Salt City Hoops » Gordon Hayward 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 » Gordon Hayward http://saltcityhoops.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://saltcityhoops.com Experts’ Take on the Utah Jazz’s Draft http://saltcityhoops.com/experts-take-on-the-utah-jazzs-draft/ http://saltcityhoops.com/experts-take-on-the-utah-jazzs-draft/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 21:24:03 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12043 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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Photo Courtesy of Fansided

Photo Courtesy of Fansided

For the second year in a row, Utah Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey and his fellow front office cohorts had a stellar NBA Draft night. In 2013, Lindsey’s first at the helm, he brokered three trades that netted All-Rookie point guard Trey Burke, the potential-filled Rudy Gobert and a nice playmaking prospect in Raul Neto. It was an exciting night for the Utah fan base.

Then came last night. As my colleague Dan Clayton, who was on the ground at the Barclay Center, summed up so well, it was an exemplary evening for the Jazz–one that could be integral both in the present and going forward. Guard Dante Exum and swingman Rodney Hood are now officially Utah Jazzmen. Based on the reaction at EnergySolutions Arena and on the Jazz Twitter and Google+ communities, the response from the team’s supporters is overwhelming positive. There is a feeling of optimism,a welcome one after a long, sometimes trying season for all.

So, what are the experts saying? Because we can now retire–at least for a season–the mock draft roundup, let’s take one look at how the Jazz’s evening is being viewed.

ESPN 

Chad Ford really earns his keep each year, especially as the Draft draws closer and closer. His live pick-by-pick analysis is always enjoyable to watch as the selections are made. When the Jazz picked Exum, here was his take:

Exum is a huge win for the Jazz. They needed a potential franchise player, and I think they got him. He’s so quick, so fast and has such great size for his position. He can play with Trey Burke, or he can, and likely will, eventually take Burke’s starting job. It’s so hard for the Jazz to lure elite talent. I think they got one here.

Regarding Hood’s selection:

This is turning into a great night for the Jazz. They were praying Exum would fall to them, then hoped Hood would drop to them at No. 23. They wanted a big shooter who could play two positions, and that’s what they got in Hood. The Jazz were devastated when they fell out of the top three on lottery night. But this draft should make Jazz fans feel really good.

When Ford doled out his grades (Insider), Utah came away as honor students with an A. Per his sources, Exum was ranked third on Utah’s draft board, while Hood was 15th. Ford goes on to suggest that Burke and Exum will team up together, but that he could see the latter taking the former’s starting position. He finishes by saying, “I know Jazz fans will feel like this draft wasn’t a home run without Jabari Parker. But it was at least a triple, and given where they were drafting, that’s an A in my book.”

CBS Sports

This site is effusive in their praise for the Jazz’s Draft Night. Zach Harper took a look at each of the Western Conference teams, issuing them a grade. He one-upped Ford by giving Utah an A+, saying “I’m not sure the Utah Jazz could have had a better draft.”  He envisions a guard line that can be interchangeable, with Alec Burks factoring heavily into the equation. Harper also says that Hood is “another lottery-level talent who fell too far.” He, like a few other media members, suggests that Hood is good insurance should the Jazz opt to part ways with Gordon Hayward. That does not seem likely given their cap situation, and it seems safe to say that Hayward will be brought back. 

James Herbert included Hood as one of the steals of the draft, saying it is “hard to believe [he] fell this far.” He adds that “Hood is versatile, skilled, smart and has the kind of game that should translate well immediately.” This has to make Jazz fans excited.

Sports Illustrated

Ben Golliver delved into the winners and losers and includes Burke as being one of the night’s losers due to Exum’s arrival on the scene. While Golliver thinks it can work out for a while, he surmises that “one wonders whether push will come to shove and the Jazz will have to pick between the two players.” He does say that Hood will “have the chance to compete for big minutes on a rebuilding team from day one, while playing for another former Blue Devil in coach Quin Snyder.” 

USA Today

Adi Joseph gave his take in another pick-by-pick instant analysis. He was cautiously optimistic about Exum, saying “Utah had bigger needs” but those went out the door when Exum slid to the Jazz. He added that Exum “also has tremendous value on the trade market,” but it seems safe to say that Utah did not draft him to use in another deal. Exum earned an A-.

Joseph was a big fan of Hood’s pick, saying the Jazz were able to draft both the best available player and the best player to fill the team’s needs. Describing him as a “mix of Rashard Lewis and Danny Granger,” he thinks Hood will be an excellent fit in Utah, who had “a great draft.”

Real GM

Jonathan Tjarks takes a look at each team and had a lot of positive things to say about Utah. He says that outside of Joel Embiid, “Exum has the best chance of any player in the draft of being a two-way star.”  He also says that even though the Jazz have drafted behind the Orlando Magic, he’d “rather have an Exum/Burke backcourt than [Victor] Oladipo/[Elfrid] Payton.” Tjarks asserts that the draft may make Burks and Enes Kanter expendable.

A number of other outlets will continue to provide their analysis of the Draft, but this provides a sampling. The media seems to view Utah’s haul very positively, while bringing up appropriate questions about players roles, rotational battles and offseason movement. Fair enough. There are still lots to be determined as the team enters into free agency and trade season.

But today, thanks to an exhilarating Draft night, the outlook for the Utah Jazz looks bright and exciting.

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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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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What’s the Solution for a Slump? http://saltcityhoops.com/whats-the-solution-for-a-slump/ http://saltcityhoops.com/whats-the-solution-for-a-slump/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 21:17:02 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=10243 Author information
Laura Thompson
Laura Thompson
I grew up in California, but have been a Jazz fan pretty much since I was in diapers; I went to Karl Malone's basketball camp when I was 11 and I flew up to Utah in 1997 to go to Game 3 of the Finals. After graduating from BYU in 2008, I moved back to California to work in Marketing and have been doing that for the last five years. My favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, basketball, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach (though hopefully not in that order).
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AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

There’s a lot to like about the all-around, two-way game of Gordon Hayward. But I think Jazz fans are also pretty realistic about the fact that he is not the #1 guy on a great playoff team. He’s a very good second or third option on a great playoff team, so we’re seeing the learning and stretching process as he’s trying to figure that out. As David Locke has pointed out, Hayward’s struggles seem to coincide with Trey Burke’s. While Hayward’s been putting up very consistent rebounding and assist numbers each game, his offensive efficiency has been lacking. At times, he’s heavily turnover prone, as we saw highlighted in the Golden State game with his 8 turnovers (including a crucial turnover in the final minute of the game). Jazz fans, here are a few questions for you: Do you want the Jazz to re-sign him in the offseason? At what price? Or do you support the trade-Hayward-now idea?

