Salt City Hoops http://saltcityhoops.com The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:41:42 +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 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. Her 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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Rudy Gobert: Spanish Nightmare http://saltcityhoops.com/rudy-gobert-spanish-nightmare/ http://saltcityhoops.com/rudy-gobert-spanish-nightmare/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 03:31:44 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12805 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 David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

The basketball gods heard our continued whining about a lack of intriguing stuff going on this time of year, and delivered some much-needed sustenance in the form of a riveting upset win by France over co-favorite (and host) Spain in the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon. France led nearly wire-to-wire and pulled away down the stretch, blowing up what many had considered a sure-thing battle in the title game between Spain the United States.

Jazz big man Rudy Gobert played his best game of the tournament, and likely the best game of his professional basketball career. He was instrumental in France’s powerful defensive effort, as they held a Spanish team yet to score under 82 points in the tournament to just 52 on rancid 32.3 percent shooting. His raw numbers were five points, 13 rebounds, a steal and a block on 2-4 shooting in what was easily his tournament high of over 23 minutes; this is a solid line, but as may frequently be the case through the young Frenchman’s career, it doesn’t tell the entire story of his impact.

This isn’t the first we’ve heard from Rudy this summer. He made waves at summer league with several impressive performances, and SCH’s Dan Clayton took a detailed look at his progress roughly a month ago. Some of the attention has spilled over to the national stage as well, with Grantland’s Zach Lowe delving into Gobert’s massive (literally) potential just last week.

Points from both these fine writers, as well as my January scouting report, stood out noticeably against the Spaniards. Rudy was a defensive force throughout, particularly in his second stint on the court that began with just over three minutes to go in the third quarter and lasted the rest of the game. During these 13-plus minutes, France held Spain to just 12 points despite what most would assume would be a huge frontcourt advantage with both Gasol brothers and Serge Ibaka.

His foot speed stood out in particular, especially against the pick-and-roll. France had Gobert leaping out to hedge the ball-handler in such sets all game, and his timing and footwork were impeccable, allowing him to defend effectively within the scheme:

Gobert was in constant motion on the defensive end, both lanky arms up and annoying Spanish ball-handlers anytime he was even close to a passing lane. In Dan’s superb piece from last month linked above, he points to Rudy’s defensive understanding as an area ripe for improvement – it’s just one game, sure, but the strides he seems to have made here even since summer league are somewhat astonishing. He was fully in tune with the game from the jump, making only a couple small mental errors despite being a key figure in nearly every defensive possession as the Spaniards fed their bigs down low.

He was a beastly physical presence as well; it may be difficult to sustain night in and night out in the NBA, but Gobert held his own against the bulkier Gasol tandem and didn’t back down an inch:

GET SOME, PAU!

Gobert also picked up 13 boards, showcasing more willingness to bang down low and maintain his positioning than at any point in his rookie NBA season. I wrote in my January piece how he needed to focus on learning to find ways to counterbalance the weight disadvantage he will face against most NBA centers, and evidence of work in the offseason here is readily visible. He’s identifying his box-out responsibilities more quickly, tracking the ball’s trajectory in the air more effectively, and getting lower to the ground to leverage his weight and move his opponents. Continued improvement here will see him quickly become one of the NBA’s best rebounders – no one is reaching over those arms if he’s in good position.

To my eye, though, the largest tangible improvements visible from Rudy in this game (and to a degree in earlier FIBA games) were in some of the more minute details. Offensive contribution is of course the largest obstacle standing between Gobert and an NBA starting gig, particularly one next to a non-shooting threat like Derrick Favors. I noted during the season how an improvement in his simple ability to catch and control the ball was the first big step toward finding an offensive identity, and this is clearly already happening. He’s not perfect by any means, but is already showing a noticeable refinement in his hands:

These plays don’t seem like much (and may not have had positive endings), but they’re among several examples of Gobert’s increased confidence with the ball in his hands. He’s clearly been drilling himself on catch-and-react scenarios, and doesn’t appear afraid to put the ball on the floor for a dribble or two now and then. Given his size and defensive skill set, this type of development may mean more for a guy like Rudy than nearly any other NBA big. As Lowe noted in his piece, if Gobert can follow the Tyson Chandler model as an offensive big man, his value as an overall player will skyrocket.

