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Utah Jazz New Year - The Downbeat #1515

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Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Hope everyone had a great Holiday season. I consumed my weight in ham.

Another day, another "Quin Snyder wants Dante Exum to be more aggressive" article. From Aaron Falk, of the Trib:

"You know, Elton Brand is diving on the floor for loose balls. He’s trying to play another year and another year and another year. I want Dante to play like he doesn’t have all those years in front of him."


What seems [to me] to be part of the problem is Exum's fitness. He looks gassed. All. The. Time. One or two trips up and down the court and he's bending over with two handfuls of his shorts. That has been the biggest downside of him taking a year off from competitive basketball. Compare him to Rodney, next game. Rodney is in much better shape, and it shows.

Another non-Jazz related DB point: Who is your irrational NBA player love? What player do you just cheer for and want to see succeed based on completely irrational reasons? I have two: Brandon Jennings and Shabazz Muhammad .

I don't know why, but it just makes me happy when they succeed. Maybe it's because they have both been written off. Jennings by the slave labor mentality NCAA and Shabazz by NBA GM's. Jennings was forced to go overseas to be able to earn a living playing basketball. Shabazz saw his draft stock tumble based on actions by his father, that Shabazz had very little control over. Yes they both can be chuckers. Most player have that streak in them. But, I guess it's just a "kid comes from nothing and makes good" story that I'm a sucker for.

The Pistons are on a 5 game winning streak. Shabazz is having a great year. Reading about both of these just makes me kind of happy.

Recently, most of the news surrounding the Jazz has been injuries or the shuffling of D-League player contracts. This is what it's come to. It's infinitely better than endless debates about Tyrone Corbin (have fun, Kings fans), but it speaks volumes about the state of the team. Maybe, that's the one of the keys to this season... not to take delight in the misery of others (Especially not Kings fans. Lord knows they've been through enough), but to look at the Jazz, compared to other rebuilding teams and take solace in the fact that the Jazz have direction, and it's in the general area of up. The Sixers are on a 10 year plan. The Magic still have tough decisions to make about the star power of their players. The Wolves are in rebuild limbo (Like the 12-13 Jazz with a weird mix of vets and young guys). The Knicks have a superstar on a huge contract and not much else.

Maybe this is hyper-optimistic, but what if this season's Jazz is like the 08-09 Thunder; One last good draft (The Thunder took Westbrook with the 4th overall pick) and the Jazz find themselves fighting for the playoffs next year?

Speaking of injuries, one enterprising, longtime Jazz fan has an idea to ease the pain:

It came with a bold prediction of how it would turn out:

Fantastic.

Ben Golliver of SI.com (formerly of SBNation's Blazer's Edge) wrote a post on the New Year's resolutions for every team in the NBA. For the Jazz?

Utah Jazz: Try another starting point guard.

The 22-year-old Trey Burke got a late start as a rookie due to injury and he had the benefit of a new coach in Quin Snyder who seemed capable of putting his players in better positions to succeed. Instead, Burke’s stats (11.8 points, 5.1 assists) look very similar to last year, his dreadful shooting numbers have fallen off from his rookie year, and his Player Efficiency Rating is well below average.

Click over and read the rest of the article. What say you, Mr. Novak?