I think a lot of you might have read his introduction piece yesterday over at Searching for The Statues. We just want introduce Matt officially. You can follow him on twitter here @Mattbeoh. Welcome Matt, we are glad to have you.
The T-Shirt, or How I got here.
The tears were not yet dry on my cheeks when Dad ushered me into the car and drove me up Parley's Way to K-Mart for a souvenir. The attempt on his part to soften the blow delivered with a slight shove from his Airness was an expression of fatherly love (from a man whom to this day, struggles to get on the Jazz bandwagon) but it still left me feeling hollow. No trinket could fill the hole dug by #23. Dad bought me a 1998 Western Conference Champions caricature t-shirt, adorned with the exaggerated mugs of the men who certain radio personas along the Wasatch Front would come to call "the Statues" as the years passed by.
I imagine Dad said something very consoling like "They'll get it next year" or "Getting to the finals twice in a row is pretty impressive", perhaps "What can you do? It's Michael Jordan".
I doubt he said those things. But for my purposes, he did. It makes the story better.
Heartbreak isn't a strong enough way to explain how Jazz fans experienced what the rest of the world calls "The Shot". Their "shot" is our "shove" and the man who is, by all metrics, the greatest who ever played the game, will be remembered by many of our ilk as a cheat. That moment is the original sin, the Delta Center our eden, and the subsequent era of Jazz basketball our exile.
I'm entirely comfortable being this hyperbolic. Losing to the Bulls twice in a row really sucked. It still sucks, and even when our first championship banner is lifted into the rafters at ESA, those two rings will forever remain the ones that got away. That will always sting, even if only a little.
Shortly thereafter I fell out of love with NBA basketball. The subsequent lockout, truncated season and rise of the Lakers and Spurs in the west left little to hope for in the fading era of Stockton and Malone. By the time John hung up the short shorts and Karl rode out to Hollywood I couldn't name half of our roster. I finished my freshman year of college a year later and didn't know the name of any Jazzman beside Andrei Kirilenko. If I had been told then, that Jerry Sloan were still the coach, I would have felt indifference. The Jazz had ceased to matter to me. I couldn't envision any scenario where I would come back around.
But, then again, I hadn't ever seen powder blue, monochromatic seas of fans, or the return of pick and roll perfection in the 801 (yes, I did just do that).
Accidentally discovering that my house mates and I in Tacoma had had cable all year long at the end of my second semester, senior year was a top status success. The channel my television landed on after autoprogramming was pure serendipity, perhaps an expression of fate, the will of the basketball god luring me back into the fold; the channel my television landed on after autoprogramming was TNT. It was May 13th, 2007 and the Golden State Warriors were playing a team adorned in powder blue in a raucous arena aglow with a sea of golden shirted fans.
I did a spit take when I got a closer look at those blue Jerseys. And with one "D-Will to Boozer", one pick, one roll, one layup, I relapsed. And hard. I relapsed all the way back to Salt Lake after graduating. I relapsed right into a living room with HDTV (my first exposure) and right back into Jazz fandom. Almost ten years older and by no means any wiser to the ways of the rock, I had relapsed right back into watching the Jazz get inches (well, maybe feet) away from the NBA Finals. It was inevitable of course, that I would also stumble, head first into the perennial disappointment of seeing a Jazz season end too soon.
Yet, for all that was newer and bluer, watching Jerry pace a trench in the hardwood was familiar and welcoming. I found that I again cared very much that Jerry was our head coach. It was still Jazz basketball, and hope sprung anew. I was once again a fan.
The next time I cried for the Jazz was February 10, 2011. I cried because Jerry cried and both sets of tears shocked me. Two weeks later as I tore down a row of cubicles shouting out the biggest trade in franchise history to my coworkers, I finally recognized how much the Jazz mean to me. How, while losing Deron was certainly a setback, I was finallly going to get to watch a new era of basketball from the outset. When the lottery balls landed our way and we scored the pick the would become Enes Kanter I was immediately 13 again, dancing around my room and shouting my astonished jubilation to no one in particular and every Jazz fan at once. On draft night with almost 10,000 of the people i identify with most surrounding me, I came to the realization that after family and friends, the Jazz are closest to my heart. They reside at the core of my closest friendships and strenghten the bond I have to many of my fellow Utahs with whom, culturally speaking, I share very little. And right now (or after the lockout) the Utah Jazz will venture forth into the unknown.
Which is why I'm taking a stab at this whole blogging thing.
I suck at Xs and Os. I don't understand how advanced stats reveal things an ordinary box score can't and I couldn't explain trade exemptions to save my life. I'm also not a journalist. Any attempt on my part to emulate beat writers would be an insult to beat writers, the English language and the whole history of print media alike.
What I do know is this: I like writing and being long winded and pontificating. As long as I have the will, and as long as there is at least one person who might want to read what I write, I will tell the story of a fanbase moving forward, always hoping for glory, always willing to cheer a little louder, never conceding an inch to our enemies and continuing to wait, with baited breath for the banner to rise at last. Yeah, its corny. But from this post forward I will once again be (wait for it...) searching for the statues.
Lets play the basketball.
It is official... from the N.B.A.
NEW YORK -- The National Basketball Association announced that it will commence a lockout of its players, effective at 12:01 am ET on July 1, until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached with the National Basketball Players Association.
