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Withey Or Without You: The Downbeat #1712

A new backup center appears! Also: President Kirilenko, Call of Dante: Black Ops, and a look back at the Utah Stars. It's your Tuesday Downbeat.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

News, brothers and sisters! We have real, genuine Jazz news! News that doesn't involve baby-faced Australians blowing out their knees?

(Oh geez, now I'm sad again.)

But hey! We have a new Jazz player!

Amar has already given you a bit of the skinny on what Withey brings to the Jazz, assuming he earns a roster spot. (It's possible he's only being brought in for training camp, but on a partially guaranteed contract, it seems more likely that he'll be sticking around.) For more, check out this post from Chris Cucchiara of The Bird Writes, our Pelicans-centric sister site:

Many Pels fans grew tired of Asik's inability to finish at the rim or make the opposing team foul him. [...] Withey is different in this regard, much different. He led the team in free throw rate (number of free throws per FG attempt) at .781 for the 2014-15 season. Jeff also shot 68% from the free throw line, which is better than Austin Rivers and a hair below Tyreke Evans.

Even though Jeff played only 259 minutes, he still had more free throw attempts (50) than Dante Cunningham (47) who played 6.5 times the minutes that Jeff played (1652 minutes). Quincy Pondexter only attempted 66 free throws in 1253 minutes and Jrue Holiday attempted 76 free throws in 1303 minutes.

Withey attacks the rim hard. He has a little Blake Griffin in him, meaning, he tries to dunk on people and forces them to either foul him or get put on a poster (does a Jeff Withey poster even exist?). He attacks the rim like we all want Asik to attack the rim. This, combined with his defensive abilities, could warrant an uptick in minutes next season if Jeff remains a part of the roster.

Seems like, while Withey's calling card has been post defense, he's got a little offensive aggression in him, even if he can't shoot. I mean, Rudy Gobert hasn't shown much of an outside shot yet, either, but he gets by offensively on aggression, intelligence, and athleticism. The decent-ish free-throw numbers are a good sign, too.

As I said above, the partial guarantee seems to indicate Withey isn't being brought in as mere training-camp fodder, but that's really anyone's guess. New Orleans didn't seem to be in a hurry to re-sign him, at any rate. We'll have to see how he looks in camp. But after Exum's injury, the competition for the last few roster spots is going to be fierce at all positions.

While we've been busy in the States this summer with the prospect of either Donald Trump or a 15-year-old from Iowa becoming POTUS, our man Andrei Kirilenko has been running for a presidency of a different sort -- and he's got a better shot than Deez Nuts:

Kirilenko only retired from playing in June after a final season with CSKA Moscow, but already he is throwing himself into the bearpit of Russian basketball politics with a bid to become president of the Russian Basketball Federation, an organization so notorious for scandals that it was suspended by international governing body FIBA after years of legal battles.

Kirilenko faces resistance from some in the federation's old guard and, with nationalist sentiment riding high in Russia, he has been criticized for having a U.S. passport in addition to his Russian nationality after becoming an American citizen in 2011 while with the Utah Jazz.

"People who talk about that, they want to be picky, they want to find something that doesn't fit a good profile," he says. "I was born in Russia, the whole of my life I've been a Russian and I will die a Russian."

So far, Kirilenko is the only candidate for Tuesday's election, though there is a late push to get national team general manager Dmitry Domani onto the ballot too. If elected, Kirilenko vows to shake up Russian basketball.

I've enjoyed watching the NBA, and the Jazz organization, become more multicultural over the years. We've had the best Russian player, one of the best Turkish players, a pair of notable Aussies, and other international players of varying levels of excellence.

And Fes. Of course Fes.

There are no new FanPosts this week. Instead, here is a gif.

Over at the SBN mothership, Paul Flannery has a cool retrospective on the ABA, home of the 1971 league champion Utah Stars:

In stylistic terms, the ABA elevated the dunk to an art form and gave us the three-point line along with a faster pace. Because big men were such a scarce commodity, forwards became centers and everyone took shots. It can be argued that the league's style of play was one of the precursors to the pace-and-space systems that flourish today, and certainly there were innovators on the sidelines like Hubie Brown. The ABA also gave us inspired gimmicks like the slam dunk contest and a steady blitz of promotions and in-game entertainment. Hustle and desperation proved to be fantastic innovators.

Flannery goes on to list all-ABA all-time first, second, and third teams, with our own Ron Boone leading the second-team guard line. Flannery also lists Mack Calvin on the first team -- he played for the Stars before they moved from LA to Utah, and very briefly for the newly christened Utah Jazz in 1979-80 -- and Roger Brown, who played part of one season with the Stars, also appeared on Flannery's second team. Solid representation for our state.

And as long as we're on the subject, check out this tremendously groovy documentary on the Stars' championship season:

I spent a few hours over the weekend playing the Call of Duty: Black Ops III multiplayer beta. I am very bad at this game.

Dante Exum is, apparently, very good:

Bonus points to anyone who successfully gets "SwishDx" to add them to their friends list.