NEW YORK (Olympics) - The USA Select team has been a vital part of the country's return to the top of international basketball with many members having graduated to the senior side coached by Mike Krzyzewski.
Though the select squad has yet to be announced, there is media speculation that the Americans are planning to include New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin and others with stardom in their future.
If reports are true, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors (both Utah), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento), Klay Thompson (Golden State), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland), John Wall (Washington), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), Paul George (Indiana), Kawhi Leonard and DeJuan Blair (San Antonio), Ryan Anderson (Orlando) and Taj Gibson (Chicago) will also be invited.
Meanwhile, USA Basketball confirmed on Monday that the country's Olympic Committee (USOC) had granted a two-week extension for the naming of the 12 players who will travel to London and compete at the Olympics.
Four players on the Olympic team have removed themselves because of injuries or mental breakdowns. The recent addition of some of our local players is a cause for speculation. Here are the injuries: Rose, Billups, Alldrige, and Howard and Odom due to mental breakdowns. Two point guards, two forwards/centers and a true center. If you look at the list of players that have been added to the select team, there are only three players that could fill the center position left by Howard/LMA/Odom; Favors, Cousins and Blair. I am not saying that Favors is going to play on the Olympic team, I am speculating at the openings and the recent additions. There are two spots to fill with three players to fill those spots. I think the odds are forever in Favors favor. It is possible that he could fill one of the Forward spots for Alldridge or Odom as well. Hayward does not look like a replacement for Rose or Billups. When you look at the full roster below, it looks like a tough spot for Hayward to be in. Hayward is four years away at least.
UPDATE: Anthony Davis is not on the list below and would get the nod before the Select Team.
Utah Jazz Around the Web
Al Jefferson Stats Breakdown from LockedonSports
Locke is fantastic with stats. I also like that he has broken it down into categories instead of throwing it all into one post. It is difficult to write “sloany” stat filled posts. Those of you reading that have tried, know what I am talking about.
Jerry Sloan #2 on the Free Agent Coaches List. Tom Ziller
It is safe to say that for the next five years, Jerry Sloan’s name will come up every time there is a opening. I get it, but how interested is he really?
One-on-One with Kerem Kanter: More than Just Enes’s little brother
Some very interesting comments from Kanter’s brother. I don’t know how we would get him here or even how good he is, but he watches every Jazz game and is probably going to be an NBA player soon.
Point Guard Drivin League: Tim Cowlishaw
This goes back to the Devin Harris decision, if you could call it that.
Kyle Korver Anyone? From Bulls.com
Would Kyle Korver come back to the Jazz? It looks like the Bulls are going to have a hard time resigning everyone. He is right in our range price wise.
Kyle Korver: He had a good season, ranking in the top 10 in three point shooting again, but suffered a foot injury late in the regular season that worsened in the playoffs and he basically was unable to play in Game 6, though the team declined to discuss specifics. Korver is one of the league’s best perimeter shooters and an improving defender, so there’ll be good a market for him if the Bulls let him go. “We went in every day as a team believing we would win a championship,” said Korver. “We really went for it. We put everything into it every day. So it makes it a really tough finish. This team has a really bright future. Obviously, we need Derrick to come back healthy and strong, which we all think he will. There are some really great pieces. They told me they’d like to bring me back, but (I know) it will come to dollars. It’s a privilege to wear a Bulls uniform. It’s really an honor. I watched the Bulls growing up. To be part of an organization like that is great. The Bulls are first class in every way, great people, organization, culture and a great place to play basketball. Chicago is an amazing place for sports. Obviously, I’d love to be back, but we’ll see.”
Chance to return: 30 percent
@AndyBlarsen @Slcdunk Debut on the Downbeat
I Love Andy. We had him on a Podcast about a month ago, and he knows his stuff. He is a huge addition to the Jazz community. I would be lying if I didn’t say he has been heavily recruited by all Jazz sites since about the third grade. ;) He is like a blue chip.
@Monilogue Jazz Fanatical and your AK fix
The rumors are flying around that AK may want to comeback. I just don’t know if we have/want to spend the money that he is looking for. However we have already given him 91.5 Million dollars.
USA Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has announced that Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward has accepted an invitation to join this year’s team at the Olympics, reports Michael C. Lewis of the Salt Lake Tribune.
Hayward will be a welcome addition to the American squad, as injuries have ravaged an originally promising roster. LaMarcus Aldridge, Chauncey Billups, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love and Derrick Rose all suffered injuries this season that put their status for this summer’s Games in doubt. James Harden and Anthony Davis were added to the Team USA roster earlier this month, but more help was still needed.
Hayward is a promising young player — the former No. 9 overall draft pick started for the playoff-bound Utah Jazz this year, averaging 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in his second pro season.
Coach K and Hayward share an interesting connection — the coach’s Duke Blue Devils beat the youngster’s Butler Bulldogs in the NCAA Tournament final in 2010. Hayward missed a desperate halfcourt shot at the buzzer to end March Madness.
