Salt City Hoops » Trey Burke 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 » Trey Burke 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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52 John Stockton Memories http://saltcityhoops.com/52-john-stockton-memories/ http://saltcityhoops.com/52-john-stockton-memories/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 22:03:42 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=10846 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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Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images

Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images

In the midst of a rough Utah Jazz season, sometimes it’s good to take a minute to reflect on some better times. In that same spirit, today is the one and only John Stockton’s 52nd birthday. Without further ado, here are 52 memories of and thoughts about #12:

1- One has to start with the absolutely magical relationship Stockton had with Karl Malone. Do Utah Jazz fans realize how lucky they were to have two Hall of Famers giving their all, night in and night out, for nearly two decades? The debates of who was more important or who benefited more from the other are moot. The symbiotic nature of this tandem’s on and off-court unity may never be replicated. They also shared a love for milk, even before they became the dynamic duo.

2- Few were better at the pull-up 3-pointer, quite often when managing a two-for-one situation at the end of a quarter.

3- The absolute respect Jerry Sloan and John Stockton had for each other. Stockton was an extension of Sloan on the court, with the latter calling most of the plays. John never quibbled–he did what was asked and excelled. The mutual love they had for each other was evident on the night the franchise honored him after his retirement, when Sloan teared up, saying “We thought you’d play forever, John.”

4- Stockton’s professionalism. For 19 seasons, he came to work. By all accounts, he reveled in practices just as much as the games. His preparation was unparalleled.

5- At every opportunity, Stockton was quick to acknowledge his teammates contributions, often deflecting attention toward his own accomplishments. On the night he broke Magic Johnson’s all-time assist mark, he said “The guys were making some incredible shots–ones I won’t soon forget.” The epitome of an unselfish leader.

6- Stockton did not exhibit much flashiness. That’s not to say that he never dribbled between his legs or made the occasional behind the back dish–he did. But he was effective and efficient–even when playing in 10 All-Star games.

7- 15,806 assists, seven times surpassing the 1,000 dime mark (with one season with 987). Imagine what that total would have been had he started more frequently his first three seasons. Even as is, it will always be one of sports most unbreakable records.

8- The absolute durability. In 17 of his 19 seasons, Stockton played every game. When he had that injury in 1997, he worked tirelessly to get back, missing on 18 games when others would’ve been sidelined much longer.

9- In the 1987-88 season, Stockton shot 57.4 percent from the floor. He was better than 50 percent for 12 seasons, and never shot worse than his rookie year’s 47.1 percent mark. But, according to Mark Jackson, he was a “good to very good shooter…not to be considered a great shooter.” Okay.

10- Of course, the short shorts. The ladies on Friends loved them.

11- John had a great sense of humor.

12- Stockton donned Nike’s Air Maestro’s in the 1990s. Like many out there, that instantly became my shoe of choice. Here’s John’s Foot Locker ad for said sneaker.

13- Perhaps everyone’s favorite Stockton moment was naturally “the Shot.” What was even more amazing was the complete way he took over the last few minutes of that game. He either scored or assisted on every basket down the stretch.  It was as clutch a performance as there has been.

14- Also from that fateful game in Houston was the image indelibly etched in Jazz fans’ hearts forever–Stockton, Malone and Jeff Hornacek embracing for a brief moment before being surrounded by their teammates.

15- Stockton’s amazing acting abilities, as evidenced here. His singing prowess was also something to hear…

16- 28 assists against the San Antonio Spurs. Oh, and he added 20 points and eight steals that evening.

17- Shocking the whole world, John Stockton penned his autobiography, Assisted. Even the most devout Jazz fans can glean so much by reading this book. It was also enjoyable to see Stockton go about the media circuit, granting more interviews in a few weeks’ time than he seemingly did during several seasons.

18- Not being recognized by anyone in Barcelona, as part of the 1992 Dream Team. Not one of my favorite memories: Stockton going down with a broken leg, thus preventing him from playing much with the greatest team in basketball history.

19- For the analytics junkies, Stockton led the NBA three times in True Shooting Percentage, including a .651 mark in 1994-95. He paced the league in eFG% at .596 the following season.

