The Downbeat #1055 - The "New Jazz Golden Age" Edition

Ronald Martinez

There's just so much happening in Jazz-land right now. It seems like the Karl Malone announcement is a sign that we are in store for very big things. Of course, some big things happened before the Malone announcement will now be lumped into the Malone announcement off-season of Jazz greatness. Salt City Hoops has reloaded and are looking get you with some killer content. USN talks with KSL's Jeremiah Jensen about Karl Malone. We had our own video talking about The Mailman here, in addition to having a very busy summer of our own where our most recent "scooped story * " is about John Stockton's autobiography. (Thanks Diana!)

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via Jody Genessy

More on that later, I am sure. You'll be impressed with the reach of SLC Dunk and our amazing and talented team of Jazz fans. I've also finally caught up with all of David Locke's tip-offs, and he talks about the NBA Draft (which is my jam), and comes up with a very good analogy that not only can I live with -- but it's one of his best analogies to date!

All of us are on our best behavior and putting out great content, and the good omen of Karl Malone working with Derrick Favors, and later on Enes Kanter, is surely going to pay off. There's no space to even talk about all the great writing being done by the pros, our beat writers are truly amazing! Furthermore, there's lots of great work is being done by people who aren't professionals, or with one of the Big Three Jazz blogs too. I can't believe it took me so long to see Nuno's great blog, check out his post on trying to find out what you can from watching NBA Draft prospect videos! Of course, I couldn't forget to link out to a blog that calls itself Utah Jazz Doctor . . . a refreshing take from another overworked Jazz fan. He talks about Karl Malone is a very different way than many of us had previously looked at. For a super specific look at what the Mailman brings I will tell you all to visit @Jazzbasketball1 's great blog here.

IF YOU ONLY CLICK ON ONE LINK IN THIS BEAT, CLICK ON THAT LAST ONE.

This could have been a downer of an off-season, but I think our fanbase is energized, and bringing Karl back is like setting the world back in order. This truly looks like the beginning of a new Utah Jazz Golden age. This is not based on immediate on-court production or performance, this is a feel that we fans are getting. And really, we're fans. We're allowed to make decisions based upon feelings still.

* No one cares about our scoops, which so far have included bringing Jerry back officially (still to happen), and Jeff Hornacek leaving. But by the end of this next year we hope to have quite a few -- because our readers deserve the best information presented to them in a reliable way, even if it comes first hand. [We're moving beyond giving reactions to other people's work -- you'll see by the end of the summer what I'm talking about : ) ]

WOO! NEW JAZZ GOLDEN AGE!

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Talk is cheap, show us some basketball. Okay, well, I'm super lucky that Adam (@prodigyJF / memoismoney on YT) just uploaded highlights from the May 7th, 1998 San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz second round, game 2 overtime thriller. (Boxscore here) A lot of Spurs, Jazz, and NBA fans probably never saw Tim Duncan in his rookie year, or how effective guys like Avery Johnson and Vinny Del Negro were as players. The actual on-court performance of the admiral, David Robinson, is more like a fable to 20 year old kids. He had 21/14/3/2 in this game. As for the Jazz side of things, these were those Finals years Jazz that were all about being much smarter than you were on offense. The Jazz side started Karl, Jeff Hornacek, and John Stockton -- along with Greg Foster and Adam Keefe -- and still won. There were big games from Bryon Russell and Antoine Carr as well as the most Greg Ostertag playoff boxscore line in the history of Greg Ostertag's in the playoffs.

Even better is seeing a young Gregg Popovich go up against an at his peak Jerry Sloan. Lots of f-bombs for the lip readers out there .


via Adam / memoismoney on YT

This is an awesome video of a game that is 15 years old. Food for thought, think of all the people under 25 right now who come at you talking like they know the NBA or their team. They weren't old enough to know what the NBA was back when this was happening. Their frame of reference for what basketball doesn't include rookie Tim Duncan's brilliance, or The Big Dawg (Antoine Carr) playing like Dwight Howard at the rim. (Let alone things like Shawn Kemp in the NBA Finals against Dennis Rodman -- which happened two years earlier.) Damn, I'm old.

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The Utah Jazz were a fun team to watch, and we fold that our future looks bright. ESPN's best minds seem to agree giving the Jazz the #10 rank in the Future Power Rankings in the NBA. Of course, we dipped down from being Top 5 last time they did this . . . but why this happened is kind of obvious to national / outside observers. The Jazz score highly on money and the draft (as in, we have young guys on rookie contracts right now who are rotation players, and a lot of free agents leaving), our market is where we get dinged the most (25th place); but we're middle of the pack in players and management. But on the upper middle, if that is a real thing people say. I can't legally just copy and paste the info from an In$ider article, so here's an excerpt:

"The front office remains a strong suit, with long-time basketball operations chief Kevin O'Connor still in house and giving over the GM reins to the well-regarded Dennis Lindsey, formerly of the Spurs. The panel has less faith in coach Tyrone Corbin, however." - Chad Ford, ESPN

Is this a statement that you can agree with? For what it is worth the panel consists of: Chad Ford, Amin Elhassan, Tom Haberstroh, and Kevin Pelton. So it's not like they are just asking random sports fans in a bar or something. These are people who have jobs at the #1 sports company on the planet because they know basketball. It's not like they are asking their NFL guys about the game of Cricket here. There are their NBA dudes. And the best company in the sporting world's NBA dudes aren't crazy about Ty. I guess if only they saw the stuff Ty tells our media not to talk about then they'd prob be higher on him.

