The Downbeat #1160 -- The "No more messing around" Edition

Does it look like I'm messing around anymore? Of course not. - Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Hey Utah Jazz fans, I know we're on a high because of all the awesome stuff we learned, heard, and speculated about on media day . . . but are you ready to rage and reach for your torches and pitchforks? Well, Nick Beaulieu (@NickBeaulieu2 ), for iSportsWeb.com, wrote about . . . well, I'll just type out the title of his article here:

"Ian Clark and his potential career suffocation on the Utah Jazz".

Yeeesh. I know the Jazz a) don't magically turn every player with potential into pure platinum; and furthermore, b) the Jazz already have Trey Burke, Alec Burks, John Lucas III, Gordon Hayward, and Brandon Rush all at the point guard or shooting guard spots. BUT can we wait till a few weeks into the season before lamenting the loss of a possibly fun-to-watch player? I do get it though, the Jazz have a lot of guards and we may not give Clark the time he needs. Thems the breaks, I guess.

It sucks, but it's a possibility. Check out what Nick had to say about it here. And if you're not satisfied, here's an excerpt:

"Point guard Trey Burke is the consensus ‘look out for this guy’ player on the Jazz, but just two years ago the Jazz drafted Alec Burks, a player many believed could fill the shoes left behind since Deron Williams’ departure. Since he’s been with the Jazz, Burks has averaged only 17 minutes a game, with players such as Randy Foye, Jamal Tinsley, and Earl Watson getting the bulk of the other minutes, players who have already peaked in their career.

"To get better in the NBA, there needs to be a balance of minutes played for young players; not too many yet not too few. Burks hasn’t taken a big step yet in the NBA, but it’s unfair to say he’s been given the opportunity to do so.

"Clark is no joke. When his numbers a truly dissected, from statistics figured by Sports Illustrated,  Clark has a higher catch-and-shoot efficiency percentage and off-the-dribble percentage than Victor Oladipo, Ben Mclemore, A.J. McCollum, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and others who were high draft picks, many players who are predicted to become rookie of the year.

"Clearly Clark has the numbers to back up his efficiency, a characteristic that rarely goes hand in hand with shooters. He also has playmaking ability which he showed scoring 33 points in the summer league championship. Before you start key bashing in the comment section, I realize summer league is summer league, but a stage is also a stage, and performances like that can only be encouraging." -- N.Beaulieu, iSportsWeb.com

Okay, maybe that's more than an excerpt. But I still suggest reading it in full. Oh, let's move back onto more fun things to talk about . . . like media day . . .

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If you live under a rock (or in the middle of no-where, in a fly-over-state) you may have missed some of the important stuff from Jazz media day. Luckily, our community features a true superstar in Moni. If you're not already visiting her site frequently you are missing out on a lot of information.

There are detailed, factual, breakdowns of each media interview:

I do love the bromance that seems to be happening between Clark and Gobert. They need a fancy TMZ name. What are your suggestions?

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One of the things we will take a good, hard, look at this year will be the coaches. One of the "new" coaches at training camp this year is bigman specialist coach Karl Malone. David Locke took this pic of him instructing Favors, Kanter, Biedrins, Gobert, Evans, and probably some training camp fodder. (No, Coach Mike Sanders is not training camp fodder)

I think this is an important step for our franchise. The team has a bunch of really expensive bigs on the team right now that are all lacking in on-court NBA experience. Two of them look to get significant raises just due to market over-valuation of size.

Player Salary NBA Career
Player '13 - 14 '14 - 15 Age Games Mins Seasons
Derrick Favors $6,008,196 $7,882,754 22.13 224 4814 3
Enes Kanter $4,505,280 $5,694,674 21.48 140 1995 2
Jeremy Evans $1,660,257 $1,794,872 25.85 117 902 3
Rudy Gobert $1,078,800 $1,127,400 21.27 0 0 0
Total $13,252,533 $16,499,700 481 7711 8

Please note that Favor's contract value for '14-15 is most likely going to be much larger than the minimum. So while it looks crazy that we're going to be spending $13.3 million and $16.5 million the next two seasons on guys who have played less than a combined 500 games in the NBA . . . please understand that Favors' salary next season could be $13 million by itself.

