This afternoon the 0-4 Utah Jazz will lace them up to face the 0-4 Boston Celtics. To commemorate this momentous occasion (one of these two teams will be breaking their losing streaks tonight), we got a chance to have a tet-a-tet with CelticsBlog 's main man Jeff C (@CelticsBlog). Nothing too crazy here, unless you want to find out THE SECRET RECIPE TO GETTING RAJON RONDO ON THE JAZZ. *Ahem* Okay, let's move on.
1. I'm probably one of the last MarShon Brooks fans out there. He has only played in 7 minutes so far this season. He's not injured right now according to the websites I've researched. So what gives? He had a solid rookie season for the Nets before they got Joe Johnson, then completely fell off the map. For a guy who has such great combine numbers and an apparent "I want to get better" motivation how did he go from occasional starter to a guy chained to the bench on a lotto team?
Jeff C: Basically MarShon has the deck stacked against him and he only has one card to play. You'd think that he'd be able to find time on a lottery team, but we've got 100 shooting guards on this roster and most of them have a more diverse skillset than Brooks who is pretty much just a scorer at this point. That's a good skill to have and maybe when Rondo comes back he can come off the bench for some instant offense, but we've also got Jordan Crawford in that role and Steez can fill in at point guard in a pinch (and right now we're in a pinch). There's also Courtney Lee who can play defense and occasionally hit jumpers. Like all the players from the Nets deal, Brooks just doesn't fit on this roster and he'd be better served being packaged somewhere else. In short, he's a low value trade chip right now.
2. As someone who went to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago it was apparent after the first session of the day that out of all the bigs, Kelly Olynyk was going to be good. He really wowed most everyone there, including the sizable Utah Jazz contingent. If Trey Burke was not available, and he slipped to them, I have no doubts that the Jazz were targeting him. What impressed me most was his actual three point range at the pro level. I didn't watch him play in college much, but he absolutely dominated the Orlando summer league. The one knock on him was that he was probably only going to improve just a little bit more in the NBA, and that other bigmen may have more room to grow. So, as someone who has watched him much more than I have over the summer -- how good is he now? And how good do you think he can be?
Jeff C: Olynyk has been progressing very nicely. As you say, he's got a great feel for the game offensively and he's got more range than we saw from him in college. That said, I think Ainge had him pegged pretty well when he said that he's a stretch 4 that will be a nice complimentary player in this league. I think starter or first big off the bench is where I'd project him. His defense has been the consistent knock on him but he does a nice job stepping in for charges and I think he'll be able to operate well in a good defensive system. Just don't expect him to keep up laterally with the more athletic bigs in the league. The Dirk Nowitski comparisons are a little over the top, but the styles of play are very similar and that kind of player could have a lot of success in this league. I'm very pleased with him.
3. Humor me. If both teams are 100% healthy right now, what would it take to get Rajon Rondo in just a simple two-team deal between my Jazz and your Celtics?
Jeff C: Ok, you asked me to humor you, now humor me. I'm a huge Rondo fan, so unless I'm getting a star in return, I'm not interested. Period. I guess if you pushed me I would throw something like this out. I'm pretty sure your fans will accuse me of trolling them, but I'd honestly want a draft pick tossed in too (I guess I could allow for it to be a top 5 protected pick). I'm that big of a fan. Or to put it another way, I think of Rondo as a special talent that you can't replace easily if at all. Nobody on the Jazz strikes me as that kind of player. Also, I'm perfectly happy keeping Rondo for the long term and I flatly reject this notion that the Celtics somehow HAVE to trade him this year. Of course if Rondo requests to be dealt or if Ainge makes it clear that he's on the block, I'll have to adjust my expectations accordingly, but I won't like it.
Thanks again Jeff for doing this. Please check out CelticsBlog, it's great. They have their #UTAatBOS game preview already up; and just for kicks, there's an article there about which 0-4 Head coach is the best (Hint: Jeff doesn't think it's Tyrone Corbin). Also check out their site later on during the day for my answers to Jeff's questions!