He showed promise in other offensive areas, as well. Just like on the defensive side, Gobert was hyper-active without the ball – I counted at least a few possessions where he set five or more picks for teammates, including a few heady improvised back screens like this one leading to an open look:

Just like several other elements of his game, Gobert’s court sense has undergone an accelerated development. He’s setting smart, effective screens and appears infinitely more aware of how his spacing affects his teammates. Coach Snyder is going to love his activity level away from the ball, something a motion offense absolutely must have from its big men, especially if they aren’t shooting threats.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, know that Gobert still has a long way to go. He remains a horrible free-throw shooter (under 50 percent for the tournament) and likewise isn’t a threat to score further than a few feet from the hoop. It’s unlikely he’ll be able to go pound-for-pound with heavier guys every night in the NBA like he did against Spain, and he’ll need to bulk up significantly to avoid significant physical mismatches on a regular basis. And while it’s certainly improved from the NBA season to now, his mental acumen still lags a tad behind his aggression. Touch fouls like these 40 feet from the hoop aren’t going to cut it at any level:

But with that said, Jazz fans have real reason to be excited. I typically caution against gleaning too much from summer league or international competitions, but context remains king here. This wasn’t DeMarcus Cousins swallowing up rebounds against Ukranian bigs similar in stature to American high school players; it was a 22-year-old going against the world’s best international frontcourt in a vital elimination game between two teams that hate each other, and more than holding his own. We aren’t crowning him an All-Star just yet, but his performance this summer is very encouraging. Whether or not he can duplicate Wednesday’s showing before the end of the tournament, I can’t wait to see how his development translates to the NBA game and his role with the Jazz.

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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Rudy Gobert Makes Huge Impression as France Shocks Spain http://saltcityhoops.com/rudy-gobert-makes-huge-impression-as-france-shocks-spain/ http://saltcityhoops.com/rudy-gobert-makes-huge-impression-as-france-shocks-spain/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 23:17:44 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12794 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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Gobert dunks in a regular season game in 2013-14. Will he get more playing time this season? (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)

Gobert dunks in a regular season game in 2013-14. Will he get more playing time this season? (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert won game MVP honors from ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla after a 5 point, 13 rebound performance as France shocked FIBA World Cup hosts Spain. Gobert played the entirety of the 4th quarter for France, and was a big factor in holding Spain to just 9 points in the 4th quarter, garnering 7 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal in that quarter alone.

Overall, Gobert played 23 minutes, the most action he’s seen in any game of the tournament thus far. Previously, Gobert had been averaging just 14 minutes per game, but his defensive performance as France went on the game-defining run forced French coach Vincent Collet to keep Gobert out on the floor.

Like his fellow countrymen, Gobert was proud to upset Spain, saying after the game “Spain had everything to lose. They have great players, but they are still humans.” Impressively, Gobert’s performance came against FIBA’s best backcourt, featuring NBA stars Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka.

Here’s Gobert’s 4th quarter block on Pau Gasol:

And here’s some reaction from around the internet on Gobert’s great game:

 

We’ll have more a more detailed breakdown of Gobert’s game coming soon on Salt City Hoops.

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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What Actually Worked for the Utah Jazz Last Year? http://saltcityhoops.com/what-actually-worked-for-the-utah-jazz-last-year/ http://saltcityhoops.com/what-actually-worked-for-the-utah-jazz-last-year/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 19:47:15 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12749 Author information
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson is a professional author, writing educator, and editor. In addition to his writing center work at Salt Lake Community College, he designed, coordinates, and teaches in an experimental author residency program for a West Valley City public charter school. A frequent presenter at both writing and educational conferences, he writes about the Jazz as a break from his other writing work.
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Victory Photo

(Jeremy Harmon/The Salt Lake Tribune)

Wins were precious last season. Only one team in Utah Jazz history garnered fewer wins for 82 games of effort than the Jazz’s 25 victories last year. I think it’s safe to assume Jazz fans, players, coaches, management, and ownership can all agree on one point: let’s not do that again.

But as rough a year as the Jazz had last season, they did manage to win some games. At times, things worked. Identifying just what worked may help produce more wins this season.

It’s impossible to put too much confidence in projections for this season formed from observations of last. Too much has changed, from Quin Snyder replacing Tyrone Corbin as head coach, to the departure of the team’s starting stretch four Marvin Williams, to young players growing more experienced, and in Gordon Hayward’s case, substantially richer. That said, the roster has remained stable enough to use players’ production in their roles last season to at least give ideas of how those roles might be adapted or emphasized this season to help the team win.

In examining last season’s statistics, I think two players stand out for materially helping the team win in very specific ways, with two more worth mentioning.

