Salt City Hoops » andris biedrins http://saltcityhoops.com The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:09:49 +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 » andris biedrins http://saltcityhoops.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://saltcityhoops.com Reviewing My 2013-14 Utah Jazz Goals http://saltcityhoops.com/reviewing-my-2013-14-utah-jazz-goals/ http://saltcityhoops.com/reviewing-my-2013-14-utah-jazz-goals/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 18:06:47 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=11000 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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Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

It is accountability time. Back in August 2013, I laid out some predictions for the 2013-14 Utah Jazz season. Some were bold, while some were the exact opposite. With four games remaining in the waning season, it’s safe to take a look back and see how accurate or how off these prognostications were.

Gordon Hayward will lead the team in assists: This one was close. The honors go to Trey Burke, whose edged out his back court partner, 5.5 APG to 5.2 APG. If it helps any, Hayward currently has 379 dimes for the year, while Burke has 361.

Hayward will also lead the team in scoring: This fits into the less-than-bold category, but Hayward is indeed pacing the Jazz in scoring at a 16.0 PPG clip. That said, his efficiency is lacking, as the role of go-to scorer does not seem like an exact fit.

Alec Burks, whether he starts or comes off the bench, will finish second: The athletic combo guard is right behind Hayward with 14.0 PPG. Back in August, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors may be think hard about this one, but I felt Burks ability to slash and get to the line, coupled with a gradually improving jumper, would position him to be a solid scoring threat.

Utah will be represented well at All-Star Weekend: Another safe bet, as Burke represented the franchise in the Rising Stars game, while winning the skills challenge. Jeremy Evans was denied the opportunity to regain his slam dunk crown.

Trey Burke will be the second Jazz player to win the Rookie of the Year award (Darrell Griffith being the first): This will be known in a few weeks. It’s clearly a three-man race between Burke, Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams. Chances are it will go to MCW, but it will be close.

The Jazz will honor Jerry Sloan this year: Check. And the Jazz did an absolutely masterful job in honoring the one and only Coach Sloan. It was certainly a highlight of this season as it allowed the fans to look back to some glory days with fondness.

The Jazz will be a top three shot-blocking team: Way off. At a collective 4.4 BPG, Utah is just 2oth in the league. I was banking on Favors improving on his gaudy 1.7 BPG in 23.2 MPG mark the previous season. Despite increased playing time, he dipped to 1.5 BPG. This prediction was also based on some solid playing time for Brandon Rush (who was solid his last full season) and Rudy Gobert (0.9 in limited action).

Favors will earn some All-Defensive team mentions, but won’t make it this season: This one could be in jeopardy. While he has had strong individual efforts, being the anchor of one of the NBA’s worst defenses won’t garner many votes, if any.

A lot of teams will be beating themselves over not drafting or signing Ian Clark: Probably a negative at this point. Clark is starting to get a few minutes here and there, but it’s highly unlikely his performance is causing opposing GMs to lose sleep. That said, he could be a very solid find. Clark has a good stroke and gives a lot of effort when on the court.

Dennis Lindsey will orchestrate at least one notable mid-season trade: Sure there were rumors (Richard Jefferson for Andrew Bynum; Marvin Williams for a first-round pick and the implausible Gordon Hayward to Boston rumors), but it was a quiet deadline. This year was less disappointing than the previous one, as the bevy of expiring contracts figured to be potential trade bait.

Despite the growing pains, this will be an exciting team for Jazz fans to rally around: This is a purely subjective prediction. It has absolutely been a season of struggle, ups and downs, highlights and low-lights (great piece the other day by Clint Johnson about this sordid season). There have been some positives, such as Burke’s recent game-winning 3-pointer. For me, it has been exciting, as we caught glimpses of the future.

And lastly, here were my quick hits.

