Very few players who get invited to training camp for a chance to impress the brain trust ever make the team. In Utah Jazz history I can only really look as far back as Wesley Matthews as a success story in this regard. This season the Jazz have brought in seven players who all have had some level of NBA experience. Mychal wrote a really long post detailing each of these players and looked into their histories as college players and what they've done at the pro level. So read it again here, first! This post is going to focus not on the players, but on their fit with the team.
|NBA Draft||Years Played||Position||NBA Career Averages|
|Player||Age||HT||WT||NCAA||Rd||Pk||Year||NBA XP||PRO XP||NBA Teams||PG||SG||SF||PF||C||G||MPG||PPG||RPG||APG||SPG||BPG|
|2||Lester Hudson||29||6||3||190||Tennessee - Martin||2||58||2009||3||3||Celtics, Grizzlies, Wizards, Cavaliers||x||52||10.3||4.8||1.3||1.3||0.5||0.1|
|3||Mike Harris||30||6||6||235||Rice||-||-||2005||3||8||Rockets, Wizards||x||x||34||8.0||2.9||2.4||0.2||0.3||0.1|
|5||Dominic McGuire||27||6||9||235||Fresno State||2||47||2007||5||5||Wizards, Kings, Bobcats, Warriors,||x||x||342||15.6||2.7||3.4||1.2||0.5||0.5|
|Raptors, Hornets, Pacers|
|6||Brian Cook||32||6||9||234||Illinois||1||24||2003||9||10||Lakers, Magic, Rockets, Clippers, Wizards||x||x||421||13.4||5.5||2.6||0.6||0.3||0.3|
|7||Dwayne Jones||30||6||11||250||Saint Joseph's||-||-||2005||5||8||Celtics, Cavaliers, Bobcats, Suns||x||x||82||7.8||1.3||2.3||0.1||0.1||0.4|
Right off the bat I think we need to recognize that these statistics mean mostly NOTHING for anyone outside of the two guys who have played in the NBA for a few seasons and actually gotten into over 300 games at this level. A lot of them have NBA Developmental League experience and/or professional experience in other leagues -- but those numbers also mean little. Effectively it's all going to come down to two things:
- The Needs of the Jazz
- The competition from the existing guys on the roster
So let's break this down by position.
Right now the Jazz have a few players who may be capable of handling the point in potential NBA starter John Lucas III (don't say it couldn't happen!) and NBA rookie Trey Burke. Behind them there isn't much overt depth. Alec Burks can play and defend some point, but we remain very skeptical of his ability to run a team. Ian Clark is an undrafted rookie who is a short shooting guard, and not really a point guard either. Furthermore, the team appears to be willing to let Gordon Hayward run the system a little bit from the wing, reducing the needs for a point guard to have the ball in his hands at all time.
However, ever since the 12 man roster days the Utah Jazz have carried three legit, full-time point guards. So according to the historical doctrine, the Jazz are still in the market for one more guy. That guy could be Machado -- but the one year NBA vet is not really any more experienced than Alec Burks (who has played more total NBA minutes at the PG spot), or talented than Trey Burke. I could have understood it if we brought back Jamaal Tinsley. Instead we have a very young guy who has a solid NCAA career. He does not bring anything other than youth, inexperience, and depth to the spot. He's not a veteran leader who somehow compliments the current PGs we have on the roster already.
Logically he shouldn't make it on his professional credentials. Based upon his NCAA or NBA-DL career, and the fact that we like to have three point guards, he has a shot. Scott averaged 13.6 ppg and 9.9 apg in his senior year at Iona, and 6.5 ppg and 3.4 apg in his most recent stint in the DL (with the San Antonio Spurs team). Dennis Lindsey has Spurs ties, but let's not also forget that in the DL Machado averaged 2.0 turn overs a game too. He's not solid, experienced, or "VET" enough.
After all, with Burke and Burks both going to study under St. Stockton this off-season, maybe we already HAVE three point guards on the roster? My gut tells me that he's one of the last cuts if everyone stays healthy. If a guard gets injured he may make the team.
SHOOTING GUARD and SMALL FORWARD:
The Jazz aren't as strong at the wings as they would like to be. Remember the good old days of Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews, Andrei Kirilenko, and C.J. Miles all on the same squad? Now we have Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks (who may be pulling in double duty as a back up PG), Brandon Rush (coming off of a serious injury that used to end careers 15 years ago), Marvin Williams (also off of an injury), and Richard Jefferson (no comment). Ian Clark should technically be in this group too, but because of our lack of PG depth I think he may systematically be placed there instead for the purpose of evaluating invites.
So, of the guys on the roster now two are injured or will be coming off of injuries. One guy is super old. Another is splitting time at another "need" position. So the Jazz are totally in the market for another wing player. I don't think Jeremy Evans is going to get a chance to slide over, and that helps explain why the Jazz have four guys who can play either the SG or SF fighting for their NBA lives in training camp. Any one of them has a legit shot to make the team. Probably only one though.
As far as competition goes, Hayward, Burks, Jefferson, Rush, and Williams are all locks. Clark is almost a lock as well. They will exist as the litmus to work against. The main comp will be between these four guys. Holiday is the youngest, and least experienced at the NBA level. Two of them were drafted, two of them were undrafted. We're not given much information on how they have fared so far after two days into training camp so I can't predict if any of them are going to make the team. They may all fight each other and all fail as a result -- or one will emerge as the best and have a legit shot to make the team.
I don't know. If I was going to pick a guy to make it I would go with Dominic McGuire because he has the most experience, is a SF/PF not a SG/SF, and does more than just one thing on the floor. He's also a guy who was picked in the second round, #47 -- and that's our magic Mo Williams / Paul Millsap / Kevin Murphy spot. #numbers
Power Forward and Center:
Ideally the Jazz would only need a warm body here because the majority of the minutes should go to Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Andris Biedrins, Jeremy Evans, Rudy Gobert -- and maybe Marvin Williams when he returns. It's insurance, not a direct need like the team has with another wing, or a doctrine thing like with the ball handler. The Jazz don't really need another big, but it would be good to diversity and gain a face up / stretch big. That's precisely what Brian Cook is. The 10 year pro vet does that, and essentially, only that. He may have the inside track on Dwayne Jones -- Jones is just really big and isn't a stretch big at all. (At least not to the three point line)
If a guy is going to make it here, it'll be Cook (unless McGuire proves his worth from distance as a stretch big).
But the PF/C spot isn't a need right now.
Who do you think makes it out, if anyone?