The Downbeat #1152 - The Rankings Edition

USA TODAY Sports

One week until Media Day.  One week until we are all (for better, or worse) glued to 1280 to hear every sound bite and familiar preseason cliche.  We will hear about who improved their jumpshot and three point shooting.  Who has put on muscle, who has dropped weight, and who is in the best shape of their career.  We will hear about a commitment to defense and new defensive strategies.  We will hear about the new uptempo offense and how they will really push the ball in transition.  We will roll our eyes a lot, but we will relish every minute of it.

According to the venerable Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Pacers and Paul George are finalizing a 5 year, $90 million contract. What do you all think about this?  Certainly the Pacers want to do everything to hold on to their breakout star, but is this the right price?  What does this do to the Jazz's negotiations with Gordon Hayward?  What price is Hayward worth?  Personally, I think that not much will happen on that front until the end of this season.  The Jazz will do what the Jazz do and evaluate him as a centerpiece of the team and go from there.  If they were to offer right now, 5 years at $50 million sounds about right to me.

As Amar mentioned on Saturday, ESPN is doing their annual player rankings.  As all of the sports news companies and blogs scramble to generate content, SI is doing something similar with their Top 100 players in the league list (The list starts here.)  As part of this series, they have also had questions that have generated some further conversation.  Why does this matter?  It doesn't because these lists are subjective, but one of the questions that came up in the series is this:

1. Which player ranked from 30 to 100 has the best chance of significantly outperforming his ranking?

Of interest is the response from Rob Mahoney:

Derrick Favors (No. 87). Davis is a great pick, but an even safer bet might be a developing big man far lower in our rankings. Utah’s Favors, 22, was pushed down to No. 87 because he doesn’t quite have the defensive intuition to be a consistent difference-maker or the comfort level on offense to make good use of his size.

Hayward, the only other Jazz player on the list, came in at #67

Gordon Hayward, the only other Jazz player on the list, came in at #67

Hayward is already quite versatile — a quality scorer, a defensive irritant, a capable passer — and needs only the time and opportunity to further develop his skills with the ball.

I don't think you can argue with this assessment.  Improving his ball control on dribble penetration will do wonders for his game.  He have seen how aggressive and effective he can be getting into the paint, but we've also seen how big of a catastrophe it can be when he gets there.

Be prepared for anything this season:

Steve Luhm (SL Trib):  New look Utah Jazz ready for uncertainty of season

One of the things I look forward to, as we approach the start of the season, is the announcements for alternate uniforms.  What is your dream uniform?

For me, it would be a Utah Stars throwback.  I know the Stars didn't have anything to do with the Jazz (no common ownership, etc) but they were a big reason that the Jazz were able to succeed in Utah.  Couple that with our (or at least my) beloved Ron Boone having played for the team, and the recent passing of ABA great Zelmo Beaty and I think the time is right.

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