Editor’s note: This is the second in the annual series from Salt City Hoops ranking the current players on the Utah Jazz roster. Throughout the preseason, we’ll count up through the current Jazz roster, from worst to first, profiling each player as we go along. The profiles are individually written by Salt City Hoops’ staff of writers, while the ranking was selected by me (Andy Larsen). To go through JazzRank articles from this or past preseasons, visit our JazzRank category page. Carrick Felix is #13.
The trade that brought Carrick Felix to the Utah Jazz had all the excitement and pizzazz of a quiet evening spent playing sudoku, sipping chamomile tea and listening to the best of Enya.
The deal, which saw the Jazz ship the Jon Lucas III, Erik Murphy and Malcolm Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Felix, a future draft pick and cash, was categorized as a preparatory trade by Cleveland to free up cap room and acquire non-guaranteed contracts in an effort to nab Kevin Love to pair with Akron’s prodigal son, LeBron James.
The outgoing trio from Utah was clearly acquired for their favorable contract statuses, not for their roundball acumen. It may have been easy for Felix to be overlooked in the trade among the trifecta of relative no-names included in the deal, even with Felix being the only player acquired by Utah in the deal. But Felix was certainly not an albatross Cleveland insisted Utah take on in exchange for their bounty of assets, nor was his inclusion a simple matter of matching salaries or opening roster spots.
Even in this relatively banal trade, Utah wanted Felix, and they got him.
So what can be expected of Felix, who has one game of starter’s minutes worth of total NBA experience, this season?
Felix remains somewhat of a mystery man with the Jazz. His NBA sample size is far too miniscule from which to draw any coherent conclusions, and nagging injuries have prevented Jazz coaches and fans from seeing much of anything from Felix thus far in training camp and preseason. Here’s what we do know about Carrick Felix:
That’s pretty much it at this point. Heck, Felix’s affinity for skateboarding, about as common in the NBA as chess club memberships and demure dress, isn’t even the most talked-about quirk of a newcomer. (That honor goes to Trevor Booker’s love of breakfast cereal.)
Despite the mystique surrounding the former Sun Devil, there have been comparisons to a former NBA player, or at least suggestions to Felix regarding after whom he should model his game. Older Jazz fans may remember him as the most annoying player to don a Spurs uniform since Dennis Rodman, and newer Jazz fans probably know him from his appearances on ESPN and his love of bow ties.
That’s right: some NBA pundits see Felix’s ultimate ceiling as Bruce Bowen, arguably one of the best “three and D” players of all time whose dogged determination and aggression on defense made him the most hated player of nearly every NBA fan outside of San Antonio. While infinitely frustrating to play against, a player like that would be amazingly beneficial in shoring up Utah’s transition and perimeter defense.
Felix’s playing time figures to be scant early on, with one or more stints with the Idaho Stampede firmly within the realm of possibility. However, Utah’s back court is not so deep as to effectively eliminate the possibility of Felix getting moderate amounts of playing time should he prove himself worthy. Behind projected starters Trey Burke and Alec Burks are a cadre of young and unproven guards. Ian Clark saw scant playing time with Utah in his rookie season last year, and Toure’ Murry had mere glints of promise in his sparse minutes with the Knicks. Rookie phenom and top draft pick Dante Exum is a shoe-in for a the lion’s share of third-guard minutes as well. While there are plenty of bodies between Felix and significant playing time, there is enough uncertainty surrounding to position to allow the possibility of Felix having more than just a cup of coffee in the NBA next season to exist.
While Felix’s likely destiny for 2014 is a deep bench player, Utah’s mystery man may just surprise us all.