  • To help with the whole Burke and Burks thing, Craig Bolerjack and Matt Harpring will be electrically shocked every time they use the wrong name: Clearly did not happen. Imagine the fun if the Jazz draft Aaron Gordon and Tyler Ennis…Burke and Burks, Enes and Ennis, Gordon and Gordon.
  • Favors will average a double-double. Kanter will not. But watch out the following year, world: Favors leads the team with 8.7 RPG, but many were predicting a few more boards per outing. Kanter has turned it on of late and is averaging that double-double the past six weeks.
  • Gobert will win the rookie dance-off, performing the Snake. The video will go viral that night: Oh, Rudy
  • Biedrins will show he can still be a serviceable back-up big man: I will now cower in the corner, full of shame and embarrassment. Biedrins did earn $3.0M per point scored, so there is that.
  • Hayward will enlighten us with another full slate of Fresh Market ads that will dazzle and entertain. There will be immense rejoicing in the land: Yes, indeed.
  • Jeremy Evans will prove to be more than a highlight dunker. With an improved jump shot, Evans will show he belongs in the league: This has been one of the key developments of the season. At 5.9 PPG and 4.6 RPG, Evans definitely showed that he is a very viable rotation player. He started the year on a torrid pace, tailed off in the middle, but is coming back around. Utah has him locked in for another season at a mere $1.7M–a pittance compared to his productivity and his electric dunks.
  • Tyrone Corbin will finish the season as the head coach: And he will. But we will know soon if he is the head coach moving forward, as Laura Thompson highlighted.
  • Gobert’s wingspan and/or standing reach will be mentioned 7,653 times, most of them by the Jazz broadcasters: We got one right!
  • For the third straight season, Utah fanatics will watch the Golden State situation with eagerness. An injury will curtail the Warriors’ season a bit, but not enough to bring the Jazz a second lottery pick. Late teens would be my guess: This is one that many wish was not accurate. While the Warriors flirted with that elusive ninth place spot in the Western Conference, they seem secure in their postseason positioning and the Jazz will mostly likely be left with the #23 pick. Sadness.
  • Hayward, Favors, Kanter, and Burks will all receive Most Improved Player votes, but none will win it: Burks will probably get the most attention out of this quartet.
  • Kevin O’Connor will sign an extension, but will continue to take a gradually smaller role: He still has an influence on the team, but that seems to be dissipating as Lindsey is clearly at the helm.
  • We will see a sharp increase in Jazz fan Twitter etiquetteTwitter definitely can enhance one’s fan experience and it has for me. That said, there is still a long ways to go here. One day, all of us should just Kumbaya-it out.

Not too great, but not too shabby. How did other Jazz fans fare with their personal crystal balling?Pretty soon it will be time to make some more predictions for what will inevitably be a very eventful offseason for the Utah Jazz.

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Utah Jazz Positional Battles: The Bench http://saltcityhoops.com/utah-jazz-positional-battles-the-bench/ http://saltcityhoops.com/utah-jazz-positional-battles-the-bench/#comments Wed, 09 Oct 2013 21:29:28 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=7872 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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Tuesday’s preseason opener against the Golden State Warriors may have shed some light on how the bench positional battles will unfold–at least to start the season. Then again, it was one game and a preseason one at that. Add to the equation two returning-from-injury guys in Marvin Williams and Brandon Rush and thing could get interesting really quickly. We covered the starters, so let’s turn our attention to the bench.

BACK-UP POINT GUARD

Candidates: John Lucas III, Alec Burks. To a much lesser extent: Ian Clark, Scott Machado

This spot has some intrigue to me. Lucas has said all the right things since signing on the dotted line, and it appears that he is eager to serve in the mentor role for Burke. He is not the purest of point guards, but has experience that should suit him fine in Utah. Against the Warriors, Lucas was often the best player on the court. His shot selection was excellent and his hustle and enthusiasm, contagious. It was telling that the Jazz brass sent Burks to Spokane to work with Stockton, as well. He played minutes as the back-up last season, and while he had his moments, his performance was largely unspectacular. That said, the talent is there to be another ball handler and facilitator and he could get some extra PT here. A tandem of Burks and Lucas could be exciting and disruptive on defense. An interesting guy to watch during pre-season will be Ian Clark and whether he can play spot point guard minutes as needed. Machado has a good chance of making the team, but if so, will most likely anchor the bench.

Prediction: John Lucas III

BACK-UP SHOOTING GUARD

Candidates: Alec Burks, Brandon Rush. Outside chance: Ian Clark

Tuesday evening, Burks came off the pine. That said, at least for now, I’ll stick with my prediction that he earns the starting nod. I could indeed see that possibly changing when Rush is fully healthy (in that scenario, I see Hayward starting at small forward and Richard Jefferson moving to a reserve role). Either way, Burks or Rush would be depended upon to provide leadership and scoring in the second unit.

Prediction: Brandon Rush

BACK-UP SMALL FORWARD

Candidates: Richard Jefferson, Marvin Williams, Jeremy Evans. Don’t forget: Dominic McGuire

Again, Jefferson got the opening night nod at the three. This is another situation in which I think health will factor heavily. It makes sense why Tyrone Corbin went this way last evening, especially seeing the results of Burks as the featured scorer off the bench. So, to remain consistent, my money is still on Hayward being the starter and then watching an interesting battle between Williams and Jefferson. Marvin has more to offer at this point in their careers. Jeremy Evans could get spot minutes at the small forward, especially if he continues to show a much-improved jump shot. Dominic McGuire not only has a great chance of making the final roster, but being called upon as a situational player. He does a lot of the small things that coaches love.

Prediction: Marvin Williams

BACK-UP POWER FORWARD

Candidates: Jeremy Evans, Marvin Williams.

Evans has always been wildly productive during the spot minutes he’s played his first three seasons. Against Golden State, he displayed the full repertoire of what he can potentially offer as a rotational player. He hustled, crashed the boards, played solid defense, and showed offensive abilities. While he may still struggle against bulkier opponents in the post, his length and ridiculous leaping ability might more than compensate. This role is his for the taking and Corbin sounds very happy with his progress. Williams could fill the need for a stretch four against teams that employ a big front court.

