We're pleased to have TrueHoop Network writer for Salt City Hoops, Mychal Lowman on board for a very special presentation and analysis of some the Utah Jazz's lengthier free agent wing options. You can follow @My_Lo on Twitter for always-entertaining commentary on all things NBA.
It's no secret the Jazz are in the market for wing players. They need depth. In a shortened season where the amount of games is one 6 away from being the sign of the [he who shall not be named] the Jazz NEED depth. For the Jazz, however, the situation is complicated by where their wing players are at in their development.
CJ Miles is now entering his 3,495 year as a Jazz man. Okay, okay, so it is his 7th year but he's been here forever, right? Last year he was wildly inconsistent. Some days he showed an ability to take over a game with his slashing ability and hot shooting hand. Other nights the only way one knew he was still in a Jazz uniform was by looking at the minutes played in the box score. Yet he's only 24 and is still two years out from even being in his prime. Given how he has come to camp in phenomenal shape this year, one would think this could be the year he puts it all together. He could be on the cusp of breaking out for a big season.
Then there's Gordon Hayward. The precious. The golden boy. White chocolate. Star of the Starcraft. Andy from Toy Story 3. He got off to a rough start at the beginning of the year (no thanks to a certain pass from a certain player who no longer is with the Jazz) and seemed to never get out of his shell. Then in the last month of the 2010-2011 season he became possessed with Hornacek's spirit and Ginobili's tenacity and gave Jazz fans a glimpse of what Kevin O'Connor foresaw when drafting him.
Add to that mix Alec Burks, who has draft steal written all over him with his Ronnie Brewer like athleticism and, thank god, anti-Ronnie Brewer shooting stroke. He gets to the line more often than Boris Diaw gets to the buffet line. But will he adjust to the speed of the NBA fast enough to contribute at a high level this year?
Last, but not least, you have Raja Bell. Bell had a very forgettable season. He went from being the final piece of the Jazz's offseason puzzle last year to a hot mess. He visibly had lost a step, his 3 point shooting was average at best, and he stole developmental minutes from Hayward. And he's not getting any younger.
There in a nutshell is Utah's wing situation. From where Kevin O'Connor sits he sees that he needs someone in the wings the Jazz can trust night in and night out. But he also needs a guy that would not become a locker room cancer if he has to sit when/if the young guns play to their potential. But just as Adelman said, "Potential gets coaches fired." It also puts GMs on the hot seat. O'Connor is looking for a Small Forward who can be a consistent threat on the court and a consistent teammate off of it. He's basically looking for seasonal help. Here are his candidates currently:
John Hollinger's Analysis:
+ He's a two-way forward who has battled knee problems. Athleticism on the wane.
+ Decent midrange shooter and rebounder. Handles ball well for size.
+ Has length to defend. Not a troublemaker but flaky persona a concern.
Why he would fit the Jazz?
He has length. He works hard on both ends of the floor. That's something the Jazz want to instill on their young wing players. That you must work hard on every possession. Also decent midrange game works well with Jazz's curls at the top of the key.
Why wouldn't he fit the Jazz?
For everything else that he brings. He is injury prone and aging. He also has a flaky persona and that is something you want to keep as far away as you can on a young developing team. I get that Utah wants to stay competitive, but not this way. Adding Howard brings someone who is mentally distant from most of your roster. I can't see him working hard and being a good teammate, especially on the team like the Jazz that is full of young players. Besides the Jazz already have a wing player whose athleticism is on the wane: Raja Bell.
+ Long-armed wing who excels at blocking shots from behind.
+ Good ball handler and passer but lacks aggression and strength.
+ Mediocre outside shooter but a very good finisher around the basket.
Why would he fit the Jazz?
Andrei is the perfect fit for what the Jazz are looking for. He's consistent and knows the Jazz's system. He needs to lay off the 3 pointers but all in all he truly makes his teammates better. He does everything. EVERYTHING. Also, it would be interesting to see how Ty Corbin would utilize Kirilenko differently than Jerry Sloan.
Why wouldn't he fit the Jazz?