1) Gordon Hayward

When the team won: A free throw shoot’n, assist dish’n, second option.

More of Hayward’s statistics jump off the screen than any other Jazz player when evaluated for their discrepancy between wins and losses, not surprising for a player burdened with being his team’s primary offensive option. In the games the Jazz won last season, Hayward played in a very distinct way.

He punished teams from the free throw line, making 5.2 freebies per game. Averaged over the entire season, that would have been good for 11th in the league. In losses, he made only 3.6 free throws a game, good for 39th in the league. That’s still a respectable number, but it’s the difference between an elite point producer from the line and merely a good one.

That difference correlates to another statistic: how heavily dependent the team is on Hayward from the three point line. In wins, Hayward accounted for 18.9% of the teams attempts from range; in the losses, 25.8%. This indicates a reciprocal relationship: when Hayward parades to the line, his teammates get more three point attempts; likewise, with plenty of teammates gunning, Hayward is more likely to get room to attack the defense inside and draw fouls.

Interestingly, Hayward’s role as a passer was more predictive of wins than his scoring, regardless of which metric used to examine it. In Jazz wins, Hayward posted an assist percentage of 27.1 and accounted for 37% of the team’s assists, numbers similar to those of Trey Burke and Tony Parker. In the losses, those marks dropped by 5.1% and 6.3% respectively, moving him to Monte Ellis and Dwyane Wade territory. When Hayward was dishing, the Jazz had a much better chance of coming out on top.

Finally, the Jazz were much more successful when Hayward was making field goals inside the arc off the pass than from his own creation. Hayward’s willingness to take poor efficiency two point shots has been well documented, but in losses more of those shots he made were unassisted, a full five percentage points lower than in the wins. When more of Hayward’s made baskets from inside the arc were assisted – meaning he played off other players or system scheme rather than creating his own offense – the team won.

If this season sees Hayward playing a little more off others, cutting and slashing in moments of opportunity and moving the ball frequently rather than trying to create so much himself, last season’s results suggest the team could substantially benefit.

2) Derrick Favors

When the team won: A shot swat’n, energetic mismatch.

It’s no secret the Jazz were poor defensively last season. What was sometimes lost in the carnage is Derrick Favors’ ability – sporadic and often undermined – to change a game on the defensive end. Despite averaging nearly identical minutes per game in wins and losses last season, Favors nearly doubled his blocks in the wins, 2 to 1.2. In sheer degree of differentiation (a 67% increase), it’s the most drastic predictor of Jazz wins last season…

Except for his predatory scoring. In wins, Favors scored a whopping 14.6% of his points off of turnovers; in the losses, only 8.5%.

Last year, when Favors was protecting the rim well and taking advantage of open court opportunities and defenses that hadn’t gotten set, the team had a real chance to win.

3) Enes Kanter and Trey Burke

When the team won: An inside/outside duo.

In wins last season, Kanter scored 72.2% of his points in the paint while Burke scorched the net for 41.5% from three. When that wasn’t working, Kanter’s disposition of points down low dropped nearly 10% while Burke’s accuracy from deep plummeted to 28.4% and, shockingly, the team lost.

David Locke has gone on record predicting 100 three point attempts from Enes Kanter this season and we’re already hearing mumbles about the team working on extending his range with an eye toward a stretch role to some degree. Given his mechanics, I like the idea in theory, but last year’s numbers give reason for caution.

After all, simple logic supports the plausibility of a 6-11, 260 pound Turkish behemoth Bogarting baskets down low while the guy who made his name making big shots from a long way away at Michigan shoots from, well, a long way away. Last season’s statistics do as well.

Quin Snyder is a pretty smart guy, but innovation rarely starts by targeting what works already. Invention builds on the past rather than simply replacing it. As rough as last season was in Jazzland, there is a foundation to build from. It will be interesting to see what Coach Snyder constructs, and how familiar the architecture will be.

Author information

Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson is a professional author, writing educator, and editor. In addition to his writing center work at Salt Lake Community College, he designed, coordinates, and teaches in an experimental author residency program for a West Valley City public charter school. A frequent presenter at both writing and educational conferences, he writes about the Jazz as a break from his other writing work.
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Pump the Clutch: Utah’s Late-Game Issues http://saltcityhoops.com/pump-the-clutch-utahs-late-game-issues/ http://saltcityhoops.com/pump-the-clutch-utahs-late-game-issues/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 18:09:32 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12763 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 Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

August has come and gone, and there is much rejoicing. Never mind the nearly two months to go until regular season basketball played – September offers light at the end of the tunnel. FIBA competition, training camp before the month is out; I’m in game mode, and don’t try and tell me differently.

