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Sunday Syncopation # 36

Woo! Basketball! Beware, this isn’t a very good syncopation . . .

Heading on over . . .

So Deron Williams really seems to be going over to Turkey to play basketball professionally. I don’t know for how long, and I don’t think he does either. Either way, it’ll be an experience for sure. And not just an experience for him, or his family (will they come with?); but it’ll be an experience for other NBA players and current NBA owners. We’ve had NBA players go over to play in Europe before. Sometimes this is a marginal talent like Andy Toolson will play part of his career there – bouncing around various leagues. Toolson played in Italy, Spain, and Greece between stints in the NBA and CBA. Other times it could be an actual European guy bouncing around leagues. Gordan Giricek and Juan Carlos Navarro both played in Europe, then the NBA, and then returned to Europe. A third group exists of Star players who finish their careers in Europe – guys like Dominique Wilkins ("American" player, though born in France) and Arvydas Sabonis (Lithuanian) are prime examples. By the time they played their last games in Europe both were well past their expiration date in the best league in the world.

Deron Williams, though, is in his prime. He’s an Olympian, All-Star, and multiple All-NBA team member. He’s only 26, and got paid $14.9 million dollars last season. I know, that’s a heck of a lot of Rogaine. (Where’d his bald spot go?) Deron is a game changer by going to Europe now. In a way, it artificially increases the idea that there are viable, real, alternatives for the best basketball players besides the NBA. Even if this is not the case, the threat of a player of his stature doing this is something the NBA owners can’t afford to gamble on. Mikhail Prokhorov knows enough about basketball to know he’s not going to be making money trying to sell Jordan Farmar as a starting point guard to fans in Brooklyn.

According to Williams, other players have called him up and asked about the Europe thing. And not just in a "Europe, for reals?" way either, they are interested because they have to look after their best interests. If guys like Josh Childress and Brandon Jennings can handle Europe you can be sure that a number of older guys could as well. I’m sure former Michigan Fab Five member Juwan Howard can make some money out there by knocking around hollow boned Albanian bigman for 12 minutes a game. It’s not like he’s really going to see anything but rust during this lockout.

The demonstratively spendthrift owners of European clubs would LOVE to steal away, or event rent, NBA players at the top of their games – and add them to their teams and enflame the passions of their wild fanbases. Remember when Allen Iverson went to Turkey? He was getting standing ovations and "All-en I-ver-sonnn" chants at soccer games he attended. In America the fans may have become jaded, or worse; but in Europe sports idolatry still reigns supreme. In Europe a guy like LeBron James wouldn’t have something like ‘the decision’ hanging over his head; he’d be playing for fans who just loved how good he was. This is an over-simplification of things . . . but it’s something with more than a few slivers of truth to it too.

If Deron Williams goes to Turkey and things are great during that first month – don’t you see other NBA guys who are free agents also more seriously consider this? In a way, Deron may have failed in his repeated attempts to recruit free agents to Utah; but his success in this future endeavor may help recruit NBA players to Europe.

If this become a big enough ‘deal’, then I could see the NBA owners begin to sweat a bit. Remember, the Owners locked the players out, and not the other way around. Swinging the control of the situation back in favor of the players will get me my Jazz games back, and sooner. So here I stand (well, let’s be honest, sit) cheering for Deron Williams again.

Break some European ankles Deron, and bring some of your talented friends with you too. Which would be another great assist that all of us fans can appreciate.

North Korea’s Kim Jong-il loves Michael Jordan

He was even gifted an autographed NBA ball by Jordan. This makes it a little easier to be a Jazz fan, I guess.

Stats Class:

Did you know that because of the NBA Lockout the NBA’s stats cube database is no longer onine. Wow. This is like showing up to class and find out that because of some strike in the cafeteria, school is closed. Well, it’s not like that. It’s still bad though. Bad for me. No stats today, I have to go find them online somewhere else now . . . you know, somewhere besides Basketball-reference, 82games, and hoopdata, that is.

Video of the Week:

David Benoit’s exploits in Game 4 of the 1994 Western Conference Finals vs. the Houston Rockets. The guy who uploaded this video ( chlorophos ) is a huge David Benoit fan. In fact in the video description, Benoit is called "one of the greatest NBA player (sic)". I like Benoit too, and am interested in his coaching career in Japan – but I think his inability to develop a legit three point shot hurt his utility in the changing NBA.

Anyway, the Jazz would lose this game 80-78 – and David Benoit would finish with 11 points (5/11 fgs, 0/1 three, 1/3 fts), 6 rebounds, and an assist and block in 32 minutes. In a game where the Jazz got a total of 6 bench points and 1 entire point from starting center Felton Spencer – maybe we should applaud the Jazz for getting to the West Finals with such a bad team.

Yes, the video seems to be a handheld screen capture from a computer, with another song playing over it. Not everyone has sexy video editing software – chlorophos has heart!

Hope you didn’t miss . . . .

Actually, I missed the whole week’s worth of blog reading – so I did miss everything. Suggest what I missed in the comments section please.

Did you know . . . ?:

That according to there have been 19 NBA/ABA players who were born in Utah. There are:

  • Tom Chambers (Ogden, 1959) – 18.1 ppg, 6.,1 rpg, 2.1 apg
  • Bryon Scott (Ogden, 1961) – 14.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.5 apg
  • Steven Kramer (Sandy, 1945) – 8.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.9 apg
  • Ariel Maughan (Salt Lake City, 1923) – 7.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.2 apg
  • Fred Roberts (Provo, 1960) – 7.3 pg, 2.8 rpg, 1.2 apg
  • Devin Brown (Salt Lake City, 1978) – 7.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.5 apg
  • Brady Walker (Provo, 1921) – 7.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.4 apg
  • Arnie Ferrin (Salt Lake City, 1925) – 5.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.6 apg
  • Jeff Judkins (Salt Lake City, 1956) – 5.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.0 apg
  • Danny Vranes (Salt Lake City, 1958) – 5.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.2 apg
  • Devin Durrant (Provo, 1960) – 5.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.3 apg
  • Scot Pollard (Murray, 1975) – 4.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.4 apg
  • Travis Knight (Salt Lake City, 1974) – 3.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.6 apg
  • Pace Mannion (Salt Lake City, 1960) – 3.1 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 1.1 apg
  • Travis Hansen (Provo, 1978) – 3.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 0.5 apg
  • Josh Grant (Salt Lake City, 1967) – 3.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 0.5 apg
  • Wat Misaka (Ogden, 1923) – 2.3 ppg, 0.0 apg
  • Britton Johnsen (Salt Lake City, 1979) – 2.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.6 apg
  • Lance Allred (Salt Lake City, 1981) – 1.0 ppg, 0.3 rpg, 0.0 apg

Sorry Shawn Bradley fans, he was born in Landstuhl, Germany. And also sorry Wat Misaka fans, he played in a time before they recorded rebounding statistics. And sorry people of Utah, if there was a 50 State tournament computer simulation – I don’t think the Utah team would go very far. You’d at least destroy Rhode Island and Alaska though.