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Downbeat #2026: BOLOMBEAST!

Who’d you rather, the good old days, and catching up to the other kids by going slower!

NBA: Utah Jazz-Media Day Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Wow, two Downbeats in a row? It’s almost as if we remember why Utah Jazz fans even liked this site in the first place . . . aside from Kyrylo Fesenko and his Fridays.

Okay. This is where the bleeding stops, right? The Jazz got wrecked by the Golden State Warriors by 30 in their gym. Then the Jazz lost to the Sacramento Kings by one point in the Aunt Viv. That’s two losses in a row. Tonight, though, things have to change. Right? RIGHT? Utah will be hosting the Toronto Raptors (20-8, #2 in the East, and a team with a 9-3 road record). Toronto has one of the best offenses in the league this year (#1 in ORTG, #3 in PPG). Utah has one of the best defenses (#4 DRTG, #1 in PPG).

It should be a good game for the Jazz. You know, if it wasn’t for . . .

. . . Injuries. Injuries have been a drag for a while now. I think it hurts us older fans the most because injuries to starters is a very new thing for us. We GREW UP on no one being injured, save for Rickey Green for a bit after he went to the bench, and Chris Morris, and maybe the first bits of Raul Lopez’ career (so he didn’t get to train much with John Stockton). For younger Jazz fans — seeing injured teams is ‘normal’ and as a result the sting and confusion we older fans are seeing isn’t quite there.

Utah is once again looking to be without some important players for tonight’s game. George Hill will not be there to check Kyle Lowry. And DeMar DeRozen is going to love not having to play defense tonight as Alec Burks is out and Rodney Hood is questionable.

But for me the big long-term loss is not having Dante Exum out there. I’m not debating the legitimacy of these injuries or questioning if our players are hurt or not; no, but what I am doing is lamenting the time this Baby Kangaroo is missing.

Out of all of the NBA Rookies in the 2014-2015 season Dante’s total minutes ranks 20th out of 82. That’s not bad. But a big part of that was playing in all 82 games as a rookie. (Remember how all the coaches were talking about how that was important? Now somehow it’s no longer important to play in every possible basketball game. How quickly things change . . . ) Dante being 20th out of 82 isn’t great. But here are the guys from his rookie class grouped by minutes played threshold (regular season minutes only):

  • 6,000+: Andrew Wiggins
  • 5,000-5,999: Elfrid Payton, Zach LaVine
  • 4,000-4,999: Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rodney Hood, Nerlens Noel, Marcus Smart, Langston Galloway, Jabari Parker, Jerami Grant
  • 3,000-3,999: Nikola Mirotic, Nik Stauskas, Joe Ingles, Aaron Gordon, Gary Harris, Julius Randle
  • 2,000-2,999: Doug McDermott, JaMychal Green, Dante Exum, Tyler Johnson, JaKarr Sampson, Clint Capela, Jusuf Nurkic, T.J. Warren, Tarik Black, P.J. Hairston
  • 1,999-: Everyone else

Exum, who missed a year to injury, isn’t going to catch up to the heads of the class by going slower than everyone ahead of him.

But this just devolves back into a “win now / win now but by playing Exum” debate. I think this team is capable of winning while seeing Dante on the court quite a bit. They did it and went on a great defensive run a few seasons ago with him starting. But hey . . . I’m on vacation so I shouldn’t care this much.

Anyway, posting this video clip just because of the Karl Malone commentary about injuries.

Can you imagine someone with Dante’s physical abilities but playing with Stockton’s tenacity and drive? Ridiculous. That guy would be a monster.

Joel Bolomboy is doing what every rotation player the Jazz ever sent down to the D-League has done before — absolutely dominate and prove that he does not deserve to be playing in any league that isn’t the NBA. He is, in a word, Bolom-beasting.

His effort is unending. And his ability to help a team is undeniable (unless you are Quin Snyder). For me he very well could be the future prototype PF for the Utah Jazz. Hustle and three pointers.

Thankfully, the Jazz are calling him back up — a necessary move even if Derrick Favors is healthy enough to play in games again.

I hope to see you on the court soon, Joel. And not in garbage time either!

Which of the following, if any, bigmen would you rather have on the team instead of Rudy Gobert (24 years old)?

  • Hassan Whiteside (27)
  • Andre Drummond (23)
  • Dwight Howard (31)
  • DeAndre Jordan (28)
  • Karl-Anthony Towns (21)
  • Anthony Davis (23)
  • DeMarcus Cousins (26)
  • Jonas Valanciunas (24)
  • Joe Embiid (22)
  • Kristaps Porzingis (21)
  • JaVale McGee (29)
2008 NBA Rookie Portraits Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Okay. Maybe not JaVale. But I don’t think there’s a better fit for the Jazz than who they currently have right now in Gobert. You could make a case for 2-3 of those guys, but a lot of other factors would have to come into play before we could say that adding Player X or Y would result in a better 2016-17 Utah Jazz team.