Charlotte, N.C. • Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey says he acquired Kyle Korver for one simple reason: to put Joe Ingles in his place.
“I’ve been greatly offended by Joe Ingles' claim to be the greatest shooter on the planet. As a proud American, that he was comparing himself to Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kyle Korver, I was offended,” Lindsey said. “I wanted to make sure that he realizes not only is he not the best shooter in the world, with his leveraged-arm Aussie slingshot — like he’s trying to shoot balloons in the Australian circus — he’s no longer even the best shooter on the Utah Jazz. That was my No. 1 goal.”
Yes, Lindsey was joking — nor was Ingles surprised when he was told about the joke, because “every time [Lindsey] sees me, he makes a joke to me about something.” But what is true — no kidding — is that Korver’s presence on the floor will change things for the Jazz’s offense.
“[Korver] just opens up the floor, gives Ricky, Donovan, or me, whoever is running that pick and roll a chance to be able to get downhill,” Ingles said. “And if they do help, then we’ve got the second-best shooter on the team — shoutout Dennis Lindsey — to hit the three. And if not, it opens up for whoever’s penetrating or Rudy on the rim. It’ll just make it a bit easier to have someone that they can’t leave.”
The Jazz have had high-quality shots: the Jazz are second in the league in terms of their percentage of jump shots that are wide-open. “We’ve had a lot of quality of shot. Kyle can help us with the makes,” Lindsey said.
Integrating Korver will be a process, but it helps that his gravity on the floor can help right away as they run most of the same plays. Sometimes, Korver will be in the place of Ingles as the designated shooter, allowing Ingles to be more of a ballhandler. “Whether it’s pindowns or wide pindowns, that’s something we’ve done for Joe, as he’s evolved in that role, and we see those same opportunities for Kyle with his ability to shoot off screens,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.
Then, over the course of the next few weeks and months, they can start to add plays that take advantage of Korver’s unique skillset. “The way we move around the court can be completely different than from us just attacking up top in a variety of pick and rolls," Lindsey said. "Even the x-y coordinate of where we attack from is so narrow because of our personnel. That’s on me. Now, we can move Kyle and Joe along the baseline and make it look a little different.”
For what it’s worth, Korver expects to get his shots in different ways when compared to Cleveland.
“Cleveland was a little unique the last couple of years, playing with LeBron. You’re in motion some, but really it was trying to create space and opportunities for him to be great,” Korver said. “I’m ready for more of this right now. More motion, more movement, more options, trying to get into the second and third fourth option, not just trying to rely on one player to kind of do it all."
He made the comparison to his time in Atlanta, when Snyder was an assistant for Mike Budenholzer. They had him taking all kinds of shots off of screens from various spots on the floor.
While Snyder coached Korver five years ago, Lindsey hadn’t had the sharpshooter on one of his teams before. That’s because he passed on him in the second round of the draft, and he was eventually selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 51st pick.
“Ironically, Kyle Korver was one of my bigger mistakes in Houston. He was our guy, and he was there, and I had been in charge of the drafts for a while then. A lot of things happen in draft rooms, and I let someone talk me out of that pick,” Lindsey said. "Jeff Van Gundy has never let me live that down. He was right, he was like ‘Hey look, you did the work, you had the right call, and you didn’t stay true to your convictions.’
“That conversation still sits with me today every time we go through a draft.”
Lindsey finally got his man, though it was for a different franchise. And for the man — Ingles — who previously was the unquestioned best shooter on the team, he’s happy to have Korver alongside him, challenging for his title.
“Now we have the two best shooters," Ingles said. "It’s all good.”