I don't think that Hayward will see any minutes this summer, and with Coach K coaching his last Olympic team, Hayward may never get PT on the olympic team. However, getting on the Olympic team is a process of growth, and starting from the bottom and working your way up. Hayward, (and Favors) are in the pipeline to be on the team in 2016.
The last guy on the bench, but the first guy off it.
On April 10th, 2012 the Utah Jazz signed Blake Ahearn to a ten day contract, and then extended that contract through the end of the year on April 20th. For those of you that watch the Jazz games regularly you may have noticed something about Blake Ahearn. He is a high energy guy that pops off the bench when a huge play is made. He is the first player off the bench when a timeout out is called. He is one of our biggest fans. Statistically, you aren’t going to get “Sloaned” by Ahearn unless you look at his D-league stats. Even then, it’s hard to analyze because of the lack of advanced stats.
The biggest part of the Blake Ahearn story is the narrative itself.
Blake has been in and out of the NBA three separate times: Miami 08’, San Antonio 09’, and the Jazz in 2012. The salaries in the NBADL are close to an hourly salary: 12,000, 18,000, and 24,000 per season. The cap for a D-League season is 24,000. It is safe to assume that Blake has other sources of income; whether that is a job, a side business, or using his Missouri State degree. The unofficial amount of the two 10 days contracts is 120,000 dollars. Possibly, ten times the amount that he is making in the D-League. How would you act if you just increases your salary by 5-10 times. It’s also safe to say that the salary helps, but it is more about achieved a childhood dream.
I would imagine that his perseverance on the basketball court is due to a dream that started when he was a little kid. While we know that it is not anyone’s dream to sit on the end of the bench and cheer other players on, Blake truly relished the role. He understood the “brotherhood” of the NBA, and played his part on the team. His part was to stay positive, upbeat, and support the other players, and be ready if needs be.
Blake Ahearn probably has a lot of questions running around in his mind as the season ends. He probably has a lot of fears as well. There are a few things that we can’t take away from him.
First, he was on one of the franchise’s greatest playoff runs and had an important role of the court. It has been 20 years since we ended a season with five or more straight wins.
Second, he earned enough money to continue chasing his dreams of playing in the NBA. Whether on the Jazz or not, he has some wiggle room.
Third, and maybe the most important, he showed us that it’s ok to be a crazy Utah Jazz fan. Because, for 21 days in the spring of 2012, he was just like us, a fan cheering for his favorite team.
We are Utah Jazz
Well that was, er, fun? While I was a full supporter of the #playoffpush I didn’t expect us to win this series. I didn’t expect it to be close. Now I did think that we were going to steal one game, but I was also ready for a sweep, and I was okay with that. However, I am not fine with the way we got swept. We didn’t play our best basketball, which gave us virtually no chance to win against a scalding hot Spurs team. The settling for jumpers, the lazy passes, the fact that we gave up at times, that’s what disappointed me. Not many bright spots from this series, but I’ll see if I can find some.
Playoff Line: 13 points (40%), 3.8 assists (3 TO’s), 1.5 rebounds
Harris came into the series as a huge key to the Jazz as he matching up against Parker (A matchup that Parker ended up winning with ease). While Harris did start the series pretty poorly (scoring just 12 points in the first two games) he did play much better in Utah (averaging 20 points a contest). Overall he just wasn’t able to keep up his stellar play that we saw at the end of the regular season. He FG% dropped 4% from April to the playoffs, which isn’t terrible, but his 3PT% dropped a crucial 15% giving the Jazz almost no outside threat.
Playoff Line: 3.8 points (29%), 3.5 rebounds, 1 assists (.5 TO’s)
Despite being injured and on the bench during Utah’s late season surge Howard was inserted into the starting lineup for the playoffs. While I don’t think it’s fair to say this is why we lost the series, I’m not sure that his sub 30% shooting helped us much. It will be interesting to see if he comes back for next season.
Playoff Line: 7.3 points (18%), 2.8 rebounds, 3 assists (.75 TO’s)
Quite the drop-off for Hayward, who was playing out of his mind in March and April. If I had to guess who would step up the most in the playoffs, I thought for sure it would be Hayward. Gordon's shot was obviously off as he shot a stunning 18% for the series (and 8% from 3), but he also seemed to be less aggressive. After a solid game one, where he made it to the line 12 times (making all 12) he finished the series only taking 4 more free throws. Was Hayward just tired, did he zone out, or did the Spurs just stop him? I don’t know. Thankfully I do know this won’t rest easy in his mind, and he’ll be back looking for redemption next season.
