Salt City Hoops » Tyrone Corbin 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 » Tyrone Corbin http://saltcityhoops.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://saltcityhoops.com Reviewing My 2013-14 Utah Jazz Goals http://saltcityhoops.com/reviewing-my-2013-14-utah-jazz-goals/ http://saltcityhoops.com/reviewing-my-2013-14-utah-jazz-goals/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 18:06:47 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=11000 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And lastly, here were my quick hits.

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

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

Author information

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

BACK-UP POINT GUARD

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

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

Prediction: John Lucas III

BACK-UP SHOOTING GUARD

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

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

Prediction: Brandon Rush

BACK-UP SMALL FORWARD

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

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

Prediction: Marvin Williams

BACK-UP POWER FORWARD

Candidates: Jeremy Evans, Marvin Williams.

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

Prediction: Jeremy Evans

BACK-UP CENTER

Candidates: Andris Biedrins, Rudy Gobert

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

Prediction: Rudy Gobert

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

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Utah Jazz Positional Battles: The Starters http://saltcityhoops.com/utah-jazz-positional-battles-the-starters/ http://saltcityhoops.com/utah-jazz-positional-battles-the-starters/#comments Wed, 02 Oct 2013 21:47:20 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=7869 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 season is, at long-last, finally here. Media day is in the books, two-a-days are going, and Saturday’s annual scrimmage will give the public the first look at the new era of Utah Jazz basketball. In less than a week, the first of at least 86 broadcasts will be on television sets and Internet streams everywhere. It’s like Christmas time for NBA fans.

There is a lot of excitement in the air. There always is at this time of the year, but there is more this season. The mix of anticipation, uncertainty, and optimism is palpable. The time has come for the Jazz to see what they have in their young guys. Given the fact that there has been so much roster turnover this off-season, some of the main storylines in Utah’s camp will be positional battles. Who will fit what role?

In a two-part series, I’ll break down my prognostications. The first half will focus on the starting five, while the second will outline the reserves.

STARTING POINT GUARD

Candidates: Trey Burke, John Lucas III

My friends Andy Larsen, Austin Horton, and Daniel Tate did a nice job dissecting this particular topic on last week’s Salt City Hoops Saturday Show. I too think there is little debate here: my guess is Trey Burke will show that he is the guy from the get-go. We can delve into history, but it really is a new day and mindset (while Jerry Sloan did opt for Keith McLeod and Milt Palacio over Deron Williams, he has since admitted that he should’ve gone with DWill from the start). With the emphasis on youth, Burke will be given the keys from day one and Tyrone Corbin and company will see what they have in their high profile rookie point guard. Side note: I love hearing about Burke’s (and Alec Burks’) time with legend John Stockton. That tutoring seems to be impactful already.

Prediction: Trey Burke

STARTING SHOOTING GUARD

Candidates: Alec Burks, Brandon Rush, Gordon Hayward

This could be the most intriguing and suspenseful battle going forward. By many accounts, Alec Burks has been one of the most impressive guys this off-season, including his hard work at P3. That bodes well for Burks, who could potentially see the biggest boosts in on-court production this season (seeing as he has proven the least thus far in his career of the young players). If he can come in and show his improvement in defense, ballhandling, and shooting, this spot may be his for the taking. Brandon Rush brings a lot to the table. A self-stated “3-and-D” guy, Rush’s combination of perimeter prowess and defensive effort could be a big boon for the Jazz. While he is cleared for full contact, the Jazz will probably (and wisely so) be cautious. One of Gordon Hayward’s biggest strengths is his versatility. While I personally prefer him at shooting guard, given the personnel at each spot, it makes more sense at the three. I see Corbin starting out with Burks in the opening five, but continually analyzing things as the season progresses. There may come a time where Burks’ offense might be more needed off the bench, while Rush’s skills could compliment the starters.

Prediction: Alec Burks

STARTING SMALL FORWARD

Candidates: Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams, Richard Jefferson

Again, there seems little to question here. Gordon Hayward is the leader of the team now and should be the opening day small forward starter. The only scenario where this doesn’t happen is if the aforementioned prediction does not occur and Corbin slots Hayward in at shooting guard. If that happened, it would be a curious competition between two vets in Marvin Williams and Richard Jefferson. Both can shoot from the outside, but if his health is there, Williams’ defense and familiarity would probably give him the edge.

Prediction: Gordon Hayward

STARTING POWER FORWARD and STARTING CENTER

Candidates: Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter

The decisions to not bring back Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap clearly paved the way for the Favors and Kanter show. There will be times where these two will be interchangeable at the power positions. It will be exciting to see how they can mesh together, given how relatively little they’ve been paired up in the their young careers. Defensively, they could be formidable. The offense, however, will be something to watch carefully. Can Favors become more consistent? Will Kanter’s offensively elite play as a reserve translate in a much more prominent role? One thing that will be a delight: these two should dominate the boards.

By the way, how wonderful was it to see images of Karl Malone working with not only this duo, but Jeremy Evans, Rudy Gobert, and Andris Biedrins? It gets me giddy.

Predictions: Derrick Favors at PF and Enes Kanter at C

The youth movement is officially underway.

Stay tuned for the second installment, covering the positional battles off the bench.

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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2013-2014 Utah Jazz Predictions http://saltcityhoops.com/2013-2014-utah-jazz-predictions/ http://saltcityhoops.com/2013-2014-utah-jazz-predictions/#comments Wed, 14 Aug 2013 22:19:43 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=7402 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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This is the time of the year that most Utah Jazz fans dread. The part of the year that bridges the draft and free agency with training camp can be downright rough. The one saving grace is that each passing day brings us closer to having the Jazz back in our lives more fully.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now some quick ones:

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

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

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

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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