Money. Right now Andrei is asking for at least 3 years, 27 million. One would think that he would give the Jazz a hometown discount for the millions of dollars he was paid with his max contract deal. Sadly, at least for now, it does not appear Kirilenko is going to end his career in a Jazz uniform.
+ No-necked left-handed wing with scorer's instincts. Great feel for game.
+ Very good spot-up shooter. Careful player -- rarely draws fouls or turns it over.
+ Subpar defender. Poor lateral movement and athleticism. Handles ball well.
Why would he fit the Jazz?
He's a natural scorer as Hollinger put it. His 3-point percentage for last season was .423. He also has a little Wesley Matthews and Sundiata Gaines in him. He was a D-League find from the Golden State Warriors. He knows that his opportunity to play in the NBA is a privilege and he'll do what it takes to stay in. Plus, he's cheap. Much cheaper than Josh Howard, Andrei Kirilenko, or anybody else the Jazz could bring in. Did I mention he's only 25? Also check out this line from Hollinger: "Yet another D-League find by the Warriors, Williams is a natural offensively, making him ideal in the sixth-man role."
Why wouldn't he fit the Jazz?
He's a bad defender. But he played for the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors play defense like ___________ (insert any simile you like right here). Doesn't matter what it is or how bad it is because it will probably be true). If he was brought to a new system that emphasizes defense I think we could see Reggie improve to an average defender. Let's not forget the Jazz are not looking for a starter. They are looking for depth. They need someone to fill 10-20 minutes a night and be consistent. Hollinger also remarks that he's a tad "doughy".
So there's your candidates. No real big agent splash for the Jazz (unless you count Earl Watson as a splash, though I love him). There is talent available though. I see the Jazz going for a low budget, high risk reward. If the Jazz are looking for that I can definitely see Jazz brass falling in love with a guy like Reggie Williams. Plus, don't all Jazz fans have a warm spot for D-League overachievers?
Introducing Max Specht, resident of London, Ontario, student, blogger, and one of the biggest Utah Jazz fans north of the border. His keen eye for all things basketball combined with a tendency to make outlandish statements make him fun to read. Also take the time to follow him on Twitter (@maxamilli) for critiques on everything Jazz (except for the music).
Enes Kanter is going to finally be able to play basketball. I know we have heard a lot about how he wasn’t able to play in college and then the lockout occurred, but the most important thing right now is that he is going to get minutes. After watching each of his games in the EuroBasket over the summer, we were offered a few glimpses of what Kanter had to offer on the basketball court. Here are some of the most noticeable things I gleaned from watching these games.
• Enes is not going to shy away from contact, if anything he relishes the opportunity. Making room for yourself sounds fairly easy for a big 6’11’’ 250+ body like his, but often times we see players with the same body type shying away from contact and playing it easy. Kanter is not afraid to bang with the best of the them in the post, whether it be with Nowitzki and Kaman or the Gasol brothers in EuroBasket. His ability to clear room for himself was astounding at times and really emphasizes that even though he hasn’t played professionally in a long time, his body is still meant for the NBA.
• He has a decent amount of post moves at his disposal. What is most interesting to note that on the offensive end, Kanter has a great awareness of where his opponent is (See: the video as he dunks around Marc Gasol). A lot of times players will just go up with the ball, or fake it assuming that their man fell for it only to have the ball stripped/blocked. What can be said about Kanter is that he is very keen with his positioning in the paint, using both hands, hook shots, jumpers, etc. He won’t be a primary offensive threat right away, but he could establish himself as something very special as time goes on and his career and awareness progresses.
[Editor's note: In the spirit of full disclosure, it must be noted that that was Kanter's only points of the game against Spain. As was the case throughout EuroBasket there was a distinct disparity in Enes' numbers between NBA caliber talent and non-NBA'ers (more to come on this in the near future at TUJB with a statistical breakdown). Kanter does show flashes of brilliance with the ball on the low block, but the current tendency is to most often do what worked when he was a man among boys; drop the shoulder and try to bull his way to the basket. That strategy won't get you much PT in the NBA, so he needs to continue to expand his offensive repertoire.]
