Our Jazz played the new-look, Karl-Anthony Towns-led Minnesota Timberwolves last night in the Las Vegas Summer League, but I'm writing this before the game, because it starts at 8:30 Mountain and I need my beauty sleep. That last part isn't true. I'm hideous and sleep isn't gonna help. Also don't ever share a room with me because I snore like a bear. I was at a family reunion last weekend and my brother had to leave the room and sleep in the tub. True story.
I forget what we were talking about.
Anyway, we crushed/edged out/just barely lost to/got creamed by the Peskies, eh? I liked when that one player did a thing. That was pretty cool.
I swear I have actual Downbeat content. Let's stop pretending I'm funny and get to it.
It's a safe assumption by now that the Jazz don't intend to sign any other free agents (the additions of Hhhhhhaahhhh-ooooool Neto and Tibor Pleiß notwithstanding [for future reference, you push Option + S on a Mac to get the German ß character]). That hasn't stopped national writers from suggesting them, though. Here's ESPN's Bradford Doolittle:
Given the depth of Utah's young talent and the Jazz's 21-11 finish, it seems the stakes will be much higher for Quin Snyder's emerging team. Rudy Gobert is a defensive beast in the middle. While Utah could probably still use another shooter or two, there isn't a bonafide backup center on the depth chart, though maybe Utah sees potential overseas import Tibor Pleiss as the answer. The rights to Pleiss were acquired at February's trade deadline in the swap that sent Enes Kanter to Oklahoma City, and he's rumored to be near a deal with the Jazz. He's a skilled guy, but obviously has yet to prove he can hang with NBA-caliber big men, and his game is skewed toward the offensive end. Utah still has to figure out how to mitigate its inevitable loss of defensive efficiency when Gobert heads to the bench. Derrick Favors may well be the de facto backup in the middle, sliding to the position as part of a rotation with Gobert and Pleiss. One guy who might work in a bit role is New Orleans restricted free agent Jeff Withey. However, a more utilitarian pickup would be someone who can swing between both frontcourt spots. This is another place where Udoh would fit.
It's true that Pleiss (never mind the ß) is reported to be less accomplished on defense, but he's also 7-dang-foot-3. I think that'll do fine for backup center. And as Doolittle mentions, Favors is capable of taking on an opposing team's center, especially if they're going small-ball. With Trevor Booker retained, Pleiss on the roster and a possibly-still-growing-and-pretty-lanky-if-not Trey Lyles to boot, the Jazz seem fine at the big positions.
ESPN Insider and Utah's favorite temporary adoptee Kevin Pelton wrote an interesting piece on the futility of creating a roster entirely or mostly by signing free agents. Come for the Lakers LOLs, stay for the confirmation that the Jazz are doing the right thing:
The lesson here is that the NBA's finances make free agency better for adding the finishing touches to a team than starting to build it. While the cap goes up, rookie contracts and cap holds -- set by the CBA independent of the size of the cap -- won't keep pace, giving teams that have young talent in place a big edge in putting together a roster that can win immediately.
Of course, this isn't to say that the Jazz wouldn't have jumped at the chance to sign a player like, say, Danny Green -- especially at the price the Spurs are paying. (Can someone take away Gregg Popovich's Hypnotoad or squad of blackmail ninjas or whatever he uses to get his players to stay in San Antonio at massive discounts? I've been to the Riverwalk, and it's nice and all, but it's not five million bucks a year nice.)
But the point is, it's safer and more efficient to lock up young talent when you can, then tinker as needed in free agency. If you keep pushing all-in on multiple free agents, you're gonna hit a bad beat.
On that note, our first FanPost of the week features StocktonJr on building through the draft:
Everyone knows the stigma that the Jazz can't win big in free agency because we are a small market team. We'll never sign the marque free agents and have to build through the draft. Although I think winning and money can debunk that, I wanted to look at recent examples of contenders building through the draft to see whether or not we are on that path to a championship caliber team. I came up with 4 teams in recent history that have done just that.
Next, BigBenSportsGuy says the NBA should take a hint from the MLB on dealing with injury:
Wouldn't it be great if teams could have an expanded pool to pull from, say an 18 or 20 man roster? Guys could be learning the big league club's system AND get regular playing time so that when that call comes, they can be there fast and ready to go. No more having to adjust on the fly, a replacement is ready to go.
And JazzMoney wrote an extended basketball-as-surfing analogy that you won't want to miss:
The more I watch basketball, the more I find myself watching it like I'm watching the ocean looking for waves. Does the swell have what it takes for the spot you want to surf. Is the swell to big, is it too small. What does it take?
In my analogy, a basketball player is like a swell, and the nba is the break, and every game is like a different break. Some waves break on a beach, and other waves break on the reef. The best waves for surfing are usually reef breaks, because as the wave comes in it peels off the reef, forming a wall that moves along the face of the shore. Making for longer rides, and opportunities for fun.
If you didn't see Trey Lyles on
The Basketball Jones The Starters last weekend, defending his teammate Trey Burke's honor, you should check it out (Lyles' segment starts at about 16:00):
It's worth it for this gif alone, courtesy of (who else?) our dear sweet Moni:
Game recognize game. Giraffe recognize giraffe.
(Or, like, rhino, I guess? I can't quite tell what's in the background there. Never mind.)