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Downbeat #2019 - George Hill is leading on and off the court with the Utah Jazz and CenturyLink

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Feel good stories and dunks are in your future!

NBA: Utah Jazz at New York Knicks Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz are rolling. The Salt Lake City Stars just started. We look at both teams and the small sample sizes we fans need to fret over. Also, Gordon Hayward has taken his game to the next level, Vince Carter used to be awesome — and George Hill is the man. Be sure to donate!

Help Hill give back, win Prizes!

George Hill is the man. He’s someone every NBA Franchise needs — a quiet leader on the court, and a community organizer with a big heart off of it. CenturyLink is partnering with the Utah Jazz and George Hill to launch CenturyLink Hearts & Hoops, a citywide initiative to collect food and toys for those in need during the holiday season.

You can donate at these locations:

  1. The Gateway (18 N. Rio Grande St., Salt Lake City) — November 11th to 12th (which is only accessible by time machien now
  2. Vivint Smart Home Arena (301 S. Temple, Salt Lake City ) — November 14th (which is TODAY)
  3. City Creek Center (50 Main St., Salt Lake City) — November 17th
  4. The Gallivan Center (50 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City) — November 18th and 19th, and 25th to 26th.

This is a great cause! To help encourage participation and reward those who are dedicated to making a difference in the community, CenturyLink will select one sweepstakes entrant at the end of each month as part of the CenturyLink Hearts & Hoops Sweepstakes. Each winner will receive a VIP Jazz experience that includes two lower level tickets, one parking pass, Champions Club passes and two Jazz jerseys. Official rules and information are available at utahjazz.com/heartsandhoops.

Later on in December Hill, and CentruyLink will be working on donating Toys for Tots as well. Personally, you need to keep this guy in a Jazz uniform for a very long time. Because it’s not just what happens on the court that matters (and on the court he was named Western Conference Player of the Week before getting injured), it’s the whole Jazz community that matters. And Hill has shown that he’s a star off the court as well.

Winning on the road shouldn’t be taken for granted

Ed’s back at it again, this time looking at the last five games worth of data for all 30 teams, and seeing which teams have been making the most of it. The Utah Jazz are hot off the heels of their 4-1 road trip (wins @ New York Knicks, @ Philadelphia 76ers, @ Orlando Magic, @ Miami Heat; loss @ Charlotte Hornets). So what do they look like?

The big image is as follows:

Ed Kupfer

And if you just zoom in on the Utah Jazz this is what you get:

Ed Kupfer

Over the last five games the Jazz have led for about 29 of 48 minutes per game on average, which is the 5th best mark in the NBA. The come from behind loss to the Hornets sucks, because it was almost a prefect week. The Knicks put up the biggest challenge by the data. The Sixers the least. I want to get hyped for this 4-1 road trip. Previous Jazz teams would have dropped one or two of those games, especially because previous Jazz teams wouldn’t have the depth to handle all the injuries.

But on the other hand, these five teams are pretty bad. Take a look at the NYK, PHI, CHA, ORL, and MIA bar graphs for evidence. Orlando took it to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Charlotte Hornets destroted the Indiana Pacers. But aside from that, there really isn’t much to report and be proud of.

I guess beyond the four wins on the road. I’ll take it.

Remembering Half-Man / Half-Amazing

Tonight Utah Jazz take on the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis is aiming for a deep playoff run for their veteran lineup that features Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Chandler Parsons, and Vince Carter. They have some young guys too, like Wade Baldwin IV and Deyonta Davis. But really, it’s about their vets. Their window isn’t going to get propped up any larger than it is now, and the Grizz need to make a strong showing to justify the big contracts they have given out lately.

It’s strange for me to see Vince Carter’s evolution as a player. He’s in that Joe Johnson mold now, a bench vet who can space the floor, get to the line, make good passes, and occasionally catch fire. Carter has made it part of his career to jam over guys, including his old ACC rival Matt Harpring.

Anyway, enjoy these Vince Carter jams. He was ridiculous.

Hopefully we do not see any of these tonight in the Aunt Viv.

The Stars are back, but let them shine!

The Salt Lake City Stars are a thing! The Utah Jazz’ Developmental League affiliate lost in their season opener to the Sioux Falls Skyforce (Miami Heat) 117-100. Former Utah Jazz summer league player (Orlando a few years back) and training camp invite Henry Sims dropped 30 points but it was still a blowout loss.

Beyond Sims’ 30 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist, 1 block effort we also got to see J.J. O’Brien (2o points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals), Eric Dawson (6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists), and D-League Draft pick Jaylen Bland (12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 4/9 from three) get down to work. There were DNP-CD’s for Quincy Ford and Marcus Paige — because head coach Dean Cooper always makes good decisions. (Like playing SG/PG Toure’ Murry at PF back with the Idaho Stampede)

I don’t know what’s the point of giving rookies who were in NBA training camp DNP-CD’s while ALSO losing by 17 points. But hey, Dennis Lindsey likes these guys. But he’s not also the coach though, so he doesn’t make these decisions. Speaking of liking guys, the Utah Jazz also re-collected the rights to their 2016 NBA Draft pick Tyrone Wallace.

Joel Bolomboy, Marcus Paige, and Tyrone Wallace were all drafted by Lindsey and the Jazz brain trust. I don’t know how NBA Draft picks are getting DNP-CD’s while NBA D-League draft picks are starting. The Stampede were a joke because of stuff like that. I don’t want the Stars to be a joke as well.

Their home opener is this Friday. I can hope for all the best for these young guys.

Demonstrative, on-court leadership

Man, Gordon Hayward sure doesn’t look like that skinny kid who used to pass up shots anymore.