Trey Burke has been struggling lately. In January, he shot 35.1% from the field, down from 40.8% in December, and 36.6% in November. His 3FG% is down in January, at 32.7%, down from 36.8% in December. While his assists per game have increased each month—3.0 to 5.9 to 6.8 assists per game—his rebounding and turnover numbers have also gotten worse. Is this the rookie wall? Or is this what happens when other teams are scouting him and focusing their defensive strategies on him? At the same time, I feel like I’ve learned a few things about Burke this year: he’s more mature than most his age, and he’s a competitor and is going to keep fighting. This is going to be a bumpy year for him—it often is for rookie point guards—but he’ll find a way to finish strong, and he’ll come back next year even better.

Diante Garrett is a pretty solid backup point guard. I think he’d look even better if we were fully healthy and had the bench we thought we’d have at the beginning of the season, but he’s looked especially good in this last week—relatively speaking, of course, with a handful of losses—and was the best defender on Steph Curry in a game when Curry basically couldn’t miss. His height and his length give us a good look during the games when Burke is struggling on the defensive end. Garrett had a couple of buzzer-beating shots to end quarters against the Warriors, and he had some really good assists off to the bigs or on a drive-and-dish to someone camping out at the three-point line in both the Golden State game and the Clippers game. Good job, Dennis Lindsey.

Garrett shot very poorly in December—28.6% from the floor—but dramatically increased that to 50.0% in January. He also shot 43.8% from three in January, up from 30.0% in December. His assist numbers in November were still the highest they’ve been during his time in Utah, but he was getting more time with first-team players at that point than he is now; still, his assist numbers increased slightly from 1.4 to 1.8 from December to January. What if Garrett, with his improved play, is able to fill in as a backup point guard to Trey Burke in a similar fashion to how Eric Maynor helped Damian Lillard last year? I found this blurb from the Oregon Live paper last season:

“[S]ince Maynor’s arrival, Lillard has experienced a substantial across-the-board increase in production that has only enhanced his already-high profile.”

In the 14 games since Maynor joined the Blazers, Lillard’s scoring has improved by nearly three points, from 18.4 to 21.2 per game, and his shooting numbers have soared. Lillard is shooting 7.1 percentage points better from the field (41.8 to 48.9) and almost 10 percentage points better from three-point range (34.9 to 44.6 percent) with Maynor on the roster.”

If Trey Burke is able to get out of his slump quickly, will Gordon Hayward then be able to get out of his? And is Diante Garrett the answer for Trey Burke’s slump? How quickly will it take for both Burke and Hayward to get out of their slumps? I think these are questions that will be very important for the Jazz long term, so it’ll be interesting to watch over the next several weeks.

Author information

Laura Thompson
Laura Thompson
I grew up in California, but have been a Jazz fan pretty much since I was in diapers; I went to Karl Malone's basketball camp when I was 11 and I flew up to Utah in 1997 to go to Game 3 of the Finals. After graduating from BYU in 2008, I moved back to California to work in Marketing and have been doing that for the last five years. My favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, basketball, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach (though hopefully not in that order).
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The Triple Team: Three Thoughts on Jazz vs. Thunder 1/7/2014 http://saltcityhoops.com/the-triple-team-three-thoughts-on-jazz-vs-thunder-172014/ http://saltcityhoops.com/the-triple-team-three-thoughts-on-jazz-vs-thunder-172014/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 06:13:28 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=9428 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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G-TIME! Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

G-TIME! Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

1. GORDON HAYWARD FOR WORLD LEADER

President isn’t enough for the man known as G-Time. Gordon Hayward was absolutely incredible for the Jazz tonight, scoring 37 points for the Jazz. That wasn’t enough for him, so he added on 11 rebounds and 7 assists, because he’s a well-rounded individual.

Would you like some more stats? Gordon Hayward made 37 points on 16 shots tonight. That’s pretty good. That’s also 2.31 points per shot (PPS), which means when he hit yet another jumper to seal the game for Utah at the end, his PPS actually went down. In his words, “Yeah, I was in the zone a little bit tonight.”

Oh, these stats aren’t enough? Well, he was also clutch. He scored Utah’s final 17 points of the game, single-handedly ending a 34-15 run that the Thunder went on to cut a 24 point lead all the way down to 5. He scored 17 of Utah’s 22 4th quarter points. So, you know, just winning games by himself against the team that leads the Western Conference.

In short, Gordon Hayward was too big, yo.

2. Jazz defense was good tonight.

Yes, the Jazz gave up 101 points tonight, and it’s difficult to give plaudits to a defense that gave up three figures and allowed a player to score 48 points. But then you look a little bit deeper, and get some more context: the Thunder had 97 possessions tonight, meaning that the Jazz allowed a 103 DRTG, much better than their nearly 110 DRTG average for the season. They forced the Thunder to shoot just 39% from the field, and just 17% from 3. Kevin Durant scored his 48 points on 14-34 shooting. Oklahoma City’s average ORTG is 109.

Admittedly, things were better in the first 3 quarters: the Jazz fouled 9 times in the first 3 quarters and then 11 times in the 4th, sending the Thunder to the line 21 times(!) in the 4th quarter. This is always a Jazz bugbear, but the Jazz did well for 3 quarters at defending a typically excellent OKC attack. If the Jazz can figure out how to defend without fouling, even when a team presents them with physicality, they’ll be able to take a step up defensively.

3. Scotty Brooks has very positive feelings for both Ty Corbin and Jerry Sloan.

One of the best parts of covering every Jazz game is the chance to interview a rotating cast of opposing coaches before the game, getting a chance to pick apart some of the best minds in the game and figure out what their philosophies are and makes them successful. Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks is a coach who emphasizes hard work above all else, and he believes that approach is what has led the Thunder to such success. When I asked him about his team’s defensive quality (currently 3rd in the NBA in team DefRtg), he indicated that he wasn’t doing anything unique schematically, but instead had a group of players who bought into the system and worked hard on the defensive end.

Where did he learn this coaching technique? Former Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan. According to Brooks, Sloan is “one of the greatest coaches of all time. A guy I look up to. His commitment, dedication, and consistency is unmatched. His no-nonsense, no excuse mentality is something I try to live by as a coach. I admire him.”

