The Enes Kanter dance video is all the talk of Jazz land right now. Just a reminder that this isn't the first time a Jazz man has humiliated himself in front of thousands for the benefit of others. And I'm not even talking about Kyrylo Fesenko or Kosta Koufos' dance :
I'm not a big fan of self-promotion, but I also realize that many of you don't have a free hour to just sit and listen to the podcast that Andy and I do. If you do have time, or need something to listen to while you run or bike, then give it a listen. But for those of you who won't listen to it, or if you like the highlights before you listen, this downbeat will be dedicated to the highlights, as this is also the last downbeat that exists without real basketball to talk about (scrimmages aren't real).
On the Podcast Andy and I discuss each and every Jazz player on the team and we discuss one thing that player should work on to improve their game and we each make one prediction about that player for the upcoming season. Two players I know you will be interested in hearing about are Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors. Andy mentioned that both of these guys really need to improve their ability to pass the ball. We both agree that Kanter won't see an increase in minutes this season, but will be poised to probably play 25-30 minutes next year. But here is the fun prediction:
Andy picked Derrick Favors to win the NBA's most improved player this upcoming season and I predicted him to take 2nd place behind Golden State's Klay Thompson. We didn't discuss these prediction's before the podcast, so this was completely coincidental. But with his anticipated improvement in both his game and his minutes, Favors is certainly in position to compete for that award.
Andy and I also both tabbed Alec Burks' area of needed improvement. If you go to ESPN's affiliate database hoopdata.com, you can look up advanced stats for any NBA player. Specifically you can look up shot locations of players. Here is Alec Burks' shot location breakdown. Via hoopdata.com:
What this data shows us is that Alec Burks shot a very respectable 65% when he shot at the rim. However, Burks shot an absolutely atrocious 13-66 (20%) from shots from 3 to 15 feet. That has to improve.
The good news is that there is someone on the team, who can show him how to improve. Here are Gordon Hayward's shot locations from his last two seasons:
There are a couple things of note here. His rookie year, Gordon Hayward shot 47-124 (38%) from 3 to 23 feet. However during his second season, he went 96-239 (40%) from the same areas. It is impressive enough that he shot twice as many shots AND improved his shooting percentage. But on top of that, Hayward also improved his ability to get his own shot from 3-15 feet. In his rookie season 5 of 9 (55%) made shots from 3 to 15 feet were assisted. So Hayward was mostly making shots off of curls and cuts to the basket. But during his sophomore year, only 12 of his 36 (33%) makes from 3 to 15 feet were assisted. So Gordon learned to create the floater or pull up jumper in the lane after his rookie year. If Burks makes even a similar leap in his midrange game that Hayward made, Burks will be a special scorer, especially for a 2nd year man.
I wasn't really in the mood to tell a 43 year old man how to do his job on the basketball court, so instead I mentioned that I wanted to see Jamaal Tinsley step his twitter game up and be the guy who sends fans funny pictures of teammates sleeping on the plane and what not. I think I had the right idea, but maybe just the wrong Jazzman. Here's a tweet last night from Mo Williams:
I don't know why pictures like this are so funny. I mean, everyone sleeps and everyone pretty much looks like that when they sleep. But this is the twitter leadership that Mo Williams was brought to the Jazz to produce.
Predictions are sort of fun and somewhat difficult. Take last season for instance. I would say that the fact that the Jazz made the playoffs was unpredictable, but if you look at each Jazz player's individual performances, it's hard to say that many unpredictable things happened. Al Jefferson put up the highest scoring game. Devin Harris lead the team in assists. Raja Bell was a hindrance to the team. Each player's individual stats were fairly predictable. However, there were some surprises. Jamaal Tinsley put up the most assists in a game with 13. Paul Millsap's 8 steals in a game and steals all season were a nice surprise. Al Jefferson had 7 assists in a game. That's crazy.
So how about you, dunkers? What do you predict will happen this season? Let's have some fun and let's get creative...or analytical. Either way. Also, an apology for the changing fonts in this downbeat. Something was going crazy.