Prediction: Jeremy Evans

BACK-UP CENTER

Candidates: Andris Biedrins, Rudy Gobert

While Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter will man most of the big man minutes, this will be a battle to watch. Against the Warriors, the veteran Biedrins got the first opportunity, but the young rookie played more minutes. The reports have been positive on both, with Corbin expressing admiration for the growth Gobert has already shown. This one could initially be a toss-up, but I think the French center will earn some minutes in the pivot.

Prediction: Rudy Gobert

Lastly, with 13 players on the roster with contracts (including Clark’s partially guaranteed deal), there could be two more who start the season in a Jazz uniform. Local media has mentioned the possibility of carrying a maximum 15 players–especially with recovering injuries being a factor. Should that be the case, McGuire and Machado might have the edge right now, with swingman Justin Holiday also being in the mix.

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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JazzRank #13: Andris Biedrins http://saltcityhoops.com/jazzrank-13-andris-biedrins/ http://saltcityhoops.com/jazzrank-13-andris-biedrins/#comments Tue, 01 Oct 2013 20:26:16 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=7631 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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Editor’s note: This is the first 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 preseaons, visit our JazzRank category page. Andris Biedrins is #13. 

It was just four years ago where many Utah Jazz fans would have loved to seen Andris Biedrins in a Utah Jazz uniform. At the time, the Latvian center was an agile, 22-year old on the cusp of being one of the game’s best big men. He boasted 11.9 ppg and 11.2 rpg averages, doing so in just 30.0 mpg. He was solid on defense and even displayed the ability to pass the ball. Against the Jazz, he always seemed to own the glass. Biedrins was a bright spot on a hapless Warriors team that mustered a lowly 29-53 record. He had just finished the first year in a five-year, $45 million pact that was beginning to look like a steal.

Now, let’s fast forward those four years. He is now viewed as one of the most overpaid and underwhelming players in the league. Each passing year, Biedrins experienced a precipitous decline. His scoring, his rebounding, and especially his free throw shooting dropped.dramatically. Above all, it was his confidence that took the biggest nosedive.

When he was included in the big Golden State/Utah transaction, many groaned and sighed at Biedrins’ inclusion– a very understandable reaction. After all, he is coming off a season when he averaged a whopping 0.5 ppg (1.7 ppg over 36 minutes). What can the Jazz expect from him? They cannot expect the world, that’s for sure. But could Biedrins be serviceable? Absolutely. Here are a few reasons why:

A change of scenery can sometimes reignite the fire for a player. Under Don Nelson and Mark Jackson, Biedrins’ role was lessened and his confidence crushed. Former Jazz center Al Jefferson reflected on this last year, saying that Biedrins can definitely still play. Perhaps a new locale could help in major ways. Indeed, the article where Jefferson shares these thoughts details that Biedrins had been working out in Santa Barbara along with other Jazz players, there could be some familiarity that could help in his new locale.

There are much lowered expectations. Given his salary and lowered production, he was naturally a focus for Warriors’ fans. In Utah, many view him solely as a $9 million expiring contract. Few are expecting much. The Jazz have had success in the past with such reclamation projects. He will not be expected to be a savior, but could provide some rebounding and hustle.

Obviously, the front court will belong to Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. Along with Rudy Gobert and Jeremy Evans, the Jazz sport a corps of young bigs with great potential. That said, Biedrins will be playing the role of the vet down low. Given the mixture of youth, potential injuries, and situations, Biedrins’ experience may be needed.

Whether or not you believe in the value of the vaunted contract year, Biedrins is entering his. He wants to prove to the NBA can he can still play, in hopes of earning his next deal: believe it or not, but he is just 27 years old. If he can rediscover even a portion of his former skills and confidence, he could play for many years to come.

From the sound of the various interviews and comments from the Utah front office, no roles are totally defined. While I feel some are pretty close to that point, there will be minutes and opportunities available for each person on the roster. Given his decision to forgo international play this summer to focus on his this chance with the Jazz, Biedrins is very aware of this. While last year was horrific, he is still just two seasons removed from a 5 ppg/7 rpg effort.

I do not have any grand illusions that Andris Biedrins take the Jazz and the NBA by storm. But I also do not feel he is a lost cause. In my opinion, he still can contribute and this situation with Utah may be a prime one in which he can show off his remaining skills.

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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2013-2014 Utah Jazz Predictions http://saltcityhoops.com/2013-2014-utah-jazz-predictions/ http://saltcityhoops.com/2013-2014-utah-jazz-predictions/#comments Wed, 14 Aug 2013 22:19:43 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=7402 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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This is the time of the year that most Utah Jazz fans dread. The part of the year that bridges the draft and free agency with training camp can be downright rough. The one saving grace is that each passing day brings us closer to having the Jazz back in our lives more fully.