Brooks also played alongside Corbin in Minnesota, and had was relentlessly positive in his valuation of the Jazz’s coach: “One of the greatest guys you’ll ever meet. A man of integrity, a man of commitment, and I like what he is as a coach.” After the game, he commented on Utah’s work ethic, saying “Give Coach Ty credit. That guy is battling every game and getting these young guys to play hard. Going into the game, we knew they were going to play hard. That’s what they do. That’s how they play.”

To be sure, Brooks is part of the coaching fraternity, where rarely, if ever, a negative word is heard about an opposing coach. But Brooks more vigorously defended Corbin than is typical, and indeed talked for several minutes about the importance of having a coach who can consistently get his guys to work hard, rather than the schematic, Xs and Os specialists that are the trend in today’s NBA. Of course, Brooks has had his own problems schematically (having Derek Fisher guard Gordon Hayward for so much of the game is an example), but his is an interesting example of the success that can be had when a coach gets his players to play with effort. Corbin certainly does that.

As an aside, though: in a playoff series, I’ll take the Xs and Os coach.

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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Looking Forward to the Utah Jazz’s 2014 http://saltcityhoops.com/looking-forward-to-the-utah-jazzs-2014/ http://saltcityhoops.com/looking-forward-to-the-utah-jazzs-2014/#comments Thu, 02 Jan 2014 18:52:15 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=9372 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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Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Happy New Years to one and all. 2014 is upon us and like all dutiful Jazz fans, I have pondered what could transpire this year for the team. It could be one of the biggest years in franchise history, with many things to look forward to. Here’s a little primer of things on my radar and most likely yours.

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

Player development is naturally the major focus of the 2013-2014 Utah Jazz campaign. So far, the results have been mostly positive. Derrick Favors continues to be solid defensively, but has been much better offensively. He is finishing inside and is being more decisive, aggressive and confident in his moves. Alec Burks has been a bright spot for the Jazz. Almost everything about his game has improved. From his decision-making to his outside shot, Burks looks like he’s taken the biggest leap of all of Utah’s returning players. Gordon Hayward’s shooting is still south of 40%, which is a major concern. The rest of his game, particularly his play-making and rebounding, has been great. Jeremy Evans has shown his abilities to contribute in a more regular role.

Enes Kanter has been the biggest concern. Some facets of his game have either stalled or digressed. There are many potential reasons: his move to a much more prominent role; the move to the bench; the fact that he spent most of the off-season recovering from his shoulder injury. His TS% has dropped from 58.8 percent last season to 49.5 percent this year and his eFG% is down from 54.5 percent to 46.2. His declining rebounding has been very noticeable. Kanter’s TRB% has gone from a stellar 18.3 mark his rookie year to 16.5 to 13.1 this year. The big Turk is only averaging 8.3 rebounds/36 minutes. While this is all disconcerting, there is still a lot of season to play and he’s shown some nice signs recently. I, for one, am a big Kanter believer and think he will be just fine. His offensive moves are great for a young big and he has displayed some nice perimeter marksmanship.

JANUARY 10TH

This is the day that contracts become guaranteed for the rest of the season. The Jazz have three players–Mike Harris, Diante Garrett and Ian Clark–who are probably working hard, while keeping their eyes on that date. Clark has a $200,000 guarantee, but is not fully guaranteed. It will be interesting to see what Utah does with this trio. There is a possibility they could retain all three, but it also could depend on who else is already available or who might been cut loose by other teams. The Jazz may want to have some flexibility with roster spots for future moves. And last season, Lindsey used a vacant roster spot to “try out” players like Travis Leslie and Jerel McNeal.

JERRY SLOAN CEREMONY

January 31st is circled on many Jazz fans’ calendars. It will be a terrific opportunity to pay homage to one of the all-time greats, Jerry Sloan. There will be press conferences, takes from national talking heads and the whole gamut. It will be interesting to hear Sloan’s words that day, as well as to see his emotions. Likewise, many Utah legends will naturally be in town for the festivities. It will be a day to remember.

TRADE DEADLINE

Dennis Lindsey has already shown that he is proactive and willing to orchestrate bold moves: one need not look further than Draft Night and the trade that brought Trey Burke to town. The Jazz possess a number of assets. The Jazz will naturally field phone calls for all the aforementioned young guys. They have $33 million in expiring contracts in veterans Richard Jefferson ($11M), Andris Biedrins ($9M), Marvin Williams ($7.5M), Brandon Rush ($4M) and John Lucas III ($1.6M, with a team option for 2014-15). Yes, last year the Jazz had a ton of expiring deals and did not make any moves, but I get the feeling that Lindsey won’t be scared from using these assets if something makes sense both for the team and the players involved. They also have that bevy of draft picks including their own picks, Golden State’s first round picks in 2014 and 2017, as well as extra second-rounders in 2016, 2017 and 2018. It will be a busy six weeks for Lindsey, Kevin O’Connor and company.

Around the NBA, this could be active trade deadline. Guys like Rudy Gay, Grevis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson and Derrick Williams have already been moved. Many prominent names have been circulating in rumors (granted, though, they are just rumors): Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Rajon Rondo, Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, Omer Asik, Spencer Hawes, Arron Afflalo, Paul Pierce, Ben Gordon, Michael Kidd-Gilcrest, Luol Deng, Kenneth Faried, Greg Monroe, Danny Granger, Jameer Nelson, Emeka Okafor, Jimmer Fredette, Demar Derozan, Kyle Lowry, Iman Shumpert, and so forth.

HONORS

The Jazz will most likely have little representation during All-Star Weekend. Trey Burke will be a lock for the Rising Stars Challenge and while he’s there, could be asked to participate in the Skills Challenge. Jeremy Evans could be asked to compete once again in the Slam Dunk Contest. That might be it.

The big question will be Burke’s potential to come away with the Rookie of the Year award.

JAZZ’S RECORD AND THE NBA DRAFT

Much has been said about the conflicted emotions of Jazz fans, thanks to the desire to see the team win as well as the upcoming Draft. Currently Utah would be in line for picks #2 and #22 in the 2014 Draft, but a lot will shift between now and then. Fueled by Burke’s great play, the Jazz have been seeing lots of solid wins–much to the chagrin of fans riding the Andrew Wiggins/Jabari Parker/Joel Embiid train.This will perhaps be the biggest story of 2014. My advice: enjoy the season, root for our team and whatever happens will happen. Whatever the case may be, the Jazz will come away with two great players in the Draft and if there is a guy that Lindsey has his eyes on, the team has assets to maneuver as needed. The Jazz could very come away with a player who could help shape the future of the franchise and help swing things in a major upward direction.