When the Jazz do eventually take the court, they’ll have plenty to work on. A group that was behind in a number of areas last season will also be adjusting to a new coaching staff, and while the long term picture here shows great promise, it’s a big change nonetheless for a young roster getting even younger. The defensive side of the ball in general will of course be a targeted area following a league-worst efficiency figure in 2013-14, and Utah will hope Quin Snyder and his staff can stabilize an unbalanced defensive culture. There were issues everywhere, but one that stands out upon further review is opponents’ performance near the end of close games.

Already sieve-like defensively, the Jazz were even more porous during the “clutch” portions of games. Their per-100-possessions figure for the year was 109.1, narrowly below Milwaukee for 30th in the league. But in the final five minutes of games with the Jazz trailing or leading by five points or fewer, they plummeted even further to 124.0 points allowed per-100, per NBA.com. This was just a hair more stingy than the league-worst Minnesota Timberwolves (124.3), of dubious infamy for their frequent late-game meltdowns. Utah was solid to begin the year in this area before spiraling out of control:

And a look at an individual breakdown of the seven roster members playing somewhat regular minutes in the clutch:

The numbers are anything but encouraging across the board, both on a team and individual level. Much has already been said and written regarding the general defensive ineptitude often present in Utah last season – what elements of “crunch time” affected the Jazz to an even greater extent?

To be sure, there are several factors here working against Utah that are mostly or completely out of their control. For starters, a mandatory caveat about sample size applies, although 146 total clutch minutes is certainly enough to draw basic conclusions from. It’s also important to remember that the exact thresholds we’re using are somewhat arbitrary, and could vary, perhaps greatly, using different minutes or scoring benchmarks for many teams. That said, the Jazz ranked at or near the bottom of the league in nearly all similar iterations, and the numbers clearly support a team that was markedly worse defensively during these periods.

Other explanations involve uncontrollable elements that Utah will nonetheless expect to improve in future years. The relative youth and inexperience of the majority of the roster surely played a role in their late-game issues, and the team’s key players should develop more poise as they become more familiar with crunch time scenarios. It’s also fair to note that opponents will almost always have their best players on the floor during these periods, a not-insignificant fact that likely skews the numbers to a degree. But the Jazz should also have their best players on the court, and as they begin hitting their athletic primes they’ll be expected to go blow-for-blow with the best the league has to offer.

More tangible and controllable explanations were similarly varied. The above player chart listed turnovers-per-48 in the final column; Burke, Burks and Williams all showed notable per-minute increases in their turnovers during clutch periods, and a team turnover ratio (turnovers per-100-possessions) that was roughly middle of the pack for the year became the second-worst in the league during crunch time behind only Sacramento. This isn’t a defensive stat, of course, but it has a direct effect on that end of the court; turnovers mean extra defensive possessions, and live-ball turnovers in particular can create advantageous situations for opponents. The Jazz also allowed a league-high 42.2 percent from beyond the arc, with a sizeable gap of nearly four percent between them and next-worst Minnesota.

The Jazz also sent their opponents to the line at an advanced rate in the clutch. Utah allowed 48.7 attempts at the stripe per-48, over double a 23.6 figure for the entire season. This isn’t quite as insane a jump as it may seem on the surface; intentional fouls at the end of games skew this average across the league, and the Jazz aren’t the only team who saw a huge increase. But they allowed the third-highest total during clutch minutes, well up from a middle-of-the-pack overall finish. And to compound the issue, they were fouling excellent free-throw shooters – opponents sank a higher percentage of clutch freebies than any other team in the league. As with the overall picture, Kanter is likely the worst offender here, committing 10.4 personal fouls per-48 in the clutch, double his normal figure. Favors was also more jumpy than usual, fouling 7.6 times per-48, a near-150-percent increase.

A look through the game action itself doesn’t reveal a whole lot that hasn’t already been dissected as far as the Jazz defense last season, but the issues were even more prevalent and frequent. The team struggled badly to form a unified identity, acting too often as individual pieces and lacking the sort of trust necessary to work as a unit. There was certainly a noticeable uptick in effort level, one small silver lining going forward, but it was mostly badly directed, as evidenced by certain elements above like foul rate.

