How good are the Utah Jazz? How good can they be? Should the NBA Playoffs be a lock? I really think so. But then again, I’m a crazy person. Of course, yes, we look at what’s going on in Brazil right now, preview the knockout stage, and focus in on our Jazzmen. Is there anything we can draw from their play so far that will carry over to training camp? Also: some really crazy trivia!
Down in Brazil the Knockout stage for the Men’s bball tournament at the Rio 2016 Olympic games is happening. RIGHT. NOW! Here’s how the Group stage finished up:
|Group A||W||L||PTS||OPP||+/-||PPG||OPP||Knockout Stage|
|1||United States||5||0||524||407||117||104.8||81.4||Argentina (B4)|
|Group B||W||L||PTS||OPP||+/-||PPG||OPP||Knockout Stage|
|4||Argentina||3||2||441||428||13||88.2||85.6||United States (A1)|
And here’s who is playing today:
- Australia (A2) vs. Lithuania (B3) — Right now Australia is winning as I type this
- Spain (B2) vs. France (A3) — Winner gets Basque nation-state
- United States (A1) vs. Argentina (B4) — Winner gets steaks
- Croatia (B1) vs. Serbia (A4) — Winner gets rights to start next Balkan war
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Winner of AUS/LITH gets winner of CRO/SRB. This is the “easier” path to the Silver medal, because none of these four teams will face Team USA before the Gold Medal game.
This means that the “best” we can expect Spain or France to do is to get a bronze, because even if the United States isn’t winning games by 40 points anymore, I don’t think any of us expect them to lose a game. For reals. Let this be a lesson to Spain and/or France. Every game counts in the group stage. Especially if you want a chance to play for the Gold.
Anyway, with the Group stage in the books how do our Utah Jazz guys look?
- Boris Diaw (F, France, 25.0 MPG): 8.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 bpg
- Rudy Gobert (C, France, 20.5 MPG): 5.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 0.2 apg, 0.4 spg, 2.0 bpg
- Joe Ingles (F, Australia, 25.5 MPG): 7.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.8 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.0 bpg
- Raul Neto (G, Brazil, 17.9 mpg): 4.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.6 apg, 0.0 bpg
Diaw, France’s team captain, does a little of everything on both sides of the ball. At this stage he plays with the energy of Derrick Coleman, but if you replace Coleman’s disinterest with selectively savvy play. It’s going to be fun to see Diaw replace what Trevor Booker tried to do in the rotation. Instead of missing layups we’re probably going to see someone drawing fouls.
Gobert hasn’t been impressive this Rio. I am going to chalk some of that up to not playing with Team France in the Olympic qualifiers -- and Team France not playing with him. Their defense doesn’t know how to play with him right now, because all of the basketball they played the last few months were without him. Boo!
Ingles is like the Diaw for the Boomers. He’s not there to take all the shots, but he’s there to conduct things. And he has drawn some shorter straws so far with who he has been asked to defend. But he’s not going to complain. And you love that.
Neto somehow can’t displace Marcelo Huertas. That’s fine. That means Raul has more energy for off-the-court activities. (I wonder if the Jazz are going to enact the Dee Brown rule and get rid of him for being an unmarried, young, 2nd round point guard going into his Soph season?)
Your guess is as good as mine . . .
. . . but how does someone so talented like Kris Humphries end up marrying a hobbit?
The real hope for the 2016-2017 Utah Jazz isn’t just to make the playoffs this year, but to hopefully make some NOISE in the playoffs. I’m clearly setting my expectations too high, but I am thinking something like the 1987-1988 Utah Jazz team that not just made the playoffs but were a win away from the Western Conference Finals.
For a recap of what put the Jazz on the map outside of the Beehive state we have their 7 Game series in the 2nd round against the Los Angeles Lakers:
What I loved about it was that the Jazz won Game 2, in the Great Western Forum. It wasn’t a “drop two, win Game 3, then fold”. It was a “I’m not locked in here with you, you’re locked in here with me” type of moment. Of course, a big part of that was the philosophy and fire of their head coach Frank Layden. I was looking for the video of him slicking his hair back DURING the game in order to make fun of Lakers head coach Pat Riley, but the best I could find was this:
In a way this is a more meaningful representation of the strange side of YouTube. Also of note, Scott Layden with a full head of non-silver hair around the 1:00 mark.
Under Tyrone Corbin it seems like the Jazz played not to get fined or fired. Which was a deviation of what we were used to. Quin Snyder may end up being a middle road between Jerry Sloan and Frank Layden. (I don’t actually know, perhaps he’s an even more extreme version of Jerry?)
I do hope to see continued fire from our bench, and perhaps a few fines. Our players will respond with ‘fiya’ on the court for sure.
Bring back that Salute, yo.