FREE AGENCY

The first item of business for the Jazz’s free agency efforts will center around Gordon Hayward. While Favors and the Jazz came to an extension. Hayward’s camp and Utah could not do so in October. Both have publicly stated their desires for an agreement come July and that will most likely happen– it’s the price tag that will need to be determined. Marvin Williams will be another to watch. If he does not get moved, which could very well be the case, Utah could look to keep him going forward. Next, there will be the potential for extensions for Burks and Kanter. The Jazz could lock them in, but there will not be pressure to do so with the extra year to watch and evaluate.

The Jazz will have ample cap space and could be players in free agency, but that will be tied to what happens between now and July 1st.

One other major free agent is head coach Tyrone Corbin. His contract expires at the end of the season, so all eyes will be focused on what happens on this front.

2013-2014 SEASON

No need to explain. Every Jazz season is exciting. The team could be dramatically different between now and then, but the future is very bright.

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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First Trimester Awards, Utah Jazz Style http://saltcityhoops.com/first-trimester-awards-utah-jazz-style/ http://saltcityhoops.com/first-trimester-awards-utah-jazz-style/#comments Thu, 19 Dec 2013 17:25:40 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=9211 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' dunk face is worthy of recognition. But is his game worthy of one of the Jazz's first Trimester Awards? Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Image

Jeremy Evans’ dunk face is worthy of recognition. But is his game worthy of one of the Jazz’s first Trimester Awards? Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Image

Each season, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein comes out with his trimester awards–recognizing the NBA’s high achievers–always a fun read. Make sure to give it a perusal when it comes out. Because this is Salt City Hoops, why not have some trimester awards for the Utah Jazz? And like Stein, this is based on the thoughts and votes of this “committee of one.”

Most Improved Player: Given the fact that every player is filling a different role than they did last season, there were numerous candidates for this honor. Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors are clearly the players head coach Tyrone Corbin is relying on the most and both have taken nice strides in their progression (with many more strides yet to come). Enes Kanter had a stellar start to the season before his injury curtailed things a bit. He’s now trying to regain that same confidence.

Jeremy Evans was considered here, but this award goes to Alec Burks. He simply has been tremendous (Laura Thompson reflected on his play recently). While he had a few weeks where he struggled, he has simply taken his game to an entirely new level. In December, the athletic guard is cutting and slashing his way to 16.8 PPG (50.4% FGs, 47.6% 3s, 79.4% FTs) along with 3.2 RPG and 2.9 APG. Take out his two subpar games last week versus San Antonio and Denver (cherrypicking stats is fun!), and Burks climbs to 19.3 PPG (56.8% FGs, 62.5% 3s), 3.4 APG and 3.4 RPG. Taking a closer look, he has increased his points/36 minutes from 14.3 last season to 17.1 this year. His AST% has improved from 13.0 to 17.0, while his TOV% has gone from 14.3 to 12.1. Corbin made a nice move playing him predominantly at the shooting guard position, which plays to his strengths as a scorer, while still enabling him ample opportunities to create for his teammate.

Most importantly, Burks is making the correct basketball play the majority of the time. He knows when he needs to facilitate and he knows when he needs to take things into his own hands. All in all, Burks has been one of the brightest aspects of Utah’s season thus far.

Sixth Man: While Burks could easily garner this honor, too, the nod goes to Jeremy Evans. He has more than answered my question last month about his becoming a rotational player. Evans is producing 7.8 PPG and 6.3 RPG off the pine, while playing his trademark active defense. He leads the team with an 18.8 PER mark. He’s never rebounded the ball better (16.9 TRB%), particularly on the defensive boards (20.7 DRB%), which has been a thorn in Utah’s side this year. His remarkable shooting upon returning to the line-up has dropped considerably, to a “paltry” 52.7%. Evans has shown a much improved mid-range jump shot, which opens up his game tremendously (3-point range is the next step). Like usual, he’s been injected energy and excitement in the game, but not just in short spurts. Evans is making an impact on the court.

Defensive Player: There’s no way to sugar coat things: the Jazz’s defense has been dismal. The team is 30th in DRTG (110.7) and are low in the Defense Four Factors: 3rd in TOV% (13.3), 26th in eFG% (.517), 29th in DRB% (72.1) and 28th in FT/FGA (.242). If you’re not into advanced statistics, simply put, Utah is having major struggles. As a result, this award may not as illustrious as it normally would be.

That said, Derrick Favors signed his extension in October with the hopes of his becoming the defensive anchor and he is starting to show that he can fulfill that role. Favors is too learning his new role as the main presence in the middle and is showing improvement as the weeks pass. His Basketball Reference DRTG is the best amongst regulars at 106, with a DWS of 0.7. While his blocked shots are down (1.4 BPG), he is on track toward registering 100 steals and 100 blocks this season.

Comeback Player: Ah, yes, one of the ambiguous awards of yesteryear. It often went to players maligned by injury or severe off-court issues. No one has earned this more than Marvin Williams, and not for either of those reasons. When Utah obtain Williams, hopes were high. He was coming off a nice season in Atlanta where his perimeter shooting was key to their success. While he may never live up to the lofty billing associated with being the #2 pick in a draft, he was shaping up to be a solid 30+ MPG contributor. Last season was a let-down for Williams, he had career-lows in points, minutes, field goal percentage and rebounds. He was relegated to being a jump shooter, while ignoring his abilities to slash or post-up.

Skip to this season. While it took him some time to work back into game shape, he has been perhaps the most consistent player for the Jazz this year. Placed in the stretch four role, he has helped improve things for the starting lineup. He is shooting 40.3% from long distance, which would be a career-high. But beyond that, he is using his underrated repertoire of moves to score inside the arc. Williams is having career years in 2P% (52.1%), TS% (57.1%) and eFG% (56.2%). He’s bumped up his usage rate, cut down his TOV% and is passing (9.5 AST%) and stealing (2.1 STL%) well. He has been the consummate veteran leader. In the Jazz wins, Williams has made some huge plays. It is wonderful to see him playing this well.

Rookie of the Trimester: None other than Trey Burke, who has come on the scene and demanded respect right away. The Jazz are just a different squad with him at the helm. His leadership on the floor is evident and his abilities to get the ball to his teammates where they want and need it is getting better each game. Like others, his shot selection needs some work, but he has no fear when it comes to crunch time. He is rebounding the ball extremely well from the point guard position, a big plus for a team that lacks on the boards. He can get overpowered at times by opposing guards, but he is improving in his positional defense. If he continues his recent play, he will be right there with Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo for the league’s Rookie of the Year award at season’s end.

