The Downbeat #1145 - The "McNeal Mystery" Edition

USA TODAY Sports

Today is the #1145th downbeat. In New Orleans / Utah Jazz history there have been a number of players to wear the #11 jersey, and a slightly smaller number wearing the #45 jersey.

Jersey #11 Jersey #45
Player Years Player Years
1 Russ Lee 1975 Henry Bibby 1976
2 Ron Behagen 1976 - 1977 Jeff Wilkins 1982 - 1986
3 James Hardy 1979 - 1982 Jeff Cook 1986
4 J.J. Anderson 1983 - 1985 Darryl Dawkins 1988
5 Bart Kofoed 1988 - 1989 Eric Leckner 1989 - 1990
6 Delaney Rudd 1990 - 1992 Dan O'Sullivan 1991
7 Jacque Vaughn 1998 - 2001 William Cunningham 1998
8 Sasha Pavlovic 2004 - 2007 Paul Grant 2004
9 Dee Brown 2007
10 Earl Watson 2011 - 2013

Something tells me that #11 and #45 are going to be available for a very long time as these two numbers aren't at risk of being retired anytime soon.

Speaking of numbers, one particular number (#21) has remained fallow for a number of seasons in a row. This season undrafted rookie Ian Clark will be wearing it for the Jazz. It had been worn by only four other Jazz players before: Rick Adelman (1975), Truck Robinson (1978-1979), Tony Brown (1991), and David Benoit (1992-2001). It, of course, SHOULD have been the number Dominique Wilkins should have been wearing as a member of the Jazz back in 1982 -- but the front office traded him away for money.

Clark was recently projected by B/R head NBA writer John Wasserman to be one of the 6 second round picks who could surprise this year. He's in the honorable mentions category, and wasn't actually drafted in the second round, but still: I see ya B/R. Keep those slideshows up. In other crazy person news, that's the number I wear, and in NBA 2K games that's the number I use in MyPlayer mode with the hope of making the Jazz. Out of respect for the sharpshooter from Belmont -- I'll have to find another number now. (Who are we kidding, this is an undrafted rookie on the Jazz and 2K sports we're talking about. Ian Clark isn't going to be in the game, but he would have been if he was picked up by the Golden State Warriors . . . )

So I guess this is all just another thinly veiled rant about how lazy 2k sports is. Speaking of which . . .

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Do you like videogames? Well, some of us do. And the upcoming NBA season means a new upcoming NBA video game (or 2 or 3, depending on how many systems you own). The current king of the hill is the 2K series of games. And just like all other power rankings, player rankings, or lists that come out about the REAL NBA, the virtual NBA is full of insanity as well. The release of each new game has updated player rankings BASED on the perception of their abilities on the court. Fans get butt hurt. But players get butt hurt too -- because a lot of the people in the NBA right now are technically still kids.

Well, the PR voice of 2K games has been releasing the overall rating of certain players -- players the fans want to know the rating of, and also players themselves asking.

And while the overall rating isn't the only rating that matters, for most people one simple number (like PER or PPG) is the only thing that matters to them. Here are some of the released values.

Player Team Rating Player Team Rating
1 LeBron James HEAT 99 14 Victor Oladipo Magic 76
2 Kevin Durant Thunder 94 15 Evan Turner 76ers 76
3 Carmelo Anthony Knicks 92 16 Anthony Bennett Cavaliers 76
4 Derrick Rose Bulls 92 17 Mario Chalmers HEAT 76
5 Russell Westbrook Thunder 91 18 Otto Porter Wizards 74
6 Paul George Pacers 88 19 Jared Dudley Clippers 73
7 Stephen Curry Warriors 88 20 Trey Burke Jazz 73
8 John Wall Wizards 85 21 C.J. McCollum Trail Blazers 73
9 Monta Ellis Mavericks 82 22 Ben McLemore Kings 72
10 Roy Hibbert Pacers 81 23 Nerlens Noel 76ers 72
11 Brook Lopez Nets 81 24 Cody Zeller Bobcats 68
12 Pau Gasol Lakers 81 25 Peyton Silva Pistons 67
13 Jamal Crawford Clippers 80 26 Chris Johnson Timberwolves 66

Do you think some guys are too high? Too low? I know some of you are doing the mental arithmetic right now to figure out where the rest of our Jazz team SHOULD be (according to us). "If LeBron is a 99, but Monta is an 82 . . . then Favors must at LEAST be a . . . "

I hear ya, Jazz fans. And don't worry, we're not the only ones obsessed enough with this information. Our own Rudy Gobert went out and asked . . . and he may not have been pleased with the answer he got. (This is his first brush with how the national media usually treats the Jazz, I guess)

Don't worry Rudy, we love you. And we will fix your ratings in this game when it comes out!

