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NBA Preseason 2015: Utah Jazz still have more unknowns than knowns - Downbeat #1742

NBA Media notes goodies and trivia, the rise of three pointers, Andrei Kirilenko update, and what do you want to see in the remaining five games of the preseason?

Are these guys Jazzmen this season?
Are these guys Jazzmen this season?
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

What? A Wednesday Downbeat? Have we been missing these every week? And for how long? And who should I complain to? I guess it's me. There have been a few shakeups with what's going on here at the site, and we are trying to get everything fixed before the regular season starts. The Utah Jazz are going to be fine, it's actually us I'm a bit worried about.

Old school

There are some exciting things going on in Jazzland, and let's get back into this.


So this may be a bit of info you guys never get to see, and for me I usually just skip though this thing . . . but the media notes presented by the NBA for the Jazz (submitted by the Jazz) are usually filled with information that we already kinda know. It's hard work to make a new 13 page document every night, so I understand that this is someone's daily toil. Parts of it are cut and pasted every single time though. (Which is what I do as well when I have a daily update thing to do too!) I love reading it, but this part this season looks to be fun . . . so I thought I would share:

DB 1742 - Jazz Player Names Phonetic


Do you agree with these? Do other team's broadcast teams not look at it? I can imagine that this thing didn't really exist back in the earlier days of the NBA, a pre-globalized NBA . . . which explains why you got some of the pronunciations we did back in the 80s and 90s. I remember former NBA Head Coach and then commentator who was called Dick Versace (VUR-SAYSE) instead of Dick Versace (ver-SAH-che). It's 2015 and we still get "Neat-oh" from opposing broadcast teams. I would feel bad for the players, but this seems to be the case all over the world. When Team Australia plays Eastern European clubs Brock Motum becomes Brockus Motumus, which sounds a little too Monty Python to me. (Video is, as you can imagine, the NSFW "Life of Brian" scene describing funny sounding Roman names.)

The all-time best was at the old RMR, if memory serves, when Hot Rod called Trevor Mbakwe as "Trevor Macaboo-boo". Maybe it wasn't Trevor, but it was someone with a difficult name, but his name wasn't Macaboo-boo". Hot Rod will be forever missed.



The other thing I recently discovered from these extensive NBA media notes was an almost too-long trivia section for each of our players. Here are some excerpts:

That doesn't say quite enough. Does he take photos. Does he enjoy looking at photos? Does he simply appreciate that photography exists? Anyway, give yourself a point for each of those piece of Jazz trivia you already knew ... and put your score in the comments section.



Three pointers. Three pointers are a very funny thing. The game continues to evolve and those that use all the tools available to them will thrive. I like how our team is trying to manufacture open looks as a product of sets. Older Jazz eras had a three pointer be an option based upon the reactions and decisions made by the defending team. While we did see some Deron Williams to Mehmet Okur trailing threes during Jerry Sloan's last few seasons the team didn't actually go out there to try to make three pointers a thing, in the halfcourt, with any regularity. This could be the Spurs influence in our braintrust now, but over the last season we saw the offense go out there and force the three point issue.

I have a post coming up on point guards, and it looks at the data set of every player to ever play point guard for the Jazz. Did you know that Trey Burke is #3 in Jazz history for most three pointers taken, by a point guard? Did you know that after only one season Dante Exum is #7 on that list? These are two guys with career 32.4% and 31.4% shooting strokes, respectively. Earl Watson and Jamaal Tinsley are #9 and #10 on that list, and I'm not even going to list their three point success rate. But it appears that the trend to take threes has nothing to do with the ability to MAKE them, but they are a product of the changing Xs and Os of the NBA.

A guy like John Crotty, who played 237 games for the team over five seasons, and owns a 39.3 3PT% in a Jazz uniform is behind guys like Keith McLeod and Devin Harris when you look at the number of career Jazz three point attempts.

Of course, perhaps if Dante and Trey just attempted the three pointers they were likely to make their percentages would go up, or if someone like Crotty didn't just attempt 0.6 threes a game his numbers would have gone down?

There are lots of surprising things when crunching through 40 plus years of Jazz point guard data, some good, some bad. But one thing for sure is that having a point guard make a three pointer is going to be a significant factor going forward, because they are for sure going to be taking them from now on out.

Trivia: Milt Palacio is probably the worst, while seven guys never made a three -- even after 12 tries in the case of Duck Williams, Palacio is a modern era PG who even STARTED 18 games for the Jazz during his tenure in Utah. And he shot 6.3% from downtown (1/16).

Trivia Part 2: Ronnie Price has a higher Jazz 3pt% than Derek Fisher.



I'm not so good with the social media, but I love this picture of Andrei Kirilenko and his wife Masha.

DB 1742 - Andrei Kirilenko Masha
First of all, why do you let yourself leave the house looking like this. Second, they hired a photographer to take this picture. Also, third, it's October. Why are you in France. Aren't your kids in school, or are they on holidays with you too? It must be nice to have unlimited money.

He's still like one of my most favorite players of all-time though. Love you Andrei.



The Jazz play five more pre-season games.

  • Friday, October 9th -- Utah Jazz @ Phoenix Suns (not televised)
  • Monday, October 12th -- Portland Trail Blazers @ Utah Jazz (ROOT Sports)
  • Sunday, October 18th -- Utah Jazz @ Portland Trail Blazers (not televised)
  • Tuesday, October 20th -- Oklahoma City Thunder @ Utah Jazz (ROOT Sports)
  • Thursday, October 22nd -- Denver Nuggets @ Utah Jazz (not televised)
It's possible that the Jazz could finish the preseason with a pretty good record. I don't know how much of a relationship exists between having a good preseason and having a great season. Last year Trey Burke dominated preseason and had a very ho-hum season. Other times the Jazz had a gangbusters preseason, only to struggle out of the gate. I think after the two games against the Los Angeles Lakers we confirmed a few things. In no order: Trey Lyles does have a face up game like a young Carlos Boozer, but doesn't have the range to be a stretch big just yet; Alec Burks is healthy; Raul Neto is a pure point guard; Elijah Millsap should make this team; and Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert are primed to lead this team to some wins.

I do believe that there are still more unknowns than knowns. A lot of the end of bench players should get more playing time against the Suns and Blazers -- and then I think we should see some cuts after four or five games are in the books. Bryce Cotton hasn't played a minute of ball yet, and I think we are going to see him sooner than later. Furthermore, at what point do you cut the cord on some of these guys, like the injured Grant Jerrett?

These are tough decisions, but they have to be made. It's easier to make them if you get some data on these players. And for this reason I'd love to see Quin Snyder play some of the J.J. O'Brien and Treveon Graham types more in the next few games. What do YOU want to see from the next five preseason games?