Last season the Utah Jazz had a ridiculously high number of games lost to player injuries. Scrambling, the team was forced to dip into the NBADL to keep enough healthy bodies around. In and out of the lineup, and in and off the roster were , , , , , , Jerrelle Benimon, , and Jack Cooley. Some made it to a second 10-Day contract. Some made it to Summer League. Some made it to training camp. As of right now only one, Johnson, has made it through to having his contract graduate to being fully guaranteed for the rest of the season. This season the jazz are having a ridiculous high number of games lost to player injuries again. And it was reported and/or disclosed earlier today that the team had signed to a 10-Day contract. This is his first time in the NBA, and the team's first 10-Day contract award so far in 2015-2016.
SALT LAKE CITY (January 16, 2016) - The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed forward JJ O'Brien from the Idaho Stampede to a 10-day contract. The Stampede are the Jazz's exclusively owned and operated NBA D-League team, and O'Brien becomes the NBA's eighth overall NBA D-League Call-Up of the 2015-16 season and the second Stampede player to be called up. Per team policy, financial terms were not released. Following the move, Utah's roster now stands at 15 players.
We know J.J., and some of us like him (like me!). O'Brien spent his freshman season playing college ball in Utah, before transferring to finish off his career at San Diego State University. He played well in the Mountain West Conference and finished on a lot of All-Conference teams. The 6'7 forward established himself as a guy who isn't afraid to hustle out there on defense, get rebounds, and became a reliable scorer. He went undrafted but found his way onto the Utah Jazz Summer League rosters for the Salt Lake City and Las Vegas tournaments.
In Summer League he showed off a much better jumper than in college, and went from .314 3PT% from his Senior year (games played 36) to .571 in the Summer (games played 8) He was well liked enough that he was brought into training camp, playing in one pre-season game, and then being cut and signed by the Idaho Stampede in the NBADL.
The Jazz affiliate is supposed to be the Jazz farm team. And the Jazz wanted to keep him in the pipeline. In 24 games for the Stamps he has averaged 9.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.6 spg, and 0.4 bpg. His three point shooting has dipped to .289, but if we're looking at "Three and D" wings he is on his way there. The 23 year old is going to have 10 days to make sure he gets another 10 days. The timing of this means he'll get to go on the Jazz four game road trip out East that has him collecting at least three nights in New York City (crazy schedule error?) where he can go to the clubs and tell people that, no, he's not Diedrich Bader, he's an NBA player.
I wish him all the best! And I hope he works out to be another diamond in the rough player for Dennis Lindsey.