Jimbo’s Mailbag – Are the Jazz Ready to Win a Lot of Games?

July 10th, 2016 | by Jimbo Rudding
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Welcome to the next edition of Jimbo’s Mailbag! At Salt City Hoops, we know that covering a 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. Jimbo, by virtue of being recently featured in the Deseret News, is now the world’s most famous Utah-based basketball mailbag artist. Interested in submitting a question to Jimbo’s mailbag? Email it to Jimbo at mailbag@saltcityhoops.com or tweet @JimboRudding to appear.

Q: Why was Jose Ortiz such a fan favorite? I mean, seriously!


Ah Jose Ortiz. The big number 44! Mi amigo grande con queso! Floats like a Beetle, stings like a Mack truck. The “Streakin’ Puerto Rican.” Jose Ortiz averaged nearly three points and a little over one rebound a game while playing for the Jazz. With numbers like that, it’s no wonder Jazz fans loved him so much.

In all seriousness, most of the information in the paragraph above was either made up or came straight from Wikipedia. My memory of Jose Ortiz is cloudy and I’m really not 100 percent certain I ever saw him play. I mean, I THINK I remember watching him play, but I’m not sure if I’m getting him mixed up with a combination of Carlos Arroyo and Fernando Valenzuela. It’s either that or a combination of one of the basketball players in the movie Teen Wolf and Henrique, the Columbian guy my aunt dated for a few months.

You know who I DO remember though? Jim Les. I’ll never forget him. He was the WORST! …but back to Ortiz.

Jose Ortiz was drafted number 15 in the 1987 NBA draft. Going through that draft again, it looks like the Jazz only really missed on one player that year — Mark Jackson at number 18. Jackson, as we all know, became the best point guard in the league and eventually would get the record for steals and assists. …wait, or was he the one who got the record for steaks and cysts? Ugh, my Jazz history is not what it used to be. My bad.


Q: What’s the highest playoff seed you could see the Jazz getting?


The Jazz could conceivably be the number one seed and win the title next year. Man, wouldn’t that be pretty cool if it were true? I’d be a mess all season; puking and weeping with every win and puking and sobbing with every loss. I’d lose so much weight!

Ever since the free agency signing of Joe Johnson and the Boris Diaw and George Hill trades I’ve had a bunch of conversations about what this Jazz team is capable of. People have been asking, “Hey Jimbo, do you think the Jazz will make the playoffs? How do the Jazz now compare against the other Western Conference teams? Hey, what’s that on your shirt?”

First off, it’s mustard on my shirt, but it’s an old stain from July 4th of 2014. It wouldn’t come out in the wash and I like the shirt a lot and I figure I’m at the point in life where comfort matters more than appearance. Plus it was the best hot dog I’ve ever had and it reminds me of good times with great hot dogs. I’m nostalgic like that.

Here’s the official Jimbo Rudding prediction:

I have the Jazzes’s’ ceiling as 3rd and their floor as 7th in the Western Conference. There you go! I don’t think that needs any more explanation… but I’m going to be nice here and give it to you anyway.

Here’s how the Western Conference ended last season and where those teams are at the moment:

  1. Warriors – They just added Kevin Durant, Zaza Pachulia, and David West, so they may never lose a game again. Frankly, it’s just not fair to have a team this good. If they stay healthy, they’re a lock for the title. If they are unhealthy and get the flu a lot or something, then they’ll probably still be the number one seed.
  2. Spurs – The Spurs had to trade Diaw in order to be able to sign Pau Gasol who hasn’t been fully clean-shaven since October of 1994. Pau hasn’t exactly dominated the league lately, but he IS crafty, and as the Beastie Boys taught us, when you’re crafty you get around and are always down and he’s just my type… err,… anyway. Also, I’ve learned to never bet against the Spurs. I see them being the two seed again.
  3. Thunder – I was stunned when Durant decided to leave. I thought he’d stay one more year and try to win again with Westbrook. Alas, the wind came sweepin’ down the plain and swept Durant all the way to the west coast. My prediction: The Thunder will go on a few losing streaks early in the season and Westbrook will become disinterested. Oladipo won’t scare anyone. Kanter will get caught looking at mountains. Jazz leap-frog the Thunder.
  4. Clippers – Here’s where it gets tricky. The Clippers spent all their money to re-sign their own players from last year. When they’re all gelling, the Clippers can beat anyone. Barring major injuries, the Jazz could be neck and neck with the Clippers all season.
  5. Trail Blazers – The Blazers added Evan Turner and Festivus Ezeli to a roster that was already young and improving. It looks like they’re losing Allen Crabbe if they don’t match the huge offer sheet the Nets gave him. I love Crabbe’s game. This could be a big loss for them. The Jazz had trouble with this team last year, but I’m going to go with my instincts on this one and say that the Jazz have a better record when the season is over.
  6. Mavericks – Dirk is back, so getting to the rim will be pretty easy. They added Bogut and Barnes from Golden State, which should make them a better team at least defensively. Bogut could be the key here. If he stays uninjured and motivated, the Mavs could hang around the middle of the pack all year. However, the Jazz are ready to make the move and I wouldn’t be surprised if they aggressively cut in while the Mavs are dancing with their prom date.
  7. Grizzlies – This is the one I’m apparently not getting. I don’t know why everyone is jumping on the Grizzlies bandwagon. Marc Gasol is always hurt. They added Chandler Parsons by paying him a max contract, which he deserves because he won the um… well, he dominated the …hmmm. Mike Conley decided to stay, which is big for them. I assume they’ll be fine, but Memphis doesn’t make me nervous really. Jazz will leapfrog these guys for sure. FOR SURE. Like, start heading to Vegas.
  8. Rockets – The Rockets were a mess last year and getting rid of Dwight Howard will help that. James Harden still doesn’t play defense and handles the ball too much. I like Trevor Ariza and Clint Capela a lot, but not enough to say that the Jazz will have trouble with these bozos. Jazz will have a better record by at least ten games. Take that to your local credit union.
  9. Timberwolves – For my dark horse pick I’m going with Minnesota. These guys are going to be scary good in a few years. If they can keep their core, the Jazz and Wolves could have some epic battles in the coming seasons.