"The expiring collective bargaining agreement created a broken system that produced huge financial losses for our teams," said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. "We need a sustainable business model that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship, fairly compensates our players, and provides teams, if well-managed, with an opportunity to be profitable."
"We have made several proposals to the union, including a deal targeting $2 billion annually as the players' share -- an average of approximately $5 million per player that could increase along with league revenue growth," said Silver. "Elements of our proposal would also better align players' pay with performance."
"We will continue to make every effort to reach a new agreement that is fair and in the best interests of our teams, our players, our fans, and our game."
During the lockout, players will not receive their salaries; teams will not negotiate, sign or trade player contracts; players will not be able to use team facilities for any purpose; and teams will not conduct or facilitate any summer camps, exhibitions, practices, workouts, coaching sessions, or team meetings.
On Friday morning @12:01 Est time AK's contract will expire and with Memo Okur being out for the past year, the role of veteran falls on C.J. Miles.
I am not trying to add any more pressure of course.
He is the second longest tenured player on the current Utah Jazz roster. Yes, the sometimes immature 24 year old kid out of Skyline H.S. is on the verge of becoming our veteran. For the past six years he has played under one of the greatest coaches ever, played with one of the best point guards in the league, learned responsibility from one of the best owners in the league, and been cheered on by the best fans in the N.B.A.
It is time for him to give some of his best back...
At 3.7 million it was a no brainer to renew the contract which has probably been mentioned a few times over the past few months. Here is C.J.compared to his competitors.
We should probably take Caron Butler of the list because he only played 29 games this past year.
CJ is approaching 7,000 total minutes played including playoffs 6,777, to be exact. He is not even in his minute prime yet. Durant, has put in 12,000 minutes in two less years and yes started off with more minutes and is more talented, however I am just using his minute comparison as a reference point. I personally think that this was the year that CJ would/could have made leaps and bounds, but was undercut by the addition of Raja Bell.
Raja Bell went from playing 180 minutes total in 09-10 at age 33, to 2100 minutes in 10-11 at age 34. Raja basically took, or was given, by Sloan CJ's minutes. Not only did the team suffer for it, but C.J. suffered for it as well, both on and off the court. I don't know if we will ever know the reason, but Sloan decided to start a 34 year old over a 24 year old. You can make the argument about Raja being a veteran, or Cj coming of the bench is better, or Cj was not being consistent, or Raja was a vocal leader. However, you can't make the argument that Raja was a better or more efficient player.
Cj statistically is by far the better/more efficient player out of the two.
Raja Bell played more minutes but scored 1/2 the points...
Here is the rest of the comparisons of .. LINK
The addition and emergence of Hayward is actually a good, positive, motivation for CJ.
Assuming that this lock out thing gets figured out; all of the players on the team should be looking to one of our veteran leaders, Cj Miles. He has been trained, and learned from some of the best. It is his turn to show how a veteran (at the age of 24) can lead the Jazz back to the playoffs. I don't think he needs to do it by himself. However, I think he needs to be a vocal leader on and off the court. He needs to be consistent in his play and in his leadership. Welcome back C.J. we are glad to have you.
Follow us @theutahjazzblog
We know precious little about the Utah Jazz's charismatic 2011 3rd overall draft pick, Turkey's Enes Kanter, except that he has an NBA-ready body, a great work ethic, and that he loves the WWE's The Undertaker, even to the point of being known in Kentucky as UnderKanter. (Also, that he has something in common with Cam Newton that we won't get into.)
We also know he has a nice touch from range, a particular of his game that we'll dissect today.
Watching Kanter's workout tape we see that he has a fundamentally sound stroke. However, to my eye it seemed to take quite some time to get wound up.
Yes, I realize that it's just a workout, and that big men in the NBA hold an advantage in getting shots off from a loftier vantage point, but Enes' wind-up is excruciatingly slow. It holds all the ferocity of a ferris wheel.
With NBA athleticism closing rates are much, much faster, and shot challenges are equally as ferocious. A catch-and-release stroke among the big boys cannot have the swiftness of an hourglass without accuracy being severely compromised.
This was possibly born out in some fashion at the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit, where despite breaking Dirk Nowitzki's scoring record with 34 points in only 24 minutes Kanter came up dry from behind the arc.
Breaking out a "digital hourglass" to clock the actual catch-and-release time of Kanter's shot was now in order. The eyeball test did not fail me.
From Kanter's catch, to his dropping the ball to his waist in preparation, to the time it takes to cock the hammer and fire was an average of 1.39 seconds, the fastest time being 1.21, the slowest 1.54.
...making a sandwich. Be back in a few...
...and we're there! Hammer cocked. Finally.
Away she goes. Nearly a second-and-a-half later.
To put some perspective on this deliberate stroke, Ray Allen, widely considered the quickest on the draw in the league in C&R situations, can make an accurate, contested in-game C&R in a mere 0.33 seconds. Even in a leisurely exhibition environment where the purpose is to show the mechanics at a speed that can be comprehended by mere mortals such ourselves, Allen makes his catch-and-release in an average time of 0.75 seconds, about half the time that it takes Kanter.
Allen's workout speed matches Kanter's compatriot --geographically speaking two times now-- in real-game time on the stopwatch.
