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The Utah Jazz and High Character Players: The Downbeat #1414

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Do you care what players do off the court, as long as they are winning on the court?

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Happy 51st birthday to the one and only Karl Malone.

The first 30 seconds of this video kill me. No, literally, a Karl Malone elbow would end my existence as a human being.

Rising Aussie NBA star Dante Exum is now part of his favourite (favorite) video game NBA 2K15. Imagine being an 18 year old and having your face and body scanned into the newest NBA 2k game. Here is what Dante thought,

"It’s all a bit surreal," he says. "Just playing the game and knowing next year I’m going to be in it, and have a character of my own. It’s a bit lights-in-the-face, but I take it one step at a time and when it comes around I’ll be excited."

NBA2k15 and NBA Live will have a rare simultaneous release date of Oct. 7th, which coincides with training camp and the early Christmas rush.

Rob Mahoney and Ben Golliver evaluated all of the 2014 lottery picks for SI.com. I think most Jazz fans would agree with Rob's analysis on Exum.

Analysis: Tremendously talented and green, the 19-year-old guard played to both sides of that description. The 6-6 Exum tantalized even while working off the ball much of the time. He sprung into side screen-and-rolls with confidence, showing an impressive feel for threading passes through multiple defenders in motion. He turned awesome defensive plays into scoring opportunities, demonstrating his two-way potential.

Here is the rest

.There are specific plays that stand out in my mind, both good and bad. His shot needs work. Fundamentally, it is not completely broken, but their are some adjustments that need to be made. As Locke pointed out yesterday on 1280, Dante Exum has certain skills you can't teach i.e speed, court vision, and his 6'6 frame.

Yes, he needs to work on the mechanics of his shot. Yes, he will probably hit a rookie wall somewhere between the Christmas road trip and the All-star game. Yes, he has a lot to learn. BUT... that speed and potential. The best thing for Exum is to get to his 10,000 hours asap. The Aussie National team will help, training camp will help, and obviously playing time for the Jazz will help. On another note, do we know who the new "shot doctor" is yet?

I have had the following discussion with Jimmy and Mikey (from the podcast) multiple times over the past few years. I have swayed back and forth so many times it's ridiculous. (I have also had this conversation about BYU players as well.)  These thoughts were triggered again from a tweet Jody sent out on Monday.

If a player produces on the court, but has troubles off the court , or is not the most enjoyable person to fans (Stockton DWill) off the court; why do we, myself included, give them a pass (Stockton) or crucify them for being surly (DWill). Or in JL3's case, doesn't produce on the court, but does amazing things of the court (some that we won't ever know about) and doesn't get a pass. It seems like a double standard.

As fans, I think ultimately we want to have both. We want to have high character players, and we want to win championships. The issue with wanting both, is that we all have our own individual lines in the sand. How far is to far?

Example: Wade, with Shaq and Lebron's help, has given Miami three championships in the past 10 years. He also, through his own admittance, has cheated on his wife. I won't even get started with Kobe. How would we react to these players and their off court choices if they were playing for the Utah Jazz.

"Well, I don't respect them as a people, but what they do on the court is incredible."

Example: Yao Ming was a good player, but never won the big one. He is a high character guy who has been a fabulous ambassador for the game of basketball. His off court actions will probably help him eventually get into the HOF.

"He only played seven seasons, but what he has done for the game of basketball in China has been tremendous."

Personally, do you care what players do off the court , as long as they are winning on the court? Both positive and negative. Does a player's age, race, or background factor into your decision?