Wow, just so everyone is on the same page -- this is the Downbeat for Tuesday. (Man, day old game recaps and downbeats? I'm going to write a letter to my senator!) I guess the Holidays are in full swing for a major portion of our reading audience: people who are students (Graduate, Undergraduate, High School, and lower). Some of you have been reading about the Utah Jazz online for years now, others are just starting to dip their toes into the vast morass called "online sports commentary." I remember when I first started to read about the Utah Jazz on the internet, back in the 90s when the NBA.com site looked like this:
Yeah. When did you start reading about the Utah Jazz online? Did you join a message board, or social media? If so, what? What has changed since you started? Did you think Rebecca Lobo was hot? Nah, for reals? Anyway, that RA audio of Karl Malone is no longer there (shocking, I know).
One of my fondest memories was somehow being able to download a video of then Utah Jazz draft pick Nate Erdmann dunking in college, it was about 6 seconds long and took eternity to download. Man, those were the times.
Trevor Booker. "Oh no, I get it -- they got him!" - Strongbad
Yeah, Trevor Booker had a rough few days. First Booker missed Monday's game, and wasn't with the team. Second, it was for a "minor outpatient procedure" (which could mean anything from the removal of some warts to a vasectomy). THEN head coach Quin Snyder decides to go with only three bigs in the next game -- a game where the Jazz win. And fourth (if we're keeping score right now), Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, and Rudy Gobert combined for 95.42 / 96 minutes on the floor. And they would finish with 30 points, 32 rebounds, and 4 blocks. That means, on average, three bigs playing each got a double double, with a block plus, to go around.
They didn't play the perfect game. Only Derrick Favors got to the FT line. Only Enes Kanter had the range to make the defense pay from outside. And only one, Rudy Gobert, changed the face of the game on defense by being in plays -- but not getting in the box score for it.
I like Trevor Booker. He's a great dad. He likes cereal. He does a lot of charity work. And on the court he just has almost endless hustle, and toughness. His presence is needed on this team, even if his on-court contributions aren't always. I've read some talk about how had he played against the Memphis Grizzlies it is likely that the Utah Jazz lose. I do remember Booker's great play in the second half of the Phoenix Suns game (waaay back in Novemer). You could similarly posit the argument that had Booker not played in that game then the Jazz lose. It's not as strong an argument because that PHX game ended up a blowout; while the MEM game was close enough that fourth quarter free throws determined the outcome.
Going forward I want to see more of our three headed monster, and less of Booker, Jeremy Evans, and Steve Novak. In a perfect situation we'll need a hustle specialist, athleticism specialist, and outside shooting specialist -- but as options off the bench. Rudy Gobert's play suggests to me that he should be as "in" the rotation as possible. Even if that means making some bench guys sit more.
But I'm not the head coach, so that's not my problem. But it's a good problem to have.
Do you guys remember Kyle Korver? In my opinion he is one of the most serious athletes around. His training regime is almost year round, and he really goes out there to find new ways to keep his body guessing and reacting to new stressors. Not only does he shoot, shoot, shoot, and train, train, train. But he also does underwater runs, while holding boulders.
Charles Bethea writes:
"Pass the rock," says Kyle Korver.
The six-foot-seven Atlanta Hawks guard is arguably the best shooter in the NBA, so this should be funny, given the circumstances. See, we're not on a basketball court. We're not even on land. On a sunny California afternoon in June, in a pristine harbor along the coast of Santa Cruz Island, 30 miles south of Santa Barbara by boat, we've been taking turns lumbering along the shallow seafloor for the past three hours lugging an 85.2-pound stone that Korver procured from a nearby beach. It feels a little lighter in the ocean, thanks to the relative density of water, but it's still a heavy-ass rock.
Korver is treading water above me. I drop the boulder below his feet and surface. Struggling for air, I try to ignore the spasms in my hamstrings and the giggling of girls on a nearby boat. It looks nice over there, with the beer and the snacks and the lounging.
Smiling sincerely, with huge white teeth-a 33-year-old, brown-haired, Midwestern, XXL Cousteau-Korver freedives a few feet into the churning murk to retrieve and then run underwater with our rock. Through my goggles, I can just barely see him leaning forward like a running back, pushing off the soft, downward-sloping sand with his size 14 neoprene booties. It's a slow-motion sprint-with-stone that would look silly on land. But he's Walter Payton in a wetsuit down here, seven feet below.
The pictures are worth the click, but stay for the words.
Trey Burke continues to do good things in his community, even if the copy writer needs to be fired.
It's now midnight and I am tired. Here is a picture of (I presume) Kyrylo Fesenko's wife. She is as tired as I am. Also his cat (I presume).
Fes is still out there playing basketball, y'know.
God bless you Fes. And Happy Christmas eve, everyone!