Mehmet Okur's catch begins much in the same way as Enes' does.
As does the propensity to drop it down in preparation.
But here's where all the difference in the world is made.
Memo cocks the hammer on his pop in the blink of an eye, so fast that despite repeated attempts by yours truly to capture a screen-shot of it all I ever got was a blur of ball, arms, and hands.
And the release, leading as often as not to a snap of twine that makes the opposition cringe.
Memo's average C&R time in this warmup was 1.09 seconds. In games, from highlights that can be found by the bundle on YouTube, I clocked Okur's in-game C&R at an average 0.71 seconds, with an accuracy that can be counted among the best the NBA has to offer. Okur knows that NBA closing rates can be blinding, and has honed his skill to the point that that C&R even played Okur into an All-Star game in 2007.
So Kanter has resources to draw upon in countryman and roster-mate Okur, a teaching and mentoring role I hope the elder-statesman embraces. Enes can also draw upon former NBA sharp-shooter and shot-coaching wiz Jeff Hornacek, assistant with the Jazz.
Provided the strong personality of Enes Kanter proves itself a coachable one, his tireless work ethic could be tempered into a deadly weapon, one a team that found itself in the bottom third of the league in 3-point percentage last season desperately craves.
Kanter's youth and (hopefully) desire to bang bodies in the paint shouldn't find his cut frame floating out on the arc too often, but when he is it would be comforting to not cringe when he winds up. He has the tools necessary in a sound stroke that at this point is almost textbook to a fault.
Top three International bigs haven't fared well in the NBA to date --Andrea Bargnani, Darko Milicic, Yao Ming, and Pau Gasol, Gasol being the only one to have lived up to expectations as of yet. If Enes has as much drive in him as Hollywood he has a chance to develop into a player that bucks the odds of those who paved the way before him.
You can follow Clint on Twitter at @Clintonite33
THE HOOPS REPORT-
3. UTAH - Enes Kanter - C
Kanter was probably the best player available at this point, but there were other players in the same tier that would fill more of a need for the Jazz. They already had a number of big men, but their backcourt and perimeter scoring needed help. Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker would have been better picks here.
12. UTAH - Alec Burks - B
The Jazz weren't able to get Kemba or Jimmer at No. 12, but they did improve their backcourt by drafting Alec Burks. Devin Harris will have to remain at point guard for now with Burks playing alongside him
1. Jazz. A lot of chatter that the Jazz might go small with Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker with the No. 3 pick, speculation that increased after news of the three-team deal between the Kings, Bucks and Bobcats earmarked Jimmer Fredette for Sacramento at No. 10. Utah refused to reach and instead landed a legitimate low post center in Enes Kanter who, along with Derrick Favors, will form the core of a powerful, athletic frontcourt. And with Jimmer off the board, the Jazz still got a scorer in Alec Burks, a 19-year-old who will get better once his range increases.
7:51 -- Utah takes Turkish banger Enes Kanter, a dead ringer from the one-armed man from The Fugitive. That pick was a big hit in our room, and not just because (a) Kanter scored 34 points at the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit, (b) he wants to be a WWE wrestler after he retires, and (c) we liked his interview with Mark Jones. I have a good feeling about that guy. Right team, right fit. Somehow this leads us to start talking about whether it's an easy transition to go from Turkey (a religious place with good-looking women) to Salt Lake City (a religious place with good-looking women). "Turkey is a little more open-minded about religion," Wildes decides. "Could be a tougher adjustment." These are the things you talk about during the NBA draft.
8:40 -- Utah grabs Alec Burks at no. 12, or as he'll be known in Salt Lake City from the day forward, "Not Jimmer." Bilas points out that Burks can't shoot, and also, he can't defend. Sounds like a steal. How has Kawhi Leonard not been taken yet? What am I missing?
3. Utah Jazz — Enes Kanter, C/PF, Turkey/Kentucky: The only player in the draft that makes Kyrie Irving look experienced, Kanter is certainly a gamble. But in a weak draft like this one, his talent is just far too much to ignore. Kanter broke the Hoop Summit record for points with 34 and has a high skill level for a young post player. His combination of size and skills doesn't come along too often. The Jazz took the best player available and now have a cornerstone to build on in the post-Sloan era. -Seth Sommerfeld
12. Utah Jazz — Alec Burks, G, Colorado: The Jazz complete their inside-outside lottery combo pairing Burks with Kanter. Burks lacks a specific standout skill, but contributes in all areas due to his athleticism and length. A big concern is that while he's a scorer, he's not a shooter (a scarry 29.2% from 3-point range last season). Expect Burks to contribute, but don't be suprised if he's not a starter for years.
Winner: Utah Jazz:
The Utah Jazz quietly improved their team by adding Kanter (No. 3) and Colorado guard Alec Burks (No. 12). Kanter proclaimed a day earlier that he is the best player in the draft, and with his size, scoring ability and rebounding he has the talent and potential to prove he is right. While Burks isn’t a household name, he was a proven scorer in college, averaging 20.5 points last season as a sophomore. The Jazz have an intriguing group of young players in Kanter, Burks, Derrick Favors(notes), Gordon Haywood and Jeremy Evans(notes).