Inexperience showed through, and perhaps most worrying of any element within this piece is the way this seemed to intensify as the year went on rather than the other way around. The hope going forward is that this reflects on the outgoing coaching staff more than the players themselves. This isn’t unrealistic, and Utah showed real promise on the other side of the ball during these clutch periods as well – they increased their offensive rating to 114.2, the seventh-best mark in the league (best of non-playoff teams) and nearly a 14-point boost on their overall mark. Hayward and Burke were especially effective offensive weapons, each drastically upping their efficiency in the clutch, and Favors wasn’t far behind.

The foundation is there for a core that can get buckets when it counts, and more experience together along with a more focused defensive scheme could eventually see them become a formidable overall unit down the stretch in close games. The turnaround defensively has to start this year; another stalled campaign on this front will be cause for concern regardless of surrounding circumstance. But expect it to be a point of emphasis, along with all things defense, as the new season begins to take shape.

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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Jimbo’s Mailbag – Adam Keefe’s Jersey, Mark Jackson’s Mind, and Dick Bavetta http://saltcityhoops.com/jimbos-mailbag-adam-keefes-jersey-mark-jacksons-mind-and-dick-bavetta/ http://saltcityhoops.com/jimbos-mailbag-adam-keefes-jersey-mark-jacksons-mind-and-dick-bavetta/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 18:51:13 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12737 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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(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/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; essentially none of what follows is true. Interested in submitting a question to Jimbo’s mailbag? Email it to Jimbo at mailbag@saltcityhoops.com to appear. 

Q:  What if Mark Jackson gets to the pearly gate and Jesus is with John Stockton and says “Thou shalt not steal didn’t apply to basketballs?”

– @Velociraptees

Ah, Mark Jackson. Where do I even begin? Ah yes, how about the end of his career…when he wasn’t good…and he played for the Jazz.

I don’t know exactly what was going through his head during the 02-03 season when he tried to turn the locker room against John Stockton. Maybe it was something like this:

“Man, I HATE John Stockton. Look at him with his gorgeous legs and his totally in-shape body. What a geek with all those thousands of assists more than I have and all those steals. Such a nerd to never have been traded. At least I’ve been traded seven times, just proves that seven teams wanted my services. I wonder if the chick who played Wonder Woman is single. Don’t matter, cause once she sees me at the club, she’ll be like, “Dang, are you Billy Dee Williams?” And I’ll be like, “NO, I’m Mark Jackson, baby.” Then she’ll be all, “The one who played the bass?” Then I’ll be like, “What? NO! I wasn’t in the Jackson 5. I play basketball.” Then I’ll get angry and storm out to find a WAY better looking woman to cozy up with. John Stockton only cozies up with his wife. Pfffft! He could never date the Wonder Woman whats-her-name. Even if he DID date her I would step in and be like, “C’mon Wonder Woman, ditch the zero and get with the hero.” Ha ha, I just made that up on the spot! She’s gonna love that. Ha ha…hero and zero rhyme PERFECTLY! Then there’s John Stockton. NOTHING rhymes with John Stockton. I mean, maybe Don Prockton, but his strip club went out of business years ago, so that doesn’t even count. You know who else can’t count? The NBA guys in charge of stats. All Stockton has to do is use the bathroom and they give him 11 assists. If he eats Taco Bell beforehand, then they give him a whole bunch of tiny assists. Ah man, that’s gross. C’mon MJ, get your head in the game!”

 

Q:  If it was your choice, which current, former, and future Jazz man would you take on a private outing to watch “Frozen” and why?

– Mikey Peterson @Mikeyvp

Oh man, Frozen is my favorite movie of all time! I’ve almost finished making my Sven costume for Halloween this year.

Current Player – Derrick Favors

Watching Frozen with Derrick Favors would be great because he wouldn’t try to talk to me or look at his phone during the movie. He wouldn’t sing along to the songs and would be totally cool about sharing his popcorn and wouldn’t get all grossed out when I used his straw either.

Former Player – Gordan Giricek

The ONLY reason I would want to watch this movie with him is because I have a feeling he would let me run my fingers through his hair without things getting too “weird”. I’ve always wanted to do that.

Future Player – Gordan Giricek II

This would probably be a few years down the road, but it would be fun to chat before the movie started and say things like, “Wow, I remember years ago when your father and I watched this movie together. He let me run my fingers through his hair and it didn’t even get weird.”

 

Q:  Where can one get his/her hands on an Adam Keefe jersey for this upcoming season?

