It isn't official yet, but multiple reports say the Jazz will add the well-traveled Dahntay Jones to the roster at some point this week. He's the 19th player to join the Jazz pre-training camp, although only 13 have fully guaranteed contracts. A 6-foot-6 swingman previously known for his defense (and beefing with Kobe Bryant after Jones undercut him on a jumper in 2013), the 32-year-old Dahntay will be battling for a roster spot against the likes of Kevin Murphy and Toure Murry.
But while Murry (along with Carrick Felix, whose contract is guaranteed for this upcoming season) could be D-League development fodder, Jones wouldn't be eligible to be sent down to Idaho given his veteran status. For Dahntay, it's a roster spot or nothing.
So how likely is he to claim that spot? It's hard to say. There are six Jazz players with guaranteed contracts who could reasonably play one or both swingman spots: Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Rodney Hood, Dante Exum, Ian Clark, and Felix. Would the Jazz carry a seventh into the season? Or would they rather bolster the bench with a multi-positional utility player like Murry? Or big-man depth in Brock Motum?
In past years, the Jazz would often avoid beginning the season with a full roster of 15 players, preferring the flexibility of the open roster spot for trades or call-ups. But that hasn't always been the case since Dennis Lindsey came aboard. So if the Jazz do fill to 15, that means two of the non-guaranteed contract players -- Jones, Murry, Motum, Murphy, Dee Bost and Jack Cooley -- could make the squad.
The odds seem to be against Dahtnay Jones. But then, why did (or will) the Jazz sign him at all? It could just be a chance to prove himself. It could be to push other players in training camp by pitting them against Jones' experience. Or it could be to provide some veteran locker-room leadership.
Then again, that last part seems more like Tyrone Corbin reasoning, and the theme of this offseason so far seems to be that the Jazz want to take as many spins at the young-fringe-NBA-talent roulette wheel as possible. Jones would seem to have less upside, and less utility, than someone like Murry. (Jones would also cost about $450,000 more, due to veteran-minimum salary requirements. But that's pinching pennies at that point.)
Anyway, that was probably 400 words too many about a player who will likely not be on the Jazz roster come Opening Night, and likely wouldn't play more than a tiny amount of minutes per game if he does make it.
One last item, though: Jones IS a Duke alum. Make of that what you will.
ESPN's #NBArank continues apace -- they're up to number 260 now, although the recent batches haven't featured any Jazz players or names of real interest to Utah fans.
Kevin Pelton, however, did write an interesting (and Insider-restricted, natch) piece about specific attributes that the #NBArank system either over- or undervalues. Our Prince of Threes, Rodney Hood, makes an appearance in the section about undervalued rookies:
RPM creators Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi wrote last month that, based on plus-minus, few rookies help their teams much right away. The #NBArank panel took that history and last year's poor rookie class to heart -- perhaps too much. While we're not quite halfway through the countdown of the league's top 500 players, just 11 rookies remain to be unveiled. On average, players drafted last June ranked about five spots lower on #NBArank than in the statistical rankings.
In particular, #NBArank seems to be down on the late first round, putting picks like C.J. Wilcox (No. 421), Rodney Hood (No. 379) Jordan Adams (No. 370) and even T.J. Warren (No. 369) in among replacement-level free agents. It's unclear how much those rookies will play, especially with several going to contending teams, but odds are at least one of them will become a contributor right away.
I mentioned last week that #379 seemed low for Rodney, and Pelton seems to allow for that possibility here. Given that the Jazz aren't contenders this season, I truly hope he gets the chance to contribute. He could be a big piece of the team's future.
FanPosts! Here's a pair for the week. First, Beeblebrox42 kicks around some trade ideas:
The Jazz have been in the asset accumulation stage of their rebuild for a while now, and it's almost time to start moving those assets for long-term pieces. I know that many of us are attached to certain players, or groups of players, but the fact is that in order to contend we'll need to move some of them to better the team as a whole. My guess is that we'll see a minor move or two during the season and then a big move next offseason (possibly at the draft). Below are my guesses as to who Lindsey will target and what we'd give up.
Note: I didn't run any of these through a trade machine so some of them may not be viable as written. Consider them simply a starting point.
Meanwhile, JuMu has put together a super-handy resource he calls the SLC Dunk Jazz Clubhouse, chock-full of colorful tables and useful reference information. Bookmark it, Dunkers.
CBS Sports and Hardwood Paroxysm's Matt Moore posted a power ranking of all 30 NBA coaches this week, and due to his first-year status, our Quin Snyder appeared close to the bottom:
29. Quin Snyder
Team: Utah Jazz
Comment: Longtime assistant, former college head coach (with quite the tarnished reputation in those ranks, which contrasts amazingly with how well-regarded he is at the pro level), young guy, fiery, excellent development coach, great quote. The Jazz aren't supposed to be good this year, so all Snyder has to do to keep his job is make sure they aren't abhorrent. If Favors and Hayward have bounce-back years after the money given to them, Dante Exum shows anything at all, and Rudy Gobert gives some flashes of what he showed in FIBA play, the Jazz could be a respectable 35-win team with another great pick and Snyder could have a good chance of building a team up that could keep him locked into Utah for the long haul.
His winning COY would be crazy, but I would have said the same thing about Jeff Hornacek last year and that almost happened.
Despite the low ranking here (which, again, is mostly due to Moore stuffing all first-year coaches at the bottom of the list), Moore knows about Snyder first-hand because the former is a Mizzou grad, where Snyder found success (and later disgrace) as head coach. Moore has also mentioned Snyder's virtues as a player-development specialist several times.
So I wouldn't get too hung up on that #29 listing. This grade is basically an "incomplete."
Ready to feel old?
How young is Dante Exum? In interview today learned he has never purchased a CD— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) September 23, 2014
BONUS GRATUITOUS BILL & TED CLIP: