RIP Rip - The Downbeat - #637

So after Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld tweeted out that Earl Watson was leaning towards signing with the Hawks, a minor panic ensued with Jazz fans. Watson later tweeted -- whose account is oddly protected now -- that he hadn't made up his mind yet.

There haven't been any other rumblings about Watson's future nor any confirmation of his interest in Atlanta. However, it's worth noting that Atlanta is over the cap, same as the Jazz. That means that they can only offer him the veteran's minimum or the new reduced mid-level exception. So the only thing that might draw him south would be opportunity. Kirk Hinrich is currently injured and Jeff Teague is expected to get the starting job for the time being. So Watson's role would be same as it is with the Jazz except when Hinrich comes back, you would have three capable point guards and playing time could be cut. In Utah however, he would be the primary backup and considering Devin Harris' injury history, could even be starting for some games.

What if Watson does leave though? The Jazz would be in a bit of a bind. Randy Rigby suggested on KFAN that Alec Burks could move over and play some point guard. It would certainly open up the door for Ronnie Price to return given his desire to stay in Utah and familiarity with the system. However, he's being linked to the Suns as well. So it's not impossible that the Jazz find themselves without both of their backup point guards from last season. What if that happens?

Well, the Jazz are bringing in former Villanova point guard Scottie Reynolds to training camp who looks now like he has a good shot at making the roster. If he or another young player gets the shot, the Jazz would certainly want a veteran point guard whether that's through re-signing Price or Watson or signing another FA vet.

It's a free-for-all according to Tyrone Corbin. From Brian T. Smith,

To determine the hand he holds, Corbin plans to push Utah hard during an accelerated training period that starts Friday. His idea late last season of putting every position up for grabs still holds, and he wants to put eyes on every Jazz player wearing a uniform before making any decisions about who plays when and where.

"[Favors] may come into camp and blow our minds away," Corbin said.

What I wouldn't give to see Favors, Millsap, and Jefferson battling it out.

A new twist on DLeague assignments in the new CBA. From Ken Berger,

Also, unlimited D-League assignments for three years. Veterans can go, but only with consent. League had wanted five-year program.

That impacts the Jazz on a couple of levels. One, injured players could have a rehab stint in the DLeague and get back into shape without impacting the NBA's team. I would assume that would only be used for significant injuries though.

The bigger impact is of course with rookies being assigned to the DLeague. In the previous CBA, teams could only send down players three times a season for the first two years. Now it's unlimited assignments for the first three years. Players will still earn their NBA salary however. The league had wanted to pay them on the cheap for their time in the DLeague.

This means that we could see Enes Kanter get PT with the Stampeded this year despite being the #3 pick. However, I don't think we see assignments for him or any of the other players eligible. The biggest reason is because of the compressed schedule. Players are going to get tired and are going to have at least some minor injuries.

Mike Sander is expected to be announced as a player development coach on Friday according to the Tribune. He'll work with Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors as well as the other youngsters. So no #unbelievablefunction. Scott Schroeder has all that you can want to know about Coach Sanders,

Wait, there's even D-League experience! Sanders coached under the legendary Joey Meyers for four seasons with the Asheville Altitude of the NBDL. He knows the D-League system? Great, but how were his teams. Well, in four years, the Altitude won two NBDL championships. He coached Antonio Meeking to two D-League championships. Extensive D-League experience AND championships? Check.

So maybe it's not a stretch that he's working with the young players given his time in the DLeague.

Finally. Ric Bucher on some rules changes that the NBA will be making for this season,

"Rip-through" moves, in which an offensive player swings the ball into a defender's outstretched arm and then attempts a shot once he has created contact, will be considered non-shooting fouls if the contact begins before the offensive player starts his shooting motion.

Also, on drives to the basket, a shooting foul will be called only if contact occurs after the offensive player has begun his shooting motion, not after he has initiated his leap toward the basket.

Kobe Bryant must asking why the league hates him so much. I wonder how long this will get called for and how much players will argue that the arm swing is part of their shooting motion.

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