Our 2011 NBA Draft Grades turn to the Utah Jazz, who -- like the Cleveland Cavaliers -- had a pair of lottery picks to work with. The Jazz weren't at all active, and simply took their selections and moved on. They didn't get a point guard of the franchise at either No. 3 or No. 12, and completely disregarded the defensive side of the ball. What do you want, the moon?
Gained: Enes Kanter, Alec Burks.
Gave up: Nothing.
Synopsis: Kanter is a contender for top center in the draft, along with one the Jazz passed up in Jonas Valanciunas. But Kanter will play in the NBA next season, while Valanciunas has at least one more season to serve in Europe. Kanter is seen as a skilled offensive player, but a defensive minus. Good thing Utah has potential defensive superstar Derrick Favors in the pipeline. The pair should work beautifully.
Burks showed little defense at Colorado, but has good size and a promising frame. Jerry Sloan would have turned Burks into a gritty fighter, and it's up to Ty Corbin to do just that. On the other end, Burks is a slasher who figures to draw plenty of contact and hopefully develop a jumper to space the floor for Kanter, Al Jefferson and/or Paul Millsap down low. I guess this means Gordon Hayward is a small forward, though.
ESPN CHAD FORD INSIDER---
Utah Jazz: Enes Kanter, Alec Burks. Grade: B+. The Jazz arguably came away with the best center and best two guard in the draft. The moves signaled that Utah is ready for a quick turnaround rather than a slash-and-burn style tear down. Kanter has considerable hype to live up to and Burks will need to work on his range, but the Jazz addressed major issues and provided hope, even if they didn't land cult hero Jimmer Fredette.
DRAFT NIGHT TRADES----VIA NBADRAFT.NET
*Spurs deal Hill to Pacers
Indiana receives: George Hill
San Antonio receives: 15th pick (Kawhi Leonard) in 2011 draft, 42nd pick (Davis Bertans) in 2011 draft, 46th pick (Erazem Lorbek) in 2005 draft.
* Nets and Celtics swap picks
Boston receives: 27th pick (Jajuan Johnson) in 2011 draft, 2014 second-round pick
New Jersey receives: 25th pick (Marshon Brooks) in 2011 draft
*Kings, Bucks and Bobcats complete three-team trade
Sacramento receives: 10th pick (Jimmer Fredette) in 2011 draft, John Salmons
Milwaukee receives: Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, Shaun Livingston, 19th pick (Tobias Harris) in 2011 draft
Charlotte receives: Corey Maggette, 7th pick (Bismack Biyombo) in 2011 draft
*Brad Miller traded to T-Wolves
Minnesota receives: Brad Miller, 23rd pick (Nikola Mirotic) in 2011 draft, 38th pick (Chandler Parsons) in 2011 draft, future first-round pick
Houston receives: Jonny Flynn, 20th pick (Donatas Motiejunas) in 2011 draft
*Mavs, Nuggets, and Blazers complete three-team trade
Portland receives: Raymond Felton, 26th pick (Jordan Hamilton) in 2011 draft, 57th pick (Tanguy Ngombo) in 2011 draft
Dallas receives: Rudy Fernandez, 30th pick (Petteri Koponen) in 2011 draft
Denver receives: Andre Miller, future second-round pick
*Knicks acquire draft pick from Hornets
New York receives: 45th pick (Josh Harrellson)
New Orleans receives: Cash considerations
*Cavs trade second-round pick to Magic
Cleveland receives: Two future second-round picks
Orlando receives: 32nd pick (Justin Harper) in 2011 draft
*Warriors acquire second-round pick from Bobcats
Golden State receives: 39th pick (Jeremy Tyler) in 2011 draft
Charlotte receives: Cash considerations
Here is the final Mock Draft 7.0 by Chad Ford.
Chad Ford covers the NBA and NBA Draft for ESPN Insider. He is also a frequent contributor to ESPN the Magazine and makes weekly appearances on ESPN Radio and ESPNEWS.
As there just wasn't room in the Draft Q&A Extravaganza, and also the fact that this dude deserves his own stage anyway, I give you the same queries as answered by The Scout.
Some say his extremities are made of an exotic maple hardwood. Others say he turned down a chance to share a scent with Kris Humphries. All we know is, he's called The Scout.
1. TUJB: There are two or three very different drafts that could happen for
the Jazz depending on who/what type of player they take with the 3
pick. Which likely scenario do you see helping the team the most?
TS: Jan Vesely and Bismack Biyombo would provide the most instant impact.
Both guys could bring 16 minutes of defensive intensity and
athleticism in their first season that could make the sleepy Jazz
defenders (Al Jefferson, Devin Harris, sometimes Derrick Favors) wake
up and try to defend as hard as these guys are.
While that group also has a potentially excellent long term future, I
think the best long term group would be Jonas Valanciunas and Alec
Burks. Valanciunas' combination of size, touch, rebounding,
intangibles, and fundamentals could make him a top ten, maybe top five
center in the NBA in a few years. While Burks is heavily flawed
prospect right, he can get to the rim exceptionally well and I feel
that his handle and athleticism give him the chance to be a starting
SG in the NBA
2. TUJB: Two of the most mentioned mock drafts include scenarios
Knight/Singleton or Kanter/Fredette. What kind of risk/reward do you
see for each of these scenarios?
