Salt City Hoops http://saltcityhoops.com The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:42:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Salt City Hoops no The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Salt City Hoops http://saltcityhoops.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://saltcityhoops.com Jimbo’s Mailbag – Jazz Player Sightings and NBA Halftime Ideas http://saltcityhoops.com/jimbos-mailbag-jazz-player-sightings-and-nba-halftime-ideas/ http://saltcityhoops.com/jimbos-mailbag-jazz-player-sightings-and-nba-halftime-ideas/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:42:08 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=13003 Author information
Jimbo Rudding
Jimbo Rudding
I am a typical Jazz fan. I think Jordan pushed off, Derek Fisher lied, Bavetta cost us at least one game in the Finals, we should have drafted Tony Parker instead of Raul Lopez, and there will never be anything better than the Stockton to Malone days. I, along with Spencer Campbell @SCampbellSBN, started the first and longest-running Utah Jazz podcast on earth. I enjoy the in-of-doors and telling people a better way of doing whatever it is they're currently doing.
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Here's Andris Biedrins playing on his cell phone. What else has he been up to? (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Here’s Andris Biedrins playing on his cell phone. What else has he been up to? (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Welcome to the next edition of Jimbo’s Mailbag! At Salt City Hoops, we know that covering a losing team without any humor can be dreary. As such, we decided to add a little bit more levity to our site via Jimbo’s unique outlook on the world of Jazz basketball; the veracity of what follows is in question. Interested in submitting a question to Jimbo’s mailbag? Email it to Jimbo at mailbag@saltcityhoops.com or tweet @JimboRudding to appear. 

Q:  Have you seen any Jazz players around town lately?

– @Mikeyvp

Mikey, it’s funny you ask that, because I have seen Andris Biedrins numerous times within the past four months or so. For some reason, every time I see him, it’s always in an awkward situation or a place I would NEVER expect to run into him. I get the feeling sometimes that he is following me.

Here are a few of the places I’ve seen him:

  • I ran into him inside a Jo-Ann Fabrics. I was there waiting for my wife and he had an apron on and looked like he was helping an elderly lady pick out some yarn.
  • I spotted him at the VF Factory Outlet. He was there rollerblading through the hallways by himself. He had earbuds in and it looked like he was eating a bag of granola.
  • I saw him wandering around 53rd. When I asked what he was doing, he said he was looking for the 49th Street Galleria.
  • I noticed on my way to Wendover that he was sitting in one of the broken balls that had fallen from the Tree of Utah sculpture in the salt flats.
  • I saw him one time at Wal-Mart in Layton. He was dragging two shopping carts full of L.A. Looks hair gel.
  • Lastly, I saw him at the Festival of Color in Spanish Fork. He wasn’t throwing any colored chalk around though. It looked like he was bartering with a foreign man trying to purchase some goats.

From the looks of it, he is exploring every part of this great state. Hopefully I’ll see him around some more in the future.

 

Q:  What would it take to get an all beat writer + Jimbo halftime show?

– @gothedistance49

I have actually been working hard on ideas for future halftime shows. I figure if a middle-aged chubby guy can jump on a trampoline with a snowboard attached to his feet, then any ideas I have aren’t going to be too “out there.” Also, I would never compete with the beat writers, but I would GLADLY join with them to put on a great halftime show whenever they want.

Here is a list of a few ideas for an NBA halftime show I’ve been trying to get Greg Miller to approve:

  • Have my aunt Sharon enter the arena from outside, have everyone scream “SURPRISE!” and see if we can all get her to believe it was a surprise party for her.
  • Spin a ruler on a pencil VERY fast. (This one is mostly for the kids.)
  • Tie up a CrossFit instructor and force-feed him gluten straight from a can. A couple of lucky fans will be chosen to scream, “DIG DOWN DEEP!” over and over again while he eats.
  • Bring three guys in prison jumpsuits out onto the court and have a season ticket holder try to guess which one is Kirk Snyder.
  • Choose two fans to participate in a contest where they guess how many of my exotic birds it will take to lift me off the ground. The closest to the correct number will get to keep one of the birds while the loser will have to mop up the mess.

 

Q:  Where do you think you’ll end up on the other side of the wormhole that gets created from the day The Jimmer finally retweets you?

– @Clintonite33

I think you’re right on with that wormhole idea. If that retweet ever happened it could quite possibly disrupt the space-time continuum and cause multiple wormholes to appear. The moon would be in the seventh house, Jupiter would align with Mars, and love would steer the stars.

Deep down, I have this crippling fear that I’m going to run into Jimmer at the mall one day and he’s going find out that I’m Jimbo. Then, straight-faced, he’s going to look me in the eyes and say, “Why, man?” And I’m not going to be able to say anything except something dumb like, “I don’t know…things have been slow at work and…I haven’t been sleeping well lately and…no one nominated me for the ice bucket challenge…and the whole ISIS thing too, you know?”

He won’t be satisfied with any of that and he’ll just keep staring at me and waiting for a good answer. Then, I’ll continue to dig my hole deeper by saying, “The one about the fountain of youth was funny though, wasn’t it?…Oh, and there was the one about MacGyver handing out samples in Costco…ha ha…remember that one?”

Jimmer’s straight face would continue until he couldn’t take it anymore and he’d just burst out laughing. Then he’d say, “I’m just kidding, man! How could I forget the MacGyver one! That was my favorite! My entire family loved that one at the reunion. In fact, you made my uncle Dave wet himself.”

Then he’d hold his hand out towards me. I’d take it in mine and we’d jump back through the wormhole and there would be harmony and understanding and mystic crystal revelation…or something like that.

 

Q:  Can you rank these Boozer moments for greatness: painting his hair, getting paid regardless, “AND ONE!”, his duffle bag?

– @davidsmith1232

This is a great question David! I would have to add “heard a pop” and maybe “GET IT MEMO!” to that list.

On one hand, every time I want to bash Boozer, I always go back to Game 7 of the first round of the 2007 playoffs. He had 35 points and 14 rebounds. Think about that; 35 and 14. I realize his defense was horrid and his attitude less than ideal, but what more do we want from our starting power forward in the biggest game of the year?

On the other hand, I’m not in the defending-Boozer business when he does/says all of the things you’ve listed in your question. Besides the whole not-being-good-at-basketball thing, the dude is straight-up crazy sometimes. He’s like that kid in school who is very friendly with you, but who sometimes steals your lunch money or tells Jessica Stoltz that you have a huge crush on her just because he broke into your locker and found love poems inside addressed to her, but you keep telling him that those were to your aunt Jessica and they weren’t love poems, they were just thank you poems for being such a nice aunt.

The truth is, I’m at peace with Boozer. I don’t want to retire his number or anything, but I sure as heck wouldn’t mind having him come rollerblading at the VF Factory Outlet with me and Andris Biedrins.

Thanks for the questions everybody!

