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The Downbeat: Utah Jazz basketball is back!

A quick review of Utah Jazz media day.

Utah Jazz basketball (kind of) returned yesterday! While the season doesn’t start for another 21 days, it was media day yesterday, which is better than nothing. This meant a lot of #He’sInTheBestShapeOfHisCareer and #He’sHealthyAgain and other classic quotes.

There are several outlets that will have interviews and quotes up soon. As of this writing, the one that I could find was from 1280 The Zone, and all their player interviews can be found here.

I’ve pulled a few good quotes here as well.

Exciting stuff to actually see and hear the guys again! What’s the best thing you heard or read yesterday? What gets you most excited?

Hoops Hype has continued projecting the best players at each position. They’ve got their top 30 centers, and Rudy Gobert lands in what some would consider a controversial 4th.

Generally, any attempt near the basket is an efficient one, but that equation changes when facing off against Gobert in the paint. Opponents shot just 43.8 percent at the rim with Gobert defending the play last season, and Gobert also defended the most attempts at 10.2 per game.

What’s underappreciated about Gobert’s game is his offense. Gobert can’t finish a play outside the paint, but he’s excellent at all the little details – especially in gaining positioning in the paint, which helps him convert on a high percentage of shots. Gobert isn’t the most intuitive passer, but has grown into a solid ball-mover in Quin Snyder’s exquisite offense. The Jazz are going to have an elite defense, and how much creativity can be squeezed out of an offense with poor spacing will be key for the Jazz playoff hopes.

I mean, the man was already 2nd team All-NBA last year. And I’m pretty confident he didn’t get worse over the summer. I don’t think Rudy will stop at anything until he’s considered one of the best players in the league, let alone one of the best centers.

Get your Fan Posts on! With how this offseason is going, Fesenko For President’s post is unfortunately already outdated, but I think it could bring on interesting discussion. The argument was made that the Jazz should try and trade for Carmelo Anthony.

The Jazz lost their leading scorer--Gordon Hayward--in free agency this summer, and were unable to acquire a player in free agency to replace his scoring punch. On the other hand, the Jazz have a very deep team--especially on the wings, and especially if everyone who was not healthy last season is healthy this season (including Rodney Hood, Alec Burks and Dante Exum). Because of the Jazz's depth, the Jazz almost seem poised to make a trade.

There appears to be a player on the trading block who could replace the scoring role lost by the Jazz when Gordon Hayward signed in free agency with the Boston Celtics--namely, Carmelo Anthony.

Would Carmelo Anthony fit on this roster? If not, what star would you most pursue that could reasonably become available this season?

Dan Favale of Bleacher Report recently put out a piece on 1 thing we learned about every NBA team this offseason. The full piece can be found here.

Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward Wasn't Irreplaceable Enough to Force a Rebuild

They'll need at least one of Donovan Mitchell, Dante Exum and Rodney Hood to compensate for the playmaking they lost in Hayward and Hill, but they'll be more reliant on veterans overall.

They just ended a four-year playoff drought and have a star cornerstone, in Rudy Gobert, ready to anchor a postseason squad now. They outscored opponents by 8.4 points per 100 possessions—comparable to a second-place net rating—in the 196 minutes he tallied without Hayward, Hill and Boris Diaw.

Pretty good insight there about how the Jazz aren’t starting a rebuild due to the loss of 1 or 2 important pieces. The most important piece remains, now it’s up to everyone else to pick up where we left off.

Howard Beck had an interesting thread on Twitter in regards to the upcoming season and the focus that refs are supposed to have. Here’s his first tweet.

I know there are some out there that won’t click on that and read through the rest. That’s fine, I got you. Here were the other more interesting thoughts/points:

  • Zaza would have been assessed a flagrant against Kawhi per this rule change
  • Refs will be making distinction between fouls that occur on the drive or the gather vs. in actual shooting motion
  • Offensive players that lunge into defenders could be assessed offensive fouls.

I don’t think anything bothered me more last year than when Harden, CP3, Curry, etc. would launch themselves into a defender then chuck up a shot to get free throws. And “continuation” got out of hand as well.

Do I think the new focuses will fix this? No, unfortunately not. They may focus on it for a few weeks, or maybe even only a few games, but then they’ll forget about it and continue to pander to the league’s biggest names. I’d love to be proven wrong though.

Either way, Jazz basketball (talk) is back. You gotta love it baby!