What current or former Jazz player (who was not that good) do you irrationally love?
Dan Clayton: I’m still sad that Raul Lopez didn’t work out, and I’ll insist until my dying day that he had a chance to be really good. Injuries, homesickness and a tenuous relationship with Jerry Sloan derailed him, but there was a point in time when he had more upside than Tony Parker. My first Jazz gig involved covering Raul up close, and I swear that he was a special kid who unfortunately internalized too much from his early struggles.
Clint Johnson: I would say Andrei Kirilenko or DeMarre Carroll, but I think there’s ample evidence to show they were deserving of more love than they got in Utah. So I’ll say Shandon Anderson. I can’t shake the suspicion that if he makes those layups against the Bulls, his career is entirely different.
David J. Smith: The one and only John Crotty. Sure, he was not much to write home about during his first stint in Utah. His second was much better (go look at his stats). I may have been the only Jazz fan genuinely excited when he was brought back. My validation? John Stockton loved him, too.
Scott Stevens: I’ll always have a soft spot for Sundiata Gaines. He was the feel good story of the year, maybe one of the tops in team history, honestly. Anyone who hits a game-winning shot like that will always be one of my favorites. Bless his little heart wherever he may be now.
Laura Thompson: Ronnie Price. He was tough, athletic, gritty, and, with Paul Millsap, nearly brought the Jazz back from 20+ down in a first-round playoffs game against the Lakers when no one else on the team seemed to care that we were getting pummeled. Every team needs a Ronnie Price-type player. And — girly alert! — I found him ridiculously handsome. Honorable mention: Fes.
What current or former Jazz player (who was really good) did you never really get behind?
Dan Clayton: It’s hardly a creative answer now, but I never really got behind the idea of Al Jefferson. I’ve dedicated pixels on this very site to analyzing the adverse trends of the JefferJazz era. He was elite in some ways, but made the Jazz slower and more jumper-reliant, and probably precipitated the deterioration of the DW/Sloan relationship with the stylistic changes his game necessitated.
Clint Johnson: Mehmet Okur. To be fair, I’ve never been a fan of stretch fives. As well as Okur played for the Jazz in the regular season before injuries, I can’t forget the thumpings we took in the playoffs at the hands of Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom with Mehmet holding down the fort.
David J. Smith: Now, good is subjective here, but I have to go with DeShawn Stevenson. He was serviceable, but it never really felt like he belonged with the Jazz. He had his moments, but he did not do any of the things I like shooting guards to do: pass, make free throws and hit 3-pointers.
Scott Stevens: This feels like the easy answer, but something never sat right for me with Carlos Boozer. He always disappeared in the playoffs when they needed him the most and never seemed to put the team before himself. I did, however, love hearing “GRAB IT!” for every loose ball.
Laura Thompson: Deron Williams. From throwing the ball at a rookie teammate’s head, to breaking plays, to chronic surliness, I struggled to get behind a guy who wanted his numbers; the hockey assist was never enough—he wanted points and assists and a max contract, so he held on to the ball too much, to my eye. I loved that trade.
What current or former NBA player, if he were to join the Jazz, would cause you to question your Jazz fandom?
Dan Clayton: Back in the ‘90s, I was the only one of my friends who didn’t dream about finding a way to get MJ to Utah. To me, the whole point of our existence was to vanquish him, not take a shortcut to greatness by embracing the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” philosophy. For different reasons, my answer today: Carmelo.
Clint Johnson: Honestly, there isn’t one. It would take a Lance Armstrong or Floyd Mayweather Jr. caliber reprobate to make me consider abandoning the Jazz—though if they were foolish enough to reacquire Enes Kanter, I’d be pretty livid.
David J. Smith: It may seem like the easy answer, but Ron Artest. Of course, the Malice at the Palace is the prime evidence against him, but I clearly remember his bizarre display – even for him– against Matt Harpring and the Jazz in 2008. Beyond his theatrics, there was nothing about his game that I remotely liked.
Scott Stevens: Carmelo Anthony. No doubt. I want nothing to do with him. Ever. Plus, the ghost of Fesenko would be lingering in the halls of ESA waiting for if it ever did happen. Not good for business.
Laura Thompson: Carmelo. He’s a score-first, score-only player who doesn’t make teammates better and who’ll take max, superstar money without delivering a championship. He doesn’t play defense and held the Nuggets hostage to get to the Knicks (how’d that work for the Knicks?). Nothing about him epitomizes what I think the Jazz represent: tough, defensive-minded, team play and, hopefully, championships.
If the Utah Jazz had to change their name and mascot, what would you change it to?
Dan Clayton: Oof, tough one. Pioneers? 47ers? Explorers? Mountain Men? Seagulls (hard to make that sound intimidating)? Archers (play on Arches)? Goblins (for Goblin Valley)? Something involving dinosaurs? Ski culture slang: Shredders? Black Diamonds? Moguls? I’m not convinced by any of my own ideas, which is probably a good sign we should just stick to Jazz.
Clint Johnson: Ouch, not my thing. There were giant sloths here once, right? Like, really huge sloths? Seriously, if I had to make the change I might say Titans. It would allow plenty of mountain and landscape imagery and play into the Favors/Gobert pairing.
David J. Smith: It feels sacrilegious to ponder this. Perhaps the Salt Lake Strikers? Or the Utah Bees. How about the Salt City Hoopers, with Jimbo Rudding as the mascot? Wow… I am really not good at this.
Scott Stevens: It should be something totally different and unique to the area. The Utah Arches is a name I could get behind. But maybe that is because I came up with it. I’m also going to break the rules and keep the bear. Mascots don’t need to match the name.
Laura Thompson: Now that I’ve seen DJJazzyJody’s “Bouncin’ Brigham”, I can’t unsee it or even think of anything else. Seriously.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the current Jazz jerseys? How would you change them?
Dan Clayton: 7. Not because I don’t love the note scheme (I do!) or the colors (they work fine). I think we’re in desperate need of some alts & variations.
Clint Johnson: I LOVE the green alternate jersey. If I could make one change, it would be to include a team shoe. A full-blown, name brand Jazz shoe. Every so often throughout the season the whole team would wear them.
David J. Smith: 8. I genuinely like the current look. It is clean, classy and ties in the current Jazz with the past. I suppose if I had to change them, it would be to simply put Anthony Davis or Klay Thompson in one.
Scott Stevens: I’d give them a solid 8. The importance of the move back to the music note should never be forgotten. I’ve always thought the different colors between logo and numbers was strange for some reason though.
Laura Thompson: 9. I appreciate the classic Jazz logo, look, and feel, with modern updates and colors. I especially love the midnight blue road jerseys–I think they look fantastic. Only change I’d make? A pre-emptive change: NO SLEEVED JERSEYS. Ever. They look like pajamas.