– Travis Bruerton @TravisBruerton

My Uncle Rob has a bunch of jerseys for sale right now. He doesn’t have any Adam Keefe jerseys, but he gave me the Spencer Nelson Summer League one that I’m wearing as I write this. Here is a list of the jerseys he currently has for sale as well as the condition they are in:

  • Greg Ostertag – This has a contact lens stuck in it somewhere. We haven’t been able to find it, but you can sometimes feel it when you’re wearing it.
  • Jim Les – This one is in great condition. Hardly ever worn. Smells like Old Spice.
  • Robert Whaley – It has shards of broken glass stuck in it and smells like marijuana and anger.
  • Keon Clark – Also has a marijuana smell to it.
  • Raja Bell – This is a game-worn jersey. It’s from that one game where he missed all those shots.
  • Luther Wright – This one smells like a dumpster fire.
  • John Lucas III – This one, ironically, also smells like a dumpster fire.
  • Carlos Boozer – This isn’t in great condition. It has TONS of black paint or something on it.
  • Ronnie Brewer – The right side where the arm would go is a little lower than the left side. This is most-likely from his broken arm which he suffered in a water park accident as a kid.
  • DeMarre Carroll – If you purchase this jersey, my uncle says he will throw in a few pieces of DeMarre’s dreads absolutely free!
  • Morris Almond – If you hold this jersey up to your ear you can hear the faint sound of disappointment.
  • Matt Harpring – This is a two for one type of deal. If you buy this jersey, then you also get Matt’s high school football jersey as well.
  • Jason Hart, Brevin Knight, Keith McLeod, Milt Pilacio – These ones are free. They’re out on his lawn. First come, first served.
  • Al Jefferson – As is. It’s been two years since he got this one and for some reason it’s still soaked. It will NOT dry out.
  • Andrei Kirilenko – This one is EXPENSIVE. Seriously, if you’re planning on buying more than one jersey, you won’t be able to afford anymore after purchasing this one. (It’s not Andrei’s fault though.)
  • Kosta Koufos – This one runs pretty cheap. Mostly because, no matter what he does, my uncle can’t seem to get all the back hair out of this one.
  • Raul Lopez – This one is fraying towards the bottom-left part of the jersey.
  • Pace Mannion – This one has TONS of hair gel smeared on the front. I’m serious. There’s a lot.
  • Wesley Matthews – Actually, no, he doesn’t have this one anymore. It’s actually a sad story because it was his favorite jersey, but he leant it to a friend and never saw it again. Biggest regret of his jersey life.
  • Kirk Snyder – Funny story about this one. My uncle said his neighbor just found this jersey inside of his house late one night.

 

Q:  Is a Jazz season without Andris Biedrins or his hair worth living through?

– Jake @CowhideGlobe

He’s still in town. Here’s a list of places I’ve seen him:

  1. At the Provo Fanzz telling people about the special they’re having this month on Jazz hats.
  2. At Classic Skating by himself skating backwards to Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels.”
  3. At Lagoon jumping up and swatting at the legs of all the people on the sky ride.
  4. At the Chili’s in Sandy. (He got belligerent when they told him they didn’t serve goat milk.)
  5. At Hogle Zoo. He somehow got into the penguin exhibit and was just sitting there eating fish from a pail and looking VERY sad.
  6. Last week I saw him a block away from a Great Harvest Bakery putting on a hat and fake mustache with a stack of free bread slices in his backpack.

He’s a good dude and I wish him the best as he figures out this new stage in his life.

 

Q:  How can the average fan better understand how wrong Dick Bavetta was?

– @BardenPembleton

All you need to know is he became so old and frail that he just couldn’t competently referee NBA games anymore. That was in 1995. In the 1998 NBA Finals his glaucoma caused him to not be able to see the shot clock very well and then there was the sudden onslaught of muscle spasms where his arms started flailing around, waving off shots that were good and counting shots that were hoisted up after the shot clock buzzer sounded. It was like Weekend at Bernie’s 3: Bernie Refs the Finals out there.

Then a few years later, out of the blue he started making out with Charles Barkley and then got in a fight with Tim Duncan. Or, was that his brother? I don’t know. Anyway, the point is, he was a good man and he will be missed. RIP Dick Bavetta.

 

Q: If you went to a sandwich shop and ordered a Jimbo Slice, what would the restaurateur serve you?

– Angie Treasure @snark_tank

Sour-joke bread. Irony sauce. Turdkey and cheese with a small sprinkling of minutiae.

Thanks for the questions everyone!

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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