Man, how good are things in Jazzland this week? On Monday, we get the heart-warming-est story in, like, forever, with the signing of JP Gibson. On Tuesday, we get a thumping win in the first official (if preseason) game of the Quin Snyder Era, a 92-73 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Yes, the standard caveats apply. It's preseason. The Blazers starters only played 20 of the 48 minutes, and their bench is terrible. The Jazz were at home and amped up after Monday night's scrimmage. Insert any asterisk you like. The bottom line is, it's darn fun to have the Jazz back and winning, and everyone seems to be in a good mood.
Confession time: I didn't get to watch the game. (My gym at work doesn't carry ROOT on their TVs, a fact I only discovered after I had begun my workout. Lesson learned.) Not that you care about Shums' Workout Stories, but I'd like to be able to give you more sophisticated analysis on last night's game in this space, and I unfortunately can't. Won't happen again.
I can give you some observations from the box score and from checking tweets, though.
-- Alec Burks led the Jazz in scoring. This is going to become a theme for the season, folks. Book it.
-- The Jazz didn't shoot the lights out (44%), but the Blazers were terrible (35%). Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke, two players who really need to improve their shooting from last yeah, were each 4-10 from the floor. Dante Exum shot just 1-5. Early days, but let's hope it's not the start of a trend.
-- I'll just leave this here: Rudy Gobert, 21 minutes, 8 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 2 assists.
-- 7-14 from downtown. Yes, please.
-- Jeremy Evans only played one minute? Sad face.
-- Although ESPN's box score insists he's a small forward, Toure Murry gave some decent minutes at point guard. Gotta foul less, though.
Those were some things that stuck out to me from the stats. If you watched the game, I'd love to hear your impressions in the comments.
Want a bit of a downer after all that happiness? Well, no, probably not, but here's a bit of one anyway:
Yep, according to #NBArank, Derrick Favors, who was ranked #68 before last season and put up career-high stats in pretty much every category, is now down to #90. What gives?
Well, mostly nothing; these rankings are pretty pointless, anyway. (Except that they give me Downbeat fodder. That's a vital point.) But it seems to indicate that people don't have as much faith in Fav-O's development as they once did.
Me, I'm not worried. I didn't see much of tonight's game, but I HAVE seen Favors in several interviews since this season started in earnest. And he seems like a different person. No more mumbling, avoiding eye contact, giving bland answers. He's relaxed and open and showing more personality than I've ever seen from him. I don't know the cause, but I love that he's happy.
(By the way, Favors is the highest-ranked Jazz player to appear in #NBArank except for Gordon Hayward, who has yet to make his appearance. Where do you think he'll land?)
All right, I really do have a downer to kick off this week's FanPosts. BoufantPuffydoo puts her money where her mouth is in her season predictions, and they're not all sunshine and rainbows, starting with the coach:
This new season is a good chance to test some of my beliefs about NBA basketball. I'll combine my beliefs with the predictions that reasonably should follow.
Belief no. 1. NBA coaches don't make much difference in winning or losing. No statistical studies that I have heard of find any difference. Kevin Pelton speculates that if a coach did make a difference, it would be no more that five games. I have also heard, however, that coaches can make a difference on defense. So maybe in the best case scenario the team improves it's defense and wins a few more games. I think Snyder is likely a better coach than Corbin (snarky comments here) so I think he will add more wins. He's a rookie though, so I'm not going to give him five. I'll say three. Add to that the fact that the Jazz now have an NBA level bench (as opposed to a D league) and just natural growth, and I think the jazz will win somewhere between 5-10 more games this year.
Prediction: 30-35 wins.
Click through for the rest of Puffydoo's predictions and see if you agree; they're all very well-reasoned and supported. Nice work, Puff.
Let's lighten the mood, shall we? Fesenko For President has a post of a more...barberial nature:
Now that Gordon Hayward is making the "big bucks" I would like to see him sport a Chris-Mullin-style "flat top" haircut. That would make him look like the bully that he has expressed a desire to become during this upcoming season. No one would be giving him a wet willy with that rad haircut--without risking having him slit their throat! A close second hairstyle I would like to see on "Gordo" would be the "long stringy comb-over hair and mutton chop sideburns" look that Chris Farley sported in the movie "Billy Madison" (in his unforgettable role as the bus rider for the school field trip). Again that hair/facial hair style would make him look absolutely psycho, which he could use to his advantage in getting into other player's heads.
I vote for flat-top. (Also, "barberial" isn't a real word. I made it up. Don't use it in real life. People will think you're dumb.)
Lastly, pacoelcid has a potential roster addition for the Jazz to consider. Click through to find out more.
(Editor's note: It's a joke post. But you'll like it.)
Thanks for the FanPosts, folks!
Two quick items from Twitter for the last two points. First: Rodney Hood missed last night's game with a strained hip flexor, but I have a feeling that's not what is keeping him from this appointment:
I told Rodney we should have a good catch up soon. He said I'm busy this week, Jabari. I said How about next week? He said I'm busy then too
— Boring Jabari Parker (@BoringJabari) October 6, 2014
I still love that account.
Our fearless Dictator Emeritus BBJ dropped this gem on Twitter regarding the (very slight) changes to the J-Note logo:
Jazz also announce that their logo can also be converted into a spaceship. pic.twitter.com/B2IRy8q2lA
— Kris (@5kl) October 7, 2014