We have some green guys. Maybe too green. Maybe not. What we do know is that they need to get good, fast. And that's where Karl Malone comes into play. The Jazz aren't messing around anymore. (I suspect this has more to do with Dennis Lindsey than any of the career vacationeers in the Jazz front office.) And Karl's time, while currently free or at a reduced rate, is still worth something.

He's not here to mess around either.

So this is going to be predictably awesome for our young guys, if they survive.

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Remember Andrei Kirilenko? I sure do, he's one of my favorite Jazz players of all time. The former All-Star, All-Defensive team member, European Gold Medalist, and Olympian signed this off-season with the Brooklyn Nets. He took a huge paycut and many people were worried about it.

If you want to read more about just what happened then all you need to do is click on this link -- it'll take you to a nice piece written by Jared Zwerling, (@JaredZwerling) a B/R NBA analyst.

"Even though the highest amount the Nets could offer was the mini mid-level exception of $3.18 million, way below Kirilenko's asking price, King wanted to see if the 32-year-old would bite. Perhaps the Nets' new terrific trio of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, plus the connection to fellow Russian and team owner Mikhail Prokhorov—along with the large Russian population in Brooklyn—would entice Kirilenko to sign.

"But the 12-year veteran was quick in his response. "No," he said to Fleisher, who was not surprised.

"We never thought of Brooklyn," Fleisher said. "We knew they had no real money, and Andrei walked away from $10 million in Minnesota." -- J.Zwerling, B/R

Let's be fair, it does look fishy, but Andrei has walked away from money before, or at least tried to but Derek Fisher and the NBA-PA got in the way. His wife has an MBA from the London School of Economics, and has made multi-millions over his career. I think it is fair to say that he's in it for the ring right now, and not for the money.

I wish Andrei the best, and hope that the Nets have a successful season. I think Andrei will, according to NBA 2K14 he's better than every member of our team.

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Oh yeah . . . NBA 2K14 happened. I'm in the process of finishing up a "buyer's guide" for Jazz fans who may be on the fence about it. 2K seems to be dominating my pieces of late, but hey, it's the next best thing before the actual games start. And while 2K has a near monopoly on NBA games -- they don't pay me anything and I am very critical of them.

My piece isn't just going to be a regular review, it's actually going to be looking at the game from a Jazz point of view. I will detail a number of points:

  • What you got with NBA 2K12 or 13
  • What is new this time around
  • How do the Jazz look out of the box
  • How are the Jazz evolving as the season progresses
  • What about the "Golden Era" Jazz team that's included in the game?
  • Why you should buy this game
  • Why you should not buy this game
  • . . . and random anecdotes from my play through so far vs. my experience with the series.

Some key points to recognize is that the guys there are supporting the game right out of the box, and Gordon Hayward's Overall rating has been upped from 69 to 75, and that's without any games being played. Also, somehow, I was drafted in MyPlayer mode by the Phoenix Suns, and they cut Alex Len to make room for me. Jeff Hornacek keeps me on the bench two weeks into the season, despite my penchant for playing defense and taking ill advised shots. The MyTeam mode has significant changes, but if you are good, you can cheese your way to an overpowered roster. I haven't tried any other things yet because a) I can't play video games for hours upon hours like a single guy in college anymore, and b) the game did freeze up at halftime once, necessitating a warm boot of the console.

So look forward to that later on today -- and also check out the announcement happening today by the #TBJ crew. (a number of them are actually in the NBA 2K14 game and can interact with you via social media!)

Woo! Actual NBA news from teams, players, and media! The season is coming!

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