Longtime NBA player Jason Terry, who is now head coach of the NBA G League’s Grand Rapids Gold, has been reported to be a candidate for the Utah Jazz’s open head coaching position, and last week, he addressed that topic in a wide-ranging interview with reporter Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson.
Terry confirmed that he did indeed interview for the job and said he had “a great conversation” with Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, GM Justin Zanik and other members of Utah’s front office.
“Their process, their search, is well-rounded,” Terry said of a search that has been reported to include around 15 candidates.
“A lot of great candidates, but obviously I have to put myself above the rest.”
Terry made a case for himself as a mentor and player developer thanks to his variety of experiences in high-level basketball, from playing to coaching to management.
“(The Jazz) organization has been first class since I’ve known it, for the 19 years I played and after, and I can tell they’re headed in the right direction,” he said.
“They’ve got a great core nucleus of guys and talent that speaks for itself. They’ve been the class of the Western Conference, though they haven’t won a championship yet or been to the NBA Finals, I just think they’re the right voice away, and hopefully I can be that voice for them.”
Robinson then asked Terry what he likes about Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, and Terry pointed to Mitchell’s ability to score, and said an “underrated” part of Mitchell’s game is his ability to facilitate.
As often comes up in interviews, Robinson asked Terry about a comparison between Mitchell and Jazz part owner Dwyane Wade, who was a 13-time All-Star during his NBA career.
Terry said in addition to Mitchell and Wade being of similar size, he pointed to their ability to get into the paint to score as a commonality but said Mitchell’s perimeter game may be ahead of where Wade’s was at this point in his career.
“Defensively is an area where Donovan’s gonna grow and where he’s gonna be a very similar player to Dwyane Wade where he can come from the weak side and make athletic plays at the rim and block shots, get in passing lanes and anticipate,” Terry said.
“He takes that next step, and that sets him in a whole other tier of players in our league.”
Robinson then asked Terry what he likes about Ainge, and Terry noted Ainge’s experience, basketball acumen and “personable” nature.
“When you talk to Danny, you understand that it’s more than basketball to him,” Terry said. “He cares for you as a person, and I think when you have a person in a position of leadership which he is that’s very genuine and really cares about his players, then that relationship is one of a kind.”
Terry recalled getting to know Ainge during the 2012-2013 NBA season when he played for the Boston Celtics while Ainge was there, and how the two would talk about not only basketball, but life in general.
“I think that type of relationship is something that’s unique as a young, developing head coach in our league,” Terry said.