Author information

Jimbo Rudding
Jimbo Rudding
I am a typical Jazz fan. I think Jordan pushed off, Derek Fisher lied, Bavetta cost us at least one game in the Finals, we should have drafted Tony Parker instead of Raul Lopez, and there will never be anything better than the Stockton to Malone days. I, along with Spencer Campbell @SCampbellSBN, started the first and longest-running Utah Jazz podcast on earth. I enjoy the in-of-doors and telling people a better way of doing whatever it is they're currently doing.
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Stat Projections by Layne Vashro – Salt City Hoops Podcast http://saltcityhoops.com/stat-projections-by-layne-vashro-salt-city-hoops-podcast/ http://saltcityhoops.com/stat-projections-by-layne-vashro-salt-city-hoops-podcast/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:06:26 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=13005 Author information
Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen is the Managing Editor of Salt City Hoops, the ESPN TrueHoop affiliate for the Utah Jazz. He also hosts a radio show and podcast every week on ESPN700 AM in Salt Lake City.
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Jazz draft picks Dante Exum and Rodney Hood don't grade out very well by Layne Vashro's projections. (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jazz draft picks Dante Exum and Rodney Hood don’t grade out very well by Layne Vashro’s projections. (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

On this week’s episode of the Salt City Hoops Podcast, our guest is Layne Vashro. Layne specializes in projecting the performance of national and international prospects, and his models actually outperform the draft order of the real NBA general managers! We talk about the process of projecting international prospects, why Dante Exum and Rodney Hood don’t fare very well in his models, and how young Dragon Bender could the next big thing in the NBA. All that, plus a Crazy Trade Idea of the Week, on this week’s podcast!

Author information

Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen is the Managing Editor of Salt City Hoops, the ESPN TrueHoop affiliate for the Utah Jazz. He also hosts a radio show and podcast every week on ESPN700 AM in Salt Lake City.
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http://saltcityhoops.com/stat-projections-by-layne-vashro-salt-city-hoops-podcast/feed/ 1 On this week's episode of the Salt City Hoops Podcast, our guest is Layne Vashro. Layne specializes in projecting the performance of national and international prospects, and his models actually outperform the draft order of the real NBA general manage... On this week's episode of the Salt City Hoops Podcast, our guest is Layne Vashro. Layne specializes in projecting the performance of national and international prospects, and his models actually outperform the draft order of the real NBA general managers! We talk about the process of projecting international prospects, why Dante Exum and Rodney Hood don't fare very well in his models, and how young Dragon Bender could the next big thing in the NBA. All that, plus a Crazy Trade Idea of the Week, on this week's podcast! Salt City Hoops no 46:08
An Open Letter to Utah Jazz Management http://saltcityhoops.com/an-open-letter-to-utah-jazz-management/ http://saltcityhoops.com/an-open-letter-to-utah-jazz-management/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:52:29 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12988 Author information
Scott Stevens
A voice of the everyday Jazz fan. Scott works as a creative writer at an advertising agency in Los Angeles. Sticking it to Laker fans every chance he gets. A former "Jazz Rowdy" and avid interneter with production and writing experience on global sports brands. He has lived everywhere from Texas to DC, and all the way to Thailand. He now happens to live on a boat.
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Press Conference

(Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dear Jazz brass,

On behalf of Jazz fans everywhere, let me simply say thank you.

With everything that’s been happening in the professional sports world recently, from racism, drug abuse, domestic violence and everything in between, I can’t help but feel extremely grateful for the entire Utah Jazz organization. I’m proud to be a fan. Sure, there are always things that we, as fans, wish would have gone differently at times, but overall, I wouldn’t trade this organization for any other in the entire league.

So again, thank you.

For the most part, you have stayed completely out of the spotlight when it comes to scandals, drama, policies, etc. The players that come into this franchise seem to be of a higher character. Upper management doesn’t draw attention themselves by making unnecessary commentary to the media. And most importantly, rumors aren’t constantly flying about selling and/or relocating the team. As long as the Miller family is at the helm, fans can rest easy knowing that the state of Utah will always have an NBA team.

So to the Millers especially, thank you.

I don’t point the finger at athletes as a whole, because there continue to be many standup individuals out there representing their respective families, teams, sports and leagues. But the increasing number of “professional” athletes caught up in legal allegations is growing at an alarming rate. Dealing with these types of players issues in your organization can be a cancer. It’s a betrayal of trust and a slap in the face to the fan bases that spend so much time and money supporting them, especially when one of these athletes happens to be a star player. Both Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson are leaving their teams without a franchise running back. This could be potentially crippling to an organization. Imagine, for example, if Karl Malone had trouble with the law in the mid 90’s and was forced to leave the team. Some of the best years in Jazz history would have played out completely different.

But they didn’t. And for that, I say thank you.

In the last 15 years or so, I can only think of a few minor issues with players, none of which would have drawn negative attention from the media. The Deron Williams/Jerry Sloan/subsequent Deron Williams trade scenario could have gone a lot worse. Gordan Giricek caused some locker room issues back in ‘07-’08, but he was quickly dealt for one of the most upstanding Jazz community members in Kyle Korver. A major upgrade on and off the court. And you could argue, at least according to John Stockton’s autobiography, that bringing in a player like Mark Jackson at the twilight of Stockton and Malone’s careers may have caused a premature end to two Hall of Fame careers. But again, if these are the worst of the things we’ve had to deal with, I’ll count that as a victory in itself.

In contrast, thank you for all of the positive characters brought into this organization: the Stocktons, Malones and Korvers as already mentioned; the Derrick Favors, Gordon Haywards, Mehmet Okurs, Jeff Hornaceks, Earl Watsons, Matt Harprings, Paul Millsaps, Al Jeffersons, Mark Eatons and Antoine Carrs of the world. The list could go on and on.

Yes, the fans want to win. Yes, the fans want a championship. With good reason; Utah was a one-sport state before RSL showed up. So in a way, this was all we had for a long time. But that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize all the wonderful things this team has brought to the community over the years. There is a lot to be thankful for.

Thank you for making this franchise something worth cheering for. Thank you for bringing in quality athletes and management to represent this team. Thank you for not having to deal with any issues, making a statement, redacting that statement, changing your mind and then looking like a fool. Thank you for creating the sense of inclusion that makes fans want to use the words “us” and “we” when describing the team.

For this and for many other things, thank you.

 

Sincerely,

Jazz fans

Author information

Scott Stevens
A voice of the everyday Jazz fan. Scott works as a creative writer at an advertising agency in Los Angeles. Sticking it to Laker fans every chance he gets. A former "Jazz Rowdy" and avid interneter with production and writing experience on global sports brands. He has lived everywhere from Texas to DC, and all the way to Thailand. He now happens to live on a boat.
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Who is Toure’ Murry? http://saltcityhoops.com/who-is-toure-murry/ http://saltcityhoops.com/who-is-toure-murry/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:09:49 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12983 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Toure Murry ponders "What is life?" during a Knicks game last season. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Toure Murry ponders “What is life?” during a Knicks game last season. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

After a smattering of rumors, the Utah Jazz went ahead and signed point guard Toure’ Murry a few weeks ago. Who is Murry and what are his chances of making the team, and beyond that, making an impact?

Murry is a 6’5″ point guard who played his collegiate career at Wichita State. He was a four-year starter who was consistent through his time there, averaging between 9.4 and 12.1 PPG.  While he showed improvement, Murry was a below average shooter, never hitting beyond 42.4 percent of his shots. Moreover, his 3-point shooting regressed. Defense was one of his calling cards, as he was a two-time All-Missouri Valley Defensive Team honoree. Murry helped propel his team towards some postseason success, helping the Shockers win the NIT championship in 2011 and then pushing Wichita State to the second round in the 2012 NCAA tourney.

Despite his solid career, Murry went undrafted. After playing for the Los Angeles Lakers’ summer league team, he opted for the D-League route, playing the 2012-2013 campaign with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He posted modest numbers: 9.0 PPG, 3.0 APG, 1.8 SPG.