Playoff Line: 12 points (37%), 11 rebounds, .5 assists (2.3 TO’s), 2.5 blocks
Millsap really, REALLY, struggles against the Spurs. He did this series, he did this year, and he has struggled vs them nearly his whole career. I decided to look into the numbers on this on basketball-referance.com, and it didn’t take long for this to be confirmed. Millsap shot just 39.5% vs them this season, and it turns out he only has a lower career points per game vs two other teams (9.5 vs the Spurs, 9.3 Kings, 8.6 Wizards). Maybe this is just because the Spurs are the Spurs. They take away strengths and force your weaknesses. Regardless, the Jazz just aren’t going to win many games when Millsap plays like he did.
Playoff Line: 18.3 points (53%), 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists (1.3 TO’s), 1.3 steals
I’ll be honest, when I was looking up the stats I was a bit surprised to see that Jefferson led the team in FG%. Offensively he really didn’t have that bad of a series. While he did just go to the line 4 times in 4 games (making just 1) he still shot 53% from the field. When it comes to offensive efficiency, Al really had only one terrible game (game 2) where he averaged .64 points per possession. He was alright in game 1 (.94) and great in games 3 and 4 (1.05, 1.24). It was defensively where Jefferson had a hard time. Jefferson can’t guard the pick and roll, and the Spurs exposed it like we knew they would. It can also be really disheartening when a player gives up on a fast break, something I saw Al do multiple times. That being said, Al just isn’t a good defensive player. I don’t think it’s fair at all to put this sweep on him, I think we got sort of what we expected on both ends of the floor.
Playoff Line: 3.8 points (25%), 3 assists (1.5 TO’s), .8 rebounds
Unfortunately Tinsley wasn’t able to run the bench like he did to finish off the season, but to his credit they did play better than the starters for the most part (Oddly enough, he did have the worst +/- off the bench). It’s still hard to judge him by his numbers, because he never really puts up great ones. Sort of an in-between series for him.
Playoff Line: 6.5 points (25%), 2.3 rebounds, .8 assists (0 TO’s) (15.5 minutes)
Burks was another who simply couldn’t find his shot vs the Spurs. Alec shot just 25% overall and went 0 of 8 in game 4. His jumpers weren’t falling and he simply could finish like he did for the majority of the regular season. Thankfully he still made it to the line, where he went 12 of 14 (86%). One thing I saw mentioned multiple times was that despite being a rookie, he didn’t seem to play as if he was affected by the pressure of the playoffs. It’s too bad we can’t say that about the whole team.
Playoff Line: 11.8 points (42%), 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 1.3 steals (29 minutes)
Derrick Favors was great vs the Spurs, and was one of the only bright spots in the whole series. While he wasn’t perfect offensively, he was a BEAST defensively. It’s amazing how much better the Jazz are with him on the floor. Is it a coincidence that the Spurs 5th worst offensive game of the year (according to Locke) is the same game that Favors plays 37 minutes? I don’t think so. It’s also no coincidence that Favors had the second best [average] +/- throughout the series at -.3 (Only Kanter was higher, at +.8). I noticed this especially in game 4, but the Spurs were much more hesitant around the rim when Favors was in protecting it. He is putting fear into his opponents’ heads, and is learning how to shut people down. If you’re not on the Favors’ bandwagon yet, hop on quick, because it’s about to take off.
Playoff Line: 3.5 points (44%), 4 rebounds (10.8 minutes)
Kanter didn’t get very much burn in the playoffs, but he still made the most of what he got. He was two points away from a double-double in game two and if you run his numbers this series per 36 minutes you get 11.7 points and 13.3 boards, which isn’t bad at all.
Playoff Line: 4.8 points (47%), 3 rebounds
I brought this up a few weeks ago, but could DeMarre Carroll be the wing version of Ronnie Price? He has the hustle, the energy, the defense, but what really made me think of the comparison was how he was playing at the end of game 4. The Jazz were down big, the game seemed to be over. And when it looked like nobody would step up, Carroll did. He laid everything on the line and sparked a run that nearly won us the game. Something I remember Ronnie Price doing a time or two vs the Lakers. I can’t begin to tell how much I love it when a player, who may not be extremely talented, lays it all on the line, gives it everything he’s got. Those are the type of players I don’t forget. It was great to hear that he’ll most likely be in a Jazz uni next season.
Players who didn’t play (very much): Jeremy Evans, Blake Ahearn, CJ Miles,, Raja Bell
I don’t think there will be many surprises with my final decision of the year.
Player of the Playoffs
The future, Ladies and Gentlemen. (Photo via Tom Smart, Deseret News)
Derrick Favors: 11.8 points (42%), 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 1.3 steals (29 minutes)
Runner up: DeMarre Carroll
Special Mentions : ehh.
What started on Dec. 19th with a 20 point loss to the Portland Trailblazers has come to an end. The San Antonio Spurs have swept the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs. We have seen many things throughout the 2011-2012 Utah Jazz season. Those “things”, have been seen by many different people, and in many different ways. Over the next week or so, we will be giving you the 2012 Utah Jazz Player Reports. Eight writers, Sixteen players, and one hell of a ride, no matter how you look at it. Thank you for reading and enjoy!