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The Downbeat #1991 - Summer is over, time to get to work

A successful summer should lead to a bountiful autumn harvest of wins

Olympics: Basketball-Men's Team-Preliminary Round FRA vs USA Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz have been a stable organization for decades. Now with a talented team we’ve moved out side of the “potential” or “future” for the now. And the now has some expectations. How many wins? How will they win? What does the next 82 games have to reveal about this team? Plenty. Let’s check in on the division, the team, Rudy Gobert, what’s happening with our small market bros the Sacramento Kings -- and more!

I want the Utah Jazz to win the division. Las Vegas gave them some pretty good odds, but we’ll have to play 82 games to find out. Writers all around the world are finding out that this is the division to watch.

The Sporting News’ Danny Leroux examines the teams, the off-season moves, their cap space, future cap-space, and goes into a little more detail on all of them. Leroux summarizes the Northwest as such:

What makes the Northwest stand out among the NBA’s divisions is that each team’s decision-making process meshes with their structural constraints. The younger squads kept their powder dry while already-competitive teams pushed to maximize the present, with Utah somehow accomplishing both at the same time.

Danny Leroux, The Sporting News, 2016

As for Utah specifically, Leroux projects the following:

The Jazz may end up with the league’s most interesting offseason because of their already high talent level and myriad possibilities. Because of Gobert’s hilariously low $5.3 million cap hold and other contributors still on rookie scale deals, they have serious money to spend.

A significant portion of that could end up going to Hayward if he opts out as expected and elects to return to Utah, but if he leaves, the Jazz would have enough space for a max-level free agent. They could also cut into that space between now and next July by agreeing to a renegotiation and extension with talented forward Derrick Favors or recently acquired George Hill using their 2016-17 cap space before March 1. The Jazz will also look to retain forward Joe Ingles and backup center Jeff Withey while deciding on Diaw’s non-guaranteed $7.5 million.

Danny Leroux, The Sporting News, 2016

Check out the whole article over here!

Steve of House Stark, Warden of the Utah Jazz, was on a podcast. I haven’t listened to it yet, but you can bet your butt-ox that I will. (h/t to Ash for finding this)

With all of the big changes the team has made — new Uniforms, moved the Stampede to Salt Lake City and called them the Stars, new Arena, arena upgrades, practice facility upgrades, logo changes, coaching promotions, scouting promotions, and of course the addition of three playoff hardened vets — it’s hard not to get hyped for this season.

I really am. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Here’s some food for thought from the ‘s stat guru, John Schuhmann:

Yes, the Utah Jazz honestly did have a bummer of a 2015-2016 season. They didn’t make the playoffs. They didn’t make that big jump. And they once again were a sub .500 basketball team. Worse, they only won two more games than the season before. I AGREE that injuries had a huge part to play with how it all played out, but the team stumbled down the stretch.

BUT, if the team is able to win as many games as they SHOULD win, we could be looking at a team that over-achieves compared to popular opinion. In fact, I believe the team really didn’t know how to win games. Yes that’s something you’d hope they would have learned by now, what with Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors entering their 7th seasons in the league right now.

George Hill knows out to win games. Boris Diaw knows how to win games. Joe Johnson knows how to win games.

Things are going to be different this season for our squad. Hopefully one where our team meets or surpasses the expectations placed on them. And with all the off-season hype, there actually are expectations now.

Hypothetical situation: The Utah Jazz can grind teams with a slow pace and defense, and win games. But sometimes you can be influenced on the court to play another team’s style of play. What should the Jazz do, dictate the pace or beat the other teams at their own game?

I think the Jazz can win at any speed with this roster and the flexibility they have with either going big, going long at the wings, or just being versatile. However, the true talent is inside for Utah. I get that. Other teams don’t have what this team has. But, and here me out — our bigs can get up and down the court too. They’re not lumbering dinosaurs. They are agile jungle cats.


Effectively, this year Quin Snyder will get to pick and choose how his team wins games. It’s not going to be a season of relying on trench warfare anymore.

I guess this can be filed under Schadenfreude, or something, or just flat out “Sacramento Kings,” because while the Utah Jazz have had a lot of stability . . . other teams have not. One of them being none other than the kangs. I support their fans, some of the best in the league, but they deserve a better team. I have also made fun of them, as a franchise.

Case in point:

One thing the Kings have going for them is All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins was tabbed as the more talented but less reliable bigman in the 2010 NBA Draft — and his personality was such a red flag that he was passed over by teams. One such team went with Derrick Favors instead, and as a result, they are draft-linked together for their careers. Kind of like Deron Williams and Chris Paul, to a lesser extent; people won’t stop writing about one, while ignoring the other.

Case in point #2:

If you don’t click on the article, but just the images, you learn two things right off the bat. The first is that the Utah Jazz really favor stability — especially with their head coaches. This has proven to be a good thing and a bad thing depending on the coach you roll with, of course. The second thing would be that it’s more likely than not to have played for three or more coaches than it is to have played for two or less.

Ian Levy breaks it all down, and it really is worth the click-over:

“While the endless transitions around Cousins are pretty obvious here, it’s striking that Greg Monroe has had a similar experience — on that is not often discussed. Monroe was on the roster for 148 games of Lawrence Frank but, other than that, has never had the same coach for more than one season. Monroe’s flaws are usually assumed to be inherent shortcomings rather than a product of instability but it will be interesting to see how he develops during his second season under Jason Kidd (assuming he lasts through the season in Milwaukee).”

So Cousins’ experience is not totally unique among modern players but it is also, to some degree, a reflection of the modern NBA. Since the beginning of the three-point era (the 1979-80 season), the average head coaching tenure (including interim coaches) has lasted about 200 games, or just under two-and-a-half seasons. Cousins would fall short of that mark — his experiences would average out to about 95 games per head coach. But it doesn’t sound quite as bad in the context of the entire league.”

Ian Levy, Nylon Calculus, 2016

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the Kings, with DeMarcus, and with their new head coach Dave Joerger. I do hope we beat the snot out of them, but for their fans’ sake, I hope they have a better season than last year. How much struggle must a fanbase endure? They are good people.