Over the weekend the Utah Jazz went ahead and waived Australian forward Brock Motum (Motum, which we all know is Australian for "Adam Keef with a three point shot"). The Jazz roster is now down to 14, which is what I expected the team to roll into the season with.
SALT LAKE CITY (Oct. 25, 2014) - The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has waived forward Brock Motum. Following the move, Utah's roster now stands at 14 players.
Yup. So the Jazz have cut 6 players this training camp / preseason:
- Point guards: Dee Bost
- Wing players: Dahntay Jones, Kevin Murphy
- Big men: Jack Cooley, Brock Motum
- Children: J.P. Gibson
Each player has something going for them and something against them. As we've seen over time players who do get invited to Jazz training camp don't always fall off the face of the earth. But sometimes they do. Examples may be Kevin Kruger and Chris Quinn. We can speculate on what a player has to do to get an invite to camp in the first place, what is the motivation of the team for bringing them in.
- In the case of Dee Bost, the team has seen a lot of him starting from a pre-draft workout back in 2012, and free agent mini-camps in 2013 and 2014. He was a big deal with the Idaho Stampede and it is likely that he may remain one as well. He played 50 games for the last season and was an NBA-DL All-Star. Bost has been involved in a number of NBA Summer League teams and has now made it to two NBA training camps. Making the league could just be a matter of time, which is the case for many of these NBA-DL players who were four year college student athletes.
- Dahntay Jones did not play basketball professionally last year, but Utah has data on him from scouting him over his 10,146 minute NBA career (with: Memphis, Sacramento, Denver, Indiana, Dallas, and Atlanta). In addition to being a Duke grad, he also played 10 games in the NBA-DL . . . back in 2007-08. I don't know what is next for him professionally. But I wish him the best.
- Kevin Murphy was an Utah Jazz draft pick back in 2012 (did not have a pre-draft work out with the team), played in summer league, made it through training camp, and had a full rookie season in Utah. That off-season he was involved in a three team trade, and then promptly waived by Golden State. He has played in the NBA-DL the last two seasons, and in France for part of one. His 61 all-purpose professional games outside of the NBA have helped him distinguish himself from his NCAA career where he was just another big scorer from a small school. I hope he returns to the Idaho Stampede with Bost, he did a lot of exciting things on his way to averaging 25.5 ppg. If possible I think the Jazz would want him to somehow remain in their system, somehow.
- Jack Cooley was actually brought into Utah for TWO pre-draft workouts back in 2013, then free agent mini-camp in 2014 before being invited to training camp this year. The bigman is evolving from a Nick Collison type into a Troy Murphy type: a strong rebounding hustle guy to a strong rebounding hustle guy with a face up jumper. If Cooley can get there then he is going to find a spot in a professional league, somewhere. He played in Turkey last year. Maybe this year he gets a shot in the NBA-DL?
- Brock Motum is an Australian guy who played NCAA ball. Like every other non-Child who was waived by the Jazz during training camp, he played four years of college ball. Motum is a recent discovery, having all of his Jazz-activity be held during 2014, playing in the free agent mini-camp, summer league, and training camp. Utah has looked at him quite a bit, and it's not just because he's an available Australian free agent. You can argue that now that Dante Exum has gotten a bit used to the NBA life and gotten closer to his NBA team mates he's not going to need a chaperone anymore. I think the Jazz feel that way as well. But, again, Brock wasn't just here as a chaperone. He must have shown enough during summer league to distance himself from Erik Murphy, Greg Somogyi, and Niels Giffey.
Fourteen players means that if the Jazz are wheeling and dealing during the season they can take more players back than they ship out. This has been the Jazz doctrine for a few seasons now, and appears to be something that will persist. I think it's a good idea because as the season progresses you never know what's going to happen. In the case that there's a player who gets waived from another team, or a NBA-DL guy who starts to blow up, it's important to have a free roster spot so you can claim them and improve your team.
We've seen this in previous seasons when the Jazz went out there and used their free roster spot to sign Travis Leslie, or Jerel McNeal. Both moves put the Jazz over the top, and we'll never forget their strong performances helping Utah win back to back titles. Oh wait, no, that never happened. Having a free spot is important for insurance, but in practice, has not yielded an impact player.
None of the guys who were waived by the Jazz this season are impact players either.
Motum in a divisive player because he has one or two solid games in Las Vegas, but otherwise did not prove that he is an NBA player. Personally I'd be cool with Bost, Murphy, Motum, and Cooley all getting signed to play for the Idaho Stampede this year. They are works in progress and by having a one team affiliation, I think the Jazz and Idaho want to actually develop a pipeline of players in this specific way.
These are not assignees, and as a result, they aren't owned by the Jazz. If Idaho signs Dee Bost, and he continues his All-Star play, he's free to be signed by any NBA team. He's not the property of the Utah Jazz. That's just an example of what could happen this year.
At the end of the day, the Jazz have held up their idea of not having three rookies this year, which was part of the justification for trading away Jarnell Stokes. Last season there were three rookies (Trey Burke, Rudy Gobert, and Ian Clark). This year, so far, there will only be two -- in Dante Exum and Rodney Hood. The team is still super young, though (average age remains 24.12 years old by Halloween).
I'm going to miss Brock, but no more or less than I'm going to miss Kevin Murphy or Dee Bost. I hope to see them play for Idaho this year. And I think they each can have careers playing professional ball for at least another 5-6 years at least. It's obviously I'm going to follow their careers from this point forward.
And knowing how the Jazz work, it's not out of the question for them to return to be part of future Utah Jazz evaluations.