1. Kanter Wants Out?
Though the actual game had plenty to cover, we start with the biggest news. Aaron Falk, Jazz beat writer for the Salt Lake Tribune, was reportedly told by Kanter that he hoped to be traded before this year’s deadline. Deseret News beat writer Jody Genessy reported via Twitter that Kanter is headed to Pennsylvania to hang out with friends instead of returning to Utah with the rest of the team. Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey offered no comment regarding the Kanter situation.
Though it’s unclear at this point how long Kanter has wanted out of Utah, he appeared to be frustrated with being taken out of the game after suffering an eye injury, a claim which Kanter disputes.
“It was not my eye at all,” Kanter told the Salt Lake Tribune. “I don’t know what it was, but it was not my eye at all. So we’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Kanter’s role with the team has been increasingly inconsistent with the rapid emergence of Rudy Gobert, though he never lost his starting job. As he is a pending restricted free agent, Kanter is arguably the most likely Jazz player to be dealt by the February 19 trade deadline. At least Lindsey and his staff have the long All-Star Weekend layoff to iron out the situation via either granting Kanter’s trade request or trying to smooth things out with the ticked-off Turk.
Salt City Hoops editor Andy Larsen will have a longer take on the situation later tonight.
2. Freebies Aren’t Free
Missing free throws is always frustrating enough for a coach to do some teeth-gnashing. But after Wednesday’s game, Quin Snyder is going to need some serious dental repair.
The Jazz went 11-21 from the charity stripe against the Mavericks, a number that is poor on any given night, but especially egregious when the Mavs’ total margin of victory was only five points. Watching and re-watching the game, the sub-par showing from the free throw line can at least partially be explained by the fact that Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, neither of whom has ever been confused with Mark Price, took over half of the free throw attempts, with the Stifle Tower only sinking two of six.
While it’s true the Jazz have, as of recently, been hanging tougher in close, physical games, this is one wart they’re going to have to get frozen off before they’re able to take that next step up.
With Joe Ingles suffering from back spasms and unable to play, the pride of Brown Deer, Wisconsin has had himself an excellent few games in his first significant action of the entire season.
Novak connected on four of six three-point attempts against the Mavs and showed that, while he’s still essentially a one-dimensional player, that particular dimension is pretty darn good when it gets going. Combined with his 4-5 effort in the previous game against the Pelicans, Novak has made 8-11 threes, often at critical times.
I know, stat geeks, sample size is tiny and renders many things about Novak’s two-game span inconclusive at best. But Novak is one hell of an ace in the sleeve of someone like Quin Snyder, both for tactical reasons and as a contributor when called upon because of injury. Novak beginning to regain his sharpshooter tendencies could bring huge relief to the second unit in terms of more reliable bench scoring that’s still desperately needed, even with the addition of Trey Burke to the second unit fold.