According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, and supported by Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune, the Utah Jazz have signed Naz Mitrou-Long to a two-way deal. Naz was undrafted in 2017, and played with the Jazz’ G-League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, last season. Naz had a two-way deal last season, and was waived to make room for his former college teammate, Georges Niang, on his own two-way deal. Naz also was called up at a different time last season under a 10-day contract, when the Jazz’ roster was depleted with injuries. This signing puts the announced Utah Jazz roster to 17 players. From the news we have received up to this point, here is the current standing of the roster:
- Ricky Rubio
- Donovan Mitchell
- Royce O’Neale
- Dante Exum
- Alec Burks
- Grayson Allen
- Raul Neto
- David Stockton
- Naz Mitrou-Long* (Two-way deal)
- Joe Ingles
- Jae Crowder
- Thabo Sefolosha
- Georges Niang
- Rudy Gobert
- Derrick Favors
- Ekpe Udoh
- Tony Bradley
Entering the post-summer-league stages of the offseason, it appears that Utah’s roster is nearly solidified. Barring a trade, the only other signing possible is a second two-way G-League player. Erik McCree was one of our two-way players last season and is currently a free agent. He may or may not be brought back. However, every single player on this 17-man roster—aside from the rookie Grayson Allen—was under some form of contract with the Jazz during the 2017-18 NBA season. This is a level of continuity that does not happen often. The Jazz will have an advantage out of the gate against other teams who have changed up their rosters and may need some time to gel. With this roster, the Jazz were arguably the third best team in the league by the end of the season, and there is only room to grow from there.
Utah Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey has been quoted as saying that it isn’t the “sexy” thing to do, bringing back nearly the entire roster of players from the previous season. I understand his sentiment, however, it is hard to say that this roster isn’t catching a few backward glances from fans and players alike. A delicate balance has been struck between skill, basketball IQ, locker room chemistry, work ethic, and overall character, and I believe Dennis to be making the correct decision as he refuses an opportunity to switch things up a bit.
Yahoo Sports wrote an article on “10 of the most interesting (non-Warriors) teams in the NBA to watch next season”, in which the Utah Jazz were mentioned.
“I believe in Derrick Favors, one of the best players in the NBA that hardly anyone ever really thinks, a ho-hum two-way ass-kicker who shot nearly 74 percent at the rim, and might actually have enough touch to add the stretch to his game (14-for-63 from 3-point range last year, after attempting just 26 long balls through his first seven pro seasons) that could finally help ease the long-established traffic jam inside when he shares the floor with Rudy Gobert. I believe in Dante Exum, who has the physical tools to be an elite stopper and has shown enough playmaking juice amid myriad injuries to get more than 179 games’ worth of runway to prove he can develop into something like an ideal partner for Donovan Mitchell.”
They also mentioned that re-signing Favors may lead to a continuation in the Jazz having a difficult time versus teams who can stretch the floor and play “five out”—or play five players on the court who can all reliably hit three-point shooters. Most notably, the best teams that play this way include Golden State and Boston. Houston is another team that has very good spacing that could give the Jazz problems, although I wouldn’t describe their game as “five out”. In order for the Jazz to contend with those teams this upcoming season, they will need to figure out a way to turn those matchups in their own favor. Rudy Gobert is an effective defender anywhere on the court, but the Jazz seem weakened when he is unable to patrol the paint. It will be interesting to see what Coach Quin Snyder can cook up with a group of guys who have all become more familiar with his system.
The Ogden-based news outlet, the Standard-Examiner, reported that the “green seats” left over from the Vivint Arena remodeling are now set up and ready to go in the Ogden Pioneer Stadium, just in time for the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo.
“It’s fabulous,” said Craig Bielik, director of marketing for Ogden Pioneer Days. “It changes the whole look of the arena.” ...
The refurbished Ogden Pioneer Stadium seats about 10,000 people. Halverson said they have another 4,000 of the green Jazz seats in storage; those will be added to the stadium in coming years. ...
This year’s Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo begins July 19 and continues nightly — except Sunday — through Pioneer Day, July 24. Tickets range from $7 to $30, available through smithstix.com.
Jazz team President Steve Starks spread the news via a Tweet:
The legacy of the green seats live on in Weber County. https://t.co/TE4UO2FW8F— Steve Starks (@StevenStarks) July 13, 2018
This is a noteable safety upgrade for the stadium, as well as an upgrade in convenience. I would imagine it would have been easy for the Vivint Arena renovators to simply send these chairs to the dump after a quick demolition job. It is heartening to see an NBA team like the Jazz go out of their way to give back to the community. The Jazz aren’t just improving the local area around downtown Salt Lake, their reach is extending through the state. Hopefully that reach and sense of community only continues to grow until it touches the lives of even our international fans.
It wouldn’t be a downbeat if we didn’t acknowledge the birthday of the beast himself, Derrick Favors. We at SLC Dunk would like to wish Derrick a happy birthday, and take this time to share some 2017-18 season highlights of D-Fave himself.
"Underrated is an understatement."— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) July 15, 2018
Happy birthday to Derrick Favors. pic.twitter.com/Wqj6sbQtoC
Count me in as a believer in Derrick Favors. Without him, the Jazz likely would not have made it to the second round of the NBA Playoffs in both of these past two seasons. This past season, Derrick played 77 games and proved to be the Mr. Reliable of the team. His stat line may not jump off the page, but Fave impacts the game on so many levels that are not well represented by the traditional points/rebounds/assists breakdown. Then again, defense is rarely easy to quantify. Having watched him play since he was traded to the Utah Jazz in exchange for all-star Deron Williams, it is easy to tell how much he has grown in that span. Here’s to another year of Derrick Favors dominating the paint alongside Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. Go out there and prove the doubters wrong once again.
Rudy Gobert tweeted his approval when France won the World Cup this past weekend. It made me curious. Which sports, if any, have you been following in wait for the NBA season to begin? The World Cup and Wimbledon have been in full swing. Rugby season is going strong. MLB is also in process. I tend to catch a few games of multiple sports here and there, while paying varying degrees of attention to each sport. My personal favorite non-basketball sport to watch would probably have to be tennis. I love the flow of the game, as well as the special 1v1 atmosphere. The NBA is my one true love though, and no other sport captures me in the same way that basketball does.
What occupies you during the oh-so-long offseason drought?