If anything, it is a fun time for predictions. I mean, everyone’s doing it. Many out there are using the summer doldrums as a time to share a broad range of predictions. For example, ESPN thinks the Jazz will finish 13th in the West, while Trey Burke will come in second for the Rookie of Year award (Chad Ford actually has Burke finishing seventh). It does make for some interesting reading. It is enjoyable to consider what might be.

So, in the same vein, here are a few of my Utah Jazz predictions. Some will be bold, some will be the opposite. Heavens, some will even be fun. Let’s get started:

Gordon Hayward will lead the team in assists: But just barely. I think Trey Burke will be able to come in and help direct this young team very well. That said, I think Hayward will have the ball in his hands a lot, especially as a (if not “the”) focal point of the offense, and as a result, will compile some strong assist totals from the wing positions. Hayward’s abilities to see the court and deliver the ball are perhaps his biggest strengths. In past seasons, it was evident how much smoother the offense flowed when Hayward was in the game.

Hayward will also lead the team in scoring: While all four returning young guys will see a big jump in production (I suppose that’s a prediction right there), Hayward is the heir apparent as the leading scorer. Not only does he have the better body of evidence, but he also has the most varied offensive repertoire. He can shoot the three-pointer, can take it to the hole, frequently gets to the line, and is working on his mid-range game. Alec Burks, whether he starts or comes off the bench, will finish second.    

Utah will be represented well at All-Star Weekend: Summer league struggles are summer league struggles. It would take a lot for Trey Burke to not play in the Rising Stars Challenge no-defense game. In fact, I do feel he will be the second Jazz player to win the Rookie of the Year award (Darrell Griffith being the first). Burke, due to his huge collegiate popularity, will also participate in the Skills Challenge. I think Jeremy Evans will return to the dunk contest. Hayward will be an All-Star game snub, since the Jazz’s record will be a factor.

The Jazz will honor Jerry Sloan this year: Now that Coach Sloan is back in the fold in an official capacity, this will be the year where a jersey honoring the Dean of Coaching will be hoisted to the ESA rafters. And Jerry will get emotional.

The Jazz will be a top three shot-blocking team: Utah ranked fifth last year (6.3 bpg), so a slight uptick is very feasible. While losing Al Jefferson’s 1.14 and Paul Millsap’s 1.03 averages will hurt, they have the personnel to do the job. Derrick Favors playing a more prominent role will automatically help. He averaged 1.69 in just 23.2 mpg last season, which translated over to 2.62 per 36 minutes. (Another quick prediction here: Favors will earn some All-Defensive team mentions, but won’t make it this season.)

Beyond Favors, the Jazz have many others who will help the cause. And no matter how the minutes fall, they could each contribute. Rudy Gobert may have some struggles offensively, but he has the abilities to be an immediate defensive presence. Andris Biedrins was able to swat 0.79 shots in a mere 9.3 mpg (let’s not dwell on the fact he had 42 blocked shots compared to a mere 24 points last season…). Based on last year’s rates, Jeremy Evans could get a block per 15 minutes of PT. Kanter should be able to get one or two. And don’t underestimate Hayward and Brandon Rush adding to the mix (0.9 bpg during Rush’s last full season).

A lot of teams will be beating themselves over not drafting or signing Ian Clark: One of the reasons Clark chose the Jazz was because he knew he’d be given an opportunity to not only make an NBA roster, but to contribute. Given his ability to shoot the ball, I can see Clark becoming a rotation player. It may not be right away, but by December, Clark will be playing some valuable minutes.

Dennis Lindsey will orchestrate at least one notable mid-season trade: Utah has a litany of assets at their disposal: a bevy of draft picks, $31 million+ in expirings, and young guys with lots of upside. While the Jazz have not made many deals involving expiring contracts (last February being a prime example), there is a new sheriff in town who may be willing to swing such a transaction if it brought back an impactful player or perhaps even more future assets. For example, I can easily see Marvin Williams playing a bigger role this year. He might be someone who could be attractive to a contender needing SF help come trade deadline time.

Despite the growing pains, this will be an exciting team for Jazz fans to rally around: Optimism is very high, despite the fact that expectations are the opposite. At a minimum, Utah will be able to determine what they have in each of the young guys, and even the expiring veterans. We all remember that overachieving squad the year after #12 and #32 left. I’m not saying that this team will finish .500 like that team did, but in similar fashion, their hustle, effort, and personalities will win over Jazz fans. The Jazz will go 30-52 and the season will be viewed as a success.