The next summer saw him toiling for both the Houston Rockets and the New York Knicks in the summer league. He did enough with the latter to earn an NBA contract. Thanks to New York’s rocky season, complete with an assortment of injuries, Murry spent most of the season with the Knicks, playing just one D-League game last year. Murry was decent, averaging 2.7 PPG in 7.3 MPG during 51 games. 43.4 % shooting is not bad for a rookie guard earning sporadic minutes.

The Jazz have had their eyes on him for while and likewise, he seems to have had eyes on them, as well. He had a pre-draft workout in Salt Lake City in 2012. According to rep0rts, Murry had his fair share of suitors in the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat and the Knicks.  New York wanted him back, as he fits the mold of guards that do well in the Triangle Offense. It sounds like he grew weary of waiting for them and chose Utah.

Utah signed Murry to a two-year, $2 million contract; like Brock Motum, Dee Bost, Jack Cooley and Kevin Murphy, his deal is partially guaranteed. Unlike the other four, however, his guarantee is much higher: $250,000. That figure, along with the fact that the Jazz need a third point guard, makes Murry’s chances of making the roster pretty good.

What does he bring to the Jazz? His size naturally sticks out. Like Dante Exum, he brings length to the back court, especially if playing point guard. His ability to play multiple positions is probably enticing to Utah.  He has solid court vision and is a willing passer (21.5 AST%, which would’ve been third on last year’s Jazz squad), with a penchant for alley oop dishes. With a 6’9″ wingspan, Murry has defensive potential. His 2.7 STL% is excellent–that would’ve paced Utah last year. Given head coach Quin’s Snyder’s emphasis on passing and defense, this bodes well for Murry. At 24, he is young, has upside and can grow with the young core.

He certainly has weaknesses. Murry has been a below average 3-point shooter at every level. He only attempted 12 treys in 373 minutes for the Knicks. Snyder and the coaching staff will undoubtedly work with him, as the desire to play with more pace will give Utah guards a lot of opportunities from the perimeter (and the corner three will undoubtedly be more of a weapon than in the past).

Murry will certainly be someone to watch in training camp and preseason. He seems to be a hungry player; a low-risk, potentially solid-reward pick-up by Utah.

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Utah Jazz Frontcourt: Three-Headed Monster? http://saltcityhoops.com/utah-jazz-frontcourt-three-headed-monster/ http://saltcityhoops.com/utah-jazz-frontcourt-three-headed-monster/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:25:20 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12848 Author information
Ben Dowsett
Ben Dowsett
Ben Dowsett is a life-long Jazz fan and general sports fanatic based in Salt Lake City. He also writes for Nylon Calculus (Hardwood Paroxysm/Fansided Network), and can be heard on the airwaves for the SCH podcast and appearances with ESPN AM 700. With a strong background in both statistics and on-court fundemantals, he writes primarily as an in-depth strategic analyst. He can be found on Twitter at @Ben_Dowsett.
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Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Between FIBA and summer league play, August pieces written by local and national media alike, and even gushing podcast segments, it’s been a Gobert love-fest this offseason. Shoot, there hasn’t been this much ado about Rudy since 1993. But with international play all wrapped up and September flying by, the hype factor slowly beings to taper off into reality – the next on-court action we’ll see from the towering Frenchman, along with the rest of his Jazz teammates, will be at training camp and, before you know it, the start of the preseason.

The questions as he once again steps onto an NBA court will be twofold, and one will be dependent on the other:

1. Can Gobert develop his offensive game to a point where lineups featuring him can hold their own on that end, particularly while next to Derrick Favors?

2. If so, what does this mean for the future of Enes Kanter – and/or how might Kanter fit in the picture?

As far as the first question goes, they’ll be hoping for short memories, as Charles would say. With the necessary caveats surrounding small sample size, Gobert’s time on the court saw an already bland offense crater spectacularly. A squad that was already just outside the league’s bottom five in per-possession scoring posted an ugly 95.3 points-per-100, over a full point lower than Philadelphia’s league-worst mark, per NBA.com. These figures were even worse (though on an even smaller sample) when he was paired with either Favors (82.0) or Kanter (88.4).

There’s cause for optimism, however. For one, all this Gobert gushing is happening for a reason – he appears to have improved, perhaps somewhat drastically. Favors and Kanter are both at a point on their developmental curve where they’ll be expected to have done the same to some degree. And my writing it ad nauseam doesn’t make it any less true: the new coaching staff will be expected to leave their own imprint on personnel across the board.

Speaking more generally, precedent exists for a successful frontcourt even if development stalls for one or more of the potential pieces involved, including the spatially-challenged Favors-Gobert unit.

Compare them, for instance, with one of the league’s top offenses in San Antonio. Gobert, like typical Spurs starter Tiago Splitter, is mostly ignored by opposing defenders outside the paint. The two combined attempted just 15 shots from beyond 10 feet all last season – 14 by Splitter, who also played about triple Gobert’s minutes. Meanwhile, Tim Duncan is a better midrange shooter than Favors both in perception and reality, but perhaps the latter gap isn’t quite as large as the former would indicate. The two shot nearly identical percentages between eight and 16 feet from the hoop (37.7 percent for Duncan, 37.6 percent for Favors) last year. Duncan had a big advantage from beyond 16 feet, but team context plays a role here; where Favors drew assists on 66.7 percent of his makes from this distance, Duncan did so 95.5 percent of the time. We see that San Antonio’s vastly superior talent and comfort within their system led to Duncan almost never being forced to create these shots for himself, with Favors far more often required to do so. This jives with SportVU data tabulated by my Nylon Calculus colleagues Darryl Blackport and Krishna Narsu, which shows that Duncan took 37.5 percent of his total shots while “uncontested” (no defender within four feet) while Favors took just 24.5 percent of his under the same circumstances. The spacing and team construct was just so different, and this certainly played some role.

Obviously, the Spurs are on a whole other planet, one this Jazz core may never even get within eyesight of. Numerous advantages in nearly every other aspect of NBA basketball of course play a large part in their ability to keep a Duncan-Splitter frontcourt viable offensively where Utah failed to do so with their own. But like several other aspects of the Jazz franchise moving forward, San Antonio has laid out the blueprint. Common sets like Horns, detailed in the video below on a team-by-team basis by Coach Nick of bballbreakdown.com, and the specific variations used by Gregg Popovich are among the simplest starting points:

If we’re being fair, some of this may end up being a bit thin. Favors and Gobert are likely to struggle offensively as a pairing, perhaps mightily so, unless one or the other undergoes a shooting renaissance that seems highly unlikely. Heck, the Duncan-Splitter duo, while far more effective than Utah’s frontcourt to be sure, was still among the least productive of San Antonio’s high-volume two-man units, and Pop wasn’t shy about mixing things up to inject more spacing when necessary.

This is where Kanter remains an intriguing piece of the puzzle. Should the change of coaching scenery and another offseason of work be enough to propel him from awful to simply below-average defensively, his abilities as a midrange shooter and low post operator could be surprisingly complementary while Favors or Gobert run more pick-and-roll action.

