Tuesday was an interesting day in Jazzland. And I'm assuming that, if you're reading this, you pretty much keep tabs on Jazz news during the day anyway. So we might go over some stuff you already know. Hopefully I don't repeat things too much.
(If worse comes to worst, I can always make fun of some more commercials.)
(Probably not this week, though. Too much news.)
So anyway. Item #1: The Jazz have reached a parting of the ways with Jamaal Tinsley, waiving him just two weeks after signing him to a non-guaranteed contract.
I don't think a lot needs to be said here. Jamaal certainly didn't play well -- not even as well as he played last year in a limited role -- and his presence was always a stopgap measure while Trey Burke (happy 21st birthday!) recovers from his broken finger. So really, whether Tinsley left now or in a few weeks or whatever, he didn't have a long-term future with the Jazz. (If he did, the Jazz would've re-signed him this offseason in the first place.)
I'm disappointed that Uncle Jamaal didn't play better, and bummed that he won't be in the locker room. I think he could have been (and already was last year) a good influence on the young Jazz players. And by all accounts, his personality was a positive one:
Jamaal Tinsley wouldn't get on team bus until I hit a 3 after shootaround at Staples Center last year. I almost had to pay for his cab fare.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) November 12, 2013
Regarding TInsley: Can honestly say I never expected less and witnessed more from a player as far as professionalism and attitude.— Steve Luhm (@sluhm) November 12, 2013
That said, Tinsley certainly wasn't getting the job done on the court, even as a distributor. And it's probably a better idea for the Jazz to bring in younger talent and hope they can strike gold than muddle along with a known quantity.
Speculation abounded on Twitter, of course, that there may be more to this move -- disagreements about playing time and role, perhaps, or even a voluntary request on Tinsley's part to move on. But such speculations are unfounded, I feel, and perhaps do a disservice to a player who served the Jazz honorably and well during his time in SLC.
So happy trails, Jamaal. We love you and wish you well.
The one wrinkle in the Tinsley waiving: The Jazz really have no other options at point guard. John Lucas III can't play 48 minutes a game there -- no, seriously, he can't; I'm pretty sure it would have apocalyptic, multiverse-spanning consequences -- and so far Ty Corbin has shown a reluctance to let Alec Burks or Ian Clark try to run the show for more than a few plays.
A certain amount of point-forward action with Gordon Hayward on the ball makes sense, but G-Time can't play three positions at once. This ain't Starcraft -- multitasking doesn't work in the NBA. There are no hotkeys, no control groups, and no Zerg rushes.
So the Jazz have to sign someone else. The early candidate, according to DJ Jazzy Jody:
Jazz to sign Bakersfield Jam point guard Diante Garrett from D-League to replace waived Jamaal Tinsley, according to league sources.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) November 12, 2013
Other reports claimed it wasn't quite a done deal yet:
Word is Garrett, currently with Iowa Energy in advance of D-League season starting in 10 days, will audition for Jazz & sign if it goes well— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 12, 2013
Free agent point guard Kendall Marshall had been a consideration with Jazz and remains on radar elsewhere, league sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) November 12, 2013
But at the least, Garrett will be in SLC today for a workout, and things seem to indicate that a deal may be imminent.
Now, that certainly doesn't mean Garrett is The Guy for the rest of the season. Any deal he signs will likely be a short-term test run, and Tinsley's fate may await him once Trey Burke is back. But in the meantime, it doesn't hurt to get acquainted with him.
By now you've probably all done a certain amount of scouting on Garrett. I don't know much beyond the basics: 25 years old, 6-foot-4, 190 lbs, out of Iowa State, played a very few minutes for the Suns last season, spent some time in Europe as well, was set to start this year with the Iowa Energy in the D-League. Definitely not anyone's idea of a franchise savior.
