft Fredette?
I’m really glad that I’ve got a great staff with Dennis Lindsey and folks that really, their job is literally looking at every player in the league and measuring them, and measuring them against what we have and what we’re trying to accomplish. And I’m happy to say that I can defer that question to Dennis…

If [Jimmer's abilities, contract and situation] is one that we feel would make the Jazz better, we’ll take the necessary steps to make those, have those discussions. And of course, there’s some ancillary benefits if that was the answer, yes, to this marketplace with his connections with BYU and what he did in this community, which was remarkable. We, I, we, I personally would love to see Jimmer be able to s–have his career keep growing and developing, and so, we’ll see if that means matching up with us or not. (1280)

Everyone knows I am a BYU graduate and BYU fan. I don't think I would want Jimmer as long as Ty is the coach. I think he has something to offer an NBA team. Jazzbasketball, who has no ties to BYU or the U of U wrote one of the best articles I have read about Jimmer in the NBA.

Jazzbasketball compares Jimmer to Steve Kerr, which I think its about as good of a comparison there is for Jimmer.

Kerr was an incredibly smart player with underrated toughness who used guile and intelligence to overcome a lot of his physical deficiencies. Offensively he took advantage of the Bulls’ triangle offense to cover for his lack of off-the-bounce ability, which Jimmer possesses infinitely more of. Defensively Kerr routinely faced quicker, more athletic backup point guards who often had their way with him individually but could be minimized by Chicago’s outstanding team-defense. While the game today has become much more free-flowing and reliant upon lateral quickness, Jimmer is a better athlete than Kerr and a much,much better ball-handler and scorer off-the-bounce.

Some NBA players could play on 25 different teams and still find an 7th or 8th-man role they can contribute in. For Jimmer, the pool is a little smaller but it all comes down to fit. The key is finding a team that can pair Jimmer with an athletic, defensive wing to take on the opponents’ best perimeter scorer while taking full advantage of Jimmer as an off-the-bench three-point sniper to space the floor. Like a marriage, it may not be easy finding "the one" but sometimes it just takes certain people longer to find the right match.

The article is fair. JBB breaks down Jimmer in an unbiased way in the only way JBB knows how to break down basketball. Read the entire article, it's fantastic. It also has a little story about Matt Harpring as a rookie :)