5 on 5: Sluggish Summer Speculation

July 3rd, 2015 | by Aaron Hefner
Michelle Tessier, Deseret News

Michelle Tessier, Deseret News

1.  Should the Jazz bring Tibor Pleiss over? If yes, should he be the primary backup center?

Clint Johnson: If Pleiss can be brought into the fold at the right price, they can use him. However, buzz about plentiful interest in Europe may make the cost exceed the benefit. In either case, I’d be more comfortable starting the season with him slotted as a fifth big than a primary backup center.

Andy Larsen: I think it’s reasonable to bring Pleiss over for the right salary. Pleiss has some attributes, especially his height and pick and roll game, that make the Jazz think he can be a success at the NBA level. I’m not sure if I would make him the primary backup center, though a fifth big role doesn’t seem like too much.

Denim Millward: Yes and yes. In light of how much free agent centers are getting (see Aron Baynes), Pleiss is a cost-effective option with decent upside. I don’t see any concerns with Vanilla Pleiss (I need to trademark that!) from a chemistry standpoint, and he could bring a little more offensive punch to the frontcourt.

Dakota Schmidt: Absolutely. As Denim already mentioned, grabbing a cheap back-up center like Pleiss would be a great value considering the amount of money that Aron Baynes or Alexis Ajinca have received. Pleiss appears to be a very fluid big that can work in pick-and-rolls and use his 7’2 frame to collect offensive boards. Having a player that could bring the Jazz those tools on a reasonable deal could be a steal.

Clark Schmutz: If he wants to be the backup center then yes, the Jazz should bring him over. But I also want to see Favors and Gobert play 25-30 MPG together. However, if he’s good with 15-20 minutes a night, then great. Jazz need one more center.


2.  Should the Jazz bring Raulzinho Neto over? If yes, should he be the primary backup point guard?

Clint Johnson: I wouldn’t add Neto to the mix now. I still believe Trey Burke has yet to near his ceiling as a player. Plus, with his trade value at an all-time low, it makes sense to ride out his developmental struggles for another year to see what they have. I’d much prefer a veteran as the third point guard.



Andy Larsen: Neto took a little step back last season, making only 20 percent of his 3 point shots last season while raising his turnover rate to 2.7 turnovers per game. I don’t think he’s good enough to really help now, unfortunately. It’s sad, he’s adorable.

Denim Millward: This is going to devastate the fair maidens of the Beehive State, but I don’t see the logic in bringing Neto over this year. Whose minutes would he get? Barring a Burke trade or an astounding leap this summer, I just don’t see the logic.

Dakota Schmidt: Nope. As we speak, the Jazz currently have four point guards (Burke, Exum, Cotton and Hanlan) on their active roster. Based on his per-game stats and struggles from beyond the arc, I don’t really think there’s an area where Neto can fit into the team’s rotation.

Clark Schmutz: Anytime you can get a point guard who shot 42 percent from the field, 20 percent from 3 and 66 percent from the free throw line in an inferior league, you HAVE to do it. But seriously, Jazz fans spend way too much time talking about a guy who doesn’t move the needle whatsoever.


3.  Who is your favorite realistic off-season free agent target for the Jazz?

Clint Johnson: K.J. McDaniels. I’m in the camp that loves the Jazz’s current trajectory: be patient, stress defense, and trust that a number of singles will beat teams swinging for home runs. I would be happy with a modest free agency haul — and if that happened to be the 22-year-old defensive whiz with athleticism and a shot-in-progress, very happy.

Andy Larsen: We’re quickly running out of possibilities… Danny Green, DeMarre Carroll, I even liked the idea of Mike Dunleavy. Dorell Wright might be fun? In my mind, though, Jingles is a better 5th wing than 4th wing.

Denim Millward: I think Cole Aldrich or Bismack Biyombo could be reasonably decent pickups for the backup center role. I also like C.J. Watson as decent veteran point. Of course, I’m still crossing my fingers for a Jimmer signing and the glorious havoc that would ensue.

Dakota Schmidt: The list of possible players quickly dwindling, but I wouldn’t mind if we took a look at Bismack Biyombo or Justin Hamilton to take the backup center position. Biyombo’s a solid defensive big that seems like he has some room to grow as a player. As for Hamilton, he’s mobile big that can space the floor and is able to use his length and mobility to be a solid defensive option.

Clark Schmutz: Four days ago? Danny Green. Today? Joe Ingles. Life comes at you fast.


4.  Of players expected/likely to make the Utah Jazz 2015-2016 roster, who will have the most disappointing summer league?

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Clint Johnson: Trey Lyles. I’m sorry to say it, but Summer League games abound in athleticism and effort at the expense of cohesion and skill. That environment could not be less conducive to Lyle’s strengths. He’ll be better in the regular season when he can lean on NBA talent and game planning.

Andy Larsen: It would be heartbreaking to see Dante Exum struggle again… but he might struggle. The weight of this franchise rests on his shoulders in a lot of ways, and his improvement dictates so much about the Jazz’s ability to compete next season. If he struggles, it’d be uber disappointing.

Denim Millward: It has to be Dante Exum. Expectations are lofty for the young Aussie, who has just barely surpassed fetus status in terms of high-level basketball experience.  Sure, he has a year of NBA play under his belt, but he’s still a teenager for crying out loud! It’ll take a while for his decision making and understanding of the game to catch up to his physical gifts.

Dakota Schmidt: Dante Exum. As much as I hate to say that, he’s still incredibly raw on the offensive end. Perhaps the open nature of summer league might lessen the tentativeness that he showed, but I think he’s not quite good enough to thrive on any stage.

Clark Schmutz: As you all know, I am an eternal optimist.  So I am going to say that expectations will be surpassed by every Jazz player in summer league and the Jazz will set all sorts of summer league records in wins and point differential.


5.  Who will be the MVP of the summer league on the Utah Jazz roster?

Clint Johnson: Rodney Hood. All eyes will be on Exum, who I anticipate will show notable growth. But Hood is the best shooter on the Jazz roster and probably the second-best point producer after Hayward. Against Summer League competition, I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a run at scoring champion for the week.

Andy Larsen: Rodney Hood. He showed off his ability to run an offense at the end of last season coming off the bench, he really should be able to dominate summer-league lineups this season.

Denim Millward: Rodney Hood feels like the no-brainer choice, as he really flourished in the second half of the 2014 season and showed exciting offensive potential. With as highly as I think of the Jazz coaching staff and scouting department, I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see an invitee come out of nowhere to win it and end up on an NBA roster.

Dakota Schmidt: Rodney Hood. He seemed like he was just about to break out into something big as the season was ending. He showcased an ability to both space the floor and cut to the paint on pretty high levels, which are two qualities that would allow him to shine during Summer League.

Clark Schmutz: For his sake (and the Jazz’s sake), I hope it’s Dante Exum.


Aaron Hefner

Aaron Hefner

Aaron Hefner, a maniacal Jazz addict, currently resides in Austin, Texas. He is a recent BYU business grad and a current supply chain project manager. When not working, he enjoys quality time with his pregnant wife and his daughter. Aaron writes about the Jazz to avoid annoying his family and coworkers with NBA propaganda.
Aaron Hefner
Aaron Hefner

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