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The Downbeat #1319 - The "Jeremy Evans was robbed again" Edition

Remember back before Saturday Downbeats? I do . . .

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, it's not just ESPN that doesn't care about the Utah Jazz. It's the entire NBA, and possibly the universe too. Why do I say this? Simply because Jeremy Evans broke the laws of physics last night and it was only the #5 "best play" of the night according to the NBA. Ridiculous.



Have you actually seen the Utah Jazz play this year? Aside from that last play, normally there's a lot of passing because no one can move the defense around, and eventually a pass goes to a guy for a shot as the clock runs down. No, this isn't every play, but all too often this is what we get. Our team passes a lot, but passing, like dribbling, exists to serve a purpose. You move the ball around (either through passing or dribbling) in order to move the DEFENSE around. It's like a racquet sport where you 'place' the ball during a rally in order to set up a finishing strike. That's what ball movement is supposed to do in basketball as well.

But for us this season there's movement of the ball while the defense is always in the position of advantage (they are defending everything well). Some times there are 2 to 3 passes of the ball on our offensive possessions before we even attempt to attack the basket. This results in a lot of wheel spinning, and not much winning.

Ed Kupfer diagrams where we're at:

We already knew the Jazz played slow, but here we can see how useless our passes are. This makes sense if we're passing like the Showtime Lakers or Sat-Town Kings of Vlade and C-Webb. We're not. It's a half hearted attempt on the perimeter a few times before someone decides to try to break the defense down (most likely from a dribble hand-off or a pick).

It also makes sense if we're passing a lot due to a high paced attack, like the 7 seconds of less Suns. We're not.

We're slow. Make pointless passes. And have one of the worst offenses in franchise history. And it's something I'd love to see changed going forwards.



It's going to get a lot more drafty here moving forward. Today we have the NCAA Final Four, and then the championship game. Then the quiet before the storm. It may interest you, then, to know how good teams are at drafting. After all, if you can't get good draft position (While you were sleeping shows us creeping downwards) you almost always have to rely on a team picking ahead of you making a mistake.

ESPN's Tom Haberstroh ranks the best and worst General Managers and how they have drafted since the 1989 season. (Full In$ider article here) It may surprise you that Isiah Thomas is #1, and it's not a surprise for me. I've always felt that was one of his only strengths and he proved it with his great picks with the Toronto Raptors, and less so with the New York Knicks.

How is Zeke number one? Well, it's based upon the D.R.A.F.T. initiative (full article on that here), but the TL:DR version of it is "maths". The reason is maths. The slightly longer answer is getting value out of where you draft against the average value of the pick spot. So if you draft #1 and get Kenyon Martin it's not that great when compared to drafting #1 and getting LeBron James. But it's miles better than drafting #1 and getting Greg Oden. Some GMs can mind gold. We like to think that the Jazz are great at drafting in the second round. Surely that means our team will get recognized by the universal objectivity of maths, right?


Out of all the GMs listed, none of them are Jazz guys. The Top 10 are Isiah, Jim Paxon (Cavaliers), Kiki Vandeweghe (Nuggets), Sam Presti (Thunder), Jeff Bower (Pelicans), Glen Grunwald (raptors), Jerry West (Lakers, Grizzlies), Bryan Colangelo (Suns, Raptors), Bob Whitsitt (Supersonics, Trail Blazers), and Kevin McHale (Timberwolves). Please note that these GMs had to have been in charge of the team for n=10 draft picks, hence, Spurs gurus Gregg Poppovich / R.C. Buford didn't qualify. Of course, KOC isn't in the bottom 10 either. We're just not notable. Which is a sad truth, but that is exactly our franchise since Deron Williams was traded away.

So from the math we don't make mistakes or make home runs. That's fine, because some of the draft picks in this year's draft seem to be able to do all the scoring by themselves...



... and according to 's Scott Howard-Cooper, the early tournament exits may not exactly kill the draft stock of some of these kids. He writes:

"The teams quickly disappeared from the NCAA tournament, big teams taking one-and-done to a new level and others lasting all the way until the actual weekend of the first weekend.

"Duke's tournament opener ended in an upset by Mercer, and there went the season, and possibly the Blue Devils career, for Jabari Parker, among the lead pack to be considered for first overall in the June 26 NBA Draft. Another candidate, Andrew Wiggins, exited a round later as Kansas lost to Stanford. Which gave him more postseason experience than a third top contender, Joel Embiid, Wiggins' teammate, who missed both games while recovering from a stress fracture in his back. With both Parker and Wiggins out, the conversation began about how much the non-showings hurt their chances at No. 1.

"It was an overreaction. While the losses were bad, there is a line of players who underwhelmed in the tournament and still went first in the Draft. In fact, that's become more common than a prospect turning the tournament into a long victory lap."

Scott Howard-Cooper,, March 28th, 2014

SHC then lists a bunch of former NCAA tournament 'losers' who became great NBA players -- their poor showing didn't invalidate the legit claims and aspirations they had for going to the NBA. You may have heard of a few of them: John Wall (2010), Kyrie Irving (2011), Anthony Davis (2012). Even guys who didn't do well in the tournament who did not blast off in the NBA can still get drafted high, like Anthony Bennett (2013). But more than anything else, sometimes talent just wins out, no matter what, like Blake Griffin (2009). Still, NCAA success doesn't mean much when you cash in your chips and go to the NBA.

Just ask Ed O'Bannon and Corliss Williamson.



I got some of you with the April Fool's posts. I'm not going to apologize. You're most likely going to get these every year, well, maybe not every year. But I do like to write them. I seemed to have gotten the attention of the actual NBA-DL team the Canton Charge with my Kyrylo Fesenko fool's day post.

Cool stuff, Fesenko says hello to all his SLC Dunk fans! And hello to Alex Jensen!