Most Valuable Player: Much has been said for his shooting woes and his occasional lackluster game. That said, Gordon Hayward is my choice for the Jazz’s MVP of the first 27 games. Cases could honestly be made for Favors and Burks, but Hayward’s all-around game has blossomed: 16.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.6 APG and 1.3 SPG. He is passing at an elite level (22.0 AST%) and has stepped up in major ways on the boards (career-highs with 14.7 DRB% and 8.4 TRB%). Hayward’s USG% is 24.5 and he is having some growing pains being the focal point of the offense. Burke’s addition has alleviated some of the burden, but he is still adjusting. His errant shooting has to improve (a mere 40.5% from the field and 26.3% on treys), with better shot selection being a necessity. Moreover, his consistency needs to be…well, more consistent. All in all, though, Hayward has showed his abilities to be a leader for Utah, both for the now and the future.

Feel free to share your thoughts on who you think might be deserving of each of these trimester awards.

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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The Triple Team: Three Thoughts on Jazz vs. Rockets 12/2/2013 http://saltcityhoops.com/the-triple-team-three-thoughts-on-jazz-vs-rockets-1222013/ http://saltcityhoops.com/the-triple-team-three-thoughts-on-jazz-vs-rockets-1222013/#comments Tue, 03 Dec 2013 06:04:42 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=8988 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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Marvin "The Masked Bandit" Williams sneaks a layup past Houston's Dwight Howard. Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Marvin “The Masked Bandit” Williams sneaks a layup past Houston’s Dwight Howard. Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

1. Trey Burke’s ability to get an advantage on a defense portends good things for his NBA future.

This game continued Trey Burke’s coming-out party, scoring 21 points and accumulating 6 assists in tonight’s game, both highs in his 7 game NBA career. Besides the impressive stats, subjectively he looks great: incredibly poised for a rookie (note his zero turnovers), and generally directing an NBA offense far better than the point guards the Jazz have cycled through the position so far. Indeed, the Jazz look like a worthy NBA team with Burke: since moving him into the starting lineup, Utah is 3-2 overall.

Perhaps most impressive is his ability to generate an advantage for the offense while handling the ball. He’s displaying the pick-and-roll acumen that brought him success at Michigan, getting the defense to scramble by tightly but quickly using the screen then picking the right option in the ensuing defensive chaos. Even without a pick, he showed an ability to drive into the paint, drawing opponents towards him as he cycled under the hoop, before kicking out to an open shooter on the other end of the big man mixer. Steve Nash used to do that all the time, and while Burke definitely isn’t Nash, it’s great that he’s showing that particular ability so early in his career.

It’s now hard to remember Trey’s difficult summer league and preseason, in which he shot below 25% and really struggled against sub-NBA level players. Burke said that he felt “more relaxed, but at the same time, more confident” than he did this summer. The difference may really have been the chance to watch from the bench during the finger injury: Burke indicated that he learned to pick his spots while on the bench, understanding that he doesn’t have the responsibility to make every play. While it sunk the Jazz early, Trey’s injury may end up helping his development.

2. G-Time is pulling off moves we haven’t seen before.

Gordon Hayward also had one of his best games in a Jazz uniform, scoring 29 points overall and 17 in the 1st quarter as he got the Jazz out to a quick start. Hayward hadn’t shot over 50% in a game since November 9th, so simply getting the ball in the basket was a relief. To some extent, this was the product of luck evening itself out: Hayward’s true talent level is probably somewhere in between an 12-18 shooting performance and a 1-17 one. The shot chart validates that somewhat, as Hayward hit 5-9 on midrange jumpers.

But I also saw some things I haven’t seen from Hayward, especially in that 1st quarter. In semi-transition, he pulled a quick change of direction move on James Harden to drive past him, the play resulted in an and-one. Later, Hayward pulled a nice spin while palming the ball, then dumped it to a baseline cutting Favors. There are times when Hayward looks like the kind of crafty, almost Manu-esque scorer that could conceivably lead an offense. In fact, that might be an ideal role for him in an eventual contender: coming off the bench to feast upon poor defenses the way he torched Harden’s poor efforts tonight.

Rockets coach Kevin McHale agreed too:

photo (1)

 

3. Marvin Williams: “The Masked Bandit”?

Marvin Williams has played extremely well in his new role, starting for the Jazz as a stretch 4 in a new-look and newly successful Jazz offense. Tonight, he left his baskets for the clutch. He started by getting a breakaway steal and nice one-handed dunk off of a bad pass by Harden. Then, just a minute later, he took advantage of Trey Burke’s ability to roam in the paint by hitting a wide-open three to give the Jazz a clinching 8 point lead.

But on top of his play, he’s also looked super cool since he started wearing a mask to protect his broken nose. He still has to wear the mask for another 4-5 weeks, but Marvin says his Jazz teammates haven’t given him a nickname, or even talked about the mask since it first came out. With his game-clinching steal tonight, I nominate “The Masked Bandit” as a cool, if temporary, nickname for the former #2 pick, one he’s earned with his stellar but sneaky play thus far.

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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Gordon Hayward and the Shot Chart From Hell http://saltcityhoops.com/gordon-hayward-and-the-shot-chart-from-hell/ http://saltcityhoops.com/gordon-hayward-and-the-shot-chart-from-hell/#comments Fri, 22 Nov 2013 19:55:56 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=8758 Author information
Evan Hall
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Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

So before any internet writer is allowed to talk about the basketball failures of an NBA player, he should probably have to start with some disclaimer. We never do, of course, because that’s an understated but nonetheless widely accepted truth of writing about sports: the people who do the writing don’t actually do the sports. Or at least not well enough for anyone to pay money to watch it. So, your writer’s disclaimer: I’ve definitely gone 1-17 before. In pick-up games against out-of-shape, former JV-ers, I’ve gone 1-17. Just shooting around in an empty church gym, with no one guarding me and all the time in the world to set up and shoot, I’ve gone 1-17. A month ago, in a series of five-on-five games with some college friends, I bricked eight straight threes. I’m a terrible basketball player.