@dianaallen You won’t hate but after you watch him enough you won’t really like him. He’s kinda perfect for Utah in that way.— Seth Pollack (@sethpo) November 12, 2013
I can see this pattern repeating a few times during the rest of the 2013-14 season for the Jazz, where they bring in young D-Leaguers or waiver-wire fodder and hope to hit the jackpot. I called it the "blind squirrel looking for a nut" philosophy of roster moves on Twitter yesterday -- not that I think Dennis Lindsey and the Jazz are blind (far from it) but that it's really difficult to find NBA-quality talent from that pool.
We'll just have to cross our fingers that Garrett, or someone like him, is sufficiently nutty.
Here's KeyJazz on a new segment he's trying out, called The Bafflement Report:
Goodness knows there's plenty to make Jazz fans feel baffled at the moment.
Next, The Big Turkey names his All-Tank Team from the first two weeks of the regular season:
In honor of our team’s goal for this season, I am beginning a series of fanposts to honor those players/coaches whose performance on the court best aligns with Dennis Lindsey’s vision and strategy. It is a hard and thankless job to be a terrible basketball player that gets more minutes than he deserves, but somebody has to step up to the plate and get the job done. So without any further ado, I present to you the All-Tank Team of the first two weeks.
Finally, new SLC Dunker Bryce Sagers (welcome!) shares a few of his observations, including this gem regarding one Alec Burks:
It has been more than a few times this season that my wife and son have heard me yell this at the tv screen when Alec Burks takes a jumper: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING BURKS?!? YOU CAN'T TAKE THAT SH--NICE SHOT ALEC!!!" or "WHAT ARE YOU DOING BURKS?!? YOU CAN'T TAKE THAT SHOT!! YOU SHOULD HAVE PASSED IT TO--well just try and make it next time." I swear he shoots 90% on turn around jump shots with a hand in his face...then goes 1-6 from the FT line.
I know that feel, Bryce.
I think it's safe to say that even the most pessimistic of Jazz fans didn't expect an 0-8 start. National media types didn't, either...but now that it's happened, they're all too eager to pile on. Witness this from our old friend Zach Lowe:
Oh, for the days of summer, when Utah fans on Twitter would insist the Jazz weren't tanking. How dare anyone levy the accusation against such a regal franchise? The Jazz bench, shackled too long, would push for a .500 record and a bottom-rung playoff spot!
Jazz fans, reality. Reality, Jazz fans. The team is 0-8, sporting the very worst offense in the league. Why? Well, check out how cramped the spacing is on this Jamaal Tinsley drive from the right corner:
This is the downside of starting two big men with unreliable midrange jumpers, a point guard who can't shoot (Tinsley), and an over-the-hill Richard Jefferson. Only Gordon Hayward garners respect beyond 15 feet. It's going to be a long year. Buckle up, and track those lottery odds.
And this from Lowe's Grantland colleague Rafe Bartholomew, who added Monday's Jazz-Nuggets game to his "Fate Worse Than Death" series:
Somewhere in the doldrums of the third quarter, during a sequence that consisted of a lot of awkward Rudy Gobert off-ball screens and some Arthur pick-and-pop action, I began to feel the effects of Nuggets basketball. But the Nuggets were not alone. My brain was being fried on both sides — I was the drooling recipient of a Denver Vicodin pellet dipped in a vat of Salt Lake City sizzurp. The illegal screens and fumbled passes and dribbling in circles all started to blend together and wash over me. Brian Shaw, you're my Dr. Feelgood. Tyrone Corbin, you’re the captain of my #LEANTEAM.
It sucks being the butt of every joke around the league, especially because it's really not something Jazz fans have ever experienced. But I'm finding it...strangely freeing. Maybe we're just hitting rock bottom. It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
This video made the rounds on Twitter yesterday and got picked up by Yahoo's Dan Devine and
TBJ's The Starters' Trey Kerby, but it's definitely worth sharing here. @Jeffersoniandoc (who has his own Jazz blog that deserves your attention) brings us this video of his three-year-old nephew taking Monday's loss a bit hard.
I was at Monday's game, too (though my reaction to the loss was a bit more subdued. Probably. As far as you know.) Here's the song I thought of as I exited the stadium. I think it serves as an appropriate theme.