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Utah Jazz addition of Shelvin Mack helps give franchise best point guard depth - The Downbeat #1848

The Point Guard Spot in Utah is special, but finally, it's also deep

"Oh great, NOW they have a ton of quality back-ups?"
"Oh great, NOW they have a ton of quality back-ups?"
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

What are we talking about today, Utah Jazz fans? First, obviously, was the NBA Trade Deadline that brought Paul Millsap Jeff Teague Kyle Korver Shelvin Mack to the Jazz from the Atlanta Hawks. This is a good thing and we talk a little about that. But we also talk at length about the point guard situation in Utah, and the legacies our new players have to deal with. There's also a great big on Three and D players, and how monumental yesterday was for Utah Jazz history. Check it all out!


The big news of the day is that the Utah Jazz have added point guard Shelvin Mack at the NBA's Trade Deadline. This is the 9th such deadline deal the team has made in it's history (and 8th that actually went through, thank you Rony Seikaly). Speaking of the guy who, on paper, should have put the Utah Jazz over the Chicago Bulls and brought a title to the Great Salt Lake . . .

Anyway, back to TODAY. Realistically, Mack is a lot of things: a steady but unspectacular, journeyman, point guard. He plays defense, he sets guys up. He can occasionally be a game changer off the bench. But he's also a guy who has had a drastically reduced role on a playoff team who is shooting 14% from downtown this year. Being re-united with the coach who used him best (then assistant coach of the Atlanta Hawks, Quin Snyder -- also our head coach), and with the guy he had the best on-court chemistry with (NCAA teammate at Butler, Gordon Hayward -- also our team leader) should be a good change for him.

We are all rooting for him, but for the sake of locker room chemistry, we're probably rooting for him to be a long term solution at 3rd string. I can't help but think that Snyder, who has every right to be beaming about this addition right now, will make him our guard version of Trevor Booker -- someone who gets regular minutes outside the influence of actual on court performance or production. Most playoff teams don't structure their roster rotation based upon the back-up power forward and the third string point guard. It would be prudent for this team to not do that either.

Ultimately, I think Mack really helps this team exorcise its' love affair with bargain bin players. During the extended periods of injuries this year we saw that there was a lack of quality depth. Mack doesn't bring in a shooter, or talented bench scorer, but he does at least give the Jazz another point guard who is NBA caliber. It wasn't a move that puts this team over the top, but it's a move that should help them move forward.



The big reason why the Jazz aren't shooting for the moon right now is that, like it or not, this team's fortunes are tied for a young man who isn't even playing right now. And it's nice to figure out the point guard situation behind him, but the Utah Jazz are in a holding pattern until they get Dante Exum back.

The good news is that he will, one day, be back. And he's going to be doing great things on the court for us.



Having all those long guys out there on the court who can handle the ball and make plays? That's what the Jazz want, and Mack does that with his size. But what about the other side of the ball? Utah wants "Three and D" players. Do they have any?

According to Nylon Calculus the answer is . . . no.

Downbeat 1848 - Three and D

Emphasis added by me (that purple square)

That purple square represents both a) good d, and b) good threes. As you can see, no Jazz players are there. Chris Johnson is the only guy out of these players playing good d, but his threes are sub .300 right now. (Now you see why I wanted to trade for Korver?) On the flip side, there are a number of guys shooting well from three (Trey Lyles, Raul Neto, Alec Burks, Joe Ingles, and Rodney Hood), but their defense isn't where it needs to be. The two closest players to the absolute origin (okay D and okay threes) are Joe Ingles and Gordon Hayward. One player is sadly in the worst quadrant, Trey Burke, where his almost average shooting is trumped by his poor DBPM -- worst out of the presented players.

Does Shelvin Mack help? If you sort by the Hawks he doesn't even show up, that's how little he has played this year.

I advise you all to visit that link, read what Ian Levy has to say, and play around with that tool.



Last night was the NBA Trade Deadline, but it wasn't the only cool think happening out there. It was a historically important night for John Stockton.

It was also Andrei Kirilenko's 35th birthday, which we covered here:

But more important than that, was the amazing, outstanding, and long-overdue recognition of one of our Utah Jazz greats: Kendrick Perkins. He received a lifetime achievement award from the NBA.

Well, maybe not the NBA, but from Shaqtin A Fool.

Watch it here until someone takes that video down, when that happens, just click on the link in the tweet. When the NBA uploads their stuff to Youtube regularly, or allows for us to embed videos . . . people are still going to look for alternatives.



This era of Jazz point-guard-dom is a far cry from Rickey Green and John Stockton. And it's also a far cry from John Stockton and Howard Eisley. But it's miles ahead of Deron Williams and noone, or Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson + an injured starter. Having Dante Exum, Raul Neto, Trey Burke, and Shelvin Mack -- for however long or short it lasts -- is a big step up from what this team has had outside of that Hall of Famer.

That said, I will always have a spot in my heart for those guys. And particularly, the point guards during forgotten eras, like Carlos Arroyo and Raul Lopez.

They are still both playing competitive ball overseas. I think this is a really cool pick of the former teammates. The Jazz know how to scout, draft, acquire, and develop point guards. I am confident in that.