In truth, a Favors-Kanter-Gobert three-headed monster frontcourt may be nothing more than a pipe dream. Any major tangible improvement from Kanter before his expected RFA summer could easily push his perceived value around the league even further beyond what the Jazz would be comfortable paying him, and Gobert comes in at a far cheaper tag and in a situation they control for longer (he’s also just as large of an offensive question mark as Kanter is a defensive one, if not more so). And don’t forget, Utah is widely expected to score another solid lottery pick in the 2015 Draft – one that, at least for now, appears to contain at least three or four highly-touted prospects at the big positions. For all of Dan’s talk (and my repetition) of consolidating assets, the opportunity to pick a name like Jahlil Okafor or Karl Towns might be too good to pass up, particularly if one of the three incumbents isn’t pulling their weight.

Author information

Ben Dowsett
Ben Dowsett
Ben Dowsett is a life-long Jazz fan and general sports fanatic based in Salt Lake City. He also writes for Nylon Calculus (Hardwood Paroxysm/Fansided Network), and can be heard on the airwaves for the SCH podcast and appearances with ESPN AM 700. With a strong background in both statistics and on-court fundemantals, he writes primarily as an in-depth strategic analyst. He can be found on Twitter at @Ben_Dowsett.
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Where Are They Now? Former Utah Jazz Players http://saltcityhoops.com/where-are-they-now-former-utah-jazz-players/ http://saltcityhoops.com/where-are-they-now-former-utah-jazz-players/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:41:42 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12782 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

It’s always interesting for fans to keep an eye on those who once donned the Utah Jazz uniform. After another busy offseason around the league, here is the full list of where former Jazzmen are playing, and some thoughts about their upcoming seasons.

DeMarre Carroll, Atlanta Hawks: Last season, the gritty forward enjoyed a career-year. After toiling for four teams in four seasons, Carroll may have found a home with the Hawks. He posted 11.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.8 APG and 1.5 SPG, complete with some great defense (2.6 DWS) and shooting (.575 TS%). Carroll still just had a 13.9 PER and is probably better suited playing just a touch less than the 32.1 MPG he played. He has been effusive in his praise of new Jazz coach Quin Snyder, citing his efforts as a big catalyst for his improvement.

Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks: The sharp-shooting forward had another solid season, putting up 12.0 PPG, 2.9 APG and 4.0 RPG for the Hawks. Korver’s stellar marksmanship (47.5 percent field goals, 47.2 percent on 3s and 92.6 percent from the line) paced the NBA with a .653 True Shooting Percentage. Add in a 5.9 WS, and you can see Korver’s importance for Atlanta. Look for him to do much of the same this year. While he fell short of making the USA FIBA team, Korver’s value has managed to increase as his career progresses.

Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks: When Al Horford went down with a season-ending injury, Paul Millsap stepped up in a major way. Sporting a nice 3-point touch, his 17.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.7 SPG and 1.1 BPG were enough to earn his first-ever All-Star appearance. Many of his advanced numbers mirrored his remarkable consistency during his Jazz days, so it was refreshing to see him earn that accolade at last. Even so, there still is a feeling that Millsap is underrated. He’s even been mentioned on some “Most Likely to be Traded” lists out there, perhaps due in part to his expiring $9.5 million  contract. If Atlanta is smart, they will hold on to the do-it-all forward.

Andrei Kirilenko, Brooklyn Nets: Injuries plagued AK-47, but he still added value to a Brooklyn bench that struggled at times. Kirilenko has definitely lost some of the zip that made his one of the NBA’s most unique players for years. He averaged just 5.0 PPG last year, but showed he can still facilitate. At just $3.3 million, he is a solid guy for the Nets to have.

Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets: It certainly was a down year for Deron Williams. Across the board, his numbers were his worst since his first season. He’s dropped from 21.0 PPG to 18.9 to 14.3 the past three years (8.7 APG to 7.7 to 6.1). Given the additions of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Kirilenko, optimism was high that DWill would be the quarterback of a veteran-laden team that would compete with the Heat and Pacers. Instead, injuries really hurt his game. At just 29, Williams can bounce back. Given the Brooklyn market, and the fact that he’s in line to earn $63 million over the next three years, the pressure is on. By many accounts, new coach Lionel Hollins plans to funnel most of the offense through Williams.

Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats: Like Millsap, it was wonderful to see Jefferson earn the praise that he’s deserved for many years. He was the key to the Bobcats’ resurgence, as he provided a bonafide scoring threat inside– 21.8 PPG and 10.8 RPG. Head coach Steve Clifford used him well on both ends, helping him be a big part of their defensive identity. Evidence: Big Al’s career-high 4.7 DWS. Strangely enough, he did not make the All-Star team, but garnered All-NBA Third Team honors. With an excellent offseason, Charlotte is poised to make another jump in the Eastern Conference with Jefferson as the focal point. While his three-year, $41 million contract opened some eyes, most view it as a bargain for his production and leadership.

Marvin Williams, Charlotte Bobcats: Always a terrific locker room presence and solid on-court performer, it was difficult to see Marvin Williams depart Salt Lake City. He did everything that was asked of him, even developing into a good stretch four for the Jazz. Williams inked a two-year, $14 million deal with Charlotte to reunite with Jefferson and return to his collegiate home. With his combination of stout defense, improved rebounding and outside shooting, he will add a lot to the Bobcats. He will compete for a starting position.

John Lucas III, Cleveland Cavaliers: Lucas struggled with Utah. With Trey Burke’s early injury, he was thrust into the ill-suited role of starter and he never really recovered from that poor start. Diante Garrett quickly usurped him in the Jazz’s pecking order. Whether or not he makes the Cleveland roster remains to be determined. It sounds like he will be given the chance, with only Kyrie Irving and Matthew Dellavedova being the only other point guards in the fold.

Erik Murphy, Cleveland Cavaliers: Murphy, too, is facing an uphill battle. The Cavs seemingly dealt for Lucas, Murphy and Malcolm Thomas to use as trade filler in any Kevin Love deal,  then ended up holding on to all three of them. Along the way, Murphy’s contract was guaranteed.

Malcolm Thomas, Cleveland Cavaliers: By some accounts, Thomas seems like a player Cleveland is genuinely interested in keeping and using. With his blend of athleticism and length, he seems like a low-cost, potentially decent-reward guy to have at the end of the bench for the Cavs.

Devin Harris, Dallas Mavericks: Harris returned to his original NBA team and while injuries affected his season, he seemed to thrive in the third guard role for Dallas. Harris chipped in 7.9 PPG and 4.5 APG off the pine, with his 31.0 AST% being his best since his New Jersey days. He re-signed for a modest contract and will be a valuable cog for a Mavericks team that could surprise, thanks to a very good offseason that also saw Tyson Chandler, Chandler Parsons and Jameer Nelson join its ranks.

Richard Jefferson, Dallas Mavericks: Like Marvin Williams, Jefferson too put forth a resurgent effort. After languishing in Golden State, he started for Utah and showed that he still had some gas in the tank. With Vince Carter’s departure to Memphis, Jefferson could fill the role of a shooter off the bench. Signing him for the veteran’s minimum was another solid move for Dallas.

Randy Foye, Denver Nuggets: Foye had a nice lone season in Utah and did even better in his first with Denver. With other guards being hit with injuries, the Nuggets relied on him more than expected. With 13.2 PPG and 3.5 APG, Foye did his best to help Denver remain in the playoff picture for a good part of the season. With Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson coming back and Arron Afflalo’s return to the Mile High City, Foye may be back in a super sub role – one in which he does quite well.

Brandon Rush, Golden State Warriors: One year after being traded to Utah by the Warriors, Rush made his way back to the Bay Area. Given his lackluster play and poor body language in Utah, his heart was probably always in Golden State. If he can recapture some of his former self, he can be a solid perimeter addition to the Warriors bench.

