Salt City Hoops » James Johnson http://saltcityhoops.com The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:42:08 +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 » James Johnson http://saltcityhoops.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://saltcityhoops.com Whittling Down the Utah Jazz Roster http://saltcityhoops.com/whittling-down-the-utah-jazz-roster/ http://saltcityhoops.com/whittling-down-the-utah-jazz-roster/#comments Wed, 23 Oct 2013 20:56:50 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=8148 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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5:00 pm. EST on October 28th signifies the deadline for final Opening Day rosters for the 30 NBA franchises. Each passing day, teams are trimming their ranks. Some teams may have already whittled their rosters down and are focusing on rotations, offensive and defensive schemes, and so forth. While veterans are using this time to prepare for the upcoming season, the training camp hopefuls are on pins and needles, waiting to discover their fates. You can only imagine what they might be experiencing as they pursue either one more year in the NBA or their first crack at their dreams

The Utah Jazz still have 19 players suiting up and a lot of questions linger. How are the camp free agents faring? Who has the best chances of sticking? Will the Jazz look elsewhere to fill out the roster? With injuries, will Utah open the year with the maximum 15 players? With just two preseason games remaining, these decisions could come any minute.

First, let’s take a quick look at how each bubble guy is doing.

Ian Clark, guard: 4.6 ppg, 45.5% FGs, 16.7% 3s (1-6), 0.8 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.8 spg in 11.8 mpg

The rookie guard out of Belmont has been solid, but unspectacular. He has had his moments offensively (did well in the fourth quarter of the tilt with the Lakers) and gives a good effort on defense. Many wanted to know if he could handle spot minutes at point guard, and while it’s preseason, it doesn’t appear that he’s capable yet. He’s had some difficulties getting his shots off, but when he has, he’s connecting a decent clip. He is guaranteed $200,000, so that may give him the edge over others. That said, his job may not be 100% secure just yet.

Brian Cook, forward: 7.8 ppg, 47.8% FGs, 42.9% 3s (6-14), 100% FTs, 1.8 rpg, 0.5 apg, 0.5 bpg, 2.8 PF in 11.5 mpg

The nine-year veteran displayed his best skill–shooting–against the Los Angeles Lakers, finishing with a team-high 18 points. Cook is a gun-slinger and does not hesitate to shoot. He is averaging a shot for every two minutes he’s on the court. His abilities as a stretch four could be appealing to a team that needs that nuance. Other than that, he has offered very little. 1.8 rpg in 11.5 mpg is underwhelming. Cook is also second on the team in fouls, even though he is 13th in minutes played. He’s averaging 8.6 fouls/36 minutes. He is, though, outscoring Derrick Favors, Richard Jefferson, and Jeremy Evans in much less playing time.

Mike Harris, forward: 4.0 ppg, 41.2% FGs, 66.7% 3s (2-3), 66.7% FTs, 3.0 rpg, 0.4 apg in 9.8 mpg

The undersized power forward has hustled, but he inevitably appears to be one of the next cuts. Harris started out the preseason with some fairly good stints, but appears to be pressing the past few games–trying to do too much rather than letting the game come to him.

Justin Holiday, swingman: 2.3 ppg, 26.7% FGs, 40% 3s (2-5), 50% FTs, 1.0 rpg, 0.8 apg in 9.8 mpg

Holiday has good athleticism, but his shooting has been cold all preseason. He has a nice looking release, yet the shots simply are not falling. He has only hit 2 of 10 two-point field goals. Furthermore, he plays a position that may be overshadowed by greater roster needs.

Lester Hudson, guard: 4.5 ppg, 31.3% FGs, 50% 3s (4-8), 57.1% FTs, 2.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.3 spg in 14.3 mpg 

The three-year veteran played very little the first three games, as it appears fellow guard Scott Machado might have enjoyed the early edge. Then, off the heels of Trey Burke’s injury, he was given the opportunity versus and showed a lot of heart. The brightest spot has been his gritty defense. He plays the passing lanes well (gambles a bit) and gets up on his man. Beyond the arc, he’s been solid; inside it, not so much (1-8).  Hudson does crash the boards from the back court. He has a chance.