Now some quick ones:

  • To help with the whole Burke and Burks thing, Craig Bolerjack and Matt Harpring will be electrically shocked every time they use the wrong name.
  • Favors will average a double-double. Kanter will not. But watch out the following year, world.
  • Gobert will win the rookie dance-off in December, performing the Snake. The video will go viral that night.
  • Biedrins will show he can still be a serviceable back-up big man.
  • Hayward will enlighten us with another full slate of Fresh Market ads that will dazzle and entertain. There will be immense rejoicing in the land.
  • Jeremy Evans will prove to be more than a highlight dunker. With an improved jump shot, Evans will show he belongs in the league.
  • Tyrone Corbin will finish the season as the head coach.
  • Gobert’s wingspan and/or standing reach will be mentioned 7,653 times, most of them by the Jazz broadcasters.
  • For the third straight season, Utah fanatics will watch the Golden State situation with eagerness. An injury will curtail the Warriors’ season a bit, but not enough to bring the Jazz a second lottery pick. Late teens would be my guess.
  • Hayward, Favors, Kanter, and Burks will all receive Most Improved Player votes, but none will win it.
  • Kevin O’Connor will sign an extension, but will continue to take a gradually smaller role.
  • We will see a sharp increase in Jazz fan Twitter etiquette.

Feel free to share your own predictions, whether big or small, serious or humorous, in the comments. Share them with the Jazz world!

And if it took you five minutes to read this, congrats. You’re now five minutes closer to the 2013-14 season.

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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Jeremy Evans: Odd Man Out? http://saltcityhoops.com/jeremy-evans-odd-man-out/ http://saltcityhoops.com/jeremy-evans-odd-man-out/#comments Tue, 13 Aug 2013 19:21:03 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=7394 Author information
Denim Millward
Denim Millward
Denim Millward, before SCH, wrote for Bleacher Report about the Jazz and the NBA. Despite this, he is actually a good writer, and we promise we will eschew the slideshow format on this site. He also contributes to The Color Commentator Magazine, and strangely, likes wrestling.
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When I think of Jeremy Evans and his role on the Utah Jazz for the upcoming 2013-2014, I think of Stephen Root’s character Milton Waddams from the cult classic Office Space. 

No, I don’t see the almost impossibly nice Evans as a softly-muttering sad sack who will eventually commit arson to avenge the wrongs done to him.  However, one scene in particular sums up the analogy perfectly.  In this scene, cake is being passed around to celebrate evil Initech boss Bill Lumberg’s birthday.  Milton takes a piece and is about to dig in, when he is accosted by another co-worker to pass the cake around.  Milton meekly protests that last time cake was served in the office he didn’t get a piece but passes the cake to the next employee.  The pieces of cake are continued to be passed around until predictably, the cake runs out, everyone but Milton enjoying a piece.

Jeremy Evans is Milton Waddams, and cake is playing time for the 2013-14 season.

Prior to the upcoming season, Evans’ lack of minutes was understandable and easily explained.  Evans was buried behind four extremely talented frontcourt players in Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, all of whom deserved playing time over Evans.  With the departures of Millsap and Jefferson earlier this summer, it seemed the time had come for Evans to be thrust into a consistent role with significant floor time.

You don’t get to eat that cake just yet, Milton.

A few issues present themselves with giving Evans serious run.  First, the starting frontcourt is locked up, with the dynamic duo of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter filling the void left by Millsap and Jefferson.  It seems simple to just promote Evans to third big and be done with it, but it doesn’t seem to be quite that simple.  If Utah brings Evans off the bench as the third big, he’ll either always be playing alongside one of the starters or in tandem with another 2nd-tier big man.  If Utah shortens it’s rotation in the frontcourt to three players, Favors and Kanter’s minutes would see a huge increase, likely a larger increase than the Jazz front office wants to see.  Yes, we all want to see what Favors and Kanter can do this year with legitimate starter’s minutes, but we also don’t want them to wear down over the course of an already-lost season.

The other option that seems more likely is to play Evans with either Rudy Gobert or newly-acquired center Andris Biedrins.  While aesthetically amusing to watch, Evans and Gobert together would have serious issues scoring the ball and could be pushed around by bigger and bulkier frontcourt foes.  Logic also dictates the Jazz have much more interest in giving Gobert valuable NBA experience than giving it to Evans, considering the large chunk of change the Miller family plunked down to acquire Gobert on draft night.

Evans and Biedrins isn’t tremendously more appealing considering how one-dimensional the pairing would be.  Yes, the defense would likely be very good to great, but the offense would range from anemic to completely nonexistent.  Some may question giving Biedrins, whose game fell off a cliff last year, playing time in favor of Evans, but there are a few logical reasons this would be done.  First, Biedrins has showed his ability to play at or near an All-Star level in the past.  Yes, his dumpster fire of a season last year seems to indicate that his better days are a distant memory, but a mini-renaissance on a new team and with a new coaching staff that has every reason to right the Biedrins ship is not out of the question.  Revitalizing the lanky Latvian could make him a valuable asset the Jazz could deal at the trade deadline, either as simply an expiring contract or as added frontcourt depth and defensive prowess to a contending team, for even more assets.  Getting paid to take on Biedrins and getting paid to trade him away would make GM Dennis Lindsey a folk hero in the Beehive State.

