The Utah Jazz won, again! They finally won back-to-back games this season! Yes Evan Fournier scored a lot like I predicted, and no, Rudy Gobert didn't have four blocks. But a 7 points win on their court is sweet after crumbling on ours over two weeks ago in a five point loss. The Jazz have now won 3 of their last 10, which isn't much for most seasons in Utah Jazz -land; however this season is different. Furthermore, the Jazz play again tonight for game five of their six game trip against the lowly Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets are 7-19, which is worse than the Jazz are this season. Charlotte has lost four of their last five, and seem to be in some sort of funk.
Further complicating things, the Hornets are 5-9 at home, and the Jazz are 4-10 away. If there ever was a time to go for it, it would be now. The Jazz could win their third straight game in a row tonight, and that would be something that didn't do until February 8th, 11th, and 12th last season. Getting it done in December this season with a younger roster is all the proof you'd need that the Jazz are improving and on their way up.
Of course, they have to win the game still. Big Al Jefferson will be a tough cover, and Kemba Walker is always ready to go. But this Jazz team isn't the one he left two seasons ago. Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, and Alec Burks have all grown without him.
It's going to be fun no matter what happens tonight. Just like this entire season, while wins have been sparse, has been about the progress and improvement of our youth.
Here is a video taken by a random fan on a bus from Toronto to Detroit. ON it we see the Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri teaching fans new chants to shout out during the game.
Can you imagine Dennis Lindsey (or Kevin O'Connor) traveling with random fans on public transpo to go to a road game? What they are doing in Toronto is great. And man, I'd really love it if fan interaction with our franchise meant more than saying "we interact with fans."
We always hear about how great our players are, and I don't doubt it. But a team assistant for the Memphis Grizzlies just had his car stolen. So the players all chipped in and bought him a new one. Amazing.
For a longer version of the Grizz video you can check it out here. So the Raptors and Grizzlies are two of the best teams in the league right now; and appear to be two of the best franchises for a reason. They do great things on and off the court. I know our Jazz team does too, so that is why I feel like our future is so bright.
My now you probably have seen the awesome article that Jody wrote at the DesNews about Jimmer Fredette and our very own SLC Dunker Jimbo. Of course, there was an error that listed Jimbo as a part of the popular website SaltCityHoops.com; but Jody was good enough to correct it. : )
Some NBA fans are awaiting more than just a professional breakout from Jimmer. In Utah sports Twitter circles, there is a building anticipation over when/if Fredette will retweet a message sent to him from a persistent and entertaining fan who goes by the social-media name of @JimboRudding.
Jimbo, who writes a humor column for the popular Jazz blog SaltCityHoops.com, has been clamoring for a retweet (an "RT") since he first tweeted at Fredette on July 5, 2011. That message: "Hey Jimmer, can I get an RT for being really nice to my brother during the holiday ... and for holding doors for the elderly?"
We get a mention around the end of the first page! Woo! Wikipedia here we come!
Everyone who follows Jimbo is doing so because of his hilarious tweets and amazing personality, which we've seen for years on the Utah Jazz Podcast until it was forced to change its' name. Whatever you call it the work by Spencer, Jimbo and Mikey constitute the longest running Utah Jazz podcast on the internet -- predating even that of the organization's own podcast.
Kudos to those three guys, and also to Jody who added in the bit about Jimbo being associated with SLC Dunk. Read his piece here! (And all of his pieces! And listen to his amazing vines!)
As for Jimmer, he's not as interesting to me as Jimbo is. But then again, I never regularly hit 30 foot three pointers, so what do I know?
The Idaho Stampede are 3-9 after their last game, a 120-102 loss to the Santa Cruz Warriors. I've stopped writing about them for a while because of a variety of reasons. I will write more about them in the new year though. Last night was Utah Jazz affiliate night for them.
Everyone ready for an epic game!? This is one night you won't want miss! #IdahoStampede vs @DLeagueWarriors For @utahjazz affiliation night— IdahoStampede (@IdahoStampede) December 19, 2014
Jazz Bear, @UtahJazzDancers and Stunt Team will be at the @IdahoStampede game tonight. See you at the game, Boise!— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) December 19, 2014
Former Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan on hand today to watch the @IdahoStampede practice before tonight's game pic.twitter.com/UNm3LPaxRz— Will Hall (@WillHallKTVB) December 19, 2014
Fun, right? I know that the Jazz routinely have scouts up there who are, duh, scouting the D-League (that's how they picked up Patrick Christopher, remember?) . . . Justin Zanik seems to be spending more time up there than he cares to. Last night David Fredman was up there as well as Jerry Sloan.
I am certain that only puts more pressure on the players there. Kevin Murphy, who played under Sloan as a rookie, finished with 29 points (11/18 shooting, 2/5 from deep), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, and 4 turn overs. Things have gotten decidedly harder for the Stamps since Toure' Murry was recalled to the Jazz. Since being recalled he has still played in zero games for the NBA team, while the NBA-DL team still tries to figure things out.
So far this season after 27 games Trey Burke has played about 867 minutes. And Dante Exum has clocked in at 478 minutes this season. According to NBA.com those two players have been on the court for 56 total minutes this season. That is 11.7% of the time Dante has been on the court, and just 4.3% of all the available time so far this season. Is that too much or too little? Dante has been on the court with Joe Ingles for 270 minutes; with Gordon Hayward for 244 minutes; with Alec burks for 224 minutes; with Rodney Hood for 124 minutes; and with Ian Clark for 38 minutes. I've removed the instances where he is on the floor with a bigman (because, duh); but it seems like Exum isn't actually getting a lot of time out there at the shooting guard spot.
I have mixed feelings about this. His percentages show you that he's only really qualified to play shooting guard for, perhaps, the Utah Jazz -- and that his natural point guard instincts are somewhat wasted there. Furthermore, he has ONLY played PG his entire life.
On the other hand, the Trey/Dante pairing is shooting 47.3 FG%, 44.4 3PT%, and 74.1 FT%. While they are -4 in +/-, their Per 100 possessions stats reveals a pairing that gets 117.1 ORTG, has a DRTG of 120.8, but still does a lot of good things out there on the floor. The ORTG is 6th best pairing out there, and probably more useful because the pairings ahead of them are silly (Jeremy Evans + Steve Novak, or Ian Clark + Enes Kanter, or some variation of the two). The -3.8 Net RTG is less stellar, but it's right between Gordon Hayward + Enes Kanter (-2.4) and Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward (-4.1).
Would you like to see more of these two guys together?