C.J.Miles, Indiana Pacers: Despite playing nine NBA seasons, Miles is shockingly just 27. He had his best 3-point shooting seasons with the Cavaliers, which is the likely reason Indiana added him. He was to be a much-needed shooter for the Pacers, but with Paul George’s devastating injury, Miles may be asked to assume a bigger role – perhaps even starting. It will be interesting to see if Miles can seize this opportunity.

Carlos Boozer, Los Angeles Lakers: Carlos Boozer’s 2013-14 season was quite forgettable. His 13.7 PPG and 8.3 RPG were the lowest of his career since his rookie campaign. His 14.4 PER was by far the worst of his 12 seasons. The biggest stat for the Chicago Bulls was the $13.5 million he was set to make during the upcoming season. With the continued improvement of Taj Gibson and the additions of Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic, Boozer was an amnesty casualty.

Enter the Los Angeles Lakers. It is hard to determine what this franchise’s direction is. They added a slew of players to join the returning-from-injury Kobe Bryant, seemingly in hopes to provide enough firepower to compete in the Western Conference. Boozer will be looked on for some much-needed scoring. That said, with the glut of power forwards on the roster, it remains to be seen how much playing time the two-time All-Star will see. Especially when his age (32) and defense are taken into consideration.

Kosta Koufos, Memphis Grizzlies: After several underrated good years for Denver, Koufos brought some solid play to the Memphis front court. With 6.4 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 16.9 MPG, he provided depth behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. His shooting took a dip last season, but a 16.5 PER for your back-up is still very good; ditto the 3.5 WS and 18.4 TRB% (22.7 DRB%). He will continue to provide quality minutes and can step in to start, when needed.

Kyrylo Fesenko, Minnesota Timberwolves: Big Fes was a fan favorite during his four seasons. He had his moments and showed defensive potential. His immaturity, though, was an issue. After appearing in just three NBA the past three seasons, Fesenko is embarking on a comeback with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He impressed enough in summer league to earn a training camp invite. Given the rebuilding roster, the 7’1″, 288 lb gargantuan center might have a chance to stick.

Othyus Jeffers, Minnesota Timberwolves: The energetic Jeffers has made the rounds since finishing up the 2010 season with Utah. He hooked on with Minnesota right before the end of the last year and is still listed on its roster.

Mo Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves: After seeing success in a back-up role with the surprising Portland Trailblazers, Williams opted out of his contract and found the market wasn’t too kind. When things settled down, he inked a deal with Minnesota. It was a perplexing signing, with Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine and, until they ship him out, J.J. Barea in tow. Given the dramatically changed roster, perhaps Mo will be looked on for veteran leadership.

Diante Garrett, Portland Trailblazers: After being a pleasant addition to the Jazz last year, he was unfortunately traded to Toronto in the Steve Novak transaction. After being waived by the Raptors, he signed a non-guaranteed contract with Portland in hopes of sticking. With his size and improved outside shooting, he would be a nice player to have on the bench, even with the guards the Blazers already have.

Wesley Matthews, Portland Trailblazers: After three solid seasons, Matthews made a little jump last season, enjoying his best year as a professional. His first half of the season was especially torrid, as he was shooting lights out. There was even talk of him making the Western Conference All-Star team. He finished the year averaging 16.4 PPG, while making 2.5 3s per outing. He leapt from 4.7 WS to 8.2 last year (going from 3.6 to 6.3 on OWS). Working with Damian Lillard, Matthews is part of a very potent back court that is among the best in the league.

Kris Humphries, Washington Wizards: While the Boston Celtics had a rebuilding year, Humphries had a quietly solid bounce-back season. He chipped in 8.4 PPG and 5.9 RPG in just 19.9 MPG, along with .552 TS% and 4.1 WS. Washington is a team on the rise and Humphries adds another capable back-up to their front court.

There are several others who are still out there without NBA contracts: Ronnie Brewer, Earl Watson, Ronnie Price, Eric Maynor, Andris Biedrins, Jamaal Tinsley, Mike Harris, Josh Howard, Lou Amundson. With the exception of Howard, all spent time on NBA rosters last season.

And just for fun, here are some former Jazzmen in the NBA’s coaching ranks:

Jarron Collins, Los Angeles Clippers: Collins will get his first chance as an NBA assistant coach. Always respected for his attitude and demeanor, it is nice to see him getting this opportunity with Doc Rivers and one of the league’s contending teams.

Howard Eisley, Los Angeles Clippers: Eisley continues in his role with the Clippers. He seems to be a valued part of the staff; no surprise, given his basketball knowledge.

Derek Fisher, New York Knicks: After 18 seasons and five championships, Derek Fisher was not unemployed for long. Phil Jackson plucked him up quickly, signing him to a five-year, $25 million pact. That’s a lot of scratch for someone who’s never coached at any level (though the same applies to Golden State’s deal with Steve Kerr). It will be very interesting to see what Fisher does in the Big Apple and the inherent scrutiny that exists therein. The Knicks roster does not do much to inspire.

Jacque Vaughn, Orlando Magic: Entering his third season in charge, the expectations are again low for Vaughn’s team to produce Ws. What they are looking for is continued player and talent development. That sounds familiar.

Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix Suns: Hornacek and his upstart Suns were among the NBA’s best stories last season. In his first year as head coach, Hornacek defied the most optimistic of expectations out there by producing an entertaining brand of basketball that got them within a breath of the postseason. Almost to a man, each Phoenix player had career-years–from established veterans like Goran Dragic and Channing Frye, to guys who were seemingly discarded in Miles Plumlee, P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green. The bar was set high. Can Hornacek build upon the momentum there in Phoenix? It would be tough to bet against him.

Tyrone Corbin, Sacramento Kings: Much has been said about Tyrone Corbin’s tenure as Utah’s head coach. There were ups and downs. Corbin gave his all and dedicated the past 12 years to the franchise. While he had struggles at the helm, he was largely considered one of the NBA’s best assistant coaches prior to replacing Jerry Sloan. Corbin should succeed in Sacramento as the lead assistant there, bringing professionalism to a talented Kings roster.

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Gordon Hayward Video Scouting Report http://saltcityhoops.com/gordon-hayward-video-scouting-report/ http://saltcityhoops.com/gordon-hayward-video-scouting-report/#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2014 15:53:46 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12829 Author information
Dakota Schmidt
A Wisconsinite who spends way too much time watching mediocre basketball. Started to love the game as I watched the "Big 3" era of the Bucks in the early 2000's but was eventually raised on the teams lead by the likes of Michael Redd, Desmond Mason and Andrew Bogut. Those mediocre teams helped me grow an appreciation for the less than spectacular style of basketball which has lead me to different gigs with Queen City Hoops (Bobcats), Ridiculous Upside (D-League) and now Salt City Hoops.
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NBA: Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns
As we near the start of the 2014-15 season, the current iteration of the Jazz franchise that’s centered around youth and potential will be looked at to move their way out of their current spot in the Western Conference cellar. While the additions of potential stars Rodney Hood and Dante Exum will be key facets to the future of the organization, the fate of one of the organization’s most popular players stood as perhaps the most important aspect of Utah’s off-season.

Of course, the player in question would be Gordon Hayward, who faced restricted free agency after spending the first four seasons of his career under the Utah Jazz microscope. While there was a bevy of interest in Hayward from other NBA organizations, it was the  Charlotte Hornets who gave Hayward a mighty four-year, $63 million dollar offer sheet, which was quickly matched by the Jazz.

