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Despite a below .500 record, the Utah Jazz are coming together nicely - The Downbeat #1823

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When you look at all the nice little pieces of the small picture, the big picture will take care of itself.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With half the season over the Utah Jazz are holding onto playoff hopes. That may be a very temporary worry as the Utah Jazz are actually in very good hands with the front office and have put together a team of players who actually make a difference. Gordon is being courted by Team USA. Trey is on fire right now. And Rudy is bigtime that multinational corporations are going out there to promote his play on the court. Sure, the team lost in double overtime to a crappy team in the East. We all wish for the team to be better, but patience will pay off for this core. I really believe it.

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Okay, yes. Last night wasn't great. The Utah Jazz lost in double overtime to the Charlotte Hornets. That's not even the worst part of it though!

Okay, maybe that's not that important, but that was a pretty rare thing seeing how each season the Jazz play (at least) 82 games and the Stamps play (at least) 50. I'm not going to look it up, but that may be the first time it's ever happened before. What I am going to look up is the overtime record of the Jazz over the last few seasons:

  • 2011-2012: 4-3
  • 2012-2013: 3-3
  • 2013-2014: 2-1
  • 2014-2015: 0-1
  • 2015-2016: 2-2

That's a combined record of 11-10, so it's a coin flip in OT for our Jazz. Probably a little bit more interesting is the fact that the Jazz are now 1-2 in games that end in 2OT, 2-0 in games that end in 3OT, and 0-1 in games that end in 4OT. So we know the secret, get it to triple overtime, and dominate all of our future games.

Or, you know, recognize that the game starts in the first quarter, and don't always sleep walk through the first 30 or so minutes of games against bad teams.

Either strategy is fine, really. As long as we get the desired results.

Nacho Libre Smile

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On a happier side of things, Gordon Hayward has made a number of cuts in his life, and made a number of important basketball teams. High school. College. NBA Training camps . . . but nothing compares to making your National Team. It's "easier" for international NBA players to do it because they are usually already the best players in their nation, and their nation doesn't have more than 15 or 20 active NBA players at a given time. It's so much harder for American players to do it -- but that is what makes actually making the team mean so much more. And according to the head honchos at USA Basketball, Gordon Hayward has it to be one of the 30 finalists for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

From the USAB presser:

Three-time Olympic medalists Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks) and LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) headline the list of 30 finalists today named for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team by USA Basketball. The player selections were approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. The official 12-member 2016 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team roster will be announced later this year.

Featuring 18 players who have collected 29 Olympic or FIBA Basketball World Cup gold medals and six bronze medals, the 30 finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team include: LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs); Anthony; Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors); Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls); Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors); Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets); Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings); Paul George (Indiana Pacers); Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors); Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers); James Harden (Houston Rockets); Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz); Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets); Andre Iguodala (Golden State Warriors); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers); James; DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers); Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs); Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers); Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers); Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors); John Wall (Washington Wizards); and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).

Again leading the 2016 USA coaching staff is Duke University's Naismith Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Serving as USA assistant coaches are Jim Boeheim (Syracuse University), Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams (Oklahoma City Thunder).

- USA Basketball, January 2016

It's an honor to have been selected for the Group of 30 cut, but it really would be cool for Gordon to make the 12 man roster. It is going to be tough to beat out all of the great SG/PG, SG/SF, SF/SG, SF/PFs in their player pool. You figure that on a 12 man roster a conservative guideline would be three point guards, four wings, and five bigmen. (Right? Am I wrong here?) I don't see Team USA using that breakdown, and figure they will roll with three full-time bigs, and sneak in a few tweeners like Draymond to fill in the cracks. This would still mean that Team USA is going to use, at MOST, six wings.

I see LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Paul George being almost virtual locks. I believe there's a chance Klay Thompson does not make the team, but he has the inside shot at it. His spot would be in some contention from Jimmy Butler, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala, and our Gordon Hayward. It will be hard for Gordon to make the team. But I am sure he will give it his best shot!

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Speaking of best shots, can we talk about Trey Burke? Like, can we really talk about Trey Burke? As a rookie Trey only shot 341/897 from the field, a pretty low 38.0 FG%. Last season things got worse, with him shooting 370/1005 from the field, and even lower 36.8 FG%. This season he has reversed that trend, and really skyrocketed to shooting 205/471 so far this season, that's 43.5 FG%. That's not John Stockton level, but it's not as bad as it has been. FURTHERMORE, over the last 20 games he's shooting 112/225 for 43.9 FG%; and over the last five games he's shooting 34/74 for 45.9 FG%.

Ugly Americans - Doug Koala Man

If Trey can shoot 45% for the season that would be huge on the individual level, but also pretty awesome because in the last decade only 34 different players have actually done that -- and only two of them have been point guards: Deron Williams (5 times) and Sundiata Gaines (1x).

He may never be the same dominant guy he was in the NCAAs, but as a scorer off the bench, he really can get hot.

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We're in the 10-Day contract land and are creeping up on the Trade Deadline. While lots of our best players are still out, and we are eyeing next season more and more it's good to take inventory of what this team has and what it does not have. All fans want to upgrade their team somehow, but not all franchises do.

Let's brainstorm what are some of the big needs. I think one of them would be a perimeter defender -- but that should be Dante Exum. Another thing we want is a legit outside shooter who is reliable, but we think that is going to be Rodney Hood. Most everyone, myself included, want a versatile 3rd big to be someone with a stretch big ability. That really sounds like what Trey Lyes is turning out to be.

Hhhmph. It seems almost as if Dennis Lindsey and company know what this team needs and is already trying to get those guys. The team could also use better free throw shooting from the bigs, and they got Tibor Pleiss. And wanted more point guard depth, and brought in Raul Neto.

Perhaps the only thing this team really needs is a) health, and b) time -- and all the upgrades will take care of themselves?

Then again, we're not really a group of fans that want to be patient right now. Since moving to Utah the Jazz have never missed the playoffs for four seasons in a row. If they do not get it done this year that would be the new reality. It looks unlikely right now with the motley crew the Jazz have to use right now.

Afghan Jumping Jacks

However, let's instead focus on how awesome our team is going to be when fully healthy.

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Remember the good old days when the Utah Jazz were nationally ignored and casual fans hated our team? Today we have national writers and TV people who actually watch the team regularly and even modern media tastemakers are respecting our players. It's been a long time coming. I remember the first NBA basketball game I played had John Stockton . . . running around with blonde hair. Today the #1 NBA game, NBA 2K16, has season long updates for each team and player that are very dedicated to showcasing the best performances regardless of which teams they come from.

Our man Rudy Gobert got a really nice "moments" upgrade card from his stellar 18/18/5 outing against the Lakers.

DB 1823 - NBA2K16 Rudy Gobert Moments

Offensively it's a much more devastating version of the Gobert that was part of the game on the day of release. There are no changes to his outside shooting ability, playmaking, or athleticism. But if you get him the ball close to the basket watch out. He has upgraded values for his standing dunk, driving dunk, and contact dunk. His layups, shot IQ, and post control are also boosted. But what really makes him a game changer is his rebounding ability and defending. It's just like real life. I love it!

Also, be sure to check out the highlights of the game here.