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The Downbeat #1975 - Happy Birthday Kobe Bryant, revisit your Utah nightmares

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Utah Jazz stories, including a longer look than necessary at blocking shots

Los Angeles Lakers v Utah Jazz, Game 4

So, do we have new Utah Jazz news today? Well, not really. Oh well. Unless you count the signing of a second 2nd round Draft pick from 2016. I like Marcus Paige but I don’t know if he’s going to make the team. BUT — C.J. Miles got married! Woo! Furthermore, the Salt Lake City Stars schedule dropped. Also, Mark Eaton blocked a lot of shots. But we don’t have a good enough frame of reference with which to grade just how great he was at it . . . until NOW! Also it’s someone’s birthday today.

Beat 1

The Utah Jazz signed second round draft pick Marcus Paige.

The NCAA sharp shooter is a small shooting guard in a point guard’s body -- but that doesn’t seem to matter if you can really shoot like Stephen Curry. Can Paige do that? We shall see. We may see him with the Stars this year, if at all — because I don’t see him breaking the rotation that already features George Hill, Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Shelvin Mack, and Raul Neto.

Of course, this -- like the Joel Bolomboy signing — could just be the normal training camp roster additions. They are signed, but probably for something like $40k. That’s still a lot of money for someone coming right out of college to get a job in their field. So that’s not bad.

Beat 2

Today is Kobe Bryant ‘s birthday. He is 38. And that just reminds me of my own mortality. (I’ll be 38 soon after) As it’s his birthday, the NBA is going all out to historically revision him as the best player ever. Not just on the Los Angeles Lakers (a stories franchise that has starred the guy with the most points of all time, or possibly the most charismatic floor leader ever), but in the league. Or at least that’s just how it appears to me, a no-be fan.

Anyway, let’s revisit some of the best Kobe moments:

And also: “knuckle up”

Beat 3

It may not be immediately important “Utah Jazz” news, but C.J. Miles and long-time girlfriend Lauren Smith (no relation) got married and are on their honeymoon right now.

And of course:

After their wedding reception the couple went to Whataburger in a Rolls-Royce, only to find out that none of them brought money. Classic.

As for his Jazzman, I don’t know who was there. Though I can imagine that Deron Williams (and Amy Williams) probably were. I don’t know if Jerry Sloan was in attendance, but I really hope Matt Harpring wasn’t invited. (Can you imagine sitting at a Wedding reception table with Matt Harpring?)

I’m really happy these two kids tied the knot. I hope that the Jazz get a chance to workout their kids leading up to the 2036 NBA Draft.

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers, Game 5
Miles dunks it on a Kardashian
Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

We love you Calvin Junior and Lauren!

Beat 4

Are you to potentially see a lot of Joel Bolomboy, Tibor Pleiss, and Marcus Paige? You can make sure to be there in person to see them develop — and make sure you know when to hire the babysitter thanks to this handy schedule sent out by the SLCS:

I love how they have a 10 game home-stand from December through to January. Of course, this means some give and take as well, they do play nine road games in their last month — including seven of their last 10 outside of the #801. The Idaho Stampede have been around for 10 years, starting strong with going for 33, 36, and 31 wins in their first three seasons. But since then they’ve been pretty bad — winning just 29 in their last two seasons combined.

Hopefully things in Utah will be better. With all the universities in the area I would try to sell discounted tickets to people with ID for one of the higher level institutions, or something. But that’s just me.

Beat 5

Instructions unclear, Mark Eaton.

It’s a drink for my face, but whenever I get close to getting a refreshing taste you block the cup out of my hand. This is not how someone can stay hydrated this summer. Not at all.

For the Stat-heads and Trivia-nerds out there, Mark Eaton played in 868 total games (regular season and playoffs combined). He had at least one blocked shot in 791 of those 868 games. That’s over 91% of his games with a block. Or, alternatively, NOT having a block in less than 9% of the games he played in (if you discount rounding). That may not seem like much to you, but he’s had 370 games of four or more blocked shots. That means that he has had such games in 43% of all the games he has played in.

I don’t think you get how crazy that is. During a 10 game stretch he’ll get at least 4 blocks in four of those games. Compared to the best shot blockers in franchise history we see that his big block games value is out of the ordinary, to say the least.

Bigman Jazz Games 1 BLK Gms % 4 BLK Gms %
1 Karl Malone * 1606 819 51.00% 28 1.74%
2 Mark Eaton * 868 791 91.13% 370 42.63%
3 Greg Ostertag 787 585 74.33% 122 15.50%
4 Thurl Bailey * 777 528 67.95% 38 4.89%
5 Andrei Kirilenko 726 580 79.89% 132 18.18%
6 Paul Millsap 588 334 56.80% 15 2.55%
7 Mehmet Okur 506 251 49.60% 8 1.58%
8 Jarron Collins 503 82 16.30% 1 0.20%
9 Carlos Boozer 398 121 30.40% 0 0.00%
10 Derrick Favors 377 261 69.23% 31 8.22%
11 Antoine Carr 369 189 51.22% 5 1.36%
12 Greg Foster 332 77 23.19% 0 0.00%
13 Enes Kanter 269 88 32.71% 2 0.74%
14 Al Jefferson 255 179 70.20% 13 5.10%
15 Felton Spencer 218 127 58.26% 3 1.38%
16 Rudy Gobert 187 145 77.54% 28 14.97%
17 Olden Polynice 178 105 58.99% 5 2.81%
18 Rich Kelley * 171 55 32.16% 1 0.58%
19 Kyrylo Fesenko 140 40 28.57% 1 0.71%
20 Otto Moore * 0 0 0.00% 0 0.00%
* = incomplete boxscore data Data from Basketball-Reference.com

Please note that this data is incomplete because we don’t have access to 1970s box scores in easily accessed databases. But as it stands it’s clear that Mark at 43% is clearly ahead of the pack. Current Jazz bigs Derrick Favors (8%) and Rudy Gobert (15%) are looking upwards to Eaton in this regard for sure. Andrei Kirilenko at nearly 20%? Probably one of the most talented guys ever that people overlook because of injuries.

Bottom line, though? Mark Eaton is amazing.