20- Larry H. Miller loved Stockton–that was very evident. When asked what John was like, Miller’s reply was “He’s everything you think he is.”

21- He was tops in the league in Assist Percentage 15 seasons–including his final year at age 40.

22- A few more advanced stats: 207.7 Win Shares; 121 Offensive Rating and 104 Defensive Rating…for his entire career.

23- Stockton was fiercely loyal to the Utah Jazz. The stories of his contact talks, where Miller and Stockton would each write on a paper what they each thought was a fair number. And that was it. No agents. No posturing. Just two men in a room who respected each other.

24- Stockton’s Hall of Fame speech. To go into the Hall the same time as Jerry Sloan was priceless.

25- 3,265 steals by the NBA’s most prolific thief. He lead the league twice and tallied over 100 each season, minus the lockout year and the season of his injury.

26- Naturally, we have to mention the screens he set. It did not matter if you were Shaquille O’Neal or Hakeem Olajuwon, Stockton was not afraid to go inside. It earned him the “dirty” label, but it seemed like it was just good, tough basketball.

27- Gary Payton saying Stockton was harder to guard than Michael Jordan. Repeatedly, much to many media members’ and fans’ chagrin.

28- The pick & roll. To perfection.

29- Stockton leading the Jazz to victory over the Chicago Bulls despite being down 107-100 with 40 seconds left. One of my favorite Hot Rod Hundley calls of all-time.

30- Back in the late 1980s, Wilt Chamberlain said that if he was starting a team from scratch, Stockton would be the first player he’d choose.

31- The Dean John Wooden saying Stockton was the only guy he’d pay money to watch. “He’s just my favorite player to watch in the pros.”

32- Doling out 24 assists against the Lakers in the 1988 Playoffs to tie Magic’s single-game postseason record.

33- Stockton remained a family man, one who was devoted to his wife and kids.

34- Together with Hornacek, Stockton helped form a truly remarkable back court. These were two guys who could shoot, pass and defend with the best of them, even though they joined forces toward the end of their careers.

35- “The Pass” against the Bulls in the Finals.

36-  Stockton was one of the few players who placed his heart on his chest and sang the national anthem prior to games. .

37- Sharing the 1993 All-Star Game MVP honors with the “Mailman.” Stock finished with nine points, 15 assists and six rebounds, but it was his clutch play down the stretch that helped him earn part of that trophy. That was a great respite in an otherwise difficult season.

38- Making the All-Defensive team five times. Toward the end of his career, Stockton did struggle against speedy counterparts, but in his heyday, he was a tough defender. Mark Eaton and Greg Ostertag did allow him to roam a bit and play the passing lanes, but Stockton was gritty when going one-on-one.

39- Being selected 11 times to the All-NBA team.

40- Being a torch bearer during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

41- At the press conference two months ago, seeing Jerry Sloan in the middle, with Stockton on one side and Malone on the other took Jazz fans back to glory days.

42- Seeing the Stockton statue be unveiled outside of the arena. Likewise, driving through the intersection of John Stockton Drive and Karl Malone Drive just next to EnergySolutions Arena.

43- Stockton being one of the 1996 Olympic team captains.

44- Making the Playoffs each of his 19 seasons.

45- The absolutely classy gesture by the Sacramento Kings fans in giving Stockton and Malone a standing ovation in what would be their final game together. Watching the scene brings chills.

46- Stockton’s retirement ceremony. It was a great opportunity for Jazz fans to deservedly shower #12 with love.

47- Hearing Hot Rod call every  Stockton “leapin’ leaner,”yo-yo,” “belt-high dribble,” and “hippity-hop.” There’s also “With a gentle push, and a mild arc, the old cowhide globe hits home” and, of course, “Stockton-to-Malone.” There was only one Hot Rod. “You gotta love it baby!”

48- Seeing him a few times each season at Jazz games.

49- I grew up not caring much for sports. Then in 1987, my father took me to a Jazz game in the old Salt Palace. There was this speedy, short guard making some incredible passes. I was hooked to basketball, becoming a lifelong Jazz fan thanks to John Stockton.

50- Stockton could have undoubtedly be a 20-22 PPG scorer in the NBA. He was that great of a shooter. Many people’s biggest gripe was his passing up shots at times. Still, his selflessness was incredible to watch.

