In some of my readings last night, I came across Remember the ABA and this article on the Utah Stars. I admit that my knowledge of the Stars is next to nothing so it was a very informative read. I had no idea that they came from LA and that they were known as the Amigos when the team started.
They have the only professional basketball championship that Utah has ever seen. That's the only thing that I knew about the team. After they beat Kentucky in game 7, the fans rushed the court and hoisted the players on their shoulders,
Sadly the Stars wouldn't last past 1975 as the team became financially unstable and they moved to St. Louis. They were going to move back in 1976 but that's when the NBA/ABA merger happened and the Spirits were left out.
Greg Miller stated in one of his Q&As that they wouldn't hang the Stars' championship banner in the ESA because the Jazz really had no ties to the Stars. But as is pointed out in the article, had the Stars not averaged the attendance numbers that they did and set a record for that game 7, it's not likely that the Jazz of New Orleans would have thought the Salt Lake/Utah market big enough to field an NBA team.
Given that and the fact that the Salt Palace is now a convention center unable to display a banner, it should hang in the ESA. The state of Utah only has one professional basketball championship banner; it should be hanging somewhere. Is there a better place?
There should be something to honor stars Ron Boone and Moses Malone. Yes, that Moses Malone. The Stars signed him out of high school and he put up huge numbers for the team.
In fact, there should be a wing or something for the Stars so you can display items like this that sold for $2000+ in 2006.:
The All-star dunk contest participants were leaked by the LA Times (the official announcement isn't until Thursday):
Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who has become must-see TV because of his slam dunks, will be in the NBA's slam dunk contest, sources said Tuesday night.
Sadly we won't get to see Deron lobbing NBA Jam-style oops to Jeremy Evans.
This sure seems to be set up to give Griffin a win. No offense to the other participants (Jennings will barely be back from a foot injury). But if it gets us back to having more dunking than props, I'm all for it.
Deron thinks that the Jazz could be 30-5 right now. From Gordon Monson,
"We could be 30-5 right now," he says. "But we could also be 17-17. We've had some close games where we've had to pull out some miracles to win. We need to jump on teams and put them away early, and get some rest. We talk about that a lot. Just going out and beating people. Look at the Celtics, look at the Spurs. They do what they have to do to win. We have to do the same."
30-5 would be amazing, but I'll take where we're at.
On the heels of yesterday's Downbeat, Hollinger released his findings of 5,000 simulations to close out the season (Insider). He has the Jazz finishing 25-22. That would put the Jazz at 49-33 on the year.
He had Denver going 29-20, Portland 27-21 (loss last night), and OKC 26-21 (they lost as well).
If those hold true, the Jazz would finish tied with Denver and Oklahoma City record-wise:
We've lost once to Denver and have split the series so far with the Thunder. Normally the tiebreaker is head to head record and then division record. But with more than two teams, it's record amongst teams that are tied and then their record against other teams in their division (if they're in the same division).
Of course if/when Melo gets traded, Denver's win total would likely drop. One thing that Hollinger points out is that this is just an average and in a single season anything can happen.
I'll stay by my pick of 53 wins.
Despite the fact that I think Evans will be the runaway winner of the poll, I think Millsap could throw down some fantastic dunks. He's just the right height and build. He's never going to try anything fancy in a game, but I'll bet he would surprise.
Also, as a DB bonus, here's a link I tweeted showing some amazing pics of Utah basketball history.