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Utah Jazz bigman Derrick Favors isn't taking this off-season "off". Expect big things - Downbeat #1685

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It's the off-season for everyone except our Utah Jazz players. And they're looking GREAT!

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

So it's the NBA off-season for sure, right? NBA Draft? Done. NBA Free Agency? Done. NBA Summer League? Done. SLC Dunk? Not done. Ever. We get to cover the Utah Jazz, and there's just so much still happening right now with out team. Today we look at what some of our players are doing (way more active in their down time than I am, I pretty much transform into a rock pretending to be a sloth in my down time). We also talk about the Utah and Las Vegas Summer Leagues, what we saw of our main players, and put Trey Lyles into some more context against his fellow 2015 Lotto Picks. We take a trip down forbidden memory lane and look at the Utah Stars. And lastly we have to ask the tough questions: "Do I want to agree with Mark Cuban about something?"

Most of everything is done . . . for fans. For the Utah Jazz players, though? Now is their grind time to put in work so that they are ready to dominate next season.

Derrick Favors is getting his Gym Mailman on:

DB 1685 - Instagram Derrick Favors

Rudy Gobert, and a very tall France team, is getting ready to beat up Europe:

DB 1685 - Instagram Rudy Gobert France

And our Trey Burke is working out like crazy. His body fat percentage is like a ridiculous 2% it seems like.

A video posted by @treyburke on

Keep it up Jazzfam!

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Sooo, did we learn anything from Summer league? Sometimes the information you get from it applies heavily to the season, and other times it means absolutely nothing. In the past we've had small guards like Nate Robinson blow up and prove themselves to be legit NBA players. And we've also had people like Ian Clark blow up, and make an NBA roster, but then never do enough to justify their salary. And as Utah Jazz fans we remember Greg Ostertag demolishing Tim Duncan. And well, yeah, history has proven to us if that was going to be accurate for what to expect.

Early on, though, we have some returns for the lotto picks.

Cool, cool. Trey Lyles was picked #12 and he's up to #11 in Points per Possession (PPP). That's the good news. The bad news is that there were a couple of guys picked right ahead (#11) and right behind (#13) who are just torching teams this summer. Of course, yes, I wanted Myles Turner, and many Jazz fans did too. And there was a strong contingent of Devin Booker fans as well. In the SB Nation mock draft I was able to snag both without giving up any assets -- while also getting Trey Lyles. I did have to take on two very unpopular salary dumps, though.

But back to reality, looking at the early returns it appears as though Trey Lyles isn't at the top of this draft class. He was the #12 pick, so obviously he shouldn't be. But what type of player is he going to be? Some sort of mix of Donyell Marshall and Boris Diaw? That's not a bad player. That's a solid 3rd big on offense, for sure. From what we've seen of him he has room to improve as well. Who he was as a college player (his activity level, what position he played, his role, and his body) isn't going to be who he is as an NBA player with a few years under his belt.

The 19 year old Canadian is going to be yet another one of those under the radar / doesn't get picked for Rookie Teams / judge this pick in 3 years types of players that the Jazz almost always seem to pick. I wasn't crazy about him, not even when I drafted him in the Mock draft . . . but after seeing enough glimpses now in his game I'm a little be less worried.

We didn't draft him to be a one day starter or star. We drafted him to be the gallant to Enes Kanter 's goofus.

 photo ezgif.com-maker_zpssd4uzbfc.gif

Via Moni and JuMu

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As for the rest of the team in summer league, well. Bryce Cotton looked for and got his own shot quite a lot. He has the inside track to stay with the team. Chris Johnson played better in Utah than Vegas, but is clearly an NBA player. Jack Cooley looked dominant against guys his size or athletic level, but against guys who are clearly physically bigger he was somewhat muted. J.J. O'Brien played defense, made some jumpers, and on occasion took advantage of space and drove to the lane. He got a contract out of it, even if his mailing address will be in Idaho this year. Jared Cunningham was a nice surprise, but wasn't consistent enough for someone with his experience. Olivier Hanlan got himself in a hole early, and didn't do enough to dig him out of it in games. JaJuan Johnson was active, but like Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, and Grant Jerrett ended up getting injured. JaJuan doesn't have a contract, so he had to keep playing while injured in order to prove himself.

As a whole the summer league performance for the Jazz weren't as great as we fans would have wanted. But it's the regular season (and beyond) that we're looking forward to.

This game was fun, and bring on the season!

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Are you a basketball fan, or an NBA Basketball fan? Or are you just a Utah Jazz fan? What do you think about pre-NBA basketball in Utah? Specifically . . . do we care about the ABA's Utah Stars . . . a team that has actually won a championship? Do we not care enough about them? Historically, financially, and academically they are very distinct from the Utah Jazz. But I don't think there are rabid basketball fans in the #801 without first having the Stars. While the emotional attachment may not be there for regular fans today, the spiritual attachment is. And at some point the people who ran the Jazz knew that because they signed Ron Boone, who had won a ring with the Stars.

On twitter yesterday Basketball John went on a rant of sorts where he went over the history of the Stars, their relationship to the community pre-Jazz, and many other older Jazz fans chimed in. I'm just going to populate this beat with a lot of his tweets, so beware!

Even I, a non-Utah Utah Jazz fan, spent part of my youth reading up on the Utah Stars. They were originally the Anaheim Amigos, but moved to Utah in 1970. They played at the Salt Palace, the old home of the Utah Jazz before the Delta Center was built. And they went to two ABA Finals, 1970-1971, and 1973-1974, but winning only the first time. The ABA was full of financial trouble, and the team didn't make it through the 1975-76 season, and were one of the many ABA teams not to be financially or on-court worthy to merge into the NBA. Heck, super rookie Moses Malone was sold mid-season to St. Louis because the team couldn't pay their players.

So the Stars and Jazz both:

  • Moved into the market from outside of Utah
  • Had early financial trouble
  • Both had to sell off a great young player (Dominique Wilkins, Moses Malone)
  • Both had a HOFer bigman Malone (Karl Malone, Moses Malone)
  • Both went to the Finals twice
  • And both had Ron Boone play for them
  • And both played in the Salt Palace

The difference is that one of them has a title. With the way the NBA is now, with the Miami Heat retiring Michael Jordan's number, to the New Orleans Pelicans having a Pistol Pete Maravich jersey up in their rafters (they were the Charlotte Hornets franchise) . . . and we know that the next Seattle franchise will inherit all of the Sonics retired jerseys and championship banner from the 70s . . . .it seems comical that the UTAH Jazz franchise doesn't rep the UTAH Stars history in any meaningful way. Of course, they don't rep the New Orleans JAZZ legacy either -- they did nothing for the 40th year of franchise history.

So maybe the idea is for the Utah Jazz to be the ISIS of basketball? There is no history except for the one they make. There is no basketball in Utah before them. And there is no Jazz before them. Or at least, that's the outward image they seem to show with their stubbornness or pettiness. Or maybe, as it always seems to be for this team, it comes down to money. Why spend the money to have the rights to glorify the Stars? (Or NOJ?) Making a #44United Lounge for season ticket holders is more important!

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Do you love the NBA Playoffs? Do you think the NBA Regular Season is too long? Do you want to see the Jazz make the playoffs sooner? You may want to read what Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has to say here:

I'm somewhat of a traditionalist. I like 82 games, but I don't mind expanding the season so there's more time in between them. I also like "Top 8" from each conference. There has to be ways to better even things out, while making old artifacts (division play, etc) actually mean something. So I'm not a fan of what Cuban suggests. Though, his plan will make him more money . . . so I can see why he'd suggest it.

What do you think?