• His defense definitely needs work. With Al Jefferson last year we cringed every time he was forced into defending the pick and roll, and Kanter seems to display shades of the same inefficiencies. His ability to help defend is unfortunate at best, but with the play of Favors at his side the hope is that he will help hide Kanter’s defensive inabilities. We can also note the fact that he has not played a team game for a long time but for a few short-lived occurrences, and these are growing pains that could be ironed out over time.
EuroBasket is chock full of the most talented players in Europe, but it is not yet the talent pool that the NBA possesses. Kanter is an extremely rare, if raw talent, but he will be going up against other quality bigs night in and night out. It appears that he displays all the tools that will not only make him effective, but could lead to him starting one day in the NBA -- sooner than later? We will have to just wait and see.
Just caught this...from Bill Simmons Article Today in Grantland
If you want to know the truth, Stern started losing control of the league during the middle of last decade, when a new generation of wealthy billionaires started paying full boat for franchises. The days of Abe Pollin and Bill Davidson were long gone — family guys who bought in early, stuck with their investments and watched their league flourish into something much bigger than they ever expected. Stern's favorite owner was Larry Miller, a dynamic Salt Lake City businessman and philanthropist who bought the Jazz in 1985, then ran the franchise with his family for the next 24 years. A year after diabetes claimed Miller in May of 2009, Stern met the press before a playoff game and spoke earnestly about his affection for Miller. Someone asked the commissioner about Jerry Sloan's longevity. At the time, Sloan was still coaching the Jazz at 67 years old, six months older than Stern.
"We're a dying breed," Stern admitted. "It's not happening anymore. But it sure is reassuring to look there and expect to see him, and darn, he's there. It's kind of neat."
This may be too little too late, but here are ten reasons why the Utah Jazz should keep Earl Watson. These are in no particular order.
1.The Earlyoop! Often imitated, but never duplicated.
2. Loyalty- It is hard to say that loyalty exists when you are making millions of dollars a year, but over the past week we have seen the true nature and character of Earl Watson. Even as his name is getting thrown around by other teams. He has stated that he will wait for the Utah Jazz to make an offer or decide what to do.
3. Stays within his Job Description- The thing that I think a lot of us love about Earl, is that he plays within himself and his abilities. He knows when he is over matched and uses technique or smarts to adjust. When he was out sized he did the same thing. He does exactly what he is asked to do, which is... If we have the lead, don't give it up, and if we are down, get it close.
4. Pass First Mentality- There are a handful of true point guards left in the league. By handful I mean probably 15 considering backups... Earl is always looking to improve the team by passing the ball.
5. He runs our offense- I am not going to say that I have the Flex offense memorized, but I know when it is being run well and I know when it is not. Earl Watson runs our offense effective.
6. He wants to be here- There is nothing more gratifying that winning, but a close second is having players become part of "Our Team" and our community. I like that Earl wants to be here, and it shows in his attitude, play and interviews.
7. Toughness- Self-Explanatory
8. Humble- We like guys that are like us. He know where he came from... He knows that he has been blessed with some great things in life and shows his humilty.
9. He is a Fan Favorite- see #BringEarlBack or #BringBackEarl
10. He is a hell of a lot better than Jamaal Tinsely See here.
First we know that scheduling the NBA season is crazy... this is from Nbastuffer.com from 2010 schedule.
Here are the facts about the upcoming season...
It will be 66 games long with 48 conference games and 18 non conference games. If you are reading this you already know that.
Back to Back to Backs: Every team will play at least one, but no more than three.
O.K. now lets look at the Utah Jazz and the possible scheduling cunudrums.
First, the Utah Jazz historically don't play on Sunday, especially at home. I can't think of any regular season games in the past few years when the Jazz played on a Sunday. I would imagine there hasn't been one in the past decade.
Over the past few years Deron had some issues with this, and at times was very vocal about playing games on Sunday. I have never felt that Miller's would budge on this agreement between the Jazz and the NBA. It hurts everyone's bottom line. You should be able to see where I am going with this.