Now your turn: You have also gone 1-17. You play on an intramural team at your college and over a three game stretch, you shot 1-17. After the third game, you went back to your apartment, cracked open a gatorade, and thought about how much you suck at basketball while you rehydrated. Well, you do. You suck at basketball. But then you went to sleep, and when you woke up the next morning, you realized you had forgotten to write a paper on a book you halfheartedly skimmed. So you wiki’d the book, maybe re-skimmed a few more pages, and pumped out your paper in a cool 45 minutes. Then you walked to class, turned it in, and felt good for a second. You’ve forgotten that you suck at basketball (which, again, you absolutely do), because at least for now, you’re a student, and you’re pretty good at that.

Well I also suck at basketball, but Gordon Hayward doesn’t. In fact, if he cared and sincerely tried, he’d beat me 11-0 in three straight games. But that doesn’t mean much for Gordon Hayward, NBA player and recent record-setting shot-misser, because on Wednesday, against a middling to mediocre NBA team, Gordon Hayward took 17 shots and missed 16 of them. He went 1-17 just like you and I have many, many times before.

Now I don’t say this to engender in anyone some kind of empathy for Hayward. Just the opposite, actually. We can’t empathize with him, at least not in any direct, specific way, precisely because when Gordon Hayward woke up yesterday morning, he didn’t have a paper to think about, or an upcoming test, or an assignment at work, or the next job application he had to fill out, because Hayward’s job is basketball. He gets paid, more or less, to make shots. And because of the nature of his job, when he misses instead of makes those shots, all kinds of people (like me) see it, and then a specific kind of person (like me, or Rob Mahoney, or David Locke) sits down and writes about it. So when Hayward goes 1-17, he wakes up the next morning and feels like crap. He can’t shake the nightmares of clanking shot after shot, wide-left, wide-right, too long, too short, because they weren’t nightmares. This is his life. He shoots. He misses. Everybody talks about it. (Go play some video games, Gordon. Or go back to bed, and sleep it off, but please, for your own sake, stay away from the internet.)

But just as overstated as the difference between pro athletes and the rest of us is how unnecessary the pity is that we may feel for them. After all, the rest of us go 1-17 free of charge because we think it’s fun and not because it’s our incomprehensibly lucrative livelihood. But that’s just it: we’re so different from Gordon Hayward that even when we think we’re playing the same game on the same ten-foot-high hoop with the same regulation basketball, we are not playing the same game. You and me, we suck at basketball, but Gordon Hayward, at least on Wednesday night, somehow sucked even more than any of us could ever suck. He was horrifyingly bad in a way we can’t even mentally digest. Because of the millions of dollars, and because of the bloggers who write about it, and because of the sports talk radio guys who endlessly blather about it, and most of all because of the paychecks he gets for doing it, a Gordon Hayward 1-17 is unfathomably more spectacular a failure than any of our basketball failures could ever combine to be. Those sixteen misses collectively shine more garishly, like the lights in New Orleans Arena or the ten million LED pixels of ESA’s jumbotron, than could the entirety of all our petty sporting exploits, happening in dimly lit gyms and on cracked asphalt across the country.

Sure those sixteen misses were painful and ugly things to witness, one after another after another, and sure they made me, non-NBA player as I am, feel a little bad when I woke up the next morning. But that he could do it at all? That he could fail that magnificently in the first place? That isn’t good, but It’s definitely not forgettable. And it reminds us that even to be really bad, you have to be pretty great.

Author information

Evan Hall
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Gordon Hayward & Restricted Free Agency FAQ http://saltcityhoops.com/gordon-hayward-restricted-free-agency-faq/ http://saltcityhoops.com/gordon-hayward-restricted-free-agency-faq/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 07:30:58 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=8351 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 by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

There are WojBombs and then there are WojBombs.

Much of Jazz nation spent Halloween with one eye on the candy bowl and the other eye on Twitter, hoping news would surface on the 10 p.m. MDT deadline for the Jazz to extend Gordon Hayward’s rookie contract. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, famous for his breaking news Tweets we lovingly refer to as WojBombs, finally broke the silence… with bad news.

The Jazz and their fourth-year wing couldn’t find mutually agreeable terms in their extension negotiations, so Hayward remains under contract until June 30, at which point he’ll be a Restricted Free Agent. At that point, Hayward is free to negotiate and even come to an agreement with any team in the NBA, but the Jazz will have the right to match any deal he’s offered to retain Hayward.

What does all that mean? Is Hayward bolting? Can the Jazz somehow keep him? The Jazz online & social communities were buzzing with questions all evening, and we’ve pulled some of the most common questions for this special edition Q&A on Hayward and next summer’s Restricted Free Agency. Answers are from Dan Clayton and Andy Larsen.

Why couldn’t Hayward and the Jazz agree to terms?

Simply put, they had different perceptions of Hayward’s value, and given that there was no open market to regulate his price via supply and demand, it got to a point where neither party wanted to accept the other’s assessment of Hayward’s value.

We don’t know the exact figures, but we can piece them together. Deadline day whispers hinted as a Jazz offer somewhere in the $40M+ area, with incentives that could get Hayward closer to his magic number if he hit certain triggers (like making an All-Star team or scoring 20 points per game). We also know from Hayward’s end that the asking price was somewhere less than Hayward’s max deal, because his agent Mark Bartelstein has told multiple sources that they weren’t discussing max deals. A max four-year deal for Hayward would have been around $61M. So that tells us Hayward’s camp was probably asking for something in the 50s. We also know that the two parties were “several million dollars apart” (Wojnarowski again).

My educated guess from absorbing all that: the Jazz were probably willing to beef up their offer but preferred to stay in the 40s, and Hayward’s team didn’t want to drop out of the 50s.

Does this mean Hayward wants out? Or that the Jazz don’t want him?

It means neither. The most likely scenario is that the two parties come together on a new contract next summer, either in direct negotiations or because Hayward secures another offer and the Jazz match it. Both sides know how the process works, and Bartelstein commented to USA Today that it was difficult to bridge the gap given that there was no open market to help establish his value. This is all part of a process that most likely ends with Hayward staying long-term.

What is the most another team can offer? Can they create a “toxic” offer the Jazz can’t match?

Other teams can offer Hayward the same starting salary (13.7M, if the salary cap stays the same next year*), but are limited to smaller raises and a 4-year deal. So the total the Jazz could offer him could go as high as $78.8M over five years or $61M over four years, but another team can only offer up to four years and $58.5M, and if the Jazz were willing to match that deal, Hayward stays.

