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The Downbeat #813 - More Offseason Odds & Ends

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Brian T. Smith, of Salt Lake Tribune fame, wrote a great article yesterday, about DeMarre Carroll. You can read it here, but I really liked this part:

"Guys like me, there’s a lot of need for guys like me in the NBA."

He continues:

"Top teams, they have one guy who’s an energy guy. You can look at Memphis: Tony Allen. Thunder: [Thabo] Sefolosha. You can always go down the list. At one point, Chicago: Ronnie Brewer was out there, doing his thing."

I think that's a really great self-assessment, and a reason why DeMarre will probably stick in the league, from here on out. Guys who know what their role is and work hard to perfect it are invaluable.

After the Jazz announced the signing of Dennis Lindsey, Zack Lowe of SI commented on the hiring and mentioned it in his Court Vision segment:

"Lindsey mentioned analytics in his introductory news conference Tuesday, and I’d be surprised if six months pass without Utah’s taking some interesting steps in that regard. The Jazz are a franchise to watch over the next year. They have a new GM, some great young pieces and loads of future cap flexibility if they want it."

When he tweeted something along these lines during the press conference Tuesday morning, you could almost feel the shudder of excitement from Amar and Andy. Then, when DL actually said "analytics" in the conference. Wooo. Pure ecstasy.

Go read the article, because there's a link to DL's background and a really great quote about the KOC / DL duo from a league executive.

From SI to CBS Sports, the consensus seems to be that DL was a FANTASTIC hire by the Jazz. From CBS Sports' Ben Golliver (Also Editor of our Sister, yes I said SISTER, blog Blazer's Edge):

"In Lindsey, they seem to have identified a candidate who fits the organization's all-business, no-drama approach, and they nearly did the impossible here, conducting a thorough GM search without word leaking out until less than one day before they officially announced Lindsey's hire. No agents grandstanding, no distracting speculation, nothing. Just a clean transition of power to one of the NBA's most respected management minds."

The Jazz could probably teach the U.S. clandestine services a thing or two about secrecy. Check out the piece. Golliver has some very complimentary things to say about the Jazz organization. Its good to get an outsiders perspective every once in a while, lest we get too cynical (its the word of the week). Right, Amar? ;)

Thanks for all the great feedback regarding the Jazz's mountain of cap space next summer. It seems that the general consensus was that the Jazz should target Andrew Bynum and CP13 (not necessarily in that order). I have to say that I have absolutely no quarrels with these picks. Outsiders and the most cynical Jazz fans (see, there it is again) might laugh at this, but the point wasn't to suggest that the Jazz have the best chance to sign these guys, it was to see whom the fans think would be a great fit for this team and give it the best chance for a title run. What's most important is to watch what the Jazz do starting about February 17th (All Star Sunday) through the offseason. We will get a pretty good idea what kind of GM Dennis Lindsey will be and perhaps some telling info about the Jazz Ownership.

Finally, a little bit on the Olympic Basketball tournament that has become somewhat of a sideshow. To put it bluntly: There have been far too many junk punches for anyone's good. Maybe there is a large contingency that doesn't care about these games, and its somewhat understandable as the U.S. team will likely coast to the Gold Medal stand. I don't feel that way. Yes, I'm happy for AK and CSKA Moscow Russia, but for me it will always be about the U.S. team. Since The Dream Team there has always been something awe-inspiring about these super teams and I have enormous admiration for Coach K and the players for their investment of time and their dedication. But more importantly, I am proud of how they have acted. Sure there was an allegation of an illegal squirrel tap delivered by CP13, but I haven't seen the video to prove it.

One of my favorite basketball writers, Adrian Wojnarowski, wrote a pretty scathing assessment of the other country's teams, and I think he is dead on:

"Welcome to the Olympic basketball tournament, where once again the dysfunctional world community doesn't include the United States. From Beijing to London, the Americans have been model Olympic citizens on the court and off it. They've truly been ambassadors of the NBA and America, a team that has gone a long way to transform the league's image home and abroad. They've found ways to become a team, a program, and it resonates with everything they do and everywhere they go here."

The nonsense that these other teams are allowed to get away with, without little more than a whimper of objection is bordering on absurd, while Team USA has to walk on egg shells, being ever aware of the statements they make. They have managed to bring back the pride (other than an awkward cell phone photo from a Barcelona night club) and competitiveness that The Dream Team established in 1992, and for that I am huge supporter of this team.

*Completely unrelated: The US rematches against Japan in the women's gold medal soccer game. DO NOT MISS THIS. Even if you despise soccer, you will love this game.