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FIBA Tournaments 2015: Utah Jazz players to watch, and more Jazz news -- Downbeat #1683

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What ever will a Utah Jazz fan do this off-season? Well, there's still a lot of basketball to watch before training camp!

Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Another week, another week of DOWNBEATS! It's the summer, so while we don't have a ton of Utah Jazz news flowing in, we do have enough to go a little crazy about every day. And while I'm pinch hitting right now, the overall theme is "crazy". I think the Jazz have shown fans enough to make them really anticipate the start of the next season. We can't wait, and the wait will make us go crazy. We also look at some other crazy things, like a July Power Rankings, player archetypes, proof that the team isn't crazy . . . and a team you'd be crazy not to hate on.

Sooooooo . . . . off-season, eh? We've had the NBA Draft. Then we had both the Utah Summer League and Las Vegas Summer League. And most of NBA Free Agency is over. The Utah Jazz don't play a game again until preseason, where they'll face the Los Angeles Lakers in Hawai'i. And that's in October. It's July. There's some time between now and then. So what's a Jazz fan to do? Don't fret:

1. Utah Jazz news will be happening all off-season long. I expect the team to make some kind of move before now and training camp. I also know that players self-report news all the time. It'll be fun. For example:

Derrick Favors is getting ready for his twins to be born . . .

. . . and Raul Neto is getting swole. Well, maybe not. But maybe he's learning how to use his quickness in the best possible way.

2. FIBA UP IN THIS!

Teams are trying to qualify for Rio 2016's Olympic games. Some teams have already qualified. And by some I mean: The United States. Outside of that there are FIVE international tournaments happening right now, with seven spots up for grabs. The best losers from all of those tournaments then fight for the rights to get one of the four remaining spots . . . but those teams will play NEXT summer right before the games.

The tournaments are:

  • 2015 FIBA Oceania (August 16-18, 2015)
  • AfroBasket 2015 (August 20-30, 2015)
  • 2015 FIBA Americas (August 25 - September 6, 2015)
  • EuroBasket 2015 (September 4-20, 2015)
  • 2015 FIBA Asia (September 23 - October 3, 2015)

There needs to be better uniformity with how that's named, in my opinion. But there could be a ton (tonne, even) of Jazz guys playing games that matter, this summer. We don't have any official Jazz guys right now in Africa, but Salah Mejri is a former Jazz mini-camp and summer league guy. Oh crap, he plays for Tunisia, and they didn't make AfroBasket 2015. Well, there's FIBA Asia which has . . . no Jazz players either.

Oceania has Dante Exum, while Joe Ingles makes snarky comments from the stands. That's a two game tournament for Australia vs. New Zealand . . . but Aussies will also fly to Europe to play friendlies there too. I guess they're assuming that they'll beat the Kiwis.

EuroBasket has all the big teams, but will be missing a few big names, like Andrei Kirilenko. We'll still get to see Tibor Pleiss (GER), Ante Tomic (CRO), and a lot of NBA players. But personally I'm most excited for FIBA Americas. It's going to be an opportunity to see Canadian basketball take flight. I'm almost certain that Trey Lyles isn't going to be playing, but Olivier Hanlan may be. And he's a guy our team needs more data on. Oh, also this Raul Neto guy with Brazil.

Even if we're not watching a lot of Jazz players take big roles, we'll still be watching a lot of basketball this summer.

3. Going crazy waiting for next season to finally start

I admit, after watching Dante Exum take over that one game I can't wait for the season to start. Kid is going to be amazing, and our team is going to beat up some fancier, more popular teams all season long.

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We're not the only ones going crazy waiting. Matt Moore, of everywhere, even went out and put out some pre-season Power Rankings. These rankings are posted up on July 15th. Some teams still haven't even signed their rookies yet.

Our Utah Jazz are at all the way up there at #16 . . . in a non-conference playoff seeding we're in there. Of course, the team dropped three spots. (Don't be mad, tho!)

"The Jazz were one of the best teams in the league after the All-Star break and have a young core that should improve year over year. Maintaining momentum without a true superstar is difficult though. One thing's for certain, the Jazz are going to be a team opponents dread with their defense and athleticism."

- Matt Moore, CBS Sports, July 15, 2015

I think this is the earliest in a season we've seen a national writer give the Jazz props. Even when they had Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer the team was still one of more question marks than exclamation points. We'll get a few in our power rankings write ups this season for sure.

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Wow, this is a boring downbeat so far. Let's mix it up with some Mehmet Okur dadding it up. It is wrong to assume that he's our franchise Vlade Divac?

Dancing in the rain..☔

A photo posted by mehmetokur13 (@mehmetokur13) on

Does every team have that one foreign ambassador guy? That's up there with the fan favorite hustle guy, (Adam Keefe) and the bad player who is a smart guy who speaks pretty (Jarron Collins). What other franchise player archetypes are there for retired players? I guess another one is "bad player who didn't actually really play for the team -- but somehow becomes a force that fans can't stop talking about. Guys like Erik Murphy.

SummertimeCHI with my guys.

A photo posted by Erik Murphy (@e_murphy33) on

Who, apparently, is hanging out near my condo in downtown Chicago.

Out of all the player types out there, one guy I really like is the scrub fan favorite who never gets his shot, guys like Jeremy Evans and Dee Brown. Which types of players are your favorite franchise archetypes?

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This is going to seem off-putting to some, but I enjoy reading the good works of other people. When Peter, or Mychal, or Dustin (Prodigal Punk) write some business thing or money thing or cap thing I learn a lot. I've never taken any financial classes, or business classes, or whatever. So when someone explains to me, in simple words, possible moves the team can make, or even goes over business strategy, it's really instructive. Everyone brings something great to the table here at the site, but I wanted to highlight these three writers in this Downbeat -- because at the end of the day, I really gain something out of being a reader in those moments.

We've had a number of great reporters, entertainment people, and analysts here. But if we're tooting horns, it's the business / law people who have been more right than any other groups out there at this blog, or in larger Jazz circles. And as a Jazz fan, reading their works reassures me that a) the Utah Jazz are in good hands, and b) they are working smartly to make the right franchise decisions -- even if they aren't the sexy draft pick or trade or free agency signing we fans want.

Of course, they're also smart enough to point out when the team messes up as well, which explains the hate they get on social media.

I guess being smart is a burden. And being smart usually means good results. That works on the individual level and on the organizational level . . . however . . . .

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At the end of the day, you can be a really smart franchise, but still not get over the hump. And the opposite seems to be true, you can be awful on the day to day, but just get all the luck. Case in point . . . the Los Angeles Lakers.

This whole episode of Jazz / Lakers history is frustrating. Now, Gail Goodrich was still a solid vet when he played for the NOJ -- averaging 14.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.5 apg, and 1.1 spg in 29.1 mpg. He played in 182 games for the Jazz franchise. He put in work. But he's just not Magic Johnson, in my mind the best player in the history of the game. Renting Gail for the end of his career and having to give up future picks to do so . . . that's crappy. What's worse is that this was essentially a UFA signing, but because of the bad rules of that era, the Jazz had to pay the Lakers back for it.

Dirty.

So the Lakers have been lucky. And I will forever root for their downfall, and cherish their failures.