(*Note: As @nsanba aptly points out, these numbers could be low if some early estimates of the 2014-15 cap come true. Some of those early reads have the cap going up by as much as $4 million. I think that’s an aggressive estimate, but if it happens it would take the starting salary of Hayward’s new deal up by a million, meaning the entire deal would go up by $4M or so. In any case, the Jazz can still offer more than other teams by virtue of a 7.5% raise.)

Because the Jazz have Hayward’s “Bird Rights,” there is no scenario where a team could assemble an offer the Jazz could not match. They could simply overpay to make Utah think twice — maybe they think Hayward’s worth $50M but they offer the full $58.5M to make Utah think twice — but even still, Utah can match it. They can try to front-load the actual cash payout (with signing bonuses) or front-load the cap hit (by having the salary decrease by up to 4.5% per year instead of increase), but neither is a provision the Jazz couldn’t match.

So is there any way Hayward leaves the Jazz next summer without them letting him?

Not in 2014, no. The only way he leaves for another NBA team in 2014 is if the Jazz decide not to pay whatever quantity he’s officially offered, which cannot exceed $58.5M over four years, or if the Jazz decide to rescind the right of first refusal. Basically, everything is on the Jazz’s terms right now except the dollar amount, and even that can’t get too out of hand. And if Hayward was expecting 50+ million, there’s little incentive for the Jazz to pay Hayward that amount now when the worst case scenario for them next summer is $58.5M.

There is a way he could force his way out in 2015, but it’s ballsy and almost never used. He could take the one-year offer the Jazz are required to submit in order to trigger Restricted Free Agency, and then he would be an Unrestricted Free Agent in 2015, meaning the Jazz would lose the ability to match offers. But players have to accept quite a bit of risk (not to mention forego a lucrative new contract for one more season), and they hardly ever do. The last time I can remember a first-round pick going that route was Stromile Swift in 2004 (although it might have happened since).

What are the other ramifications of dealing with Hayward as a RFA versus an extension candidate?

There are a few things, some that work in Utah’s favor and some that work in Hayward’s.

  • When negotiating an extension, teams can only offer four years unless they use a special tool called the “Designated Player” to offer a five-year extension. A team can only use this card once (until the DP’s new contract runs out or he’s traded), and it must be for a max extension (like the one Paul George got from Indiana). None of that is true when they’re negotiating with an RFA on a new contract. They can sign Hayward to a 5-year deal without using up the DP, and it can be for any amount up to the max.
  • Hayward is now on an expiring contract, which means he can’t be traded past the February trade deadline. Had he been extended, he could have been included in deals leading up to the NBA Draft, but now he’s off the table if the Jazz start discussing ways to move up in an effort to land a franchise-changer in the 2014 class.
  • Now, instead of having to count a new extension salary on their 2014-15 books, the Jazz now get to use what’s called a “cap hold” to effectively hold Gordon’s place on the salary sheet. That means that, until Hayward signs a new contract, he will only take 8.6M of their salary cap space. This could basically add to the Jazz’s 2014 spending power, but only if they conduct their other business before Hayward gets a new deal, which would then change his cap number to whatever the actual first-year value of his new contract is.

Who might try to sign Hayward next summer?

It’s tough to say, because it has to be someone who a) likes Hayward enough to think they can outbid the Jazz, b) has the cap room to offer him an amount they think the Jazz wouldn’t match, and c) wouldn’t mind a temporary hold on their cap space that keeps them from transacting with other free agents while the Jazz decide. That last point is a deterrent for many teams, and the reason why, generally speaking, RFAs don’t get as much open-market attention as similarly skilled UFAs.

But who knows. Next year is going to be an unprecedented market, both in terms of supply and demand. On the one hands, as many as a third to a half of NBA teams have the ability to create a max (or near max) salary slot, so there are a lot of buyers/bidders. On the other hand, we’ve rarely seen a free agent class that’s this star-studded, so those bidders may be focused on LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, etc. If marquee free agents stay where their player rights are, there’s a lot of cap room that has to go somewhere. On the other hand, if a couple of those marquee guys unexpectedly head to teams with cap room, suddenly the whole panorama is different. It’s a really hard year to predict – maybe the hardest in memory.

That said, Boston and Phoenix get mentioned a lot because of Hayward’s connections to those teams’ coaches. Boston can’t create a max slot without finding someone to take two high-paid players off their hands (one of which would have to be Rajon Rondo, Gerald Wallace or Jeff Green). Would they go to all that trouble knowing the Jazz can match any offer they make anyway? Phoenix certainly has the space, but again; do they want to use it on Hayward when they could instead try to attract UFAs they could sign outright? Portland gets mentioned because they like to mess with Jazz RFAs, but Portland’s cap situation isn’t even close to allowing them to make an offer anywhere in Hayward’s ball park.

Why were Jazz able to agree to terms with Derrick Favors but not Hayward?

Simply put, because Favors was willing to sign at the base end of the range for paint protecting big men, whereas Hayward wanted something on the high end of the scale for do-it-all wings. As a result, the savings that the Jazz could receive with Favors by extending early were substantial, but were relatively minor for Hayward. It’s just not a reflection of how the Jazz feel about the two players.

Do the Jazz have to wait until another team makes an offer, or can they still negotiate with Hayward on July 1?

No. The Jazz, like any other team, can negotiate with Hayward’s agent starting on July 1st. If any other team makes a formal offer that Hayward and his agent accept, the Jazz would have the ability to match that offer within 3 days and keep Hayward with the Jazz. On the other hand, if the Jazz make an offer that Hayward and his agent accept, the contract is simply signed, and Hayward would remain a Jazzman.

Does this mean the Jazz aren’t happy with Hayward or aren’t sure of their plan?

No. To quote Hayward’s agent Mark Bartlestein (from USA Today):

“The main thing is that the Jazz put in a tremendous amount of time and effort into wanting to get something done, and we put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to get it done,” Bartelstein said. “It was not due to a lack of trying. That’s for sure.

This is not a statement on how the Jazz feel about Hayward. Rather, it’s simply a financial decision meant to maximize the chance of getting Hayward at a reasonable average annual salary moving forward. The plan doesn’t change: the Jazz still have the ability to retain Hayward for four seasons after 2013-14 if they so choose.

I thought certain star players can earn a higher max salary. Can Hayward?

Yes, some star players can receive a higher maximum salary. It’s called the “5th Year 30% Max” (meaning that the player can represent 30% of the cap). In order to qualify, players have to meet one of these criteria:

  • Named to the All-NBA First, Second or Third team at least twice
  • Voted as a starter in the All-Star game at least twice
  • Named the NBA Most Valuable Player at least once

In other words, Hayward will be ineligible for the higher max salary unless he wins MVP this season. That seems unlikely.