51-  His taking the time to tutor first Deron Williams and then Trey Burke and Alec Burks this past offseason.

52- John Stockton is truly the greatest point guard to ever play the game.

Thank you for indulging me. Feel free to share some of your favorite John Stockton memories and thoughts below. And Happy Birthday John!

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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Diante Garrett’s Jazz Future http://saltcityhoops.com/diante-garretts-jazz-future/ http://saltcityhoops.com/diante-garretts-jazz-future/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 21:03:29 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=10740 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/Getty

Melissa Majchrzak/Getty

While the season has been rough in many ways, there have been a fair share of bright spots for the Utah Jazz. One has been the recent play of point guard Diante Garrett. For a team with a long history of being able to find the proverbial diamonds in the rough through free agency and late draft picks, Garrett represents the latest success.

Trey Burke’s injury to start the season caused the Jazz to trot out a point guard tandem of John Lucas III and Jamaal Tinsley. The results were disastrous, almost to epic levels. On November 12th, Tinsley was waived. The next day, Utah inked Diante Garrett, causing Jazz fans to scour the Internet for information about this relative unknown. He had spent his rookie season in Phoenix and attending Oklahoma City’s training camp.

He was instantly a breath of fresh air. In his Utah debut, Garrett was instrumental: his seven points and five assists helped lead the Jazz to their first win of the young season (after a disappointing 0-8 start). In his first seven outings, Garrett was productive, averaging 5.3 PPG and 4.1 APG. Then his playing time became very sporadic, as head coach Tyrone Corbin alternated between Garrett and Lucas as Burke’s primary back-up. Later, though, it became clear that Garrett’s playmaking, outside shooting, and length in the backcourt set him ahead of Lucas.

Since then, he’s been solid and sometimes very good. He has played with a lot more confidence since knowing the job was his to keep. In January, Garrett contributed 4.2 PPG, 1.8 APG and 1.8 RPG, while shooting 43.8 percent from long-distance. He was even better in February, with 4.6 PPG, 1.7 RPG and 1.3 APG and 53.8 percent 3-point shooting.  Since the All-Star break, Garrett is contributing 5.5 PPG and shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc. He has often played alongside Alec Burks, allowing the two to share ball-handling duties. Garrett’s ability to stick the open jumper, in tandem with Burks’ passing, has helped Corbin’s second unit.

Garrett certainly has a lot to work on. His 23.7 turnover percentage is a concern and he has more turnovers than assists since the All-Star break. His assists have gone down as he’s played more off the ball. He also has a very low free throw rate at .041. His two free throws against the Atlanta Hawks were his first in 18 games (and 300 minutes).

But as a reserve, he has injected energy and hustle. Garrett’s long arms help on defense, along with a willingness on that end of the court. He is a solid rebounder, particularly on the defensive boards (10.0 DRB%). All things considered, he has given stalwart minutes. His consistent outside shooting has been a boon for a team in need of some perimeter marksmanship (41.8 percent for the season on treys). Garrett is making just $719,266 this season, so he has been a steal.

What does the future hold for Garrett? With a team option for a mere $915,000 for next season and possibly many roster vacancies, he has a good chance of returning. Garrett will have a full season under his belt and will be able to fine tune his game this off-season, likely including playing some summer league ball. Moreover, he seems to have upside with room to grow his game. While the Jazz and 2013 second-round pick Raul Neto seem to have a mutual desire to make something happen, Garrett would be a wise option as one of the two back-up point guards going forward.

Perhaps the Jazz have once again found another hidden gem in Diante Garrett.

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 Utah Jazz and Deadline Deals: 2004-2014 http://saltcityhoops.com/the-utah-jazz-and-deadline-deals-2004-2014/ http://saltcityhoops.com/the-utah-jazz-and-deadline-deals-2004-2014/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 22:33:06 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=10329 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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Bill Kostroun/AP

Bill Kostroun/AP

Thursday, February 20th is a date NBA fans have clearly marked on their calendars: the NBA trade deadline. As is the case this time each year, the basketball world circles with rumors of teams discussing their players, their picks or assets and the financial situations. Teams wanting to make the Playoffs may consider deals that help them short-term. Others who know the postseason is no longer a possibility may opt to adopt a long-term approach. It’s an exciting time of the year and one that can affect a team going forward. (side note: deadline day is a perfect reason why Twitter was created. Constant refresh that entire day. Sheer genius.)

