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The Best Downbeat of The Year - Media Day! - The Downbeat #852

The new Jazz season began with media day yesterday, and everyone was just absurdly excited.

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

As I'm sure you all know, yesterday's media day marked the beginning of the 2012-2013 season's festivities, and as such, there is much to talk about in this Downbeat. Sure, this won't exactly fall into my analytical wheelhouse, but Jazz basketball is here, and it is just fun to talk about.

Unsurprisingly, I'll start with SLCDunk, objective, and personal favorite Paul Millsap. We learned much about Millsap today, largely encouraging signs who want to see Millsap succeed in a Jazz uniform for a long time. Signs like:

Not only that, but he "seemed floored" by the question (here's video of the incident):

Millsap was even "flattered" by the Jazz' maximum-allowed-under-the-new-CBA contract extension. And of course, the Jazz just hired his personal trainer, Johnnie Bryant, as a team's development coach. In his interview with Locke, Millsap talked about the ballhandling and off-the-dribble work he's done this summer to expand his potential on the perimeter, naturally in the small forward position he played significant time in at the end of last season.

In short, there's a lot pointing towards Millsap staying around beyond this summer. And given Millsap's talent and contribution to the team's success, his presence will help ensure a winning Jazz future.

Also importantly shared by Spencer Hall of Salt City Hoops is Millsap's high school mascot... The Kittens:


Mo Williams was one of the better interviews of the day, along with taking the most ridiculous media day photos:


Mo's interviews were intriguing because of his immediate claim to the leadership role of the Utah Jazz. In his discussion with Locke, Mo talked about taking Alec Burks under his wing, saying that Burks "is not a 29% shooter". He also talked about his relationship with Randy Foye (teammates on the Clippers for the last couple of seasons), Al Jefferson (a long line of Mississippian basketball players), and with Ty Corbin (becoming the oft-fabled extension of the coach on the floor). Mo's clearly excited to mold a young and good team together, and recognizes his value proposition to the franchise.

Going back to Williams' comments about Alec Burks: unfortunately, they're not accurate. Burks was not a 29% shooter last year, he actually shot 33.3% from 3 point land, but whatever. Notably, Mo wasn't an excellent shooter at the beginning of his career either: he shot only 25.6% from 3 in his limited time with the Jazz, and only 32.3% in his first season in Milwaukee, still below Burks' rookie season.

If Burks can learn from Williams' shooting improvement, Burks' on floor efficiency will be much improved. Let's be really clear about this: if Burks can manage to shoot the three effectively and continue to draw fouls at the rate that he did in his rookie season, he will be one of the most efficient players in the league. Kevin Martin's Sacramento years come to mind.

In the mean time, Burks' mouth movements during interviews remain an underrated part of team discussion, getting significantly less talk than Kanter's goofy way of running down the floor. In my opinion, Burks' mouthematical gyrations outpace Kanter's running lope in terms of sheer intrigue. We inexplicably cannot embed videos from, but follow this source link anyway and just watch Alec's mouth move for two and a half minutes:

Alec Burks' Media Day Interview + Mouth Movements:

After this summer we've just experienced, it is not surprise who was the leading attention grabber of this year's media day: Enes Kanter. At this point, it has become too difficult to turn Kanter's story into a narrative, instead, a series of seemingly disparate events float in the shimmery sea that is Enes Kanter's life. Consider everything that we learned today:

  • Enes Kanter makes a poor quarterback, but...
  • Enes Kanter tried to take off his jersey at media day to show off his abs to everyone, before Jazz management told him not to. Wait, why? Memo (not Okur) to Jazz PR staff: have fun with this kid! He doesn't hurt anything, everyone's already seen his abs, and the franchise stands to hugely benefit from the attention he'll garner. Remember when we had Kyle Korver and the marketing team did absolutely everything possible to take advantage of his appeal to female Jazz fans, including "Win a Date with Kyle Korver" and some fairly annoying ads? Korver didn't want the attention, but put up with it. Now you have Enes, who has remarkably become a veritable Turkish temple to the human body and its potential, and you want to hide it? It's good for everyone involved! As Kanter himself says: "They love it. Boys, girls, everybody love it."
  • How did he get this way? Well, first, he started eating outrageous amounts of food for no reason at all:

    "First my breakfast: I was eating like six eggs, omelet with six eggs; seven or eight pancakes, with sugar, whipped cream, everything; then a breakfast burrito. That was just my breakfast. Then I came to practice and my lunch was just like pasta, chicken alfredo or whatever, and then a burger and an appetizer. Dessert? No. Dessert was at dinnertime. Dinnertime I ate another burger, a big meal again and a dessert."
    Oh. Well then. Just for fun, and to bring some level of analysis to this post, I added Kanter's daily intake to a calorie counter (making some reasonable assumptions about what exactly Kanter ate), and not counting any additional likely items like drinks or snacks. The totals? In my tally, Kanter ate roughly 5000 calories per day. That actually doesn't sound incredibly absurd, but keep in mind these numbers: 215 grams of total fat (roughly 400% of the recommended daily value), 2742 mg of cholesterol (roughly 800% of the recommended daily value), and 9821 mg of sodium (roughly 300% of the recommended daily value). In short, it's easy to see how Enes gained weight, up to 293 pounds.
  • Then, importantly, he went on a semi-ridiculous weight loss and workout spree, leading to the abs we've seen so much of over the last month, along with a final camp weight of 242 pounds, a loss of 51 pounds in 2 months. How will this affect his basketball game? I'm not sure, I remain skeptical of media day reported body changes significantly affecting basketball success after years of hearing about how much stronger Andrei Kirilenko was. At the very least, though, it's an interesting human tale.
  • The entirety of Enes Kanter's Twitter bio: "TELEKINESIS!!!"

Jeremy Evans had a big offseason as well: he got married and signed a longish-term contract with the Jazz: 3 years and 5.5 million dollars. In his interview with David Locke, he shares a few stories about his proposal, marriage, honeymoon, and his reaction when he got his payday. It's adorable. Speaking of adorable, Jeremy Evans is really good at looking up and to the camera's left:



Media day isn't about the basketball. It's the excitement of the first day of school; where you get to see everyone you hadn't seen for a whole summer and find out what they've been up to. It's about rekindling the prior relationships you built before and finding out how a whole new set of them will work out. It's about looking forward to the upcoming year and looking optimistically to the uncertain future.

It's brilliant, really.