We've officially made it through the offseason and now we get to the training camp and preseason that we all hope will be the difference in figuring out playing time and playing roles for the members of this team. Although, it will be much longer than last preseason, it is still a whirlwind of events now. Here is the quick rundown of the upcoming schedule:
I'm guessing that is 1 PM Mountain Standard Time. Don't expect any groundbreaking interviews, just lots of politician answers. Apparently locker clean out is the place for the good stuff.
"Jazz training camp, which begins one day following the team’s annual Media Day, will begin with two-a-day practice sessions on both Tuesday, October 2 and Wednesday, October 3, with a single practice held the morning of Thursday, October 4, and two more practices on Friday, October 5."
-Official Jazz Press Release that can be found on utahjazz.com
Seven practices really isn't that many. Hopefully the coaching staff already know what they need to learn during that week.
If you live in the area, you should be there. The Utes play on Thursday and the Cougars play on Friday night.
The first of 8 preseason games, with 5 of them on the road. The full preseason schedule can be found here.
As you may have heard, Raja Bell will not be attending camp. We've covered it enough here on the website, but what hasn't been said, that needs to be, is that the Jazz are handling this absolutely perfectly. Since Raja Bell's party and the Jazz cannot agree on a buyout, the only options they have is to waive him and pay him his full salary, or else keep him on the team and pay his full salary while he sits at home.
The ONLY positive to waiving Raja Bell, is to get rid of the issue. That's it. But the Jazz have arguably accomplished that by just keeping him away from the team. If the Jazz keep him "on the team," then they can use his contract later in a trade to make salaries match. Or they can agree to a buyout and save money later, when a team wants to hypothetically sign Raja due to an injury that hasn't happened yet. Or the Jazz can put pressure on Raja to accept a buyout, if he gets tired of the whole issue. If they waive him now, they save no money AND miss out on the ability to trade him as a money filler. It's a no brainer and the Jazz are handling it perfectly. Raja can't negatively affect the team from his couch.
In case you hadn't heard, ESPN's John Hollinger wrote player profile projections for each Jazz player this last week. John Hollinger is simply one of the best analysts around and I think his projections and observations of the Utah Jazz are spot on. You have to have an ESPN Insider account to read the whole thing, but in case you don't, I will hit some highlights for you:
On Mo WIlliams:
In my opinion his analysis is spot on. You should pay the fee to be able to read his full report, because it is worth it alone. I can't wait to see how these numbers compare with Basketball Prospectus' preseason projections that should drop sometime in the next two weeks.
I propose that we place a moratorium on any trade talk until after the new year. No team is going into training camp looking to make a major trade. All teams, including the Jazz, have the team they are going to roll with for the first 3 months of the season. Things may change around the trade deadline, but for right now, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, no matter what you think or feel about them, are here to stay and play for the Jazz right now. They aren't getting traded in the next 2-3 months. I'm in the middle of an entire write up of the ins and outs of the Jefferson/Millsap/Favors situation for a later time, but for now, they are both here to stay. So my suggestion is to not even waste your time on their strengths and weaknesses and why one should start and the other not and trades, etc, etc, etc. Just take a couple months off. Speculation will pick up all over the league by about December 31st.
As if you needed any more reason to be excited for the season: