The prevailing sentiment from Marc Spears’ excellent piece on black NBA players in Salt Lake City is that once players come here, they love it. It’s just getting players to come here that’s an issue.
Derek Harper’s infamous “you go live in Utah” quote is well known. He has a point to a degree. In the article, Paul Millsap said he couldn’t even place Salt Lake City on a map. But once players get here, they embrace the city because the city and fans embrace them.
- Millsap, “I remember getting out there and people greeting me. It was an amazing time.”
- Derrick Favors, “I told my mom when I bought my house that I was trying to stay out here year-round. She said, ‘Go for it and see if you like it.’ I tried it and fell in love with it. I bought my house.”
- Thurl Bailey, “Everybody speaks to you. Everybody smiles. Everybody says hello. I’ve never witnessed any kind of [racism] out there. It’s a great place.”
- George Hill, “[The fans have] embraced me with open arms and act like I’ve been here for 10 years when I’ve only been here for a couple of months. That has been a great blessing for me.”
That’s not the case for everyone, but overall, once players are here, they tend to enjoy the community. We know players such as Deron Williams still have a home here and visit often.
Breaking the stigma of Utah would go a long ways in recruiting free agents. That’s not everything though. It’s still a small market which means superstars and their agents/sponsors aren’t going to be lining up to sign with the Jazz.
Maybe the Jazz can start renting billboards near other NBA arenas extolling the advantages of living in Salt Lake City.
With March Madness in full swing, let’s seed the current NBA playoff match-ups based on making a great first-round series for all involved. We’ll take the current playoff teams as of this morning and match them up based not on their record, but entertainment value.
Even with KD being out, Russell Westbrook going Westbrook against the Warriors would be what everyone wants in the first round. I might have preferred the Mavericks against the Warriors here if they were currently in the 8th spot. That would have made for a nice series to avenge Dallas’ first-round loss to the Dubs in the 2007 playoffs.
No TV exec would want this match-up, but this is one of the few match-ups where two veteran teams with a a bit of a rivalry would make for a good first-round clash.
The Jazz have played well against the Rockets this season and not much would please me more than to send the Rockets home with another first-round loss. Right now, the Jazz don’t have a real two-way rivalry. This might be the closest there is. Another first-round series would solidify that rivalry for a while.
Man, the east is hard. Outside of the top four, it’s difficult to find a team that incites excitement. Let’s give it a go though.
LeBron has owned the Hawks in the playoffs and now he’s stolen Kyle Korver from them who’s shooting 49% from three since joining the Cavs. Millsap, Dwight Howard, and Dennis Schröder will put up a fight but this should be short lived.
John Wall and Giannis Antetokounmpo would be the marquee names for this round. That’s about it as the Wizards should dispatch the Bucks quickly.
Is there any Malice in Palace animosity that still lingers here? Probably not. Would the announcers even be allowed to reference it? Probably not.
This would be a great series. They’ve split this season’s games at two apiece. It would be a high scoring affair as well. Isaiah Thomas already went for 44 against the Raptors earlier.
This twitter thread on the worst Utah baby names had me thinking about alternate Utah spellings of current player names. Here they are in no particular order.
Gordyn (A y to match his wife)
Well, hell. Get better soon Favors. I’d rather have him healthy for the playoffs even if that means slipping in the standings. It would be nice to have someone to pick up the slack for him but I don’t know that’s possible.
Monday open poll...
Who’s winning the NCAA title?