I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas yesterday and enjoyed the extra time with family and friends! As was announced yesterday as an early Christmas present from the Jazz, a bold new look has come to Utah.
Zach Lowe wrote a separate piece talking about the new look, emphasizing how the Jazz wanted to do something different and honor the state of Utah with something you’ve never seen before:
"The Jazz name is never going away," says Ben Barnes, the team's art director. "It is our identity here. But it has always been hard to fit Utah and jazz together."...
They knew right away they wanted to use the fourth jersey to shove the "jazz" name into the background -- and in the end, out of the art entirely -- and honor something more true to Utah. ..
The alternative was obvious: referencing the red, rocky vistas of southern Utah and the state's five national parks...
It was a gamble. The colors are garish, totally outside the Jazz's normal scheme. Swing from your shoetops, and you might end up with a monstrosity like Minnesota's new blinding neon yellow jerseys. "There is a lot going on," Barnes says of the new Utah jersey, laughing. "It is bold."
The result is unlike anything the NBA has ever seen -- rippling gradations of orange and red with a matching court design that includes the famous Delicate Arch...
It is beautiful -- a home run, courage rewarded.
My personal thoughts: I love the court design, but I’m still holding out on the jersey. We’ll see how they look when the players have them on, but right now I’m still not quite sold on the jersey design. Then again, Donovan Mitchell would make any jersey look good.
Speaking of Donovan Mitchell, Bleacher Report recently graded out the first round draft picks from last year. Donovan Mitchell obviously graded out well as a legitimate ROY candidate drafted at #13:
Had Ben Simmons played last year, Donovan Mitchell would be the Rookie of the Year front-runner at Christmas.
The No. 13 pick in the draft is already a top-40 NBA scorer, averaging more points (17.7) than Carmelo Anthony, Kyle Lowry, Brandon Ingram, Gary Harris and Goran Dragic. He's gone for 41 points and hit the 25-point mark on four other occasions in December alone.
Any concerns about his jump shot coming out of Louisville have quickly been squashed. Shooting 41.3 percent off the catch, he's also converting 1.9 shots per game off the dribble, which includes 1.1 pull-up three-point makes.
Scoring 5.3 points as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, Mitchell is being used to generate offense in a variety of ways. He's even flashed some playmaking with his 3.4 assists, which is more of a reflection on Mitchell's ability to break down defenses and make a play.
One scout told Bleacher Report he'd expect the Utah Jazz to hang up on anyone calling to make a trade offer for Mitchell, even it included Markelle Fultz, 2017's No. 1 pick.
Tuesday. Downbeat 3. You know the drill.
Jazzbeetle give us some hope and reason why they still believe in Dante Exum.
In the run-up to the 2014 draft, my draft board was based on the ceiling I saw for each player. The draft is based on potential, right? GMs are really swinging for the fences when drafting teenagers! Embiid was Hakeem, Wiggins was McGrady, Parker was Carmelo, and Exum was a 6-6 version of Rose (2014 was only a couple of years after Rose was MVP). Embiid’s health was already a question mark before that draft and I figured Exum would go 3rd or 4th. I had convinced myself that we would be OK with Aaron Gordon (which looks like a good assessment now). So, I was stoked when Exum fell to us...
thatdoolinkid brings us another episode of Normal Basketball: Rookie Race.
Previously I used "Game Score" as an all-around metric for evaluating a player's all-around game. I'd like to give this stat a little more background for better understanding. basketball-reference.com says about "Game Score":...
Using this stat, I wanted to evaluate what the rookie race is looking like. Who is the leader? Does Donovan Mitchell have a shot at winning the whole thing? Well, let's look at the histograms of the 4 competitors in this race: Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Ben Simmons, and Kyle Kuzma.
templeguardtm gives the legend Dick Enberg some honor with a great video story about him. In reference to the time Dick sang at center court following a UCLA win:
I think Locke should a sing raindrops for the Jazz fans. :) We'll bring the umbrellas.
Of the 38 rookies who have played in at least 15 games this season, only five have had a higher percentage of their made baskets be unassisted than Mitchell. Although his overall true shooting percentage ranks in the middle of the pack for this group, it’s higher than any other rookie creating a similar percentage of their offense themselves...
The Jazz play nearly two possessions per 48 minutes faster with Mitchell on the floor, going from a pace that would be the second-slowest in the league to one that would rank 20th across the entire season. Mitchell’s defensive activity is a factor in speeding up the game. He averages 1.8 steals and 2.6 deflections per 36 minutes, both third on the team, and loves to push defensive opportunities into easy offense.
Spida Man does what a Spida can.
Vice Sports recently had an interesting idea to run through. The decided to bring back the NBA’s Amnesty Clause and run through each team to see who they should/would amnesty. Here’s what the decided about the Jazz:
Utah Jazz: Ricky Rubio (two years, $29.2 million)
Between Donovan Mitchell and Utah’s small army of wings who can each initiate pick-and-rolls, shoot, and make stuff happen off the dribble, “Do the Jazz need Ricky Rubio?” is a legitimate question. For the first time in his career, Rubio's team isn't better when he's on the court. Long his addiction to passing up open layups in favor of an opportunity to dribble around some more and try to find an open teammate, Rubio is turning the ball over more than he ever has.
Of all the players who average at least nine drives per game, Rubio gets off the fewest shots and has the second-highest pass percentage (behind T.J. McConnell). This stuff has to stop, even though it never will.
(P.S. I, for one, would like to see them trade him to the Hawks for Dennis Schroder.)
Do you agree with that decision? Would you go with someone else? Or would you leave everything as is?