The Jazz have to cram 33 home games into 17 less days than the rest of the league. Which means, I guarantee that the Jazz will be playing 3 back-to-back-to-backs.
Second, the Jazz do not have cluster buddies to play with. I know that sounds kind of dirty, and yes it was intended to sound that way.
Here are your NBA Cluster Buddies---
The West Coast Cluster Buddy-- Golden State, Lakers, Clippers, and Kings. You can easly get three games in three nights or four games in five nights there.
The Texas Trio Cluster--- San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and if you want throw in an overnight flght to Memphis and N.O.
The FloRida Trio Atlanta, Orlando, Miami
The BostYork Trio--- Boston, New Jersey, New York.
The Midwest Bonanza Cluster--- Philly, Cleveland, Indiana, Toronto, Detroit, Milwuakee, Chicago, Minnesota. Any of those three teams could be thrown into a B2B2B (Yes I coined that phrase).
The Jazz will get Bost York Trio, The Texas Trio, and The Midwest Bonanza Cluster (a crappy version) like Bucks, Pacers, and Nets (for sure).
I personally don't think that teams from the same conference will get the B2B2B because of the travel time. Those will be the four games in five night types of clusters.
There is also one more scheduling cundum possibility. The HomeHomeAway cluster. Jazz @ Denver, Denver @ Jazz, Jazz vs/@ Sactown.
Third, The Utah Jazz Will play the NETS twice, I guarantee it.
Share your thoughts on which three B2B2B you think we will get.
The NBA Free Agent period is going to be fast/furious and bring a lot of changes to the NBA Landscape.
Here are a few of the early rumors... these are rumors mind you...
Ak is the # 11 free agent according to Chad Forde. From the Insider Pages.
Memo is staying in Turkey at least for now. Jody Genessy.@DJJazzyJody
"Memo has to wait until the lockout is over," his agent, Marc Fleisher, said. "And his contract (with Telekom Turkey Ankara) says once it ends, he can give them notice to leave."
Paul Millsap is rumored to be going everywhere....no really. @slcdunk and @tribjazz There are also some fun trade ideas from Purple and Blues via ESPN.
Andrei is a good pick up for a 14-20 minutes a night and 3-4 Million a year for 3-4 years with an option. He comes with some emotional baggage and has already made his big money, so money is not the biggest goal now. I think his biggest goal is validation, validation that he belongs in the NBA and can contribute to a team on a nightly basis. He does have injury issues that we know quite a bit about. However, when he is playing well he can fill up a stat sheet like @JimboRudding getting re-tweets.
I like this move by Memo. Stay were you are until you are needed. I don't think the Jazz amnesty Memo but his name is in the top three players if we do use the clause. I love Memo, I think he has done a lot of great things for the Jazz. I also think that he will get less than 10 minutes per night this year. I don't think paying ten million dollars for ten minutes a night is a good deal. I don't like paying the 10 million either. I asked Spencer from @Saltcityhoops about the clause and his thoughts were that the Jazz would avoid it at all costs because of money...
Millsap-- He is like Rudy...I wish I could put his skills, desire, work ethic, and ability into a player 6 inches taller and 40 pounds heavier. We know we have a log jam at the 3/4/5 position. I say use Millsap to get a two like Ben Gordon, Jamal Crawford, Brandon Roy, or Arron Afflalo.
Then there is a part of me that says, "Hey if we are going to go young, let's go all the way and get rid of everyone over 27."
In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter that the strike is over. There will be a cloud over this entire season and people will come back...just like they did ten years ago.
Here are the timeline details
Stern: If all goes smoothly, training camps will open Dec. 9. Season will be 66 game beginning on Christmas.
Free agency and training camp would start at the same time.
Wow training camp opens in 14 days. Players will be signed and join camp in progress. - 66 games schedule is 8 games every 14 days
66 games packed into season. More back to backs, fewer off days, playoffs will be delayed a few days to create enough time to accomodate
Free agency and camps starting together on Dec 9 means teams like New Orleans and Boston will show up with just a handful of signed players.