Last year, due to the amazing number of expiring contracts, the Utah Jazz were among the most mentioned teams in floating rumors. Then, the deadline came and went without a single move, which was disappointing to some fans and understandable to others. Whether or not the franchise will be involved in any trades this go-around, the deadline is bound to be another fun roller coaster of intrigue.

The Jazz are typically not regulars when it comes to brokering deadline deals, with only four such moves in the last 10 years. When they have, they have been moves that affected the franchise both on and off the court. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, as we review the deadline deals from the past decade:

February 19, 2004: Utah Jazz trade forwards Keon Clark and Ben Handlogten to the Phoenix Suns for forward Tom Gugliotta, two first-round picks, a 2005 second-round pick and cash.

This trade came in that illustrious post-Stockton and Malone season where Jerry Sloan orchestrated a marvelous season from a team some predicted to be the worst team in NBA history. It was a roster full of overachievers, including the hard-working Handlogten (Clark was a disappointment and his life has become tragic). The Jazz also possessed a lot of financial flexibility and they used it in a deal to acquire some long-term assets. Gugliotta was at the end of a nice career and was making $11.7 million–money the Suns wanted to shed. The Jazz absorbed his deal and picked up some picks along the way. His modest contributions on the court were icing on the cake.

The Jazz used one of the picks for Kirk Snyder–an unmitigated disaster. But five years later, the other pick–acquired by Phoenix through the ineptitude of the New York Knicks–eventually became today’s leading scorer, Gordon Hayward. Hayward’s future is very bright and he could be a cornerstone for many years to come. All in all, a very good trade (something the Jazz hope they replicated with last summer’s move with the Golden State Warriors).

February 19, 2004: Utah Jazz trade guard DeShawn Stevenson and a second-round pick to the Orlando Magic for guard Gordan Giricek 

Stevenson had an up-and-down tenure with the Jazz. Drafted straight out of high school, he encountered some off-court troubles that marred his early career. The athletic guard played a reserve role his first three seasons and was eventually given the chance to start. Stevenson was solid, but was definitely not spectacular: 11.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 2.0 APG as a starter (He did have this redeeming interaction with Ricky Davis). His perimeter shooting was poor, which caused spacing issues (coincidentally, as his career waned, his outside shooting was his main staple). Thus the move for Giricek, which was consummated on the same day as the Gugliotta transaction.

Giricek is best known for his rough relationship with Sloan. He seemed to have frequent stays in Jerry’s doghouse. But for four seasons, he was a decent perimeter threat. His first season, he was quite good (13.5 PPG and 36% 3s)–enough for Larry H. Miller to re-sign him to a four-year, $16 million deal. He never reached those marks again, but had moments. Eventually he was traded in a December deal for sharpshooter and fan favorite Kyle Korver.

February 18, 2010: Utah Jazz trade guard Ronnie Brewer to the Memphis Grizzlies for a 2011 first-round draft pick.

This was a move that disappointed a lot of Jazz fans, as well as a franchise point guard in Deron Williams. Brewer had become a fan favorite thanks to his tireless energy, his defensive effort and his athletic dunks. Few players in Jazz history have functioned better without the ball. While his shooting was a weakness, Brewer shot a high percentage and looked to be a mainstay in the back court. Well, the Jazz were in the midst of some financial bedlam, thanks to several large contracts ($59 million combined for Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur, Deron Williams and Paul Millsap). With C.J. Miles showing some modest improvement and undrafted free agent Wesley Matthews becoming a revelation for Utah, Brewer was shipped out for a draft pick which was used that offseason to bring in Al Jefferson.

Brewer was reportedly on the team plane to fly out for a road trip when word came out. He bid his farewells to his coaches and teammates and went to Memphis. He unfortunately was hurt his first game with the Grizzlies and never played for them after that.

February 23, 2011: Utah Jazz trade guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets for big man Derrick Favors, guard Devin Harris and two first-round draft picks. 