By entering the upcoming season with that massive new contract in his possession, the pressure that surrounds Hayward has been elevated. While he’s always been looked at as one of the bigger keys behind Utah’s rebuilding process, Hayward transition to being the team’s highest-paid player will make him the  focal point of Utah’s rebuilding process.

While his newly elevated contract will put a lot more pressure on his shoulders, Hayward has actually held the  role of the team’s main offensive weapon since the departure of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap during the 2013 off-season. Transitioning to that new role appeared to be an extremely difficult task for Hayward, as he struggled to maintain any real consistency on the offensive end.

When you examine his offensive downfall during the previous season, the largest factor is his regression as a perimeter shooter. Prior to his time as the team’s main scoring option, when he was able to work alongside the likes of Jefferson and Millsap, Hayward was looked at as an elite perimeter shooter. During his first three seasons with the Jazz, Hayward was able to shoot 40% from beyond the arc, which eclipsed the likes of Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza and Joe Johnson.

In the 2013-14 season, that consistency wore off as Hayward’s three-point shooting percentage deteriorated to an extremely pedestrian 30%. Perhaps the biggest reason for that drastic drop in consistency pertains to the fact that Hayward rarely got an opportunity to get an open shot. As the team’s main offensive weapon, defenses were able to regularly zone-in on Hayward without having to worry about the consequences of leaving Millsap and Jefferson.

With the majority of defensive pressure now focused directly on him, Hayward had  moments where he seemed tense, which ultimately lead to some rough looking perimeter jumpers. While he’s a pretty athletic player that can penetrate his way towards the paint, Hayward still tends to struggle when it comes to being able to get separation from the opposition, mainly because of his less than stellar abilities as a ball-handler.

Those issues should be diminished as Hayward will have the opportunity to play alongside recent draftees Rodney Hood and Dante Exum, which would take away some of the offensive pressure that has rested on his shoulders. When he’s able to get an opportunity to work off-ball, Hayward definitely has had an ample amount of success when it comes to cutting to the paint. During the prior season, Hayward shot 58% from the restricted area, which would be the best percentage of his young career.

On the defensive end, Hayward was consistently able to showcase a veteran focus, which allowed him to become a pretty solid perimeter defender. While he does struggle to create separation of the offensive end, Hayward has enough lateral quickness to stick close to the vast majority of wing players, whether they would be penetrating to the rim or moving around the perimeter.

In pick-and-roll situations, Hayward is still able to remain effective because of his ability to quickly determine whether to go over or under the on-ball screener. While he does occasionally have mental lapses which ultimately allow the opposition to get an open look at the basket, he generally does a great job when it comes to quickly recovering from those instances.

With Hayward making the transition from a rookie deal to being one of the higher-paid players in the league, the pressure will definitely be elevated. While he probably won’t be looked at to immediately push the Jazz into the playoff hunt, Hayward will still be the veteran leader to the slew of Jazz youngsters. Even though he displays that certain level of confidence that you look for in a veteran leader, the inconsistency that he showcased during last season is still a cause for concern.

However,  the additions of Hood and Exum combined with the potential improvements of Derrick Favors, Trey Burke and Alec Burks should help take away some of the pressure that Hayward had during the previous season. With that in mind, Hayward will still be looked at as the undeniable “go-to guy” in the Jazz offense, putting him into some high-pressure situations during the upcoming season. It’ll definitely be intriguing to see if he’ll be able to work under that heightened pressure and help lead the Jazz organization into the future.

Author information

Dakota Schmidt
A Wisconsinite who spends way too much time watching mediocre basketball. Started to love the game as I watched the "Big 3" era of the Bucks in the early 2000's but was eventually raised on the teams lead by the likes of Michael Redd, Desmond Mason and Andrew Bogut. Those mediocre teams helped me grow an appreciation for the less than spectacular style of basketball which has lead me to different gigs with Queen City Hoops (Bobcats), Ridiculous Upside (D-League) and now Salt City Hoops.
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Jimbo’s Mailbag – Is Enes Kanter Being Traded? http://saltcityhoops.com/jimbos-mailbag-is-enes-kanter-being-traded/ http://saltcityhoops.com/jimbos-mailbag-is-enes-kanter-being-traded/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 18:38:10 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12822 Author information
Jimbo Rudding
Jimbo Rudding
I am a typical Jazz fan. I think Jordan pushed off, Derek Fisher lied, Bavetta cost us at least one game in the Finals, we should have drafted Tony Parker instead of Raul Lopez, and there will never be anything better than the Stockton to Malone days. I, along with Spencer Campbell @SCampbellSBN, started the first and longest-running Utah Jazz podcast on earth. I enjoy the in-of-doors and telling people a better way of doing whatever it is they're currently doing.
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Would a Steve Novak RT mean more than a Jimmer Fredette RT? (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Would a Steve Novak RT mean more than a Jimmer Fredette RT? (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Welcome to the next edition of Jimbo’s Mailbag! At Salt City Hoops, we know that covering a losing team without any humor can be dreary. As such, we decided to add a little bit more levity to our site; what follows is the product of Jimbo’s, um, creative mind. Interested in submitting a question to Jimbo’s mailbag? Email it to Jimbo at mailbag@saltcityhoops.com or tweet @JimboRudding to appear. 

Q:  I have a ’06 Honda Odyssey with a door that squeaks. I’ve already tried WD-40. My question is: Will Gobert get Kanter’s minutes this year?

– @UGottaLovItBaby

The most amazing thing about this is, I had this exact same thought last week. Except, it wasn’t while trying to fix the squeak on my car door; it was while I was trying to un-jam my printer.

I have said all along (which means I’ve blurted it out loud while alone in my car listening to sports talk radio) that Kanter will not be a member of the Utah Jazz after the trade deadline this coming season. Below is a list of reasons why:

  1. He can’t jump.
  2. He was mentored by Big Al Jefferson.
  3. He is consistently tweeting in Turkish. It’s like, you’re in America now, at least learn a LITTLE bit of Spanish.
  4. He doesn’t play great defense (see number 2).
  5. His legs don’t accelerate his body high enough off the ground (see number 1).
  6. He only bought three boxes of Girl Scout cookies from my booth in front of Wal Mart.
  7. He is flat-footed on defense (see number 2).
  8. He goes around telling everybody that there’s no way I can hit the high note in the song “Take On Me.”
  9. He has limited strength in his hind quarters, causing close to zero lift (see number 1).
  10. He tends to get clingy when you let him borrow your DVD copy of Spy Kids 2.

He seems like a great guy, but being a great guy sometimes loses a lot of games.

 

Q:  I heard Jimbo’s plan is to get Jimmer, Lucas III, and Fisher and do a barbershop quartet anthem.

– @UtahJazzTime

This isn’t really a question, but I have spent a good part of the last three hours picturing this scene in my mind. So, a BIG thank you for that.

First of all, I have no doubt in my mind that Jimmer would sing tenor. I have no idea what “tenor” sounds like, but I’d be willing to bet my Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card that Jimmer knows what tenor sounds like.

Fisher would be a nice addition to my barbershop quartet. Even though he doesn’t have any hair anymore, he maintains a well-groomed beard and that’s good enough for me to hire him as a barber…wait, we’re talking about singing here. Ugh, never mind what I said there. Let’s start over.

Derek Fisher would probably commit to singing the bass part and then right before the opening-night performance he would go off and join a more successful barbershop quartet.