I'm not a Ty hater by any means, but a fun exercise is to rank all the NBA coaches over the last 3 seasons. Where do you rank Ty? Can Ty get better? We hope he can. Will Ty's growth influence how quickly our team gets better overall? Is there a fear that something something something somewhere will get stymied along the way?

I honestly don't know. I want Ty to be awesome, and be awesome for us. I think it can still happen. However that goes back to fan feeling from up above. Evidence based research has me feeling less than confident in Ty. Which is precisely how guys like Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton feel as well. So if you are part of this group, you're in good company. But we still project to be a Top 10 team, which is a lot better than how we finished this season barely in the Top 15. We're moving on up! #GoldenAge !

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Jeremy Evans will be going on another Tour of Duty of rural communities as an ambassador to the Utah Jazz. It will be the 29th annual Junior Jr Road Trip, and you can read all about it here at the nba.com site for the Jazz. Evans is just the best because he understands who he is and where he is. Guys like Karl Malone and Derrick Favors did things like this, as have guys like Dee Brown. And Jeremy is going to be doing this for what seems like the third summer in a row. He's no stranger to this opportunity, and seems to relish it (he played in a European Slam Dunk contest by invitation two years ago to help cement the NBA's brand over there -- he could have said "no" but he did not).

Elevator Evans will be hitting up:

  • Morgan, UT
  • Evanston, WY
  • Soda Springs, ID
  • Kemmerer, WY
  • Green River, WY
  • Rock Springs, WY
  • Hanna, WY
  • Rawlins, WY
  • Lander,WY
  • Big Piney, WY
  • Pinedale, WY
  • Driggs, ID
  • Shelley, ID
  • Pocatello, ID (I see you Mylo)
  • Cokeville, WY
  • Logan, UT

And that's all in one week. He has 2 other weeks scheduled but the cities (villages?) haven't been confirmed yet. This is the 30th year of Jr. Jazz, and the 29th year Jazz players have been going out to these small towns to help promote a more healthy and active lifestyle, while learning about the game they love and the fans who love them. It's also an opportunity for Derrick Favors to block little girls when they try to score on him.

It would be silly to suggest that this isn't precisely what Jeremy Evans' role in the NBA should be -- a guy who goes around making people fall in love with basketball. Good on him for doing this year after year. And big ups to Matt Sanchez and Nate Martinez who are going to be doing all this driving, and may your mobile electronic devices never run out of battery life and service range.

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You know it's a new Golden Age when even the biggest of websites starts to talk about your team, or your former players.

Yep. That's from The Onion, which gets more hits per day than all of SB Nation I would think. But seriously, Jeff Hornacek is one of my most favorite players ever, even when he was on the Suns going against the Jazz I couldn't help but respect and admire him. It's going to suck to see him go for a variety of reasons -- probably the biggest is that he was part of our LAST Jazz Golden Age. Him leaving closes the door on that a little bit of history, while precipitating changes to start our next one. He was a great player, and my first blog could have been called "Hornaceksual Assault" or something like that. (Back in the day when NBA Blogs had cool names) That's how much I loved Jeff, I was willing to be a jerk online while dragging his name through the mud. Wait, that doesn't seem like honoring him now that I think about it. (Ah, another example of how when you're in your 30s you know more than you thought you knew in your 20s, or something.)

Jeff going sucks because he was more than just our assistant coach, he still worked on developing guys, fixing their shots, and giving them confidence out there on the court. This is useful if your team a) doesn't actually go out there and hire development staff that were stars at the things they are developing, b) have a roster full of players without confidence, c) have a roster of players who aren't good at the thing the coach is good at teaching, or d) all of the above. Losing a two time 3pt shooting champion (and 2 ball champion) who worked specifically with our young wings who didn't have the best of strokes is going to have a negative impact.

But I know all about losing talent to other teams, so every Jazz off-season is personal for me. Which is why this new Jazz Golden Age is going to kick so much butt. The Last one happened when I was at my peak fandom finishing HS and going into college. This new one is now when I'm running a blog and get to interact with Jazz fans every day. And I love it.

Also apologies for this being so late and having no stats in it. This morning has been crazy for me.

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