TS: Both scenarios are very risky. Knight could turn into a nice Jason
Terry type player, but I'm not sure about his point guard skills. He
very rarely beat players off the dribble in college and it's hard to
make plays when you don't do that. It seems like Knight's lack of
point guard skills combined with the expectation of being a point
guard could cause him to have an extremely disappointing first and
second season (Similar to Jonny Flynn) and could lead him being traded
from the team for fairly little. Singleton could become a solid
rotation wing who plays good defense, hits some threes, and can postup
smaller players or he could fail out of the league because he's very
However, the second scenario is even more risky as Kanter has barely
played in the last two years and no one knows what he's going to be.
His size is actually below average for center as well so you're
gambling on him growing another inch (Possible, as he grew 3/4 of an
inch over the last year) to be able to play the position well to go
along with all the question marks about his entire game. Jimmer could
also become a Jason Terry type, but his defense and playstyle could
get him buried on the bench, never to escape.
Both groups have a very, very low floor, the second group has a higher
ceiling, but the first group seems to have a better chance of reaching
their potential since they'll be able to play a little right away with
at least their commitment to defense which the second group has not
3. TUJB: Some have said that what was once a two-man draft is now a four-man
draft, with some chatter that Derrick Williams may be available at the
3 spot. Why should the Jazz take or not take him?
TS: I don't think Derrick Williams is a good fit for the Jazz (I think
he's a Paul Millsap type player who will probably be worse than
Millsap), but they should definitely pick him at #3. He would have
much higher trade value than any other player they could select and
could allow them to get another good young player who does fit needs.
4. TUJB: It was reported that the Jazz may trade down. Even in this shallow
draft do you give up a rare pick as high as the 3?
TS: I would not trade down as I think this is a three player draft
(Irving, Williams, Valanciunas) and moving down to say 5 or 6 would
eliminate the chances of getting Valanciunas, but if the Jazz think
there's little difference between Valanciunas, Knight, Vesely, and
Kanter (Like many do) and can move down to 5 or 6 while picking up an
assest, they should do it.
5. TUJB: Outside of the oft-mentioned Chris Singleton, Jimmer Fredette, Alec
Burks, Bismack Biyombo, and Tristan Thompson who else is on your radar
at the 12 pick?
Donatas Motiejunas is another name to keep an eye on. Both
DraftExpress and ESPN have said that the Jazz are interested in him.
His stock seems to have dropped recently after a really terrible
workout in Eurocamp, but he's still a possibility at 12. Very talented
lowpost scoring PF/C. He hates defense and rebounding, but I think the
work ethic concerns have been mostly overblown as he's really improved
his body this year. His offense may not be good enough to keep him in
the league as he's still pretty unpolished and makes bad decisions,
and there's no other aspect of basket that could, but he has to chance
to develop into a quality scoring big man off the bench thanks to his
size, athleticism, and post moves.
Jordan Hamilton is another possibility. He's a SF who can shoot (Major
need for the Jazz if they want to play Hayward at SG) and he played in
the Flex last season at Texas.
In the midst of what's been repeatedly termed a weak or shallow draft we have found ourselves wading waste-deep in what can only be called the most fluid pre-draft ever. It may not be chock full of all-stars or sure-fire MVPs, but there are undoubtedly many solid contributors to be found amongst the multitude of scintillating storylines.
Returning panelists and experts from last month's sneak peek include Zach Bloxham of The Upset Blog, SLCDunk's draft guru Clark Schmutz, 1320 KFAN producer Kevin Ferguson, and fan fav Brett Preston, plus two new voices to make sure we cover every angle, our own beloved admin (smirk...kidding, boss), Spencer Campbell, and Utah Jazz360 Jazzbot extraordinaire Andy Larsen, who can boast a following that includes stat geek and radio voice of the Jazz, David Locke, as well as having been featured in ESPN's TrueHoop by Henry Abbott.
So, please keep your arms and hands inside the ride at all times. Here we go!
1. TUJB: There are two or three very different drafts that could happen for the Jazz depending on who/what type of player they take with the 3 pick. Which likely scenario do you see helping the team the most?
Zach, TUB: After all is said and done, I think draft day for the Utah Jazz will go as expected. The top two picks seem all but assured and the Jazz won't be the first team to surprise. A Knight/Singleton draft has a relatively easy road map to fruition. That being said, I think the Jazz would benefit greatly from picking Enes Kanter at number three. Kanter has all the tools to be a dominant big man in today's game. A Favors/Kanter front court would be young and dynamic, not to mention giving Utah the profile to build on in the future.
Clark, SLCDunk: To answer this question, I think you have to ask yourself, what player or players are going to help the Jazz the most in 2-3 seasons and in 2-3 seasons the Jazz are going to have needs at every position except for whatever positions Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors are playing. So the Jazz have no reason not to take the best players available. Jazz fans can debate til they are collectively blue in the face about who the best players are, but for me the most likely scenario that would help the Jazz the most is Jan Vesely and Bismack Biyombo.
Ferg, 1320KFAN: It depends on what you think is helping the team. Winning games next season? Then you need scoring punch and a defensive presence. Preparing yourself for the future? Then it might be a PG and a player at 12 that might spend another year in Europe. The future of the Jazz is not determined by this draft, but by what they do with (hopefully) two lottery picks next season.
