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The Downbeat #1154: The NO Edition

In which we fend off team-name thieves for the gazillionth time, ponder the team's future, get an opponent's opinion on the upcoming season, discuss Gordon Hayward's leadership qualities, and more.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

First off: My_Lo is a jackal and a heathen. You just had to post your Downbeat well into the afternoon on Tuesday and steal all the news I planned to link to, didn't you? I would punch you in the face if your face wasn't so handsome and if I knew how to punch people.

Ahem. Sorry. Go read My_Lo's Downbeat if you haven't. He covers the Scott Machado signing and some other relevant stuff.

Anyway. I'll channel my righteous fury in a more appropriate direction: this ESPN-Mag article.

Guess what it's about.

It's about wanting to take the "Jazz" name away from Utah.


Listen, internet. I am going to tell you this once and for all:













(To be fair they mention a bunch of other teams too and I'm sure they're not trying to be taken seriously and it's just a light little featNO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO)



I trust I have made myself clear on this matter.

Right, so where were we?...there was the thing about My_Lo being pure evil...and lots of gifs of people saying "No" repeatedly...ah, yes! Relevant links!

As they periodically do, ESPN has released an update of their Future Power Rankings (Insider required), and it isn't overly kind. They had the Jazz slotted at 10th this past May, and at 4th the previous August, so the trend is definitely a negative one. Their metrics slam Utah for not using Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap to get assets, and for using the resulting cap space on the Golden State trade. But Chad Ford does have a few positive words for us:

The team continues to have strong leadership and lots of future cap space, and should be able to snag a lottery pick and another first-rounder in one of the best drafts we've seen in a decade. In addition, the players that it does have left all have terrific promise. Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter all continue to have major upside. Rookie point guard Trey Burkestruggled in the Summer League, but his résumé as a college player was stellar. Many in the organization still hold out hope that Alex Burks may be a star someday as well.

So, basically nothing new, and a lot that hinges on this upcoming season. We'll just have to hope the team's play proves these rankings wrong.

You Dunkers have been busy writing some awesome FanPost content. On top of that, I've seen some excellent discussions in the comments of those posts, which means you're interacting as a community. And that's what SLC Dunk is all about.

But I'd be remiss if I didn't highlight a few posts here as well. First, Beeblebrox42 has a Giant Table Of Player Rankings for you:

This is somewhat of an extension of some of my previous fanposts. I started looking at all of the starters for the upcoming season (as projected by ESPN), and figured I'd go through and rank them. I wanted to start my rankings with some all-in-one stats so I used each players' 2013 Simple Ratings, PER, and WS/48 (or 2012 if that player had fewer than 30 games last season). For each position I organized the table based on PER, then started moving players based on my perceptions. That table is below.

Next, Dyl considers what the perfect first offensive possession of the season would look like for the Jazz:

I want to be able to say I. Was. Here. this season. In an engaged way. If our current base ends up being something special in a few years, I want to be one of the fans who remembers what this 2013-14 year really felt like.

I can't wait for the 2013-14 NBA season to start. So, I have a question for you, to get you thinking about that exciting first game. Picture it: it's opening night at the ESA. The Jazz line up, bend down and watch the referee lift the ball into the air....and boom -- we win the tip off! What happens next?! What's your dream possession?

To wrap things up, BobbyD31 has a superb rebuttal to our own Yucca Man's recent post thanking the Jazz front office:

First off I don't think the Jazz FO is being courageous. I think they are taking what is viewed popularly as the only way to become a contender. The thought that so many have that, "You have to bottom out before you can reach the top" is garbage to me. Does it help? It could, but it might not. I know some Jazz fans have been begging for the team to do this since the Deron trade, but I would argue that they wanted to try to fight until there was a draft that would turn the odds more in their favor. I don't think it is by chance that the Jazz are going into full blown rebuild mode in the same year that projects to be the best draft since LeBron & Co. in '03. If you think it is an accident that this is a year we are in position to have a high lottery pick than you haven't been paying attention.

The whole article -- and the discussion in the comments below -- is well worth your time, and I commend them to you along with all our FanPosts. Thanks for writing!

Memphis Grizzlies blog 3 Shades of Blue has been assessing their enemies, and the Jazz got their turn last week. While they predict a three-game season sweep in favor of their team, they're bearish (ha!) on Utah's future:

As a result, this season’s outlook does not figure to be a friendly one for the Jazz, but all the better, as this year’s draftee Trey Burke and a super-high draft pick in the stocked 2014 draft will by many accounts accelerate the growing process ten-fold. With a bushel of future assets already in handle, the presumably talented 2014 draftee, whomever he may be, will walk into a situation already stocked with a lightly seasoned cast of characters primed to come into their own as a unit. There’s already a lot of good going on here, and a few more pieces can really set this machine in motion to where the Jazz can make some sweet, sweet music once again someday not all that far off.

Always instructive to get an outside view on the team. Check out the whole post for more analysis.

Over at Salt City Hoops, Laura Thompson considers the leadership qualities of one Gordon Hayward:

I think what we’re going to see is a gradual transition into a slightly more vocal John Stockton-type leader. He’s not going to be out there on the court yapping away at the rookies or throwing balls at their heads. He’s going to quietly, intensely get the job done. He’s got that competitive fire that reminds me more of John Stockton than anyone else. He might not be the guy who’s throwing big parties so everyone can hang out, but he’ll be the guy they quietly respect because he gives it all on both sides of the court and he hates to lose.

I like Laura's analysis, but it does make me wonder about this team's dynamic and leadership roles.

Last night, Amar, the news-stealing ninja My_Lo and I were discussing whether Ty Corbin was a disciplinarian or not, and whether we will see more of his true coaching style now that the roster is less divided between veterans and young guns. Laura's comments also make me wonder if we'll see big changes in the leadership styles of players like Hayward, Favors and Burks. And how will Trey, as the youngest member of the core but the one controlling the offense, fit in leadership-wise? Is he more vocal than Gordon, or will he defer to his elders, or will it just become a single, unified Voltron of basketball goodness?

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this one in the comments/poll below.