Burks and Hood were both part of mid-season trades that sent them to Cleveland. Burks was dealt just this season in return for Kyle Korver, Hood was exchanged at the trade deadline last season for Jae Crowder and former MVP Derrick Rose.
Both Hood and Burks have faced Utah since leaving, but this is the first time either will play in Utah.
The Salt Lake Tribune ran an article recently that included quotes from Burks and Hood about their thoughts on returning to Utah.
“Not really thoughts — emotions, just memories,” [Burks] said. “I was there 7 1/4 years. All the people I met, the relationships — that’s probably the most that I’m thinking about.”
Burks will likely be remember mostly for his part in the old Core 4, long since passed. He was rarely able to play due to injury but when he did, it wasn’t uncommon for him to go on a hot-shooting spree and rack up points in a hurry. His best season in Utah was the 2013-14, the tank year. It is the only season to date where Burks has played more than 64 games. He averaged 14.0 points, 2.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds on .457/.350/.748 shooting splits.
Like Burks, Hood has fond memories of the Beehive State.
“It’s all positive because it feels like it’s been so long since I’ve been there,” Hood said. “… I think about all the good times I had playing when I was in Utah and playing with those guys.”
One of my personal favorite Rodney Hood moments was his 30-point half in a 123-75 beat-down of the Kobe Lakers back in 2016. He didn’t take a shot in the second half (mostly because he stood in the corner the whole time to take advantage of Bryant sticking to Hood like glue the entire latter half), but it was a glorious example of what happens when the former Duke player gets hot.
The feelings around these guys are positive. They didn’t have departures like Deron Williams, Enes Kanter or Gordon Haywerd. Jazz fans weren’t exactly torn up to see them go (maybe Burks because of the Core 4 memories) but both have a place in our collective hearts.
Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News tweeted out this morning that Donovan Mitchell has no intention of defending his Slam Dunk title.
Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell won’t defend NBA Slam Dunk title in Charlotte. “Right now, my mind is really on helping my team make a deep run second half of the season. I’m excited though for the weekend,” he said. https://t.co/aKBxaIIvpl pic.twitter.com/AiB4TOmx4f— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) January 18, 2019
This means Mitchell will likely not participate in any All-Star contests like the skills contest or 3-point shootout (probably wouldn’t get invited to the latter). However, it is likely that he will participate in the Rookie-Sophomore game, as he is still among the best second-year players in the league.
Former Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal recently stuck his neck out in favor of the old Stockton/Malone Jazz teams. This from his Instagram account.
I haven’t heard much in the way of calling the Jazz finals team weak, but I should never doubt NBA fans’ ability to marginalize any accomplishment this franchise has, few as they are.
The Jazz fever that struck the entire state late last season still lingers across Utah. On Wednesday, Logan High School wore replicas of the Jazz’s City jerseys to good effect, though they ended up losing the game 71-67 to Green Canyon.
This actually wasn’t the first time I saw a team copy the City jersey. A little league team in Cache Valley uses them as their primary kit which makes me curious as to how widespread this is. Has anyone else seen high school or little league teams do something like this?
A former Jazzman’s son got some media attention after Jeremiah Jensen tweeted out a video of the kid throwing down a windmill dunk.
This is Robert Whaley of Bountiful High School. He is just a sophomore. pic.twitter.com/VMzVuyw5lM— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) January 18, 2019
Robert Whaley takes his namesake from his father, former Utah Jazz center Robert Whaley. The senior Whaley played one season with the Jazz (his only NBA season), appearing in 23 games for an average of 9 minutes per outing.
Whaley’s post-NBA life has been fraught with legal troubles, but hopefully his son can take advantage of his athletic gifts and make some good from it.