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Friday Morning for the Weekend (Episode 001)

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Whimsical musings to get you through the weekend

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NBA: Preseason-Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Hi there

Welcome to the inaugural episode of “Friday Morning for the Weekend” (feel free to shorten this to FM FTW). The number 001 was utilized since 1 just seems lonely, and who likes lonely numbers anyway?

At any rate, this is where you’ll find your Utah Jazz fix to get you through the day and through the weekend.

FM FTW has three parts to it. The first part is the “Breakfast Discussion” that discusses something thought provoking and Utah Jazz related. Part two is titled “Worst Analogy” (discussed further below), and part three is called “Cap Space” - this section is reserved for flexibility and a player to be named later.

Breakfast discussion

Dennis Lindsey has dazzled Jazz fans with his ability to put together a competitive roster in small market Utah. Much discussion over the summer has been over his seemingly ability to go out and get players who fit the Utah system that is being built. Behold:

I’ve reminisced a bit about this and what Dennis Lindsey is doing for the Jazz seems similar to what so called midmajor’s have to do to compete with the brand name schools in college basketball.

To wit, I found an article in the New York Times entitled “A Midmajor Study”. This article discusses research commissioned by Dave Telep of Scout.com and is penned by Drew Cannon. Drew investigated why 32 first-team all conference players at midmajor schools ended up where they were at. He broke down the players into the following groups:

  • High major talent (rare)
  • Fortunate foreign find (recruited but nobody knew about them)
  • Hidden gem (went to under-the-radar school/played for under-the-radar AAU team)
  • Skinny/slow shooter (shot the lights out in high school but were projected to be too slight/slow to play defense)
  • Skinny/ultra-quick shooting guard (tweener guard; too thin short to play off guard but vision or ballhandling skills not strong enough to play point)
  • Skinny/skilled big man (tweener forward; not big enough to match up with bigs and too slow to match up with wings)
  • Undersized forward (undersized with fantastic rebound ability and outstanding insticts)
  • Late arrival big man (started playing late and is developing basketball IQ)
  • Intangibles freak (someone who completely willed his way to become a college basketball player, talent irrelevant)

All of these players have one thing in common - they are coachable, have good basketball IQ’s, and work ethic.

Now let’s look at our Jazz. From what we know of Dennis, he is methodical and meticulous. When drafting, he places players in tiers and, when all other things are equal, looks for players that are bigger at position. He’s found a fortunate foreign find in Rudy, drafted a high major talent in Exum, discovered a hidden gems in Trey Lyles and Rodney Hood (under radar due to who they played with), and drafted a late arrival big man in Joel Bolomboy. Dennis looks to bring guys aboard who have a high basketball IQ, strong work ethic, are versatile, and unselfish.

Much like their college counterparts, these players that Dennis is bringing on are also coachable, and Dennis has gone out of his way to build a development philosophy making sure to bring in a coach and a staff who know how to develop players.

Dennis has made this rebuild look easy; making sure that we don’t “skip steps” - communicating “defense, discipline, and development” along the way. Don’t be fooled by how effortlessly all this has come together - we know all too well by watching great players like Stockton and Malone that the great ones make things look easy because of the preparation and work that goes into it.

Worst Analogy

This is where I place a video, image, tweet, quote, etc and you make an analogy of that video, image, tweet, quote, etc to the Utah Jazz. For instance, if I placed a link to elephantgardens.com/fun, you would then visit the site and come to the conclusion that Utah Jazz fans are like elephants because they have good memories, and can remember what it was like to have All Stars on their team and what it was like having their team play in the NBA Finals even during the drought that was the Ty Corbin years.

Simple enough? Okay, here is Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (literal version - you will need to watch it to know what “literal” means):

Why? Because we can have a good laugh and you can get your creative juices going this morning.

Put your analogies in the comment section below. I will pick the best “worst” analogy and comment on it next week.

Cap Space

This week’s flexibility is dedicated to Coursera. For all you who don’t know what Coursera is, it is an online education platform that partners with universities and organizations worldwide to offer courses anyone can take (that’s basically from their “about” section.) I’m a big believer in continually learning. You can audit courses for free or pay to get a certificate.

For all those looking to find out about sports analytics, there is a course on there right now called “Math Behind Moneyball” that’s taught by Wayne Winston. As an FYI, Mark Cuban has used Wayne as a stat guru for the Dallas Mavericks. Starting October 24th, eleven week course will explain using probability, math, and statistics to improve baseball, basketball, and football teams lineups and in-game strategies. If you want to be graded on homework and get a certificate, it’s $49; otherwise, you can audit the course for free.