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The Downbeat #1068 - Ten Days 'Til Draft Day and the Jazz Have Options

Happy Monday, SLCDunkers!


There's been some discussion and a lot of confusion about a certain quote that Dennis Lindsey said in an interview with 1280 the zone, so I think we should start with it, to clear the air a bit:

"I just had a great meeting with Ty and you know, he was.......... I'm not going to get into specifics on a particular situation, but he was, he should have been very selfish from a coach perspective, you know, and worried about the next win, the next week, and he just came out and said, 'hey, listen, this strategy might not necessarily be the best for me', but he said, 'it's the best for the organization.' And I think you've seen that he hasn't thrown our vets under the bus. He hasn't thrown our young guys under the bus. He's just a positive guy and I think the Miller family recognizes that they have a real partner. You want to have a coach and clearly, and you want to be highly organized and do things well, but even more so than that, you want a real partner."

Clark's Reading Way too Much into a Quote Translation:

"I just had a meeting with coach Corbin and he was told that we weren't going to bring back the veterans and we were going to build the team around Hayward, Favors, Kanter, Burks and two rookies. Ty was concerned because he realized that wouldn't be a winning situation, but he's willing to move forward, because he wants to keep his job. Everybody on the team likes him, because he didn't throw them under the bus, but the Miller family love Corbin's willingness to work with them and be flexible and that working relationship, is going to allow Tyrone Corbin to be the Jazz head coach for the foreseeable future."

If any of you have been paying close enough attention, you'll know that I am a huge fan of Trey Burke. I think he's going to be a really good NBA player, even with his limitations. Which is why I was very intrigued by this blog post at Tornbysports written by Jazz fan John English (@jermsguy). He wrote about 3 possible draft day trades and one of them was for the Jazz to send:

Al Jefferson (sign and trade)

Alec Burks

#14 and #21 (best wings available, who John thought would be Shabazz Muhammad and Jamaal Franklin)


#6 pick (Trey Burke)

and Eric Gordon

Now I think this deal has a few too many moving parts to be feasible, but the premise is really interesting to me. It's no secret that New Orleans wants out of Eric Gordon's contract and the Jazz could agree to this deal, without including Al Jefferson at all, since the Jazz could absorb Gordon's contract into their cap space after July 1st after renouncing Jefferson and Millsap's cap holds. Then New Orleans would have about $30 million in cap space to pursue Jefferson, or really any free agents of their choosing.

For the Jazz it would give them a starting lineup of Trey Burke, Eric Gordon, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. It would be a really exciting lineup and would probably help the Jazz be a .500 type team again, but in the longterm, the Jazz would only be able to keep 3-4 of those guys after the 2014-15 season financially. Still, I find it intriguing and fun to talk about. And I want Trey Burke on the Jazz.

There are a lot of rumors in Clipperland these days regarding trades and sign and trades and Chris Paul and Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard and Doc Rivers all joining forces and what not. I think for the Jazz, this is a really interesting situation to keep an eye on. Why? Because if the Clippers want to join Chris Paul and Dwight Howard together, they are probably going to have to shed some guaranteed contracts.

In my mind, the Lakers aren't going to cooperate in a sign and trade with the Clippers to give them Dwight. So the Clips are going to have to shed some money and try to sign Dwight outright in free agency.

Wouldn't the Jazz be interested in taking DeAndre Jordan (2 years, $22.3 million), Caron Butler (1 year, $8 million), Eric Bledsoe (rookie contract, $2.6 million next season), and the 25th pick in 2013 (because it's guaranteed money) off the Clippers' hands for the 46th pick in 2013? Jordan isn't great with that contract, but he'd be a serviceable 3rd big for two seasons and the Jazz could use some depth at small forward. Or Butler might like to negotiate a buyout. AND the Jazz would have Bledsoe to either be the future point guard, or a great 6th man type guy.

Or, if the Clippers would prefer to put Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Kevin Garnett on the same team, they could trade Bledsoe and Jordan and a 1st rounder to Boston for Garnett and Doc Rivers and then find a taker for Blake Griffin in order to clear room to offer Dwight a max deal in free agency. I'm sure the Cavaliers or Jazz would be happy to take Griffin in order to help the Clippers do this. It is similar to trading him for a sign and traded Dwight Howard, except the Lakers would be cut out of the deal.

Just thinking out loud. The Clippers would have to bank on decent veterans being willing to play for minimum contracts and salary cap exceptions, in the second scenario, but it isn't completely ridiculous. It's less ridiculous than thinking the Lakers would agree to a sign and trade to help the Clippers.

Who is the most vicious dunker in Utah Jazz history? You could make a case for Darrell Griffith, a shooting guard with a sweet stroke and an ability to get to the rim and finish with authority. Enjoy this week's "Utah Jazz History Appreciation Bullet Point":

Bradford Doolittle writes for ESPN and helps Kevin Pelton with Basketball Prospectus every season. He wrote an article about how analytics measure some of the top draft prospects and it is an insider article, so I'm going to highlight some things I thought were interesting:

"I've been rating prospects for about five years using what I call the ATH system, which I've also used for various purposes on NBA-level topics as well. This year, I've made a few enhancements to the system (outlined in the chart at the bottom of this piece). The goal is to determine how a player's non-NBA production will translate to the game's highest level.

(Each player's prospect score (PROS) is denoted in parenthesis. Any score more than 100 denotes a deserving top-10 pick. Late first-rounders and early second-rounders -- always a gray area -- rate in the 65-75 range. Players fall off the draft board at about 50.)"

1. Nerlens Noel

2. Cody Zeller

3. Ben McLemore, Kansas (119.5)

Anyone who's seen McLemore stroke a 3-point shot will not be surprised that he recorded the top shooting score of the 134 prospects I measured, and he projects to put up the best 3-point percentage of any rookie next season. McLemore's upside is what's most intriguing to me: His projected five-year WARP is best in the draft, making him a solid option to go with as the top overall pick.

4. Alex Len

5. Anthony Bennett

6. Steven Adams

7. Trey Burke, Michigan (110.1)

One of the draft's most vexing questions is who is the top point guard prospect? ATH likes Burke, though not by enough to settle the issue. The system sees him as a bit of a ball dominator, with rates in usage, assists and turnovers, and has severe concerns about his defensive prowess.

8. Michael Carter-Williams

9. Otto Porter

10. Victor Oladipo

11. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh (99.8)

McCollum may be the top scorer among next year's rookies because of his combination of skill and volume. His traits are heavily balanced toward the skill over the athletic, which is a concern. Also, his No. 13 ranking in five-year WARP puts him behind Burke, Carter-Williams and a soon-to-be-named point guard at his position.

12. Dennis Schroeder, Germany (98.8)

And that unnamed point guard is Schroeder, though as a player who is largely unproven in high-level leagues, he's a bit of an enigma. That said, his upside is tantalizing, with a five-year projection that is the top at his position.

13. Sergey Karasev, Russia (96.6)

Everything you've heard about Karasev's pure shooting ability shines through statistically, and he rates as the most-efficient offensive player in this draft. He also rates 130th out of 134 defensively, and his athletic rating is 133rd, so his strengths -- and weaknesses -- are apparent.

Doolittle has a paragraph explaining the top 15 recruits and lists as many as 30 total. The whole article is worth insider access alone.

For the record, Doolittle's projections rank Shane Larkin as a borderline NBA talent.