THe Downbeat #1361 - The "No problems at point guard" Edition

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Jazz. Point guards. Point guard is important. It always will be important with the offenses we run. Sure, the team is attempting to diversify and run a more wing oriented initiation series of plays now -- hence all the G-Time with the ball in his hands, all the time thing. BUT, point guard will always be that special thing for the Jazz, as the team is run by traditionalists for the most part. The history is there too: Rickey Green, John Stockton, uh, Carlos Arroyo was okay for a bit, then Deron Williams, uh, Devin Harris, Mo Williams, and now Trey Burke. Burke is just a rookie, but he picked up a lot of hardware in one year. He was 3rd in ROY voting, made the All-Rookie 1st ream, was Rookie of the Month three times, won the Skills challenge at All-Star Weekend, and also played in the Rookie Game.

He also hit game winners.

So all in all, a very successful first year.

Somehow people aren't sold on him and want to draft Marcus Smart and replace him. I'm not ready to give up on a guy who took care of business as a rookie like no rookie in franchise history has. I am more worried about backup point guard though. The years the team was successful were the teams where a great PG was backed up by a good PG. Howard Eisley hit game winners (without calling a time out first) for the team back during those Finals runs. Derek Fisher and Dee Brown helped Deron Williams take the team from zero to nine playoff wins in one season.


Dee Brown went from being "The One-Man Fastbreak" to being "That tired dad with a bunch of little kids."

Trey is going to be more than okay, he needs a back-up though. The candidates last season were John Lucas III, Diante Garrett, and another wing playing out of position. In this situation Diante is the clear winner. He has the needed three point ability and pass first instincts that seem to lead to good things with the second unit.

But many of us are hoping for Raul Neto to join the team this year. I know I am. Still, there are a number of point guards that can be drafted in this draft class that can be improvements as well. Beyond Marcus Smart (6.70) there are plenty of other point guards in the sea (some that we may not be able to pick because of where we are picking): Dante Exum (4.50), Tyler Ennis (15.85), Zach LaVine (17.53), Elfrid Payton (22.95), Shabazz Napier (25.24), Semaj Christon (42.46), Deonte Burton (44.92), and Jahii Carson (45.42).

No matter what, I think the team is going to be fine with PG in the near future. And when we're GOOD again maybe we can sign a vet free agent PG who isn't ancient to help us in the playoffs? Sounds like a plan the Jazz front office are well in the process of executing.

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Gordon Hayward got married, or something. The DN's Jody Gennesy revealed to him the universal truth of married life, but the Precious is in denial about it.

I thought this was a funny, non-forced exchange between a professional athlete and a media member who covers the team. Notice how it's not at all creepy like the forced interaction with the Mr. Smithers of the LHM group of companies broadcasting wing.

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By the way, we still don't have a Head Coach. Here are some important dates:

  • June 26th, 2014 -- NBA Draft
  • July 1st, 2014 -- First day of Free Agency Signing
  • July 5th - 11th, 2014 -- Orlando Summer League
  • July 14th - 24th, 2014 (approx.) -- Las Vegas Summer League
  • October 31st, 2014 -- Extension deadline for Enes Kanter and Alec Burks

While the draft doesn't need a head coach, it's nice to have a player that fits a system. Giving a player like Adam Keefe to Phil Jackson or Jerry Sloan makes a huge difference because of fit. This is the case for most players. Additionally, some free agents are attracted to a coach, his history, his past successes, or his playbook. Not having a coach during free agency will further make Utah a destination for veteran rehab. The Summer league is usually run by the top assistants (but when Tyrone Corbin was here he coached every game), but right now the Jazz do not have a head coach, or any top assistants.

Hopefully the Jazz will have all that they need in short order.

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I remember watching this promo years ago (Yes, I used to watch WWF, I was a boy!) and not knowing who Felton Spencer was. Then he was a Jazzman and his play was so inspiring that we now have lots of people in Utah named after him.

Seriously, I've only met people with the name Spencer who are Jazz fans. It's the only logical conclusion. That, or maybe their moms were big WWF fans.

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Derrick Favors looks to be our big money many next year, making close to $13 million (front loaded contract, will average out to $12.25 over the four years). In most societies this means that he'll also be the player who gets the ball the most, takes the most shots, plays a lot of minutes, and is the face of the franchise. Derrick was 5th in FGA/Game on the team last year. Was 6th in USG%. He was 3rd in PPG. And he was 3rd in MPG.

Is he going to be our star player now that he's being paid like it? He averaged 13.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg, and 1.5 bpg last year. What things do the Jazz need in order to help build around him?

The Detroit Pistons just got Stan Van Gundy to be their head coach, and they expect him to do to Andre Drummond what he did for Dwight Howard. One thing that pops out to me is that the Jazz can run more Burke/Favors pick and rolls. Taking the ball out of the point guard's hands has made life hard for Favors, because wings either drive, get to the line, or pass out to a guy on the perimeter. If Derrick is going to be our main guy we need to be feeding him regularly.


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