Brett, FanRep: A big man who can produce will always help the team most since they are harder to come by. Point guards can be found later in the first round. The problem is the big man in question has played less than I have over the last two years. I still think that his upside is greater than Brandon Knight and I would prefer Kanter. I don't think the Jazz will be willing to risk it. They can't screw this pick up after shipping an All-Star out of town.
Spencer, TUJB: Kevin O’Connor said that he will take the best player available. I think this leads to Brandon Knight at the #3 pick and Chris Singleton #12. Both players would bring much needed athleticism to the Jazz. With these athletes and those currently on the team I would expect a high paced offense and some length to play better defense.
Andy, UJ360: If either Irving or Williams were to be available, the Jazz would need to take that player, and then take a player of a different position at #12. Since that scenario isn't terribly likely, I believe a trade of the pick would help the most. Enes Kanter's lack of athleticism, defense, and rebounding fundamentals, as outlined by Draft Express in this video, would not help the Jazz in the areas they need it most. Knight is, I think, a better prospect, but doesn't show the court vision that PGs of the past had for the Jazz. Realistically, it's roughly even odds he turns out to be better than Devin Harris. A trade of the pick for help on the wings (say, for Andre Iguodala) would help the team much more than any prospect outside of the top two.
2. TUJB: Two of the most mentioned mock drafts include scenarios Knight/Singleton or Kanter/Fredette. What kind of risk/reward do you see for each of these scenarios?
Zach, TUB: Knight/Singleton: The reward with this duo is the ability to set the tempo of the organization for the foreseeable future. Knight has the tools to be a tremendous leader, and with assets like Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward improving around him, the Jazz would have a trio to build upon. Singleton's defensive bonafides are not in question. To be honest, I don't see a risk with his selection. He will be a legitimate stopper at the NBA level. And the risk in drafting Mr. Knight? He isn't a true point guard. The ability to run a team will be tested and if he proves more flash than substance, the Jazz may very well look back on this selection as the one that got away.
Kanter/Fredette: Enes Kanter and Jimmer Fredette could not have taken more different routes to the NBA draft. Kanter, gifted with exceptional ability and an NBA frame, has continued to remain at the forefront of the 2011 draft class despite a lack of playing time. Kanter is an unknown commodity. Drafting the big Turk places tremendous confidence in the young man's ability to develop at the next level. He may very well be the dominant big man that he has shown glimpses of being. He may also be the next Rafa Araujo. The jury is still out, seeking more information. Unfortunately, (or fortunately if he turns out) the team who drafts Kanter have to buy his stock before they find out the yield.
Fredette, on the other hand, has been tested, vetted, and reviewed with a fine tooth comb. Fredette's hard-work and determination have driven his stature to levels which seemed unimaginable just a year ago. The BYU star can certainly shoot the ball. Scoring is a premium in the league and the reward for drafting such an offensive talent should be known relatively quickly. The risk comes in the idea that Fredette will struggle not being the center of attention. Fredette dominated the ball so heavily at BYU, the question becomes: Can he succeed on a team where he is not THE guy?
Clark, SLCDunk: This is an interesting question because when you talk about Brandon Knight and Chris Singleton, you could say those are two of the safer picks the Jazz could make, especially Knight. I think Knight will struggle finding a role in the NBA, but at worst he is a guy who can get you 10-15 points a night off the bench. Kanter arguably has greater upside since he is big and can rebound, but his worst case scenario is worse than Knight's. I think the opposite is true of Singleton and Jimmer. I think Jimmer is a really safe pick at 12, since he'll be able to score off the bench and be marketable. For the Jazz his worst case scenario is Kyle Korver. Singleton has a chance to be Ron Artest minus the crazy or else another average defender who struggles to find a role on offense, similar to a Joey Graham.
Ferg, 1320KFAN: Knight/ Singleton - the risks are that Knight never becomes a pass first PG and Singleton never learns to shoot or dribble. The rewards are that Knight should have good size as PG as the 19-year old continues to grow and Singleton can develop into AK-lite (lighter on the offensive end and lighter on the contract).
Kanter/ Fredette - risks for Kanter is that he is not able to adjust to the NBA game in a timely fashion after missing so much basketball in recent years and also that he is a perimeter big. The rewards are he might just be the most talented in the draft and talented bigs are real hard to come by. For those that worry about the ability to sign players after their contracts are up, a nomad like Kanter would worry me as a man always looking for a better oppurtunity. One of the major risks for Jimmer is the spotlight and hype he will have to live up to in Utah. He may be really talented, but can he be the legend many make him out to be? The rewards are he is familiar with the environment in Utah, he would be a media darling, and all indications are that he can flat out shoot and should be able to score in the NBA.
Brett, FanRep: The Knight/Singleton combo makes sense for the Jazz and also are the much safer picks. You will get two solid players, both who could eventually be starting. They also will not be heading to any All-Star games and will leave the Jazz still searching for the star they need. I'm not saying Kanter and Fredette are going to be All-Stars, but I think the upside is higher with those two.
Spencer, TUJB: Knight/Singleton leads to speed and athleticism. The youth and upside is amazing. However, this scenario leads to a longer rebuilding process as these players are more rough on the edges. Kanter/Fredette however is a big question mark to me. Kanter hasn’t played competitively for a while. I personally think we have seen all Jimmer is. I think his game has peaked and will not translate well to the NBA. Go ahead BYU fans, lay on the hate. However, Jimmer has a skill set you cannot teach and would fill a hole the Jazz have to plug.
