Oh my goodness everyone, the NBA Playoffs is insane! Five of the eight first round match-ups are going to Game 7! So you know what that means:
Anyway, in non- Zaza Pachulia related news, we have Game 7's in the following brackets:
- Pacers (1) vs Hawks (8)
- Spurs (1) vs Mavericks (8)
- Thunder (2) vs Grizzlies (7)
- Clippers (3) vs Warriors (6)
- Raptors (3) vs Nets (6)
The only teams to advance by now were the East 2 seed (Heat -- 4-0), East 5 seed (Wizards -- 4-1), and West 5 seed (Trail Blazers -- Damian Lillard series clinching shot last night, 4-2). [Ed. Fixed the seed error!] So five of the top six seeds haven't been able to dispatch sufficiently inferior (by regular season record) teams. Why is this? Is this just a 'good draw' for evenly matched teams? Is this 'parity' within the NBA? Are the higher seeds playing down? Are the lower seeds playing out of their minds? I've been a basketball fan since 1984. And the first round used to be a lot shorter (5 games, not 7), this year things seem very unique; truly, a playoffs first round to remember.
As an aside, has there been more bulletin board material this year? First that guy in OKC called Kevin Durant something dumb ("Mr. Unreliable"), and then he went off and his team is going to Game 7. Last night this was posted,
and then Deron Williams went off, and now HIS team is going to Game 7.
I can only hope the rest of the playoffs are this exciting!
Gordon Hayward 's wife (Gordina?) got him a puppy.
Puppies are cute, but I hope this is a magical puppy who can help Gordon shoot better from three. It is also of note that Derrick Favors also has some dogs. Who is next on #TeamDog for the Jazz? I am of the opinion that Enes Kanter (if allowed) would have some really crazy thing as a pet. Like a
crepuscular Ocelot, or some big snakes or something. Maybe this is a topic for an off-season post -- What pet best fits with each Jazz player? OH wait, it is the off-season already.
It must be the off-season (but playoffs! Playoffs? PLAY-offs?), because we're getting more social media points in this downbeat. You have know by know that Trey Burke did something not-cool. But he apologized for it later. From the Detroit Free press:
Yeah. That story is mostly about Shaq, but most stories that involve Shaq are. The skinny is that a number of people made fun of the way a person looks. That person looks that way because of a rare genetic disorder. Trey tweeted this after making amends:
If I was under a microscope back when I was in my late teens / early 20s I would be doing a lot more than just making mistakes of ignorance on twitter. So good on ya, Trey. It's not ALL bad in Jazz-social media land though. Erstwhile Jazz point guard Raul Neto and team mates (probably a mix of Europeans and South Americans) tried to combat racism with this picture -- showing solidarity with aggrieved team mate of African descent.
I don't know the story here. But I read somewhere that someone in Europe threw a banana at a black player or something. And hence, this picture. Those two points could be unrelated. I do know that this isn't just a staged picture of a guy watching other guys eat fruit. THAT would be something to apologize for as well.
Also, that DUDE is ripped. Wow.
So we're almost 2 weeks away from the Draft Lotto. The fortune of teams will be made that day. But as we all know, having a high pick doesn't get you a championship, it just increases the odds of getting a better player. But there's no guarantee that the high draft pick is going to be able to lead a team to the promised land. FURTHERMORE, big game performances can happen from non Top 3 picks too. After all, guys like Lillard, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Joakim Noah, Brook Lopez, Stephen Curry, Paul George, and Jimmer Fredette all went in the lotto, but not as a top pick.
Okay, maybe Jimmer doesn't belong up there right now. But maybe one day . . .
As for our Jazz team, well, there seems to be a 'default' draft strategy at where we've picked the last few seasons. Either it's an absolute draft and stash (Ante Tomic) or just "who we think is the best player" (Kosta Koufos over Serge Ibaka or Nicolas Batum). The team was under default 'auto-draft' under Kevin O'Connor. With Dennis Lindsey at the helm things are a little different. At the draft combine last season I was astounded by a) how many Jazz people were there, and b) just how many full-time scouts the Jazz had as well. Identifying the major 'face' people in the front office wasn't hard. Last year we saw almost everyone on this basketball operations list. In addition to that Dennis Lindsey (sorry, it wasn't Tyrone Corbin) traded ALL of our draft picks last year in the NBA Draft, and we finished the night with all new players in all new positions.
This isn't the default strategy to just pick a guy at your spot. This was an active effort to get the guy you want. And it was, GASP, position oriented! It wasn't just BPA, last year the Jazz actually left the draft after an obvious look for positional needs. Utah would let Mo Williams (short combo guard), Randy Foye (poor ball handling combo guard, drafted as a PG), Earl Watson, and Jamaal Tinsley (for a few months) go. There were no point guards on the roster save for the whisper of Jerel McNeal. Utah left the draft with Trey Burke and Raul Neto. In between they took a flier on the largest guy in the draft with the untapped potential to be a defensive game-changer.
Lindsey is doing things much differently than what KOC did. As a result, most Jazz fans are happy. There's a lot of work to be done, the roster isn't complete. There are a lot of free agents to decide on. Players need extensions. And yes, there's still no head coach -- but that will come in time.
One thing I am sure of is that I'm going to be very busy the next two months as Lindsey and his scouting department keep me on my feet trying to best cover the most unpredictable NBA draft in an era. The one thing I can kind-of predict is that Lindsey isn't going to be content to just draft where ever the Lotto Gods feel he should draft. Lindsey makes his own fate.
There are so many teams that need head coaches right now. There are plenty of possible head coaches -- some we like, some we do not. And there's plenty of time between now and next season. When do the Utah Jazz hire their next head coach?