Evans’ numbers per-36-minutes are unsurprisingly good (12.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.2 blocks), as Evans has always been very productive in the small amount of run he’s gotten so far.  There are arguments to be made on both sides whether or not those numbers would carry over to an increased workload against better NBA talent.  Evans also has to be the undisputed king of NBA preseason highlights.

Remember this one?

How about this one?

It’s no wonder Evans’ supporters are clamoring for a prominent role after watching him demolish Ronny Turiaf and Gerald Wallace.  Evans minutes should increase this year, but to what extent?  Is it improbable that we could see a Rudy Gobert/Andris Biedrins 2nd-team frontcourt succeed?  What if Utah splits the second-team post position minutes evenly between the Gobert, Biedrins and Evans?  This is not even mentioning the postulating that Marvin Williams could be utilized as a stretch 4 off the bench, further adding to the logjam behind Favors and Kanter.

Sorry Milton.  Not only did Lumbergh take your red stapler, but he could also be relocating your office to the basement.

Author information

Denim Millward
Denim Millward
Denim Millward, before SCH, wrote for Bleacher Report about the Jazz and the NBA. Despite this, he is actually a good writer, and we promise we will eschew the slideshow format on this site. He also contributes to The Color Commentator Magazine, and strangely, likes wrestling.
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2013-14 Utah Jazz: Figuring out a Rotation http://saltcityhoops.com/2013-14-utah-jazz-figuring-out-a-rotation/ http://saltcityhoops.com/2013-14-utah-jazz-figuring-out-a-rotation/#comments Tue, 06 Aug 2013 20:52:54 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=7327 Author information
Denim Millward
Denim Millward
Denim Millward, before SCH, wrote for Bleacher Report about the Jazz and the NBA. Despite this, he is actually a good writer, and we promise we will eschew the slideshow format on this site. He also contributes to The Color Commentator Magazine, and strangely, likes wrestling.
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In a season that most anticipate to be a rebuilding effort for the Jazz, the prime objective seems to be giving the young core as much playing time as reasonably possible.  Despite this clear path, Utah’s rotation is, as my high school Geometry teacher Mr. Dolkhani so eloquently put it, “clear as mud.”

Barring injury, the starting lineup seems to be already determined.  It’s when you look at the second unit that things start to become muddled, with numerous possibilities to consider.  Who’s the first point guard off the bench?  How much playing time will the Overpaid Duo (Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson) get?  Exactly how good does the Jazz think Ian Clark can be?  When he returns, where does Marvin Williams fit in?

In an effort to bring a small modicum of clarity to the situation, I’ve broken down each position for the starting and second units and who will/may inhabit those positions.

Starting Point Guard:  Trey Burke

It’s a little ironic that the position of biggest need for Utah is among the surest things, at least in the starting lineup.  Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey traded up to nab the former Michigan Wolverine, and then brought in one average-at-best veteran point guard, John Lucas III, for depth.  It’s obvious Burke will get and keep the starting point guard gig barring injury, tremendous struggles at the position or a meteoric rise at point by Burks or Clark.

Starting Shooting Guard:  Alec Burks

Other Possibilities:  Brandon Rush, Gordon Hayward

Get ready, Burks fans.  Alec is about to have a bunch of minutes allocated to him, and will get a chance to showcase his talents.  I feel less confident about this spot, however, than I do about the point guard position for a few reasons.  Newcomer Brandon Rush is by far the most useful of the triumvirate acquired from Golden State.  Depending on how he performs and how much Utah’s second unit struggles to score, I could see Jazz head coach Ty Corbin opting to give Rush the starting nod for his perimeter defense and three-point shooting acumen and utilizing Burks’ scoring ability to inject life into a potentially anemic bench squad. No matter if he starts, Burks is in line for the biggest role increase on the team.  Gordon Hayward is another possibility at the starting 2-guard spot, but I can’t see him pushing Burks or Rush out of the position due to the lack of depth at small forward.

Starting Small Forward:  Gordon Hayward

Everyone’s favorite Starcraft player is now the Jazz’s elder statesman, and will be expected to have a much larger leadership role following the mass exodus of veterans from the Utah ranks this offseason.  Hayward is about as sure a thing to start at small forward as possible considering the dearth of true small forwards on the team.  Marvin Williams will miss the first portion of the season recovering from an Achilles tendon injury, and it’s already being postulated that Williams could be utilized as a stretch 4 off the bench.  Considering Richard Jefferson is the only other pure small forward (Rush can play 3 in a pinch, but seems better suited at 2), and Hayward’s starting position is solidified.

Starting Power Forward:  Derrick Favors

Starting Center:  Enes Kanter

It’s so inconceivable for a healthy Favors or Kanter not to start, I’ll just say this:  I’m all geeked up to see what they can do this season while given starter’s minutes.

Here is where things get messy.