Scott Machado, guard, 0.8 ppg, 8.3% FGs, 0% 3s (0-7), 33.3% FTs, 2.8 apg, 1.0 rpg, 0.8 spg in 11.0 mpg

Machado is a pass-first point guard, which is really good since his shooting has been abysmal. That 8.3% FG mark is not a typo. He has fired blanks on all seven three-point attempts. In his favor, Machado does a fine job running the offense and setting teammates up. He is good both in half court sets and when the team runs. He seemed to be the early candidate to assume back-up point guard minutes behind John Lucas III and from Tyrone Corbin’s comments post-Burke’s injury, he was going to be given a long hard look. He has not taken advantage of the opportunity.

Dominic McGuire, forward: 3.0 ppg, 50% FGs, 50% FTs, 1.5 rpg, 0.8 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.8 bpg in 11.8 mpg

McGuire is the classic utility guy who may not excel at anything, but does a lot of things that contributes to a team’s success. His stats do not jump off the board, but he has impressed with his defense and effort to make things happen. McGuire’s experience shows as he doesn’t press much. He is limited offensively. He is a good passer for a big man, having played some point forward in the past. He seems to be the type of guy coaches love. While he played a lot the first three games, he has seen little since–including two DNP-CDs.

All seven guys have had occasions of very good play, but no one has come out to set themselves apart from the competition. In past years, when fringe guys have stuck, they made the overwhelming case to stay (think Wesley Matthews). Given the injuries to Burke, Brandon Rush and Marvin Williams, there seems to be a need for another point guard, a swingman, and a big. Harris and Holiday will most likely be given their walking papers soon. Chances are Clark will nab that swingman spot. So that leaves McGuire and Cook dueling for the big vacancy and Hudson and Machado for the third PG role. If Utah was to go solely off who is here, the case could be made for each of them.

Another avenue could be to watch the waiver wire to see who becomes available. There are some intriguing names that have been jettisoned: center Fab Melo; forwards Brandon Davies, Renaldo Balkman, Devin Ebanks, James Johnson, Corey Maggette, Jarvis Varnado, and Marcus Cousin; and guards Myck Kabongo and Darius Johnson-Odom. Others will be turned loose soon. Perhaps some of these guys may be better fits for Utah. Davies, a former Brigham Young University forward, was someone the Jazz liked during Draft workouts. Johnson is a former first-rounder who was linked to Utah in some September rumors. Kabongo was rated very high a year ago, but ended up going undrafted. He has potential as a nice back-up PG in the NBA.

The Jazz have also been connected to Chicago Bulls guard Marquis Teague and last year’s 32-game starter Jamaal Tinsley.

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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Who’s on the Utah Jazz’s Radar for Training Camp? http://saltcityhoops.com/whos-on-the-utah-jazzs-radar-for-training-camp/ http://saltcityhoops.com/whos-on-the-utah-jazzs-radar-for-training-camp/#comments Wed, 18 Sep 2013 19:22:05 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=7714 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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A few weeks ago, we discussed whether or not the Utah Jazz roster was complete. Given reports floating around, it appears that Utah may look toward training camp to make any additions to the squad.

In another nice move (to close out a summer full of nice moves), Dennis Lindsey opened up the Jazz’s practice facilities this month for “open gym” time–an opportunity for current players and free agents to come to Salt Lake City, work out, scrimmage, and prepare for the upcoming season. It also seems to be serving as a mini tryout for many Utah Jazz camp hopefuls. Several players have been rumored, either through different reports or their own tweets, to have been in town to show their stuff. As always, it appears the Jazz are doing their due diligence in preparation for training camp.

Here’s a quick run-down of those guys who’ve been tied to the Jazz the past few weeks:

Alexis Ajinca, center, 7’0″, 220 lbs, France, 25-yrs old, three NBA seasons

Last weekend, there were several reports that listed the Jazz and the Thunder as two teams interested in the Ajinca. He was a Charlotte first-round draft pick who has yet to blossom in the NBA. He spent two seasons for the Bobcats and then spent time with both Dallas and Toronto. Since 2011, he’s been playing in France but may now have a desire to return to the NBA. He is long and has a wingspan that rivals fellow Frenchman Rudy Gobert–7’8.75″. He is still young and has potential as a shotblocker.

Earl Barron, center, 7’0″, 245 lbs, University of Memphis, 32-yrs old, seven NBA seasons

Several sources indicate that Barron was in town this week. He is an interesting name, given his experience and age. He has good length and solid athleticism. He is the epitome of a journeyman. While he has played seven NBA seasons, he’s only seen action in 124 career games for seven different teams (MIA, NYK, PHO, MIL, POR, GSW, WAS), sporting career averages of 4.9 ppg and 3.7 rpg (just 37.5% FGs–a very low mark for a 7’0″). He’s also spent time in Turkey, Italy, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and the D-League. Think about the frequent flyer miles. Last year he split time between the Wizards and Knicks, averaging 3.3 ppg and 5.1 rpg. Just to get you excited a touch, he did have 11 pts and 18 rbds in the final game of the season for New York.