Lucas would sing the highest part in the quartet. I’m not sure if he would sing like a canary, but I AM sure he would be one of those singers who holds one finger to his ear and snaps to the beat. During the performance, he would probably burp or his voice would crack, causing him to be furious with himself and consequently pick a fight with a better barbershop quartet.

So, there it is. My glorious barbershop quartet consisting of Me, Jimmer, Fisher, and Lucas. Our name would be “RT the Liar” or “Sick Beards” or “Bad Jokes” or “Wow, Is This Answer Over Yet?”

 

Q:  Is soliciting an RT from Steve Novak a step up, step down, or step sideways from Jimmer?

– @YuccaManHoops

First off, let me just say that Steve Novak seems like a good dude and I sure as heck don’t want to antagonize him in any way. That being said, if he refuses to acknowledge me on Twitter I swear by the staff of Protark (the villain in Gordon Hayward’s new video game) I will REFUSE to wave at him if I see him around town or take a picture with him if he sees ME around town.

I don’t even know why I ask for a retweet. I guess it’s to feel accepted or recognized, if just for a moment. I’m not trying to delude myself into thinking we are making a meaningful connection. I mean, it’s not like they’re going to read my tweet and be like, “This guy seems like he knows where he’s going in life! I’m going to invite him over on the weekends and have a sleepover on the trampoline and maybe let him try on my clothes.” But, deep down, where the real feelings are, maybe I DO think that. Maybe an RT is exactly what the (mental health) doctor ordered? Maybe after all the girls who laughed at my Hammer pants in high school will see that RT and issue a public apology. I don’t know; and maybe I’ll never know. But one thing is for sure—I’m going to find out!

 

Q: Why does EnergySolutions Arena smell like a mix between cotton candy, popcorn, and throw up right before you walk in?

– Bob Florburtle

Thanks for the question, Bob. By the way, are you related to the Florburtles in the Richfield area? DM me.

I TOTALLY agree with this. There is a sort of funky, sugary smell to the arena that’s both repulsive and inviting all at once. It’s like when you run into a friend you haven’t seen for eight months and it’s really great to see him, but he has a distinct cotton candy-popcorn-vomit smell to him.

As bad as it can get, that smell is also very exciting. The closer you get to the arena, the stronger it gets. It seeps into your clothes and hair. It’s the smell of Stockton’s assists and Ostertag’s french fries; Harpring’s hair gel and Hot Rod’s cognac; Okur’s achilles and Palacio’s Captain Crunch. In late October, it’s one of the best smells in the world.

 

Q:  How would you react if, while enjoying your Taco Bell, Mark Jackson and Derek Fisher walked in? And would Jimmer RT your reaction?

– David Smith @davidjsmith1232

Shout out to Taco Bell’s new Quesarito. It is a delicious blend of quesadilla and burrito, with only a hint of regret!

One thing’s for sure, a combination of these two and everyday Taco Bell guests would surely disintegrate into one of those good, old-fashioned Taco Bell brawls. By the time the cops arrive, there would be tortillas and shredded lettuce hanging from the ceiling. A few patrons would be unconscious and the employees would be out-of-breath and hiding in the manager’s office. A detective would arrive carrying two coffees and, while handing one to the chief, ask, “So, what do we have here?”

“Just another Taco Bell brawl,” says the chief.

“Do we know how it started?” asks the detective.

“Well it seems an argument started between a Mr. Fisher and a Mr. Jackson about who could out-assist the other and then things got loco” said the chief.

“Ha ha! Loco because we’re in Taco Bell, right? That’s so funny…hmmm…is there any surveillance footage?” the detective asks.

“Yes, there is. Mr. Fredette here caught everything on his camera phone. Mr. Fredette, would you mind showing our detective what’s on your phone?”

“Sure, just give me a sec while I RT this hilarious tweet by @jimborudding!”

Thanks for all the questions everybody!

Author information

Jimbo Rudding
Jimbo Rudding
I am a typical Jazz fan. I think Jordan pushed off, Derek Fisher lied, Bavetta cost us at least one game in the Finals, we should have drafted Tony Parker instead of Raul Lopez, and there will never be anything better than the Stockton to Malone days. I, along with Spencer Campbell @SCampbellSBN, started the first and longest-running Utah Jazz podcast on earth. I enjoy the in-of-doors and telling people a better way of doing whatever it is they're currently doing.
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FIBA World Cup 2014 – Salt City Hoops Podcast http://saltcityhoops.com/fiba-world-cup-2014-salt-city-hoops-podcast/ http://saltcityhoops.com/fiba-world-cup-2014-salt-city-hoops-podcast/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 18:20:13 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12835 Author information
Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen is the Managing Editor of Salt City Hoops, the ESPN TrueHoop affiliate for the Utah Jazz. He also hosts a radio show and podcast every week on ESPN700 AM in Salt Lake City.
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How does Dante Exum play with players older than himself? (Photo by Michael J. Le Brecht II/NBAE via Getty Images)

On this week’s episode of the Salt City Hoops Podcast, we talk about the FIBA World Cup thus far. We lead off by talking about Team USA’s performance… while they’ve won all of their games with large margins, they haven’t looked impressive at times. How good is this Team USA? Then, we break down the Jazz players: Ante Tomic, Raul Neto, Dante Exum, and Rudy Gobert and how they’ve looked in their tournament play. Finally, as always, it’s Crazy Trade Idea of the Week time: The Jazz get Jabari Parker! All that and more on this week’s podcast.

Author information

Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen is the Managing Editor of Salt City Hoops, the ESPN TrueHoop affiliate for the Utah Jazz. He also hosts a radio show and podcast every week on ESPN700 AM in Salt Lake City.
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http://saltcityhoops.com/fiba-world-cup-2014-salt-city-hoops-podcast/feed/ 0 On this week's episode of the Salt City Hoops Podcast, we talk about the FIBA World Cup thus far. We lead off by talking about Team USA's performance... while they've won all of their games with large margins, they haven't looked impressive at times. On this week's episode of the Salt City Hoops Podcast, we talk about the FIBA World Cup thus far. We lead off by talking about Team USA's performance... while they've won all of their games with large margins, they haven't looked impressive at times. How good is this Team USA? Then, we break down the Jazz players: Ante Tomic, Raul Neto, Dante Exum, and Rudy Gobert and how they've looked in their tournament play. Finally, as always, it's Crazy Trade Idea of the Week time: The Jazz get Jabari Parker! All that and more on this week's podcast. Salt City Hoops no 52:48
FIBA Scouting Reports: Rudy Gobert, Dante Exum, Raul Neto, and Ante Tomic http://saltcityhoops.com/fiba-scouting-reports-rudy-gobert-dante-exum-raul-neto-and-ante-tomic/ http://saltcityhoops.com/fiba-scouting-reports-rudy-gobert-dante-exum-raul-neto-and-ante-tomic/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:38:06 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12792 Author information
Dan Clayton
Dan Clayton
Dan covered Utah Jazz basketball for more than 10 years, including as a radio analyst for the team’s Spanish-language broadcasts from 2010 to 2014. He now lives and works in New York City where his hobbies include complaining about League Pass, finding good doughnut shops and dishing out assists for the Thoreau It Down team in the Word Bookstore basketball league.
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Photo from FIBA.com

Photo from FIBA.com

In a gym some 5,000 miles away from Salt Lake City, a Jazz reserve was the talk of the basketball community on Wednesday.

