Brace Yourselves: The Season is Coming - The Downbeat #876

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

In this Downbeat, we look at who on the Jazz will win Most Improved, a look at the Jazz position in Stein's Power Rankings, a Randy Rigby interview, a quick look at the Jazz' age, and some goofy preseason podcast predictions.

The NBA season begins tomorrow. Fire up your NBA League Pass, and then fire it down, because unless you're incredibly excited for Washington vs. Cleveland, you're going to have to watch the basketball on TNT anyway.

It's interesting how the preseason can affect expectations. While Derrick Favors seemed to be one of the favorites for the Most Improved Player award, Enes Kanter has surpassed those goals set for Favors. Two of the participants in Sheridan Hoops predictions for MIP picked Kanter, while only one picked Favors.

I don't think Sheridan Hoops is a particularly brilliant NBA news and analysis website. Additionally, for Enes Kanter to win the MIP award, he'd need to do some really big things in much higher minutes than he is currently slated to get. He'd also likely need to play better than Derrick Favors to win MIP, even though Kanter came from a lower baseline, perception is everything with these sorts of awards. Kanter winning MIP would almost certainly require a trade or a devastating injury for one of the bigs ahead of him. Either way, the Jazz would probably be worse off in the short term. Weirdly, if you want the Jazz to be an excellent team in 2012-2013, a Enes Kanter MIP would be something to wish against.

Continuing the national media theme, today noted ESPN journalist and Dallas fan Marc Stein released his last power rankings before the season, and the Jazz look good. Stein placed the Jazz 10th in the league in his list:

Enes Kanter's big preseason presumably makes the eventual trade of Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap for a top guard even more of an eventuality. Safer assumption: October health setbacks suffered by Dirk and K-Love have given Utah's playoff hopes an early boost.

I suspect 10th is somewhat too high, but power rankings have always struck me as a weird thing: is it a measure of how good all of the teams are right now? If so, why are the Lakers #3? Does Dallas even deserve to be #16 without Nowitzki? Instead, it's some weird mix of now and the future, which makes them almost impossible to argue with anyone interested in objectivity.

Mr. Alan "Jedi" Zaugg, besides being a really friendly guy, also happens to be friends with Jazz president Randy Rigby. As a result, he had the insider access to ask Rigby the questions we were all wondering on SaltCityHoops, though chose not to ask the most important question of all:

What, exactly, does Randy Rigby do all day? Talk to potential advertisers? I really don't know.

Anyway, it was generally the usual Randy Rigby speak, of eternal optimism and sparse on details. A few worthwhile things, though:

  • There is an option for an extension on Corbin's contract. The Jazz do not seem likely to turn down said extension.
  • He loves the arena experience for basketball. Heck, so do I, the sightlines really are pretty impressive for us upper bowl denizens. The upper bowl tickets are not a rip-off unlike other stadiums.
  • Nobody likes the mountain logo, and it doesn't seem like they'll be using it on a throwback for a long time.

I really liked these "Random Facts" from Moni's fantastic Jazz Fanatical blog:

Random Fact #1: Derrick Favors is exactly five days older than Alec Burks.

Random Fact #2: Kevin Murphy may be a rookie, but he’s older than all four of the kids (Kanter, Favors, Burks, and Gordon Hayward). He’s got 17 days on Hayward, and two years on Kanter.

Random Fact #3: Marvin Williams and Murphy are the only players on the Jazz roster that were not unceremoniously swept out of the Playoffs by the Spurs last season.

Random Fact #4: Last year, Josh Howard and Raja Bell were the only players on the Jazz roster with more than 1,000 minutes of Playoff experience. The two of them combined for 53% of the Jazz’s total Playoff experience. This year, we have four players in the 1,000-minute club: Jamaal Tinsley, Paul Millsap, Marvin, and Mo Williams. The four of them account for 79% of the Jazz’s total Playoff experience.

Josh Howard and Raja Bell: two fantastic reminders of why "experience" has exactly zero impact on winning and losing basketball games.

Tonight, Clark and I recorded another edition of the tenuously-titled Clark and Andy Show, this time taking some time to get into the James Harden trade, and how it affects OKC, the Jazz, the Western Conference, and even the NBA. Little time was spent analyzing the impact of the trade on the universe. Then, we went into predictions mode, though with a little bit more of a lighthearted feel than most. Prominently featured is both of our best/worst impersonations of Kevin Harlan. Click below to listen to the podcast, or as always, feel free to listen on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

Clark and Andy Show #8 - Harden trade + Goofy Preseason Predictions

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