Justin Holiday, swingman, 6’6″, 185 lbs, University of Washington, 24-yrs old, one NBA season

The older brother of NBA All-Star Jrue, Holiday has been popular amongst teams looking to fill out their roster. He latched on to team up with his brother late last season in Philadelphia and spent the summer with them before being waived in August. He was able to use the end of the season to get some experience, averaging 4.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg, and 1.7 apg in 15.8 mpg. He has also spent time overseas in Belgium (Okapi Aastar) and in the D-League (Idaho Stampede; 17.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 2.4 spg, 41% 3FG). He is a nice outside shooter who can play multiple positions.

James Johnson, forward, 6’9″, 245 lbs, Wake Forest University, 26-yrs old, four NBA seasons

Perhaps the most intriguing guy on this list, Johnson has surprisingly not been picked up by anyone. A former first-round pick who has seen some solid playing time in the NBA usually would have at least an invite by now. Johnson can play both forward positions and is quite athletic. He even made a game-winner against the Jazz a few years back. His best season was 2011-12 with Toronto, where he started 40 games for the Raptors and averaged 9.1 ppg and 4.7 rpg. He also added 1.1 spg and 1.4 bpg, which shows he can be active. Johnson can hit the jump shot, but is woeful beyond the arc. He spent last year with Sacramento. Besides the Jazz, the Spurs were reported to be interested. That should be enough to alert Dennis Lindsey.

Kevin Jones, forward, 6’8″, 251 lbs, West Virginia University, 24-yrs old, one NBA season

An undrafted rookie who spent most of the season with Cleveland last year. While he tore it up with the Cavs’ D-League affiliate (22.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg), his rookie campaign was nothing to write home about (3.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg in 10.4 mpg). With Cleveland adding Andrew Bynum, Anthony Bennett, and Earl Clark, Jones was expendable for the Cavs. He’s a big body who can bang around. He has already had a workout with the Jazz.

Dallas Lauderdale, forward, 6’8″, 260 lbs, Ohio State University, 25-yrs old, rookie

Lauderdale’s is another physical guy. He signed a non-guaranteed contract with Portland last season, but did not make the roster. He played for their summer league entry this summer. Lauderdale’s claim to fame may be playing college ball with former Jazz center Kosta Koufos. He came to SLC at the same time as Flip Murray did.

Flip Murray, combo guard, 6’4″,190 lbs, Shaw University, 34-years old, 8 NBA seasons

A complete blast from the past. In a recent interview, Murray mentioned that he came out to Utah for a workout. Given the youth movement, this news was a bit of surprise, given his age and the fact that he has not logged an NBA minute since 2010. Pehaps the Jazz view him as another veteran mentor type player. A 2002 second-round pick, Murray has enjoyed a long, sometimes successful career. In his second year, he emerged from no where. Taking advantage of some injuries, he showed an ability to put points on the board as a scorer off the bench for the Sonics. He has played 487 games for eight teams (MIL, SEA, CLE, DET, IND, ATL, CHA, CHI), with career stats of 9.9 ppg (41.4% FGs, 30.4% 3s), 2.3 apg, and 2.1 rpg.

James Nunnally, swingman, 6’7″, 205 lbs, UC Santa Barbara, 23-yrs old, rookie

Nunnally has been working out for a number of teams, including the Jazz. He was a four-year player at UCSB and spent last year in Greece and with the Bakersfield Jam, the new Utah D-League affiliate. He is a shooter who has shown the ability to knock down the three-point shot wherever he’s gone (40% for Bakersfield). He also was a nice rebounder in college.

D.J. Richardson, guard, 6’3″, 195 lbs, Illinois, 22-yrs old, rookie

Richardson was a four-year player at Illinois who went undrafted. He tallied 12.3 ppg and 3.9 rpg last year, but shot just 36% from the field. It sounds like he will be in Utah this week.

Xavier Silas, guard, 6’5″, 205 lbs, Northern Illinois, 25-yrs old, one NBA season

Silas went undrafted in 2011, but after spending that year in France and in the D-League, was signed by Philadelphia the final week of the season (5.5 ppg in two games). Last season, he averaged 12.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, and 3.0 apg for the Maine Red Claws. He shot just 38% from the field and 30% from beyond the arc.