This whole experience still stings for some of the Utah Jazz populace. Much has been said about it and it will always be a major date in franchise history. A few weeks earlier was the infamous Jazz/Bulls game that ended up being Sloan’s final at the helm. The discord between Sloan and Williams was evident and whatever transpired that fateful evening proved to be the final straw for the venerable coach. Tyrone Corbin was installed and Utah tried to get back into a groove, but things were still not right.

Then came the shocking news that D-Will had been shipped across the country to the Nets, in exchange for a package of promising players and valuable draft picks. The Nets had been in talks with the Denver Nuggets for the then-pouting star Carmelo Anthony. After their offer was usurped by the New York Knicks, the Jazz and Nets moved quickly to make this happen. Williams had been the heart and soul for Utah. His talent was remarkable, while his attitude was sometimes sour.

Who won the trade? It’s hard to make any firm declarations yet, but indicators may favor the Jazz. Williams has battled constant injuries throughout his time in a Nets uniform. While it appears Brooklyn will be playoff bound after a slow, slow start, Williams still does not look right (with a max contract in tow, too).

Utah went on to pick up two #3 picks in Favors and Enes Kanter (Jazz moved up in the draft lottery that May) and their potential is evident. Favors looks to be the defensive anchor going forward, while the Jazz are still seeing what they have in Kanter. Harris was serviceable before being traded for Marvin Williams, who is having a nice season for Utah. The final draft pick was part of the package that enabled Dennis Lindsey to move up for Trey Burke. When it is all said and done, the Jazz sent Deron Williams for Favors, Kanter, Williams and part of Burke. Not a bad haul.

With the Jazz add a fifth trade to this list next week? This is the first deadline with Dennis Lindsey fully in charge, so who knows what will transpire. If Draft night was an precursor, he may be very active next week.

Only time will tell.

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. Nuggets 1/13/2014 http://saltcityhoops.com/the-triple-team-three-thoughts-on-jazz-vs-nuggets-1132014/ http://saltcityhoops.com/the-triple-team-three-thoughts-on-jazz-vs-nuggets-1132014/#comments Tue, 14 Jan 2014 06:22:29 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=9507 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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Alec Burks can float. It's a useful skill for making layups. Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Alec Burks can float. It’s a useful skill for making layups. Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

1. Alec Burks can score and amaze.

Alec Burks was Utah’s best player tonight, scoring a career high 34 points in the 5th start of his career. First of all, he got the shots around the basket that he likes: 13 of his 19 shots came within 8 feet of the hoop. Because of his athleticism, and excellent finishing ability, he made 10 of those 13.

Alec Burks gets shots near the basket.

Alec Burks gets shots near the basket.

Part of this is because Denver doesn’t really have defensive presence in the middle, nor do they have a stopper guard. As a result, guys like Alec are able to get what they want off the dribble. As Brian Shaw said, “Defense, for the most part, tonight was nonexistent… Alec Burks just won every individual matchup that we put on him. It started with Randy Foye and then down the line.”

But perhaps the bigger part of Alec’s 34 points is because Alec Burks is really good at scoring, especially finishing at the basket. Richard Jefferson explained the experience of watching Alec Burks:

“There are some terrible, terrible shots. I have no idea. He’s just like, ‘Man, I missed some layups”, and I’m like ‘Man, you made some layups!’ When you get this far in this league, everybody has a unique ability. They have something that makes them special. And his ability to finish in traffic and in the paint, and his size and his ability to handle the ball is unique.”

Or, as Trey Burke pointed out, “He didn’t make one three, so that’s the impressive part about it to me. Having 34 points without a 3 pointer is kind of crazy to me.”

2. Utah coughed up the ball only once in the first 32 minutes tonight.

That’s pretty ridiculous. 1 turnover in the first half ties an all-time Jazz team record, last accomplished in 2011 against Oklahoma City. That was the biggest single reason for the Jazz’s offensive explosion in the first 32 minutes; by the time Marvin Williams committed the team’s second turnover, they had scored 89 points, on pace for 133 in the game. The Jazz were shooting well, sure, but not amazingly: the first half FG% of 51% is a good-but-not-great percentage, and the team had made just 5 threes. Instead, they won on sheer volume: they took 47 shots from the field and 18 free throws in that season-high first half.