Andy, UJ360: A Knight/Singleton draft is a fairly safe one; the risk isn't terribly high, as everyone agrees both Knight and Singleton are legitimate NBA players. They have the size and ability to make a difference in the league. Knight, especially with his growth throughout his freshman season, could continue to become a good NBA player like his DX best case comparison: Chauncey Billups. However, Knight's court vision and passing skills won't ever approach the level of the elite PGs, and that is a critical consideration in the Jazz offense. Chris Singleton will undoubtedly be a good defender on the NBA level, but his offensive skills aren't at all impressive. He doesn't really have the potential to be anything more than a 3pt + Defense player. While those are undoubtedly helpful, you would hope for more from a lottery pick.
On the other hand, Kanter/Fredette is about as high risk/high reward as one team's draft can get. Kanter's lack of game tape means that drafting him is a huge risk: He could become Kosta Koufos, or he could become the Malone-lite that Calipari projects him to be. Fredette, of course, can shoot the ball, but has similar defensive question marks. To his credit, opinions of his defense have changed in his workout tour around the NBA. His ceiling, though, is quite high, should his allotment of skills translate fully to the NBA. At the 12th pick, the high level of risk is much more acceptable than at #3. However, should both players end up tails, so to speak, Kevin O' Connor's job would be in significant jeopardy.
3. TUJB: Some have said that what was once a two-man draft is now a four-man draft, with some chatter that Derrick Williams may be available at the 3 spot. Why should the Jazz take or not take him?
Zach, TUB: Derrick Williams was a fantastic commodity at the University of Arizona. Williams simply has a knack for scoring. I have no doubt that will translate to the pro game, where his tweener size/quickness will make him a difficult matchup for opposing defenses. His strength, however, is also his weakness as Williams would struggle mightily in defending both 3's and 4's at the NBA level, each for differing reasons. I think Kanter is the second best player in the draft and would take him if both Williams and Kanter were available.
Clark, SLCDunk: I think the Jazz would be crazy not to draft Derrick Williams if he fell to #3. Derrick Williams is simply a better player than anyone else the Jazz would draft there otherwise. He is going to be a great rebounder and guy who can score in a variety of ways. He draws fouls at a fantastic rate and he'll be able to pair up with Derrick Favors really nicely. The only reason the Jazz shouldn't draft Derrick Williams if he were available at 3, is if Kyrie Irving were also available.
Ferg, 1320KFAN: The Jazz should take him because he is the most talented big wing scorer in the draft and he has the ability to make the big plays in big games. There is no doubt in my mind that the Jazz should take him. The only reason you are not willing to take him is because you are crazy, or clouded in fear.
Brett, FanRep: If he is available at #3, they have to take him. People question what position does he play. Is being a tweener such a bad thing? Doesn't that mean he can play multiple positions? He is more capable of playing the 3 position than Millsap. I think he would add some flexibility to the roster. They would be able to play him at the 3 and go big, or play him at the 4 and go small.
Spencer, TUJB: If he is there the Jazz should take him. He is the small forward with a complete game the Jazz have never had. A player who can create and shoot the three. Plus I am sure there are plenty of Jazz fans who hope the Jazz get Williams and he chooses the #8 (although that won’t happen).
Andy, UJ360: In my judgment of the players, it's still a two-man draft: Irving and Williams (especially Irving) have shown much more than their lower counterparts, and have fewer question marks. Should Derrick Williams be available with the #3 pick, the Jazz should take him. While to me he projects to be a PF in the league, he would still be the best player available. Should he be able to play the 3, even better for the Jazz.
4. TUJB: It was reported that the Jazz may trade down. Even in this shallow draft do you give up a rare pick as high as the 3?
Zach, TUB: The age old question of quantity vs. quality. If Jazz brass truly feel that the top end of the draft isn't that much different than the last lottery section, I could certainly see them making such a move. The problem lies in the review process? You always have the fear of giving up a truly gifted, potential franchise foundation piece for three mediocre NBA players. 2011 is no different. If the Jazz were to look to trade down, I would suspect it wouldn't be more than 3 or 4 picks down the board. The Jazz are in need of a talent infusion and an already questioning fan base would be quite unhappy were the Jazz to look impotent after being granted such a tremendous gift at the NBA draft lottery.
Clark, SLCDunk: It obviously depends on what you are getting in return for the 3rd pick, but if it consists of two first rounders this year or a lottery pick next year, then I think you make that trade. I think "shallow" is the wrong term for this draft because the players between 11-30 could all be as good as the guys at 5-10, so in this draft picking up a 6 and an 18 or a 9th and a 19 for the 3rd makes a lot of sense. I'm looking at you Washington and Charlotte.
Ferg, 1320KFAN: Yes, especially if it nets draft picks next season. This #3 pick is equivalent to 6 or 7 in a normal draft. Stop staring at the number at stare at the talent available at 3. It is not can't miss, once in a lifetime talent.
Brett, FanRep: It would make more sense if they didn't have two lottery picks. They already have a chance to get the guy with the 12 pick. I would be more in favor of trading out and picking up a veteran.
