The Downbeat #1194 - The "Creepy Ex-Boyfriend" Edition

How many ex-Jazz players are in this photo? - Kevin C. Cox

Okay, so we lost to the Chicago Bulls last night. Yucca documents it all with his preview and game recap; and I helped a bit by breaking down some opposing team scouting, and the game thread says pretty much all the rest. It's frustrating to continue losing, and even more so to get blown out. But road blowout losses aren't anything new for us. They've become a little too familiar and predictable since we moved away from our recent era zenith of those Deron Williams / Kyle Korver Jazz teams (I don't think we give Kyle enough respect for how his shooting helped take our team to another level). The crazier thing is that we're now 17-29 all-time AT Chicago. That's winning there 37% of the time. Further rounding up means that we win in Chicago 4 times out of 10. Is that number larger or smaller than you expected?

Chicago is forever going to be a part of our Utah Jazz history, Jerry Sloan was the original Bull; we played them twice in the NBA Finals; Tyrone Corbin was a star at DePaul (in Chicago), and so on. John Lucas III used to play for them, and out of all of the failure that we got in the actual game, his hot shooting in garbage time resulted in him having a pretty okay night for him, 9 points off of 9 shots (3/9 over all but 3/4 from downtown), 2 rebounds, 1 assist (only 1 turn over), and a whopping 3 steals. He's only done the 3 threes made / 3 steals milestone once. And beyond that only finished a game with 2 made threes and 2 steals two other times. So while this was a bad night for almost everyone, John had a career night in a way. So that's a positive!

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You may not be crazy about basketball video games (seeing how my first was on Atari I've been hooked), but basketball video games are sure getting pretty crazy. The next generation of high volume gaming consoles (the mighty, majestic PS4, and the lowly Xbone) are taking things to the next level. Here you see a video of their newest reveal -- actual ingame interviews by players and coaches, using their actual voices.

Needless to say I can't wait to hear Utah Jazz head coach tell the world that our young players need to "get better," and/or "be better."

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Are you watching only Utah Jazz games, or watching a bit of every team out there? I kind of "have to" watch every team; I know My_Lo is already doing his due diligence by scouting the NCAA right now (we only have a few more months until the hotel screws up our reservation again for the combine). But while I am watching a lot of other teams out there there's this level of creepy ex-boyfriend behavior seeping in. When I watch the Brooklyn Nets I invariably focus in on the on court production and behavior of Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko. Are they happier? Were they faking it when they'd work out well together in a Jazz uniform and get a dunk off a crazy pass? When they slap each others' butt when coming off the floor do they mean it more now?

Anyway, because you care (or maybe you don't) but here's a run down of what some of our former players are doing this year, in non-Jazz uniforms:

  • Al Jefferson (Bobcats) has played in only one game this year, and it wasn't a very good game. He scored 13 points off of 19 shots, shot 31.6 fg%, but still pulled down 8 rebounds, swatted 2 shots, and had 1 assist. He's making over $13 million this year, so he's making more than $1 million per point scored. In his absence, Charlotte is 3-2 without him.
  • Mo Williams (Trail Blazers) has played in 5 games, and is averaging 24.0 mpg there. He was brought in to help shore up their bench behind Damian Lillard, and is scoring 7.2 ppg (34.7 fg%, making 7.1% of his threes), but he's making up for it with 4.2 apg (2.2 topg), 1.4 rpg, and 0.2 spg.
  • Paul Millsap (Hawks) is starting, has played big minutes (32.8 mpg), and producing. If he keeps this up and the Hawks start winning some games then he could be an All-Star for the first time in his career. He's producing on the court with 20.6 ppg (59.1 fg%), making half of his threes (taking nearly 2 a game), pulling down 7.6 rpg, diming out 3.6 apg, while keeping his steals up --> 1.6 spg. These are All-Star numbers.
  • Randy Foye (Nuggets) is also starting, played in 5 games, and is averaging 29.4 mpg. In his time on the court he's scoring 10.6 ppg (shooting 38.6 fg%, 37.5 3pt%, 66.7 ft%), and adding 3.2 rpg, 2.6 spg, and 1.6 spg. Where the heck were those other things to his game, last year, when he started and played in about the same number of minutes? The shooting is worse from deep, the bounce back to normality that a lot of observers here expected, but seriously, if he was averaging 11/3/3/2 back in Utah there would have been less complaints. (He averaged 11/2/2/1)
  • Earl Watson (Trail Blazers) has played in 4 games for the Blazers, at 17.3 mpg. In his time he's averaging 2.0 ppg (shooting %? Don't ask), 4.0 apg (1.4 topg), 1.8 rpg, and 0.2 spg. So, yeah, ex-Jazz point guards are added over 8 apg to the Blazers this year, so far. Must be nice.
  • DeMarre Carroll (Hawks) is also somehow starting there, having started 5 games and is averaging 30.2 mpg. Does the Millsap doctrine work for him? Nope. He's averaging 8.6 ppg off of 7.8 shots a game (33.3 fg%, shooting 20.0 3pt%, and 47.4 ft%), his hustle brings 4.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, and 1.8 spg. And this is his work in 30 mpg. And yes, it is more than what Foye brought to the table for the Jazz, when we overlook scoring. Yeesh.
  • Kevin Murphy (not the NBA) is not in the NBA. Neither is Raja Bell, Blake Ahearn, and Josh Howard.
  • Devin Harris (Mavericks) signed on with Dallas as a free agent but hasn't yet played a game for them.
  • C.J. Miles (Cavaliers) has played 6 games with them, all off the bench, and averages 20.7 mpg. In his time he's scoring a CARER HIGH 14.3 ppg (53.2 fg%, 40.0 3pt%), while adding 2.5 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.2 spg, and 3.4 #whutupdoes per game.
  • Moving even farther back in time, Francisco Elson has retired, as has Mehmet Okur. Kyle Weaver, Marcus Cousin, and Kyrylo Fesenko are all out of the NBA. Fes is now a professional Candy Crush player.
  • Aaaand, this brings us back to D-Will and AK-47. ARE THEY HAVING MORE FUN NOW? Deron (the starter for the Brooklyn Nets) is averaging 9.6 ppg, 7.0 apg, 2.4 rpg, and 0.6 spg in 26.2 mpg. He's shooting .400/ .375/ .750. Andrei (off the bench) averages 5.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.8 spg, and 0.0 bpg in 13.3 mpg. He is shooting .429/ n/a / .579

