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LAS VEGAS — With Gordon Hayward gone, Rudy Gobert is now the undisputed best player in a Utah Jazz uniform. He's taking ownership of that role by watching his young teammates in summer league. He agreed to speak with the assembled Utah media for about five minutes during the game Tuesday, and a transcript of the question and answer session follows.
You're the face of the franchise. How do you react to that, and what's your vision for the franchise going forward?
My vision is to win a championship. It hasn't changed, and I'm trying to keep getting better as a player and as a leader. I have the same mentality, nothing changes. I try to be the guy that can help us reach our goal, and help us keep getting better as a team.
Do you see yourself playing here your whole career?
Yeah, why not? A career is very long obviously, but we've been getting better, and to me, it's too good for me to leave right now. I really love the organization, I love to live in Salt Lake, I like the situation I'm in right now.
What do you guys see that you need to do this year to continue the momentum you had last year? Obviously, that was a pretty big loss in Hayward.
Just keep getting better, keep competing. There's probably going to be some surprise at what we're going to do this year. That's what I'm worried about ... is just moving forward and just getting better.
What was your reaction and when did you find out that Gordon Hayward was leaving?
I found out on Twitter. My reaction, I was kind of expecting it. I can sense those things and I was kind of expecting it. I was just disappointed to hear it on Twitter, but that's how it is.
What were your thoughts on the meeting (with Hayward), and what were your feelings leaving that meeting?
I think the meeting was cool. We went there, went to his house, talked with him a little bit. But, it was a little awkward. I was kind of sensing that it was a little awkward. We have no regrets and we did everything we could have done.
Do you think you'll be changing the way you guys play without Gordon in the lineup?
I don't think so. Maybe play at a higher pace offensively, especially with Ricky (Rubio). But we're going to be a defensive-minded team, an unselfish team. I think we're going to be very fine.
Did he reach out to you after at all?
We talked a little bit after, yeah, we talked a little bit.
What did he say about why he left?
He didn't really justify himself about why he left. He knew it was time to do it, so we just had a conversation and that was it.
When you put out the video, you could see how it affected you, the emotions...
I was just listening to music.
Is that your story? You're sticking by that one? It was good, it was entertaining.
I like to entertain people.
What do you think of Donovan Mitchell so far and how he's played in these summer leagues?
I'm very impressed. I'm very excited to have him here. I didn't know him, to be honest. I didn't watch college at all this year, so I didn't know him. Quin (Snyder) and Dennis (Lindsey) were very excited to get him at the draft and I trust them. He's been great to watch in the summer league, and I'm impressed.
First, he's a very good competitor and the way he reads the defense is a thing I did not know. He doesn't really force plays, and that's what I like.
Do you think he can help right away?
Ah yeah, definitely.
Play rotation minutes right away?
He's going to play. I don't know how much, we'll see how he adapts, but he's definitely going to play. Definitely going to help us.
What are your thoughts when a lot of initial projections have you guys at the bottom of the West, certainly falling out of the playoffs, not anywhere near as good as last year?
If I was listening to projections, I'd probably be playing in France right now. I'm just worried about the team, and we'll see. A bunch of people don't even know what's going on. So we'll see.