Spencer, TUJB: If the Jazz traded down and actually received a proven player it would be well worth it. The draft is a lottery itself. You never know what you will actually get. Any of these players could end up out of the league after their rookie contract.
Andy, UJ360: Yes, definitely. All of the prospects below the top two have significant question marks. Trading up, if possible, would benefit the Jazz greatly. If they choose to trade the pick for immediate help, Andre Iguodala, in particular, would be a fantastic pickup for the Jazz. He held his matchup to a 9.8 PER against last year, as well as a 0.81 points per possession against. That means he is an elite defender. His offense, too, would actually be a good fit in the Jazz' scheme. He averaged 1.48 points per possession on cuts to the basket. He's actually a better shooter in spot-up situations: including 39.3% from 3 last year. His percentages were hurt by carrying too much of the 76ers offense, as evidenced by his 239 isolation possessions (compare to Kirilenko's 58 isos), in which he shot just 35% from the field and 22% from 3. Should he be able to adjust his role in the Jazz offense, he would be an immensely valuable addition.
A trade down, on the other hand, only makes sense depending on the pieces involved. Additional lower picks don't make much sense for the Jazz, though future picks might.
5. TUJB: Outside of the oft-mentioned Chris Singleton, Jimmer Fredette, Alec Burks, Bismack Biyombo, and Tristan Thompson who else is on your radar at the 12 pick?
Zach, TUB: I really like Klay Thompson. The kid can shoot the lights out and would give the Jazz a much needed asset to stretch the floor. The Mavericks showed how important the three point shot can be, especially when a player dominates the ball in the post. Favors/Kanter/Williams/Jefferson/Millsap are not the type of shooter that Dirk is, but they work in the same area of the floor. Coach Corbin hasn't shown any interest in changing the Utah offense going forward. That being said, with Hayward and Thompson on the roster, the Jazz could spread the floor, and for many years to come.
Clark, SLCDunk: Two guys: Reggie Jackson out of Boston College and Jordan Hamilton of Texas. Jackson has all the tools the Jazz would look for in a point guard: size, length, shooting, great shot selection, ability to get to the rim and good court vision. Ideally, he would be my pick at #12 after taking a big at 3. I'll take every opportunity to profess that Reggie Jackson will have a better NBA career than Brandon Knight. Hamilton, on the other hand, has the tools to be the offensive player that Singleton has to be a great defensive player. Hamilton is long, smooth and has a very reliable spot up jumper.
Ferg, 1320KFAN: Klay Thompson will most likely be gone, but the name for me is the same name I gave you in the first draft preview. Jordan Hamilton. Watch this video: http://www.draftexpress.com/article/Jordan-Hamilton-Video-Breakdown-3739/ Now Imagine he is wearing #15 and he used to play football in High School.
Brett, FanRep: I would take a look at Klay Thompson and Jordan Hamilton. Both are good shooters and could help stretch the defense. Biyombo would be tough to pass in at 12 even though he doesn't fill an immediate need.
Spencer, TUJB: Who knows what players will be there at #12. I personally am hoping there is so much craziness and moves in this draft that the #12 pick will be the last thing on our minds.
Andy, UJ360: Those players are certainly the favorites. Should the Jazz draft a PG at #3, and some of the aforementioned wing players be taken, Donatas Motiejunas makes some sense for the Jazz, as a high-reward type of big who has an impressive offensive arsenal, but disappoints on the effort and mentality fronts. While that's not a Jazz kind of player, the upside of a Pau Gasol-style big man might be worth the risk.
Jordan Hamilton, a SF from Texas, may be an option no matter what the Jazz do at #3. He displays NBA athleticism and skills, on both the offensive and defensive ends. He takes dumb shots and tries to do too much in Texas offense (which runs a similar flex to the Jazz's), but he acknowledges his flaws in interviews. To me, he's underrated as a prospect.
TUJB Editor: Thanks for your time and unequaled insight, fellas. Anyone else would charge an arm and a leg to offer the kind of excellence you've all served up to Jazz Fan here. Looking forward to the future with you all!
Editor: This is the first time in the Utah Jazz's franchise history that they've had two lottery picks.
Personally, I have Knight and Singleton as my 3 and 12 picks, respectively. Both fill more needs on the Jazz than say Kanter and Jimmer. Knight is a tremendous leader already and you know what you're getting as opposed to Kanter, who is mainly a perimeter big that gives you little in the way of defense or rebounding (read, Memo Jr.).
While Knight may not have the immediate impact of some of the other players, his long-term dividends will ensure that he's an impact player much further into the future than some of the other options available.
As for Singleton, if he can shot even a modicum better than Ronnie Brewer I love him. Where was Ronnie B again this year? Oh yeah, contributing to a deep playoff run in the Eastern Conference Finals. And the Jazz desperately need perimeter defense. It was their biggest hole in the bucket statistically-speaking last season. By a lot.
And count me in the camp that thinks Burks and Thompson won't be there at 12, otherwise you take one of them before you do Singleton.
However, the aforementioned fluidity reared it's head earlier today, making Derrick Williams a very real possibilty at the 3 pick. A player like that renders all thoughts of taking Knight or trading away a pick to the realm of the Robert Tractor Traylor Park. You simply have to take him, then motivate him to work a little harder. He has Carmelo Anthony-esque talent. It would be a shame to let talent like that develop a Melo-esque work ethic and attitude.