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The team is 0-6 right now but I still have hope that this season isn't going to be a series of 82 punches in the gut. I try to simplify the problem. You lose games because players do bad things on the court. All players have the ability to do good things or bad things. Good things help you win. Bad things make it easier to lose. Good players do good things more than bad. Bad players do bad things more than good. If you have to play more bad players than good players then you will probably end up having a team that does more bad things than good things during any given game.

That's the case the Utah Jazz have currently been in by starting the season without their starting point guard Trey Burke, two rotational wings in Brandon Rush and Marvin Williams, and two rotational bigmen in power forward Jeremy Evans, and center Andris Biedrins. I don't think there is any doubt that Burke, Rush, and Williams (within the observation of our current roster) would count as good players. Evans may not yet be good, but does good things on the court. Biedrins stimulates the local economy with his $9,000,000 salary this year.

Because all five of those guys were injured, they could not play. And if they don't play they can't contribute to wins. But we have to play some players, and those players (I'm looking specifically at John Lucas III and Mike Harris) help us lose games.

Brandon Rush and Marvin Williams have both played so far this season, their injuries have healed to a point where they are no longer unavailable. As a result, we're deeper and will play fewer bad players. And, using logic, will mean we have more chances to win games. Both are capable three point threats (the Jazz are 30th this season in 3pt%), and will help space the floor. Better floor spacing will allow for easier penetration by Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks. Easier penetration will allow for better scoring either by the ball handler, or to a bigman for a dump off pass. The roster to start the season was comically imbalanced. With better health things will only get better on the court.

Of course, the big picture is to get Trey Burke back. When he comes expect the winning to follow.

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Do you know who Kevin Pelton is? He had a chat with ESPN and here are a few of the things he was asked about our team, and his answers:

Robbie Simmons (Draper, UT):  Do the first few games of the Utah Jazz' season show that the various Vegas odds were perhaps pretty accurate?

Kevin Pelton (1:17 pm): Well, they usually are, but let's note that this Jazz lineup with Jefferson and Tinsley playing heavy minutes is much worse than the one I was projecting including Trey Burke, Brandon Rush and Marvin Williams.

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Lon (SLC): It is't accurate to say the Jazz are tanking games, right? They simply don't have the firepower now, but they are putting their best product on the floor, right?

Kevin Pelton (1:24 pm): What Tyrone Corbin thinks their best product is, and what the rest of the world thinks, are two very different things.

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Ben (Vegas): When you referenced the gap between what Corbin thinks and what the world thinks is the best product for the Jazz to put on the floor, was that specifically aimed at Jefferson's MPG avg?

Kevin Pelton (1:36 pm): Yes. He doesn't really have much alternative at PG.

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Joshua Taylor (Corvallis): If the Jazz somehow end up with the first pick, how do you see Wiggins and Gordon Hayward coexisting? Or would being lucky enough to get the first pick (and presumably Wiggins, since Randle wouldn't fit in with Gobert, Favors, and Kanter) make Gordon Hayward expendable?

Kevin Pelton (1:39 pm): I believe the expression is "cross that bridge when you come to it." (But I don't see Hayward demanding the ball so much that he couldn't coexist with Wiggins in that scenario.)

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Paul (SLC): Dear Santa:Please make Tyrone Corbin go away. P.S.- Can you make this happen before Christmas?

Kevin Pelton (1:47 pm): While, again, I don't think there's anything intentional, is Ty Corbin playing the wrong guys this season really the worst thing for the Jazz's future?

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Mike (Orlando): Rumor is that Hayward was asking for something close to the max. The Jazz did well to not give it to him, right?

Kevin Pelton (3:41 pm): Yeah, if he was truly looking for something close to the max there's very little upside to that deal for the Jazz and some significant downside.

Yes, it goes on till the 4 pm mark, so there are a lot of topics discussed but you can check it all here. He talks about everything from corner threes, and takes a number of questions about Paul Millsap (a very popular player now, it seems).

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