By now you know all the deal about the Utah Jazz and what they did at the NBA Draft. With the #5 pick they selected guard Dante Exum. And with the #23 pick they selected "???" forward Rodney Hood. And then with the #35 pick they selected Jarnell Stokes, and then traded him away to the Memphis Grizzlies for a second rounder in 2015. (Confusion about if it's a 2015 or 2016 pick can easily be resolved by visiting the official site of the NBA here, other sites may have conflicting information, but Yahoo! Sports and a few of the big ones also call it a 2015 pick.)
According to the released information (from beat writers, national writers, draft specialists, and front office execs of the team), the Jazz had people at the top of their lists fall to them at #5 and #23. Is this drafting best player available, which is what got us Kosta Koufos instead of Serge Ibaka or Nicolas Batum? That seems like this was a very KOC type of draft as the team made only one trade, and traded out. Or, do we take it at face value that the players the team wanted fell to them? I don't know.
I do know that Exum has the potential to be a star, and could be quite good on defense. The knocks on him are his competition level and the mystery that surrounds him. (Most all analysis of him is based on a small sample size) I also know that Hood was called a lotto pick earlier on in the draft cycle, and that he is on of the Top SFs in this draft according to many people. He just, well, he's an incomplete player and may not be an upgrade anywhere except against the Mike Harris / Malcolm Thomas type players we used last year. We also know that Jarnell Stokes is going to be an NBA player -- but someone we didn't have space for.
In Diana's Downbeat I, like many people, voted for a "B" as the Jazz draft grade. Not because I didn't think Dante was great, or that Hood was a steal. I do think those things. I just feel that the #35 could have been something more than just a second rounder in a less impressive draft. In addition to Stokes some of the other players on the board were Johnny O'Bryant III, DeAndre Daniels, Glenn Robinson III, Walter Tavares, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, and a bunch of potential foreign Draft 'n Stashes. Utah could have gotten a player (personally I like G-Rob III), but instead the Jazz got an asset. Assets aren't bad. Our team has done a good job of collecting them.
- 2015: 2nd rounder (Memphis Grizzlies)
- 2016: 2nd rounder (Golden State Warriors)
- 2017: 1st rounder (Golden State Warriors)
- 2017: 2nd rounder (Golden State Warriors)
- 2018: 2nd rounder (Denver Nuggets)
That is in addition to the two the team would normally get for each of those draft years. I think the Jazz did a great job by getting the players they did. Sadly it is somewhat of a minor letdown because the team didn't swing for the fences and get a Top 2 pick. Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker are the two diamonds of this draft. Exum projects to shine as well, and I think it's going to be awesome to see him play with our guys next season, and hopefully every season of his career.
Everyone is going crazy about Exum, and there are a lot of good reasons why we should. Former SLC Dunker member Alec Lam, who has a job with the Jazz under Dennis Lindsey, got into the act with this amazing pic of his new BFF.
Okay, we can't verify that picture actually happened. But if it did, I think Exum's sponsors will be happy.
Sure, we didn't get Wiggins . . . but man . . . the Cleveland Cavaliers never stop being Cleveland.
First, they announce him as his dad (a guy who was traded for Tyrone Corbin years ago), and then when ti's time for them to hold the Cavs Jersey it's no where to be found. And poor Wiggins, he's too Canadian to get upset about this buffoonery. Saw what you (or I) will about the Jazz franchise -- at least they don't mess up like this.
Do you remember Frank Layden? He was my first Jazz coach, and many other people who started following the team before Jerry Sloan have countless fond memories about him. He won the NBA's coach of the Year and NBA's Executive of the Year awards in the same season (1983-84), which I guess is a feat Jason Kidd is trying to emulate. (For those who don't know, Kidd is now likely out after taking a proverbial swing at Brooklyn Nets boss and GM Billy King.) And he also won the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. And he made great VHS videos of Dunks and/or Bloopers. Well, he is an amazing man, and the DN's Doug Robinson had a sit down interview with him a while ago and it's worth reading.
He recently returned from a month long cruise in the South Pacific in which the ship's captain asked him if he would do an interview-style show for the other guests. "Sure, but do you think anyone will come?" he asked. The theater was packed. He'll be walking on the streets of his native New York or down an airport concourse and people will call out to him, "Hey, Coach, how ya doin'?" The other day a man asked if Layden would pose for a photo with his family. When they were finished, he said, "Thanks, LaVell."
"As the years go by, that happens more and more," says Layden, smiling. "They know they know you from somewhere."
He's 82 years old and living a fantasy-camp retirement. Golf in the summer with his wife of 48 years, Barbara, and his son Michael; winters in sunny climes, usually Florida and Arizona, where he can take in baseball spring-training games; trips to New York once or twice a year to get his Broadway fix; annual trips to Cooperstown with old friends; outings with his grandchildren; speeches and emcee gigs for various events.
"I may be retired, but it seems like the opposite," he says.
Man, I love Frank so much. He used to play rookies and stuff. According to long-time reporters around the Jazz Quin Snyder appears to have the exact opposite personality. He's dry, efficient, and introverted. Oh well, they sure don't make 'em like they used to.
Are you enjoying the summer? No matter what you are doing, you're not killing it this year like our former players:
Mehmet Okur goes to the lake . . .
Andrei Kirilenko goes to the ocean . . .
C.J. Miles goes to the studio . . .
And, well, Kyrylo Fesenko is just getting himself into Fesenko type situations. (Shout out to Diana for the Fes pic)