The regular season hasn’t even started, but Thabo Sefolosha’s presence has been important in Utah. He’s not just stopping opposing offenses from scoring, but local residents from drowning as well. From the SL Trib:
The 33-year-old Sefolosha has made it a point to go outdoors with his wife, Bertille, and two daughters, Lesedi and Naledi, to adapt to their new home. The day after they flew in from Europe, they decided to go rafting on a warm Sunday...
With about 20 minutes left on the trip, Clark (the woman he saved) hit a boulder in the stream and flipped over. Her tube and oars quickly floated downstream. Her life vest rode up past her head, and she was struggling for air.
It was at this moment of peril that the Sefoloshas came up the river. Thabo asked if he could help, then helped lift her into his raft.
That’s one way to make it worth paying him. Hopefully the veteran can make a great impact on the court as well.
Yahoo Sports put out their season preview for the Utah Jazz.
It wasn’t great. It wasn’t all bad, either. The Jazz lost Hayward to the Boston Celtics in free agency, which fueled some bitterness from players and fans alike. Then, Utah GM Dennis Lindsey laced up his shoes and got to work filling the void left by an All-Star who excelled at one of the league’s most vital positions, and the result was a decent patchwork job that should keep the Jazz in playoff contention.
Add it all up, and while the Jazz lost two of their top scorers, best playmakers and sharpest shooters, they’ve doubled down on what was already a slow-paced team, transforming into an early 2000s retro squad that will rely on smothering defense to negate what will be at best an average offensive rating.
It’s a pretty decent preview done by Ben Rohrbach, and I agree that the Jazz should remain in playoff contention. Victories may not look pretty this year, but they’ll still be there.
Bleacher Report ran through and ranked the Top 15 NBA Small Forwards. I’ll be honest, I was fairly surprised by the results.
12. Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz offense is a giant question mark without its two most important shot-creators and -makers, but Ingles' breakout 2016-17 wasn't borne entirely from privilege... his 44.1 percent three-point conversion rate may be in jeopardy, he's never converted less than 35.6 percent of his outside attempts.
Neither Gordon Hayward nor George Hill reduced his defensive responsibilities. He switched from point guards through power forwards, using his anticipation and keen sense of space, and his surrounding personnel, to offset his slow-motion movements.
I thought for sure Ingles would be left off completely. Our favorite Aussie forward gained a lot of respect with his play last year. He’ll need to continue that if the Jazz have true playoff aspirations.
There as an interesting take over on Sports Illustrated’s The Crossover that I thought applied to the Jazz in a unique way. They talked about small ball in the NBA:
With the Warriors and Cavs both trending smaller and reaching the Finals the last three years, it's no surprise that other teams around the league are attempting to follow their blueprint...
I just think it’s sort of a natural evolution. What we see during the Finals a lot are these lineups where basically it’s just 10 guys who are listed at 6’9” and shorter. You basically have Kevin Durant and LeBron James as the functional centers.
I think it’s only going to make basketball more entertaining as you take some of the less-skilled guys off the court...But teams are trying to get there. You look at the true contenders and they are going in that direction.
Counterargument: Just a few nights ago the Jazz secured 19 offensive rebounds against the Phoenix Suns. Some of that may have just been the bounce of the ball that night, but I’ll be interested to see if Favors and Gobert can punish teams if they go small.
Last but not least, Rudy Gobert continues his salty twitter dominance.
First the Enes Kanter beatdown:
Then a reminder that he takes names and is still out for vengeance:
They didn't consider me a top 26 pick either ♂️ https://t.co/xkFnIGKm0h— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) October 4, 2017
Is this guy in for a big year, or is he in for a big year?