Lindsey has shown a desire to leave no stone unturned. With the mini camp the Jazz ran earlier in the summer, along with summer league and this “open gym” time, Utah is doing its best to discover talent, both for now and perhaps for the future. There may be other names that crop up over the next week. With Utah Jazz media day slated for September 30, the season is fast-approaching. Perhaps some of these guys will be given their chance come training camp.

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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Is the Utah Jazz Roster Finished? http://saltcityhoops.com/is-the-utah-jazz-roster-finished/ http://saltcityhoops.com/is-the-utah-jazz-roster-finished/#comments Wed, 21 Aug 2013 19:11:49 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=7442 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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When the Utah Jazz completed their last two signings, inking guards John Lucas III and Ian Clark, some thought that this finalized the roster. For all intents and purposes, this could be the case. My guess is that the Jazz have at least one more move up their sleeves, even if it is a minor one.

While they have the minimum 13 on roster, it would not be surprising to see them add one more player. Traditionally the team has tried to keep one roster vacancy for flexibility’s sake, but as we’ve discovered, Dennis Lindsey is helping enact a lot of changes in philosophies.

First, let’s take a look at the current roster:

PF: Derrick Favors, Jeremy Evans

SF: Gordon Hayward, Richard Jefferson, Marvin Williams

C: Enes Kanter, Rudy Gobert, Andris Biedrins

PG: Trey Burke, John Lucas III, Ian Clark

SG: Alec Burks, Brandon Rush

What kind of needs does the team have? Here are some, as I see it:

  • Back-up power forward: Favors will get the lion’s share of the minutes, but given his propensity to foul, having solid back-ups behind is important. Kanter could move over, perhaps playing the four alongside Gobert or Biedrins. Jeremy Evans could get his first shot as rotational minutes. They could also go small with Jefferson or Williams playing spot power forward minutes. All this said, it might be very beneficial to have another big body around.
  • Back-up small forward: With Williams out to start the season and uncertainty as to how much Jefferson has left in the tank, the Jazz could look at adding a small forward. Hayward will be the man here, but if Williams’ return is delayed and Jefferson is not a fit, it might behoove Utah to add someone.
  • Back-up point guard:  Burke and Lucas are the two true point guards on the roster and Burks can also get burn at the one. Clark may be up to challenge, too. They might be set here, but then again, Utah has almost always had three true PGs on their roster. Could they add another?

How could they go about addressing one of these possible needs?

Trade: According to ShamSports.com, the Jazz have $55.87 million in committed salaries (not including Jerel McNeal, who is not guaranteed until October 31). With the salary cap at $58.68 million, Utah has room to sign a nearly $3 million dollar pe ryear player. As they did with the Golden State trade, the Jazz could absorb a player from a team that wants to shed some salary, perhaps picking up another asset along the way. Teams like Miami, Chicago, or the Lakers may want to broker such a deal, thus helping defray a portion of their luxury tax bill. Doing so would give the Jazz short-term help, while adding another pick to Lindsey’s ever-growing stash. You also never know what guys might become available.

Retain McNeal: By all accounts, Utah likes the young guard a lot. He has been working out in Salt Lake City much of the off-season and was with the Jazz contingency at P3 last week. He could be the one who claims a final roster spot, giving Utah another ball-handler.

Free Agency: According to Real GM, the Jazz will be one of a few teams working out James Johnson. At 6’9″, 248 lbs, the 26-year old former draft pick could be a decent find as a back-up big. He has had his moments and has four years of experience. He may even have some upside to his game.

There are some other interesting names still out there: Ivan Johnson, Mickael Pietrus, Sam Young, Marquis Daniels, former Jazzman Lou Amundson, Damien Wilkins, Sebastian Telfair, A.J. Price, and Jamaal Tinsley, for instance. None of these guys will wow you, but for an end-of-the-bench guy, you don’t tend to expect a lot of wow.

Training Camp Battle: The Jazz will be very selective on who they invite to training camp. They may bring some guys in that they liked at the free agent camp or from summer league (two of the better players, Rasid Mahalbasic and Chris Roberts, have already earned contracts overseas) and let them duke it out for a roster spot.

It will be fun to see what the front office does to round out the roster. Some may feel it moot to be discussing a potential 14th man, but as we’ve seen in the past, that 14th man could turn out to be a Wesley Matthews, Bryon Russell, or David Benoit.

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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