Backup Point Guard:  John Lucas III

Other Possibilities:  Alec Burks, Ian Clark

I gave the nod to Lucas for the simple fact that he’s the only other pure point guard on the roster.  Even if Lucas starts the season as the floor general for the bench unit, it would not at all surprise me to see him supplanted by Alec Burks or even undrafted free agent Ian Clark.  Clark especially intrigues me at this position.   At 6’3” and 175 lbs, he may be undersized to guard the bigger shooting guards in the league, which may cause Corbin to play him at point if his performance demands significant minutes every game.

Backup Shooting Guard: Brandon Rush

Other Possibilities:  Ian Clark, Alec Burks

With Burks penciled in as starting shooting guard, logic dictates that Rush would be the first off-guard off the bench.  An established veteran with good defensive and shooting skills, Rush could prove to be a valuable piece for the Utah Jazz beyond this season.  Throw in the fact that it’s a contract year for Rush, and he has more than enough incentive to excel in any and every situation in which he’s put.

Backup Small Forward:  Marvin Williams

Other Possibilities: Richard Jefferson, Jeremy Evans

Until Marvin Williams returns from injury, it will be interesting (and probably a little ugly) to see what Corbin & Co. can cobble together.  Jefferson is coming off a year in which he was barely used, and certainly has seen his best days as a player.  Prior to last season, Jefferson had shot a good percentage from three.  If he can find his shooting stroke once again, he may be a serviceable replacement.  Evans saw a few minutes last year at small forward, and is a possibility, albeit a remote one, to fill in at 3.

Backup Big Men:  Andris Biedrins, Rudy Gobert

Other Possibilities: Jeremy Evans, Marvin Williams

For a young and raw player, Rudy Gobert appears to be headed for a significant amount of minutes and a crash course in NBA basketball.  With his unbelievable wingspan and high motor, his defensive presence should allow him to remain on the court, despite his fledgling offensive game.

Biedrins and Evans seem to be in competition for the final rotation spot at one of the posts.  It seems too offensively detrimental to play Biedrins and Gobert together, but Jeremy Evans is no Adrian Dantley himself.  Marvin could certainly be a passable stretch 4, but the aforementioned dearth of depth at 3 could force Corbin’s hand.

 

 

Author information

Denim Millward
Denim Millward
Denim Millward, before SCH, wrote for Bleacher Report about the Jazz and the NBA. Despite this, he is actually a good writer, and we promise we will eschew the slideshow format on this site. He also contributes to The Color Commentator Magazine, and strangely, likes wrestling.
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Brandon Rush: Part of the Now and the Future http://saltcityhoops.com/brandon-rush-part-of-the-now-and-the-future/ http://saltcityhoops.com/brandon-rush-part-of-the-now-and-the-future/#comments Wed, 31 Jul 2013 16:16:23 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=7257 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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As is always the case, it is interesting to see national takes on anything Utah Jazz-related. Naturally there has been a lot of discussion of late regarding the big Jazz/Golden State Warriors trade. In his column analyzing the NBA off-season to this point, Grantland’s Bill Simmons writes the following (tying different quotes from the movie Midnight Run to happenings in the Association):

“Don’t worry, Eddie. For 25 grand I’ll bring him in on a silver platter!”

To the Jazz, who let Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap leave, then assumed $24 million of Andris Biedrins–Richard Jefferson–Brandon Rush cap cloggage from Golden State just to get its unprotected 2014 and 2017 no. 1 picks. I’m all for bottoming out for 2014’s mega-draft and rebuilding around Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Trey Burke and picks/cap space … but $24 million of dead contracts for two first-rounders???? Thanks to Utah for making me feel better about the Celtics taking on three years and $30.3 million of Gerald Wallace’s basketball cadaver. For about four minutes.

Like many other national writers, Simmons sees why Utah made that move–to acquire assets, maintain flexibility, and center around their young core. And like some of his contemporaries, he also thinks the Jazz may have assumed too much money in return for those draft picks. I’m not here today to discuss those nuances of the trade, as that has been excellently covered my by fellow Salt City Hoops friends.

Here’s where I want to focus: Simmons includes Brandon Rush with Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson as “cap cloggage” and “dead contracts.” I respectfully disagree with Rush’s inclusion therein.

You wish to know why? I thought you’d never ask. In my opinion, Brandon Rush was a key part of the trade (along with those first-round picks) and is very much a cog in the now and the future of the Utah Jazz. In fact, his coming to Utah is one of the reasons I am genuinely excited about the upcoming season, which simply cannot arrive soon enough.