The FIBA World Cup marches on, with medals being handed out on Sunday. Four Jazz players — or players whose NBA rights are held by the Jazz — are involved, so we’re going to take a look at the good and bad each guy has shown, and where that leaves the big picture discussion on each.

And we’ll start with an in-depth analysis and video of the guy Fran Fraschilla called “my MVP” of the quarterfinal upset over Spain.

Rudy Gobert

The line: 4.1 points & 5.1 rebounds, with 2 games to go.

The good: Gobert was a defensive force against the tournament co-favorites, drawing effusive praise from Fraschilla. There are many good reasons for the coach-turned-commentator to gush. He has been a lot more engaged, he has grabbed a rebound for every three minutes played, and he’s running the floor.

It’s best to let the tape tell about some of his positives, which our Ben Dowsett did after the contest. Here are some additional looks at specific areas of Gobert’s game.

He’s been a lot more calculating about his off-ball movement — diving into the slot especially. In the case of this video, he gets free on the baseline and gives his guy an option for a pretty touch pass that results in an easy dunk.

But the real reason he’s been so impressive is defense. He had stretches where he completely dictated that end of the floor, including the stretch run on Wednesday. Here’s a video of him dominating defensively in the clutch:

  • He swats a ball away, then on the ensuing inbound he helps, gets back, boxes out and draws a foul.
  • He plays solid position D, denying the baseline and then when Gasol turns to go middle he blocks it.
  • This time Gasol tries to drive but Gobert cuts him off. Gasol tries to go right through him and gets stripped.
  • Another play where he make a deflection at the rim, followed by Fran gushing a bit more.

Spain’s elite offense came to a screeching halt, largely because of Gobert. It was a memorable defensive showing in one of the biggest FIBA upsets in recent memory.

The bad: Gobert still has his raw moments, even on defense. Here are a couple of almost back-to-back plays where he gets pulled far from the lane on pick-and-roll coverage and can’t get back. Teams consciously try to get him in the P&R. Sometimes he can let the guard through and stay home — or even better, help and then get back (as above) — but not always. Here we see that the best way to neutralize Gobert defensively is to force him to help hard 25 feet from the hoop and hope he can’t recover and/or doesn’t have help behind him.

And of course, he’s offensively still progressing. This is true of his own game outside the immediate basket area, but even his screening and passing. When you screen, you’re supposed to be as square as possible; Gobert often looks more like a parallelogram on his screens, leaning hard to one side. Luckily, he’s learned to hold the position for a beat so he’s getting fewer illegal screen calls. As far as his passing game, we’re talking about a guy who had seven assists all last season. In Spain, he literally has had moments when he awkwardly knocked himself over trying to find a passing angle, or times like this video when he should pass out of the trap but instead takes an uncomfortable sideways shot.

The big picture: Any way you cut it, it’s been a summer of progress for Gobert, who will have no difficulty claiming an important spot in the rotation if he proffers the kind of game-changing defense we’ve seen in stretches at FIBA, especially the fourth quarter vs. Spain.

 

Let’s also take a quicker look at the Jazz’s other three World Cup participants.

Dante Exum

The line: 2.7 pts & 2 ast.

The good: You’ve heard plenty of analysis of Exum’s WC showing, no doubt. He showed that elite quickness, as well as a point guard mentality. Whenever he got to the middle of the floor on offense he was always looking to pass first. But probably the most impressive thing was his pestering defense. He really got “up and under” some guys, to steal a Jerry Sloan term.

The bad: The biggest complaints — rightfully so — had to do with his lack of movement on offense and his overall passiveness. I wasn’t completely excited by Australia’s offensive creativity, so maybe his role was to stand weakside and watch… but I doubt it. I kept waiting to see him get more involved, but I think he’s young enough and rusty enough that he was waiting for an invitation to have an impact on the game.

The big picture: I get the sentiment that, if he’s truly a future star in the making, he should have been less invisible with the Boomers. But I also think it’s wrong to set arbitrary prerequisites on him. I am guilty of this, too. In last week’s post, I stated that I’d be a little worried if he didn’t have a rookie year at least in a Tim Hardaway Jr. range (2-3 WS). Since then, I’ve realized how silly that is. Do you know how many eventual All-Stars and even Hall-of-Famers started out with less than that? Kobe’s rookie WS was 1.8. Dirk’s was 0.8. Isiah Thomas was 2.3. We’re talking about Finals MVP-caliber players here. Karl Malone put up 1.9 WS in his rookie season. All that’s to say history isn’t as demanding on rookie Exum; he can start modestly and still have a chance at greatness, the precedent says. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes some pretty quick improvements in a couple of areas once he’s working out with the Jazz.

 

Raul Neto

The line: 7.6 pts, 2.3 ast.

The good: Neto had two stellar games where it was easy to find things to like, including a can’t-miss offensive zone against Argentina that helped the Brazilians put their neighbors away. Even when he’s not scoring like crazy, he has good control of the game, never looking outmatched or out of place. He understands spacing, so his off-ball movement helps preserve options for the team system, though sometimes subtly. He also knows how to get separation on his shots, and creates the right angles with good use of screens and side-to-side movement (he especially likes to step right-to-left into his jumper).

The bad: Not to be a wet blanket, but the Argentina game was an outlier and Neto was mostly fairly quiet, at least statistically. In group play, he had three straight games with just a bucket per outing until he got extra burn against a pretty bad Egyptian team and exploded for 14 & 10. His defense wasn’t perfect. He is solidly built, so he doesn’t give up ground easily, but he doesn’t always stay in front, nor does he become the defensive pest that Exum was at times. He got hung up on some screens, and other times, he tried to jump the screen early and got punished.

The big picture : Neto’s future role with the Jazz depends greatly on how the next few months develop, especially with regard to Exum and Trey Burke. If the Jazz decide those guys are the point tandem they’re going to ride into contention, then Neto might be more of a trade asset than a basketball asset. Then there’s the very related question of how Alec Burks fits in with that duo, and whether they have a positional preference as to how they deploy Gordon Hayward. Either way, Neto caught some attention this month.

 

Ante Tomic

The line: 10 pts, 7.2 reb, 2.5 ast.

The good: There were stretches — like the fourth quarter against France — where the offense almost entirely ran through him for long periods of time, and usually with positive results because of his touch and passing. It’s amazing how many of Croatia’s plays began with a Tomic screen-roll at angle left. He also defended solidly.  He’s so big that he’s hard for post players to move around, and his length clearly frustrates drivers.

The bad: Tomic didn’t look particularly quick on either end. Even his really nice moves kind of seemed like they were in slow motion. He also rarely gets any sort of elevation. For a 7’2″ guy, he plays almost entirely under the rim. He’s a crafty finisher so he makes due, but you have to wonder how he’d compete athletically with NBA bigs.

The big picture: With his heady play and great hands, Tomic showed exactly why some think he projects to be a decent third of fourth big in the NBA. But there’s no clear sign as to whether he and Jazz are in each other’s mutual future. Still, every good showing by Tomic at the very least increases the asset value of his draft rights.

Author information

Dan Clayton
Dan Clayton
Dan covered Utah Jazz basketball for more than 10 years, including as a radio analyst for the team’s Spanish-language broadcasts from 2010 to 2014. He now lives and works in New York City where his hobbies include complaining about League Pass, finding good doughnut shops and dishing out assists for the Thoreau It Down team in the Word Bookstore basketball league.
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