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The Downbeat #1988 - All the best, Memo!

A new beginning

San Antonio Spurs v Utah Jazz, Game 4 Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

The season starts in 40 or so days. Listen to our Podcast! Also, new starter George Hill is racking up assists already. Utah to work out two more players before training camp starts. Also a double-dose of the Moneyman!

The big news of the day is that the Moneyman himself, Mehmet Okur, is leaving his position as “non-discript Utah Jazz ambassador” to be a player development coach with the Phoenix Suns.

Hadi hayirlisi !! New chapter !! #exited #lookingforwardtoit

A photo posted by mehmetokur13 (@mehmetokur13) on

This is a great move for Memo who gets to continue being around the game that he loves — while doing something he’s clearly capable of: helping young players gain more skills. This makes a lot of sense for the suns who have Alex Len, Dragan Bender, and Marquese Chriss all on the roster. All of those kids were born in the 90s, all of them are bigmen. And all of them can shoot, but can get better on both sides of the ball. (Lots of people forget that Okur was able to contain Hall of Fame center Yao Ming in the playoffs in single coverage to -3.00 ppg compared to what he had averaged that season against Utah.) Memo + Bender means Bender could really be something special in this league. Which is a problem for other potential Western Conference rivals.

It’s a great move for Earl Watson, the Suns head coach, as well.

Earl has brought in Tyrone Corbin to be an assistant head coach (behind both Watson and Jay Triano — making Ty 3rd in order, which is probably where he is best), and now Memo as a development coach. There are some strong Jazz ties between these two teams, and seems like there always will be.

We are sad to see Memo (and Earl, if we’re being real) coach for another team out West, but it’s not like the Utah Jazz were hiring. Their staff seems to be pretty much full right now as well. So this is a great opportunity for Okur, and the Suns. If he can make Dragan Bender play with even half the heart that he did, then the addition of Mehmet Okur will have been worth it.

Because the NBA is fun, it’s hilarious to me that the Phoenix Suns have Leandro Barbosa back on the team -- and one of the coaches on the team is Mehmet Okur. Okur used to get isolated on him during switches when the Jazz and Suns played, and the Moneyman has made a number of crunch time shots / game winners against the Brazilian combo guard.

I guess that’s not the worst ice breaker there is. But it is what it is. (Actually the two have known of each other for years before they were in the NBA, having played against one another in FIBA events between Turkey and Brazil.)

Anyway, here’s “Wonderwall” 16 minutes of Memo highlights.

The Jazz are working out Jabari Brown and Richard Solomon today. We talked about Solomon yesterday (6’11 bigman who went undrafted, only 24 years old, not a three point shooter). So let’s focus on Brown.

Brown is a 6’4 combo guard who played high school basketball at Findlay Prep (a number of hoopers hailed from that school, like Jermaine O’Neal and Paul Pierce), and college ball at Oregon and Missouri. (Quin Snyder’s former job was coaching ball there.) After going undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft he has played for the Los Angeles Lakers and their D-League team, and in China.

With LA he made it to training camp and was waived during the preseason, but was snatched up for their NBA-DL team. Down with the D-Fenders he made a name for himself by scoring 50 points in a very Morris Almond like performance.

He was an All-Star for the D-League in 2015.

Brown got a call up to the Lakers during last season because of their injuries and/or tanking. On his 10-day contract he made an impression by scoring 22 points against the Philadelphia 76ers and followed that up with dropping 32 on the Sacramento Kings. All of that was during the 2014-2015 season.

In 2015-2016 he played in China and averaged 32.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.5 apg, and 1.1 spg for the Foshan Long Lions.

After their season was up he re-signed with the Los Angeles D-Fenders, scored some points, but was waived. The reason? Probably his season ending injury. That’s a crappy reason to get cut, but this is a job after all.

So Brown is a shoot first guard who has had big scoring nights. I think this workout is really to help fill out the Salt Lake City Stars roster more than anything else — what with the current Jazz logjam at wing with Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, Joe Johnson, Alec Burks, Joe Ingles, Dante Exum, Shelvin Mack, and Chris Johnson. (And Trey Lyles, if he gets a look here.)

I don’t know if Brown is going to get an invite to Jazz camp or make the Stars. He clearly is talented enough to score all over the world. Some team will want him for sure.

While Jabari Brown isn’t likely to make a big impression with Jazz fans, starting point guard George Hill definitely will. Here he is giving food to the homeless:

All jokes aside, this is #JazzDNA

#ICYMI We did a thing.

Listen to it.