Without further ado, here are reasons I am big on Rush:

  • First off, his contract is anything but onerous. At $4 million, that is an absolute bargain for a knock-down shooter, as other off-season pacts for similar players have shown (Kyle Korver at four-years, $24 million and J.J. Redick at four-years, $27 million). Picking him up was an excellent use of cap space. Had he been a free agent, getting him for $4 million would have been a complete steal.
  • From things I’ve heard over the past few seasons, Utah has long been fans of his game. My guess is that Jazz brass insisted that he be a part of this transaction for that reason– not just to be roster/salary fodder, but to see if he can fit into the fabric of what Utah is weaving with their young team. I believe they are confident that he will.
  • Yes, he is coming off a horrible injury, but by all accounts, he will be ready to go for the season’s start.
  • His last full season in 2011-12: a career-best 9.8 ppg (50.1% field goals, 45.2% three-pointers, and 79.3% free-throws, for a True Shooting Percentage of 62.8%), 3.9 rpg, 1.4 apg, and 0.9 bpg in 26.4 mpg. That is solid production from one of your key reserves.
  • Perimeter marksmanship is essential, and with the Jazz opting to part ways with Randy Foye (and Mo Williams), Rush’s outside shooting will be crucial to the make-up of the team, especially in an offense that will still focus on Utah’s big men. He has eclipsed the 41% mark each of his past three healthy seasons and sports a 41.3% career mark. And again, he shot 45% his last complete season. That’s 9 makes for every 20 attempts. I’ll take it.
  • Speaking of which, it is equally easy for Rush to fit in start or come in off the bench. It naturally depends on how head coach Tyrone Corbin’s rotation shakes out, but supposing Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, and Trey Burke are tabbed as starters, Rush’s shooting could help balance out that unit’s offense. Alec Burks could then be a featured scorer off the bench, while capitalizing on his ball-handling skills when playing with guys like John Lucas III or the newest Jazzman, Ian Clark. Either way, Hayward, Burks, and Rush appear to be a solid three-man rotation on the wings.
  • Rush will get ample opportunities to assume a bigger role than he had with Indiana or Golden State, without interfering with the young guys’ development and growth. There are ample minutes and shots to spread around and Rush can definitely help fill the need for scoring and veteran play.
  • At 6’6″ and 210 lbs, I can envision Rush playing small forward in some line-ups. This will be big for the first portion of the season, as Marvin Williams works his way back into the line-up.
  • I love the 0.9 bpg from the wing position. He brings athleticism and defensive effort to the table.
  • He just turned 28 and pending his return from his injury, he is entering his prime. He is also in a contract year, so will be motivated to perform. And if/when he does, Utah may look to lock him up using a portion of their ample monetary reserves in the 2014 off-season.
  • He is very active and, better yet, interactive on Twitter. Make sure to follow him if you aren’t already.

Obviously Biedrins and Jefferson have monstrous contracts, are coming off poor seasons, and on paper, look like dead weight. Their time in Utah most likely will be short-lived.

Brandon Rush, on the other hand, is different in every way. He is a guy who can factor heavily into the now and the future of the team.

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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Salt City Hoops Saturday Show – Analyzing the Biedrins/Jefferson/Rush Deal http://saltcityhoops.com/salt-city-hoops-saturday-show-analyzing-the-biedrinsjeffersonrush-deal/ http://saltcityhoops.com/salt-city-hoops-saturday-show-analyzing-the-biedrinsjeffersonrush-deal/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 03:39:31 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=6985 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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On this week’s show, Andy Larsen and Ben Gaines analyze the big trade with the Golden State Warriors, in which the Warriors sent Biedrins, Jefferson, Rush, two first rounders, and two second rounders to the Jazz in exchange for Kevin Murphy. There were significant financial costs to the deal, but was it worth it?

Then, we invited Nate Parham of Golden State of Mind onto the show to learn a little bit more about the players received in the deal. Can Biedrins and Jefferson help the Jazz at all this season, or are they a lost cause? How does Brandon Rush fit into the roster? How about the personalities of these guys, and in particular, Andris Biedrins. Can we learn anything about them? (Hint: Sidney Lowe is no longer the only Jazzman with an iffy history with the tax man!) All that, plus a Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson retrospective, on this week’s show!

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/salt-city-hoops-saturday-show-analyzing-the-biedrinsjeffersonrush-deal/feed/ 4 andris biedrins,brandon rush,richard jefferson,warriors trade On this week's show, Andy Larsen and Ben Gaines analyze the big trade with the Golden State Warriors, in which the Warriors sent Biedrins, Jefferson, Rush, two first rounders, and two second rounders to the Jazz in exchange for Kevin Murphy. On this week's show, Andy Larsen and Ben Gaines analyze the big trade with the Golden State Warriors, in which the Warriors sent Biedrins, Jefferson, Rush, two first rounders, and two second rounders to the Jazz in exchange for Kevin Murphy. There were significant financial costs to the deal, but was it worth it? Then, we invited Nate Parham of Golden State of Mind onto the show to learn a little bit more about the players received in the deal. Can Biedrins and Jefferson help the Jazz at all this season, or are they a lost cause? How does Brandon Rush fit into the roster? How about the personalities of these guys, and in particular, Andris Biedrins. Can we learn anything about them? (Hint: Sidney Lowe is no longer the only Jazzman with an iffy history with the tax man!) All that, plus a Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson retrospective, on this week's show! Salt City Hoops no 55:03