So there you have it. My predictions. Foolproof, right?

Before you get too excited about any of the stuff you just read, you should probably understand that I know very little about basketball and why teams are good or bad. In fact, I just learned the other day what the term “pivot foot” meant.


Q: Is it true that Stockton gave Karl Malone a stuffed Yoda doll for Christmas and that’s how they came up with Stockton-to-Malone Toy-Yoda?


I feel like I’ve had this question before, but there’s NO WAY I’m going into the Jimbo Mailbag archives to make sure. I’m just going to answer it again and hope all three people who read this don’t mind.

From what I’ve heard, yes that IS true. Karl still keeps the toy Yoda in the cab of his semi-truck to this day. Karl has always been a huge Star Wars fan ever since the one with the Ewoks came out. In fact, he thinks Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure was better than any Star Wars film and he will fight anyone who says otherwise. But he also likes Willow a lot, so maybe he’s just a really big Warwick Davis fan.


Q: Luol Deng, hot tub suite, free helicopter beanie hat promotion day — Jazz can only afford one. What’s your vote?


What the??? Do you actually WORK for the Jazz? I hope so, cause these ideas are fresh!

I would have to vote for the hot tub suite mostly because it would be so amazing to watch a Jazz game in the comfort of my own hot tub with four of my closest buddies all with their shirts off.

Although, I’d have my shirt ON because I’m super self conscious about a birthmark I have on the side of my chest that looks like a couple of toddlers playing at a splash pad. When I was little and splash pads weren’t a “thing,” my family always said it looked like a couple of baby moose crossing a small stream, but when I grew up and splash pads started going up all over the place it became more clear what my birthmark really was.

Like I said, though. I’m extremely self conscious about it. In fact, I usually go the water park with two t-shirts on just in case one flies off mid-slide. Two tees also protects me from the dangerous UV rays that usually are able to penetrate one t-shirt. (I found that out the hard way.) So, if you see me at a water park wearing two t-shirts, don’t ask me about them. I’m self conscious about that too.


Q: If Gordon Hayward has already made millions of dollars, but also wants to win, why doesn’t he just take half of the max next year so the Jazz can pay other guys?


OK, I LOVE this question. This is something I’ve been preaching since like, forever ago.

I love money just as much as the next guy, but what’s the difference between making 15 million dollars a year and 25 million? If you said “ten million” — congratulations! You’re an expert at math and should probably be on Jeopardy.

But what I mean is, what’s the difference if you are even semi-conservative and you invest most of your income? Really nothing. You’re going to be wealthy no matter what, right?

So, this is why it irritates me when players say that all they care about is winning a championship. No, that’s not all you care about. If it were, then you’d be willing to take a pay cut so that your team could sign another big free agent or two. And I’m not talking about the type of “pay cut” that LeBron, Wade, and Bosh took to make the first super team. Those were pennies compared to what they made per year. I’m talking about cutting your income in half (even though you probably deserve max money) and helping your team out financially.

What does one even do with 20 million dollars a year anyway? I’d buy a nicer house and probably a house for my family and maybe a nicer lawnmower, but then what? It’s not like I’m going to head to Lagoon everyday. I don’t have time for that. And there’s no way I’m going to eat at Applebees every day for a month. I tried that before and trust me, it is a TERRIBLE decision even for poor people.

Thanks for the questions you guys! Remember, tell the guys at Jiffy Lube about Jimbo’s Mailbag. Do it while gently caressing your old air filter. Make it weird.

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.
Jimbo Rudding

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