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The Downbeat #777 - The Jackpot Edition

Jeremy Evans is just a super great guy. From this article in the Dixie Spectrum, Jeremy says:

"If I were in the kids' shoes, I would want to see a positive role model in an NBA player. I feel like as part of the Jazz organization that it's my duty to provide that," he said.

He also does this:

Like the ultimate pro, Evans showed patience and was willing to sign everything from an arm cast to shorts to basketballs. Whatever was being offered, he signed everything, and did it with an engaging smile.

Which all makes the Jazz look despicable for leaving the kid in limbo all summer, while still having no problem that he go out and do PR events for them. Right now he is a restricted free agent, so the Jazz could have taken care of this before the season ended.

Speaking of free agency, here is a list of all the free agents over the next two summers. I'm not going to proceed to speak at length about who the Jazz should target. You can look over the list and see that for yourselves. What struck me is the players that have Player Options or Early Termination Options. Some that make you go, "What? Why?". Players like Jason Maxiell, James Jones, Ronny Turiaf, and Dahntay Jones. Matt Carroll? You bet. Andris Biedrins? Of course.

This is, obviously, mostly tongue-in-cheek, but it still seems odd that some barely role players have so much control, whereas we see stars like Chris Paul and Dwight Howard demanding trades.

We didn't really hit on it here at SLC Dunk, but Coach Sloan officially withdrew himself from consideration for the Bobcats' Head Coach position. Not long after the Cats kind came from out of nowhere and the hiring of St. John's ASSISTANT COACH Mike Dunlap was leaked. Which begs the question, why did Coach Sloan withdraw? I kind of think that out of respect for his accomplishments, he should not have been put threw the interview process to begin with. The whole thing felt beneath him. You don't make Coach Sloan compete for a job. He will. He's that kind of guy. But he shouldn't have to. No one would make Phil Jackson go through it. He gets to sit back and play his little games in the media and it annoys me to no end. The team that deserves Coach Sloan is the one that says, "You are the guy we want, and you have our unconditional support".

On Monday, Clark talked about the ongoing debate surrounding Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, so I thought I'd add some of my own thoughts. I think my opinion may go against what many of my colleagues feel, but my stance is this: neither of them bring you a championship. They both have their flaws. They both have their strengths. But, neither of them is the caliber player that brings a ring. Its sad, and I really like both of them, but I think it is the honest conclusion.

To focus on one issue that I feel strongly about, I look at Millsap. As much as I admire his characteristics that have enabled him to make such amazing improvements over the course of his career, they are the same that will prevent him from taking on his real role: 6th Man of the Year. Millsap should be the first guy off the bench and would be an amazing weapon to destroy what is almost universally one of the weakest positions in the league, the backup Power Forward. Think of the teams that have been able to win consistently in recent years and that has been one of their advantages. The Lakers with Lamar Odom. The Bulls have Taj Gibson. Look at the current Finals teams. The Heat have Udonis Haslem and the Thunder have Nick Collison. Neither are offensive juggernauts, but both know their role and come off the bench to provide what their teams need. This is how I feel about Millsap. Maybe he starts for another year or half year, but eventually, if he is to stay with this team, he will have to understand that there are players better fit for the starting position.

The problem is that he has worked very hard to overcome the naysayers and become a starting caliber player, and that is a difficult thing for any team to take away. It is an unenviable position, but one that will come to a head sooner than later.

Amar gets mad at me when I say this, but man are we in the doldrums of the NBA year. It is odd that during the most important time of the year for two NBA teams and their fans, those games couldn't seem further away from reality. Like they are being broadcast from another planet.

With the Jazz being given the cold shoulder by prospects that don't want to show they're second rounders, the news surrounding the team is sparse. Even Locke is down to posting only every few days, and he always has something to say. We've examined the previous season ad nauseum and reminisced about the good old days quite a bit. But, I'm happy to say that we still have you guys around to join in the conversations about this thing we're all passionate about.

So, here's what's on tap for the near future (for the Jazz):

June 28th: NBA Draft

July 5th: Hayward and Favors begin workouts with the USA Select Team and the National Team

July 9th: First game of the Orlando Summer League