This is a young team with a rookie point guard, and they’ve had some turnover problems early in the year. So why the success tonight? I asked Trey Burke to explain why.

Me: “So you had one turnover in the first two and a half quarters. Dawha? How is that possible?”

Trey: “The coaches did a really great job of scouting. They scouted their last game out in Denver, knowing their rotations, knowing what they like to do coming off the pick and roll. We executed. We knew what man would be open on certain plays, and we took advantage of it.”

Me: “So you watched film and knew that X defender was going to be rotating to Y place?”

Trey: “Yeah, absolutely. They made an adjustment in the second half: they started trapping the pick and roll, and that’s when the turnovers came. But in the first half, we were coming off that screen, and they were up on it, but they weren’t trapping, so that diagonal skip pass was always there. We made the play, and whoever got the ball made another play, so it all worked out.”

That was the biggest difference tonight: the Jazz’s scouting report, and that the players paid close attention to it, allowed Utah to play mistake-free basketball for two-thirds of the game. Credit: everyone.

3. Dan Roberts should come up with a signature call for Trey Burke’s threes.

I love Dan Roberts. The in-game voice of the Utah Jazz for 34 years (since the franchise first moved to Utah), in many ways, Dan Roberts is the last original Jazz personality around the franchise. He’s one of the best in the business, and I hope he keeps announcing games forever: he brings both gravitas and excitement to his calls.

He’s been presented with a pretty unique opportunity for an announcer: a player named Trey, with the number 3 on his jersey, who makes three point shots with regularity. This seems like the perfect chance for Roberts to come up with a signature call: a clever combination of name and event that will stick with Trey for the rest of his Jazz career. At the moment, though, Roberts hasn’t found the exact phrase he likes. In this homestand, I’ve heard:

  • “Three for Three”
  • “Trey for Trey”
  • “Trey for Three”
  • “Number Three for Three”
  • “Three for Three from Trey Burke” (upon his third made three of tonight’s game)
  • “Trey Three Pointer”
  • “TB for Three”

These are all not terrible, but its probably best if Dan chooses the most catchy and goes with that for the foreseeable future. Trey Burke will be making many threes in EnergySolutions Arena, and it would be great if he had a signature call to go with it.

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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Bynum for Jefferson, Trey Burke, and Coaching – Salt City Hoops Saturday Show http://saltcityhoops.com/bynum-for-jefferson-trey-burke-and-coaching-salt-city-hoops-saturday-show/ http://saltcityhoops.com/bynum-for-jefferson-trey-burke-and-coaching-salt-city-hoops-saturday-show/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 06:23:49 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=9397 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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Could Andrew Bynum be a Jazzman? Why, and for how long? Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Could Andrew Bynum be a Jazzman? Why, and for how long? Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

This week, Austin Horton and Andy Larsen talk about the Richard Jefferson for Andrew Bynum discussions, as reported by ESPN’s Marc Stein. Why does the move make sense for both sides? Would the Jazz be losing anything on the court by losing Jefferson? Why would the Cavs do this deal? What would this proposed trade say about the relationship between the coaching staff and the front office? Finally, should either team demand sweetener in the deal? Then, we congratulate Trey Burke on his Rookie of the Month award, the first Jazzman since Karl Malone to be so honored. How should Jazz fans weigh that award compared to his 39% shooting? Finally, we talk a little bit about Ty Corbin. Does he have the best interests of the Jazz long term in mind, or is he coaching for his next contract? All that and more on this week’s Saturday Show!