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Do you read Moni's site Jazzfanatical? You should if you don't, it's where the insiders (like Jazz media guys), and us fans (you and I) get a lot of great info. On it Dennis Lindsey is quoted on a few pieces of info regarding the rehab process of Enes Kanter, Marvin Williams, and Brandon Rush. I'm not going to just copy and paste all of her info here, visit the site! But here's an excerpt:

"So Enes has had a good summer of rehab. We’ve, he’s been mainly based in Chicago, but we’ve had points of contact in between. We’ve had him with Karl [Malone]; we’ve had him with our assistant coaches. Our assistant coaches have gone to Chicago and done a basketball [portion].

"Mark McKown has had him out in Santa Barbara, and we’ve done some testing on him. And we expect him to be in Salt Lake here real soon. And he is able to have limited contact, so we’re, you know, for lack of a better description, "predictable contact."

"And then as he advances through a couple of more checkpoints, we’ll eventually get him to the point of, you know, 5-on-5 play, where the contact’s a little less predictable, where there’s blind screens set. I think, you know, today if he had to handle that, he probably could, again, but we wanna be really cautious…

"So let’s not skip steps, but you know, Enes, the one thing with Enes Kanter is, is whether he’s here under our watch, he, we are very confident at this stage for a young big guy, he’s got very good work habits." - Dennis Lindsey, 1280 The Zone via Jazzfanatical.wordpress.com

That's not all Dennis had to say about Enes. And he also goes into it about Marvin and Brandon too -- so it's worth a visit for that alone. (Come for the news, stay for the gifs!) The information Dennis gives here is corroborated with the information I've gathered on my own with the medical staff working with Marvin in North Carolina, and the info I've received from P3 themselves regarding Enes and Brandon.

The TL;DR version of all of this is (from Dennis, and the people I've talked with):

  • Enes' acute injury healed, no chronic injury damage
  • Marvin on track, responding well, he's just not 20 years old anymore
  • Brandon is healthier than almost everyone reading this post right now, but that may or may not be the level he wants to be at right now, working hard -- may need to be held back as a precaution (aka. physiological tanking)

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Just how old do you think this photograph is? It's lovely though, and . . .

. . . reminds me of how old I am now as well. In other news, Karl Malone's wife Kay is a treasure trove of great Malone family info, memories, and events.

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Last March 27th, Jerel McNeal was signed to a 10 day contract. He was then later picked up for the rest of the season. The season ended though. There has been little news at all about McNeal. And if you look at the official transactions pages for the Jazz (last season, this season) there's nothing indicating that he's with the team. But he *is* with the team. He was working out at P3 with Derrick Favors and Alec Burks back in late June / early July. He's currently listed on the 2013-14 team roster on the nba.com / Jazz site. The KSL report (taken from the media press release from the Jazz) about the Open Scrimmage at the ESA on Oct 5 mentions him as being a returning player as well. He's listed as making an non-guaranteed $884,293 from the Jazz this season, and then an non-guaranteed $948,163 the next.

If you do an AP search on his name from March 27th till today you get this:

Db_1145_-_mcneal_medium

Yeah. So, when did we sign him? What were the details of that "till the end of the season" signing after his 10 day went out? What kind of voo-doo method of gathering free agents is this? The "non-signing"? Slavery? What the heck? Forget worrying about what does the fox say, how the heck is this guy on our team still?

And if he's on our team -- why didn't anyone announce it? Or he is just a work out buddy and we may cut him in training camp? (How do you cut someone who wasn't signed?)

All that said, so if he's on the team "for reals" then we have 14 guys, and our PGs are Trey Burke, John Lucas III, Jerel McNeal -- with spot duty from Alec Burks and Ian Clark. So . . . problem solved? Or mystery exposed? (Oh, and Jerel, I love ya man, but don't expect to be in NBA 2K14 either . . . )

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