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The Downbeat #2009 - #TakeNote

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Get ready for a great season!

NBA: Preseason-Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Season is here, finally. And so too are the Utah Jazz. (We hope.)

Okay, the NBA Season starts TOMORROW. Our Utah Jazz team gets to finally step on the floor in games that matter. It’s a big year for this squad — presumably now in bloom — that is supposed to make the NBA Playoffs this year. The last time the team was NOT in the lotto was back when the head coach Tyrone Corbin was starting Josh Howard in the playoffs (2011-2012). Yikes.

As a fanbase we’ve been through the hell part. We’re now on the way back.

It’s clear that this is the deepest team in franchise history. Today we’ve seen the official hashtag revealed (#TakeNote) for the season, and in their first tweet it’s all about the talent that Dennis Lindsey has accumulated for this moment.

Even without the three guys on the end, (L to R) Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, and Alec Burks, this is a really good Top 7. The squad not shown are Raul Neto (PG), Shelvin Mack (PG/SG), Joe Ingles (SF/SG), Joel Bolomboy (PF/C), and Jeff Withey (C). I will argue that at least two of those guys could be rotation players for playoff teams, and they will be role players on this one.

The Utah Jazz are going to be a threat for 50 wins this year, and potentially a first round series victory. Casual fans need to #TakeNote .

The Utah Jazz finalized their 15 man rotation with their last cut: Chris Johnson. Tavan had you covered on the topic here. I think like many of us we weren’t expecting big things from Christapher, but is commitment to hustle, grinding it out, dive on the floor basketball really stood out. Last season, and during this preseason, he displayed a nose for the ball and really helped the team out in clutch situations with everything from offensive rebounds to deflections. The best way to put it would be that he would have made this team had Jerry Sloan been the head coach instead of Quin Snyder. I cannot think of any higher praise to give a player than that.

Other teams are also cutting good players, real NBA players, in order to fit their modern rosters. Yesterday we saw the Indiana Pacers say goodbye to Jeremy Evans.

We all love Evans, but I have to say that in his six professional years in the league he did not keep up with the league’s increasing demands for skills. If he was a guy in the 1970s or 80s he would not have been cut. But in this era (heck, he’s from the same 2010 NBA Draft class as others still in the league) he didn’t improve his ball handling or perimeter defense enough to play small forward, or his strength and post defense enough to gain more minutes at power forward. His three point shooting is now somehow below average for both forward classes. Crazy. He’s always been efficient and effective when on the court despite those limitations to his skills.

I wish him all the best, he is one of the good guys out there. I’ve never heard anyone say anything negative about him or his character.

He wasn’t the only Jazz-y cut this preseason. Phil Pressey (Idaho Stampede) got cut from the Golden State Warriors, Elliot Williams got cut from the Golden State Warriors, J.J. O’Brien was cut from the Milwaukee Bucks, Toure’ Murry was cut from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Quincy Ford (after getting cut from the Jazz) then got cut from the New Orleans Pelicans, Lou Amundson got cut from the New York Knicks, Kevin Murphy was cut from the Orlando Magic, Grant Jerrett was cut from the Portland Trail Blazers, and all of these guys are joined by the Jazz cuts of Eric Dawson, Ford, Johnson, Marcus Paige, and Henry Sims.

As a fan and a human being, I want as many people to succeed as possible. I wish more players could play for an NBA affiliated team in America and be closer to their family and emotional support systems. I’ve worked in other countries before, far away from everyone I loved. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone else. And yes, these guys don’t HAVE to play basketball for their jobs, they could work at Burger King or whatever. But that’s missing the point. Many of these guys have NBA level games and talent, if not NBA level consistency.

Let them play here, create more jobs in America! Make the D-League great again!

Back to the Jazz, their 15-Man Roster has a lot of physical specimens on it. This team wanted to go from being bad on defense to having the length to switch everything. I think they have it now. FiveThirtyEight’s Patrick Redford broke it all down for you fans of Anthropometrics:

The Jazz have some of the tallest point guards. I don’t know if that’s just Dante Exum skewing the data, or the fact that the team has FOUR players at that position. But overall, Utah is one of the taller teams out there. Former coach Frank Layden (CoY, EXoY) said that you can’t teach height. It’s true. But there’s more to roster construction than just that. There is, at least, also weight:

2016-2017 Height x Weight
2016-2017 Height x Weight
Patrick Redford, FiveThirtyEight

Of course, being big and strong is great. You also need basketball players though. If not, then well, Rafael Araujo would still be in the NBA. Check out the rest of Patrick Redford’s work on this subject over here! Seriously, it’s worth it. He goes to the detail of explaining things in the easily understandable terms of how many hippos something weighs.

Moving from hippos to hard basketball discussion, our favorite son Andy Larsen continues to have great times in his climb up as reporter.

I occasionally get crazy e-mails from people (I encourage all people to e-mail me as much as possible, I just don’t read / reply to them very quickly or at all). But Andy has bridged that gap, he’s now getting actual mails from actually crazy people. I wish I had trained him better for the horrible off-line world.

Pictured: It’s me, whenever people write mean comments or say bad things about Andy B. Larsen
Ren & Stimpy, Viacom, 1993

Now, Andy doesn’t need anyone to fight battles for him. It’s just an excuse to put up this amazing letter from an real Utah Jazz fan and/or this crazy image of Stimpy dressed up like a worried Babushka.

So, the team has gotten a lot of hype this off-season. The moves they made impressed the GMs. National Sports writers feel this team is ready to take the next step. And many more Utah Jazz fans are coming out of hiding.

The big question is -- how many wins for this team +/- playoff wins? What’s your number, fans?