Author information

Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen is the Managing Editor of Salt City Hoops, the ESPN TrueHoop affiliate for the Utah Jazz. He also hosts a radio show and podcast every week on ESPN700 AM in Salt Lake City.
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http://saltcityhoops.com/bynum-for-jefferson-trey-burke-and-coaching-salt-city-hoops-saturday-show/feed/ 3 andrew bynum,richard jefferson,Trey Burke This week, Austin Horton and Andy Larsen talk about the Richard Jefferson for Andrew Bynum discussions, as reported by ESPN's Marc Stein. Why does the move make sense for both sides? Would the Jazz be losing anything on the court by losing Jefferson? This week, Austin Horton and Andy Larsen talk about the Richard Jefferson for Andrew Bynum discussions, as reported by ESPN's Marc Stein. Why does the move make sense for both sides? Would the Jazz be losing anything on the court by losing Jefferson? Why would the Cavs do this deal? What would this proposed trade say about the relationship between the coaching staff and the front office? Finally, should either team demand sweetener in the deal? Then, we congratulate Trey Burke on his Rookie of the Month award, the first Jazzman since Karl Malone to be so honored. How should Jazz fans weigh that award compared to his 39% shooting? Finally, we talk a little bit about Ty Corbin. Does he have the best interests of the Jazz long term in mind, or is he coaching for his next contract? All that and more on this week's Saturday Show! Salt City Hoops no 44:10
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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Trey Burke Video Interview http://saltcityhoops.com/trey-burke-video-interview/ http://saltcityhoops.com/trey-burke-video-interview/#comments Sun, 22 Dec 2013 20:16:25 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=9256 Author information
Tracy Weissenberg
Tracy Weissenberg
Tracy Weissenberg is a writer for SLAM magazine, operating the “Basketballista” blog on slamonline.com, as well as working as an on-air reporter for SLAM TV. She also works for Turner Sports, working in production for various NBA television programs.
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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP1P2fNqVMg&autoplay=0&rel=0&hd=1]

 

Trey Burke, acquired by the Jazz to fill a desperate need at the point guard position, spent the beginning of the season on the sidelines. The ninth overall pick suffered a fractured right index finger on October 12, causing him to miss the first 12 games of his rookie campaign. During that stretch, the Jazz went 1-11, ranking 29th in points, three-point percentage and assists.

After coming off the bench for his first two games, Burke has started every game since. His presence in the lineup contributed to an improved offense, but most importantly, wins. In Utah’s next 18 games, the team put together a 7-11 record.

“He can score,” says Head Coach Tyrone Corbin, “He’s learning a lot. He’s a guy that’s looking to get better every night he steps out there on the floor. He’s working his tail off to understand what we’re looking for from him and what gives us a chance to be effective, while we try and figure out what gives him a chance to be as effective as he wants to be on the floor.”

courtesy: Getty Images

courtesy: Getty Images

Asked if he expected Burke to be able to instantly contribute, Corbin says, “Yeah. He was College Player of the Year. The way the team is now, we understood we were going to have him on the floor a lot. We were going to demand a lot from him. He responded to it. As he picked things up, we demand more from him.”

Burke is averaging 13.2 points and 4.9 assists in just under 30 minutes. Although he is shooting under 40 percent from the field, many have noticed his innate scoring ability, which Corbin calls the most NBA-ready aspect of his game. “He can really shoot the ball. He can shoot it, so that gives you a chance. He’s a point guard by nature, who’s a scoring point guard, so some of those things allow him to be able to be on the floor and be effective on the floor because he can put the ball in the hole.”

“He’s done a great job of coming in, being ready to score. [Burke] spaces the floor for us pretty well and has knocked down some shots,” says fourth-year forward Gordon Hayward.

Already the natural scorer, Burke’s shooting percentages can be attributed to both his sudden immersion in the offense and the lack of double-teams drawn by Utah’s roster. Derrick Favors is currently the only member of the team averaging better than 50 percent from the field.

While the Jazz is a team in transition, Burke has quickly provided a spark for the offense and bright spot for the future.

Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague, who experienced a contrasting career trajectory to Burke’s, was familiar with the 21-year-old from his two-year career at Michigan. “I watched a lot of his college games, I’m a big college fan, so I know he’s a really talented player. He’s going to come out and play hard and do what he does best–he can score the basketball, he can make shots.”

While Teague started only 10 games in his first two NBA seasons, he is putting up career-high points and assists in his third straight starting campaign.

“He makes the right plays, he makes shots,” Teague says of Burke, “That’s all you can really ask for out of a rookie.”

Author information

Tracy Weissenberg
Tracy Weissenberg
Tracy Weissenberg is a writer for SLAM magazine, operating the “Basketballista” blog on slamonline.com, as well as working as an on-air reporter for SLAM TV. She also works for Turner Sports, working in production for various NBA television programs.
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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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