How will being an RFA affect Hayward’s market value?

Again, it’s impossible to predict for sure, but using the 2013 RFA class as an example, they had a pretty hard time getting paid. Most of them either had to wait until the unrestricted guys were gone and/or settle for the low end of their range.

  • Jeff Teague and Brandon Jennings were both considered among the top available point guards, but both settled for 8M/yr and both were towards the tail end of signings among Amin Elhassan’s top 25 free agent list.
  • Gary Neal was a late sign and only got 2 years, 6M (although he’s clearly in a lower talent class, too).
  • Nikola Pekovic eventually (after 1.5 months) agreed to terms with his original team. He got a five-year deal, but pretty much at the base end of the big man range (12M/yr).
  • Tiago Splitter also managed to sign a new contract with his original team, for the discount price of 9M/yr.
  • Gerald Henderson was Charlotte’s second-leading scorer, but got hosed in Restricted Free Agency (3 years, 18M total) and was pretty much the last non-minimum level wing to sign.
  • Only Tyreke Evans got an early deal at a fair value (4/44M), but that’s because he orchestrated a sign & trade that made all parties happy.

If you have any other questions about what Hayward’s lack of extension and next summer’s restricted free agency status means, ask us in the comments and we’ll either answer them in the comments or append the answer to the post.

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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“Utah Jazz Basketball”: A Look At Assisted Field Goal % http://saltcityhoops.com/utah-jazz-basketball-a-look-at-assisted-field-goal/ http://saltcityhoops.com/utah-jazz-basketball-a-look-at-assisted-field-goal/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 21:45:36 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=8022 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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We often hear, when the Jazz win, that the team won by playing “Utah Jazz basketball.” For me, that has always connoted heart, hustle, tough defense, smart offense, and above all, teamwork.

When you think about the best teams in franchise history, they often exuded teamwork – an altruistic mindset. These Jazz squads were the ones who seemed to take joy in making the extra pass and in doing so, everyone got involved. The teamwork and passing was simply contagious. The result were some very successful years and many deep playoff runs. Moreover, they were a complete delight to watch, especially for basketball purists.

They were rosters comprised of many capable and, more importantly, willing passers. While John Stockton and Deron Williams were naturally the catalysts behind these stellar passing teams, the Jazz have had a bevy of excellent passers in Karl Malone, Jeff Hornacek, Andrei Kirilenko, Howard Eisley, and so forth.

One of my favorite statistics to watch: the percentage of the team’s total field goals which were assisted. Let’s call this the Assisted Field Goal Percentage, or AFG%. The team that has the higher percentage often places themselves in a good position to win on a given night. For instance, when the Los Angeles Clippers demolished the Jazz Saturday evening, they did a masterful job executing (especially in a preseason outing). Led by Chris Paul and Darren Collison, they assisted on 29 of their 43 field goals–a 67.4 percent clip. Furthermore, it was much higher through the first three quarters, prior to letting the end of the bench finish the evening out. The Clippers did a lot of other great things that night and the Jazz had a rough go at it, but the high AFG% definitely contributed to LA’s victory.

Here is a historical look at how the Jazz have done on AFG%. Let’s start with the 1987-88 campaign, when Stockton and Malone took the NBA by storm (side note: many people cite this as the first year Stockton started. He did start 38 games his second season.). Besides AFG%, the overall field goal percentage and record are also included.

Season FGs Asts AFG % Overall FG% Record
1987-88 3,484 2,407 .691 .491 47-35
1988-89 3,182 2,108 .662 .482 51-31
1989-90 3,330 2,212 .664 .505 55-27
1990-91 3,214 2,217 .690 .492 54-28
1991-92 3,379 2,188 .647 .492 55-27
1992-93 3,336 2,177 .653 .489 47-35
1993-94 3,207 2,179 .679 .477 53-29
1994-95 3,243 2,256 .696 .512 60-22
1995-96 3,129 2,139 .684 .488 55-27
1996-97 3,131 2,199 .702 .504 64-18
1997-98 2,993 2,070 .692 .490 62-20
1998-99 1,684 1,204 .715 .465 37-13*
1999-00 2,962 2,041 .689 .464 55-27
2000-01 2,960 2,110 .713 .471 53-29
2001-02 2,869 1,999 .697 .450 44-38
2002-03 2,894 2,103 .727 .468 47-35
2003-04 2,690 1,671 .621 .436 42-40
2004-05 2,828 1,826 .646 .449 26-56
2005-06 2,744 1,772 .645 .442 41-41
2006-07 3,069 2,024 .659 .474 51-31
2007-08 3,279 2,165 .660 .497 54-28
2008-09 3,143 2,024 .644 .475 48-34
2009-10 3,227 2,187 .678 .491 53-29
2010-11 3,064 1,921 .627 .465 39-43
2011-12 2,523 1,439 .570 .456 36-30*
2012-13 3,046 1,859 .610 .454 43-39

(*-Lockout seasons)

While pace and scoring have fluctuated greatly in the NBA the past few decades, the Utah Jazz has been consistently high in AFG%. From 1987 to 2009–much of which came under Jerry Sloan’s tenure–the team had an AFG% of 64.4 percent or higher 22 of 23 seasons. During the 15 seasons where the team eclipsed the 50-win mark (including the 1998-99 lockout season where they would have), Utah sat between 66 and 71.5 percent 14 of those years. The high mark in 2002-03 happened to be the final season before #12 and #32 rode off into the sunset. 72.7 percent is simply stellar.

The past few seasons have been much lower, particularly the most recent lockout season. The offense focused on Al Jefferson’s low post abilities, which had some definite positives. It also took away from the more open, free passing offense that has been a stable of Utah Jazz basketball for decades. Likewise, the changing of the point guards–Deron Williams, Devin Harris, Earl Watson, Jamaal Tinsley, and Mo Williams–definitely contributed. Without consistency at the helm, it is difficult to set the tone.

While this season will be a season of some growing pains, along with the defensive foundation that Tyrone Corbin and the front office has been fittingly espousing as a goal for this year, the Jazz would do well to help reestablish Utah’s longstanding focus on smart and effective passing, while boosting the team’s AFG%. Trey Burke’s injury certainly hurts, but with able passers like Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, and some big guys who can dish, there are some very good pieces in place. As the team rebuilds, if it is to return to the ranks of contenders, keep an eye on the AFG%–it’s a true part of “Utah Jazz basketball.”

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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