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Downbeat #1963: How good is Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood? How good can he be?

Rodney Hood primed for a big year, Jazz primed for some TV Games? This and more stories inside!

NBA: Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

A big question going into 2016-2017 will be how good can the Utah Jazz be. A large factor that will help determine that is going to be Rodney Hood. If he’s going to continue ascending (and putting behind him all the other non- Gordon Hayward wings on the roster) then the team is possibly going to go north of 50 wins this year. If he’s not, well, other players will have to step up. We check into what some national writers think. But also go all around the Jazz, looking at what other inexperienced players are doing, and even have a cute announcement to make. All this and stupid sexy Flanders Karl Malone in this downbeat.

Beat 1

Jee wiz. It’s Thursday already? Thursdays have primarily been rest days for the Utah Jazz -- after all that’s the big TNT double-header day and the NBA wants to make sure as many eyes as possible get to see their product at it’s “best”. The Jazz are getting a lot of national pub right now, and it’s not even training camp. I have been taught to be wary of too much attention as a Jazz fan, but it seems like we may actually get some TV games this year.

My over / under is 3.5. What do you guys (and gals) (and smart dogs who know how to work a mouse) have?

I want to get back to shocking casual fans again.

Beat 2

Get your swag up to Hall-of-Fame levels with these new socks from the NBA!

Yes, that’s John Stockton and Karl Malone as socks, again. I can’t say anything bad about adding more Jazz merch. I have a Utah Jazz Christmas tree ornament, and I’m not even Christian. So if socks are your thing, you know you need to get these. Of course, not all Jazz merch is created equal, Greg tweeted this and for once I knew the true meaning of envy:

I kind of feel like The Mailman should have become a greater cultural icon than he was. I’d love to see him in a sequel to Kung Fury, if such a thing will ever be made. (Well, according to the Wiki, a sequel is being made.)

Beat 3

The 2014 NBA Draft class was supposed to be something special. Big names like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Marcus Smart were selected alongside talented but exciting question marks like Joel Embiid, Dante Exum, and Dario Saric. High light reel players or guys from big programs also made 2014 something to get hyped for, just ask Aaron Gordon, Zach LaVine, and Shabazz Napier. There were some players who fell lower, only to make the teams that picked them look smart, like Kyle Anderson and potentially Jarnell Stokes. (Haw haw.) Anyway, with all of the hype this group hasn’t shown the world what they can do.

Moving into their third seasons a few look to make a jump. CBS Sports’ Zach Harper identifies a few: Andrew Wiggins (#1), Aaron Gordon (#4), Rodney Hood (#23), Gary Harris (#19), Clint Capela (#25), Zach LaVine (#13), and Marcus Smart (#6).

Of the Jazz’ Rodney Hood he has this to say:

While the frustrations of injuries and missing the playoffs when they were knocking on the door were certainly there for the Utah Jazz, the emergence of Rodney Hood as their second-best wing seemed like a godsend. As Alec Burks dealt with a broken ankle and the Jazz had to piece together some frontcourt combinations with the injuries to Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, Hood was becoming a consistent threat throughout different roles in the offense. Quin Snyder trusted Hood to be the spot-up guy to space the floor. More importantly, he trusted Hood to be the main initiator at times running pick-and-rolls with anybody out there.

When the offense broke down and they needed to isolate Hood to get a bucket, he was one of the best in the NBA. He made great decisions in the pick-and-roll and the Jazz got him to beat himself up less and less when he made mistakes. It's really the biggest thing they've needed Hood to work on with his game as his skills have become sharper: Don't obsess over the mistakes in a bad way. Just learn from them. He started doing that and it meant when he had a chance at taking big shots in the clutch and missed, he wouldn't be too down. He would just be ready for them the next time.

Going into his third season, Hood can make his biggest leap behind the 3-point line and the Jazz are set up to make it happen. Utah was 12th in the NBA in 3-point accuracy and took the 15th most 3-pointers despite playing the league's slowest pace. They want to be able to move much higher up the list this season and the additions of George Hill, Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw are a big step toward doing that. These additions to the roster may end up asking Hood to do less on the court, but it could dramatically raise his 3-point percentage.

Zach Harper, CBS Sports, 2016

I suggest clicking on their page and reading it all. , as that’s only the beginning of what Harper writes about Hood. He also includes 10 Honorable Mention players as well, so if you aren’t a fan of those original seven, there’s more to read still. Especially if you are a fan of Jabari Parker, Bojan Bogdanovic, Elfrid Payton, Nerlens Noel, Nikola Mirotic, Tyler Johnson, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Anderson, and Jusuf Nurkic. (Thanks to Basketball John for finding this story)

Beat 4

Of the players who started their careers in 2014-15 you see a funny mix at the top. Which players have played the most NBA minutes? The #1 pick leads the group. But there are two Jazzmen following along, the #23 pick Rodney Hood and the undrafted Joe Ingles!

Top 15 in Minutes, 2014-2015 Rookies
Top 15 in Minutes, 2014-2015 Rookies

(Also of note, the #5 pick Dante Exum is 21st in rank for minutes out of the players who debuted in 2014-15.)

Beat 5

According to the seedier parts of the internet, Utah Jazz bigman Jeff Withey has apparently proposed and gotten engaged to his on-again, off-again love interest Kennedy Summers. (No clue if that is her real name. I’m not going to be upset if I never find out.)

That’s a huge ring for a guy who is on a non-guaranteed contract for next season. But the good news is that now that he’s going to be a family man and settled down it’s clear that the LHM Group of Companies board of directors will finally allow Quin Snyder to play Withey some minutes. I wish these two love birds all the best. And I would really like to see Jeff get in the regular rotation. (Thanks to Jazzy for finding this story)