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Los Angeles Lakers problems are more than just D'Angelo Russell Related. But let's all laugh at them. The Downbeat #1882

A little late, but hey, it's still good!

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The standings favor the Utah Jazz, even is dumb teams from Texas find a way to win games they shouldn't. We also look at the point guard and power forward state of things with the Utah Jazz and hypothesize on what's to come from our roster. Come fall in love with the Favors Twins all over again, and let's all laugh at the Lakers. Stupid Lakers. Stupid Rockets.


The Houston Rockets beat the Cleveland Cavaliers last night. It's upsetting. I know. They also somehow beat the Toronto Raptors as well. But you know what, you can't kill yourself about this. The Dallas Mavericks somehow beat the Portland Trail Blazers. And hey, the Memphis Grizzlies somehow beat the Los Angeles Clippers over the last two weeks. There are games teams should win that they don't, and vice versa. That's why you have to play the games. And while this is something that may be a little upsetting now -- I have no doubt that our guys are going to make the playoffs this year. After all the Utah Jazz schedule includes playing the Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles still. Those should all be wins, even the last one. Utah also has that game against the Mavs, which is going to be the second night of a back-to-back for them (facing the Clippers the night before), and that #DALatUTA is ALSO the third game in four nights for Dallas. That should be a win. Yes, the Jazz do still play the Warriors, Spurs, and Clippers once still -- but all are home games, and all are isolated games (not hindered by fatigue at all).

If Utah takes care of business (win the five easy ones, and maybe one of the "hard" ones) then they control their NBA Playoff Destiny. And it's not going to matter if the team gets help by the having MEM / POR / HOU / DAL lose games.

Do not despair! Houston sucks. Even if they needed coach LeBron James to get a win.

In fact if you see Houston's schedule you can realize that all Utah has to do is hold serve. They both play MIN, PHX, and LAL once. And they both play DAL once. The differences is that Utah plays DEN, while Houston plays Sac. And more importantly, Utah plays GSW, SAS, and LAC -- two of those games look to be "rest games" for the opposition who has their playoff spot all locked up; while Houston plays OKC and CHI -- two teams trying to win games still.

It is unfortunate that Houston won last night, but commendable that they did it after being 20 down on the road. But I'm not afraid of them. And what's the worst they can do, overtake the Jazz and play the Spurs in the first round? I don't think we want to play the Spurs, so that again is in our favor.

Stupid rockets.



The Hangtime Blog had a round-table on who is the back back-up point guard in the NBA. (Participants: David Aldridge, Steve Aschburner, Fran Blinebury, Scott Howard-Cooper, Shaun Powell, Sekou Smith, Ian Thomsen, Lang Whitaker) You can read all about their frame of mind here, but I saved you the trouble by just putting all the names (including fake suggestions) in a table here -- including their stats.

They did vote for Dennis, a player many Jazz fans were enamored with. He's having a good enough season the Atlanta Hawks felt like getting rid of their 3rd stringer, a guy who ended up starting for us, Shelvin. For fun I added the stats from our point guards this year. And well, the question is . . . how do you rank these 13 guards?

1 Dennis Schroder ATL 5 73 20.5 11.3 2.6 4.5 2.2 2.0 0.9 0.1 19.4
2 Shaun Livingston GSW 3 70 19.3 6.1 2.1 2.9 0.9 3.2 0.7 0.3 12.1
3 Darren Collison SAC 2 69 29.6 13.6 2.2 4.1 1.7 2.4 1.1 0.0 21.0
4 Michael Carter-Williams MIL 1 54 30.5 11.5 5.1 5.2 2.8 1.9 1.5 0.8 24.1
5 Jeremy Lin CHA 1 70 25.9 11.7 3.1 2.9 1.9 1.5 0.7 0.6 19.0
6 Cory Joseph TOR 1 72 25.8 8.5 2.7 3.1 1.3 2.4 0.8 0.3 15.4
7 Brandon Jennings ORL 1 21 18.2 7.6 2.1 4.0 1.4 2.9 0.7 0.2 14.6
8 Patty Mills SAS 1 73 20.5 8.8 2.1 2.8 0.9 3.1 0.7 0.1 14.5
9 Ty Lawson IND 1 6 13.5 4.8 1.7 2.7 0.7 3.9 1.0 0.0 10.2
10 Andre Miller SAS 1 11 11.4 3.6 1.5 1.7 0.7 2.4 0.4 0.0 7.2
Shelvin Mack UTA 0 20 30.1 12.4 3.7 5.6 3.2 1.8 1.1 0.1 22.9
Raul Neto UTA 0 73 19.1 6.2 1.5 2.2 1.4 1.6 0.8 0.0 10.7
Trey Burke UTA 0 64 21.3 10.6 1.8 2.3 1.3 1.8 0.5 0.1 15.3

Are our guys doing better than any of these guys? Shelvin, Raul, and Trey are all back-ups the second Dante Exum returns. I'd say that Starting minutes Shelvin is producing, but c'mon with that assist to turn over ratio, man. One observation I have is that EACH of those point guards brings something to the table. Dennis is a pest on defense. Shaun is a mismatch guard who can post up. Collison can drop 30 in a hurry. You can go down the list and find a defining characteristic for each of them -- Lawson is super fast, Miller has the most experience and best BBALL IQ, Jennings is a big game performer who is deadly from outside, etc.

What are the characteristics for our guards?



Derrick Favors' babies are back in Georgia visiting family. And they are so cute!



Let's talk about Power Forwards. Right now the Jazz have a pretty nice group with Derrick Favors, Trevor Booker, Trey Lyles, and when they go small, Quin Snyder can slide in Gordon Hayward or Joe Ingles. This is the spot I am LEAST worried about going forward. And I don't think the Jazz need to really add anyone, so of course, if this was a Kevin O'Connor led team they would draft a power forward with their pick (currently a #16 pick, you know, where they got John Stockton years ago). (For those who want to know, the latest Mock Draft by Draft Express has Utah taking Wade Baldwin, a PG, at this spot.)

Because Snyder plays Favors as the back-up center (taking a page out of Cotton Fitzsimmons' book and how he started Jeff Hornacek at shooting guard and he was the back-up point guard at the same time) this allows for more actual power forward minutes. If Favors got 100% of his minutes at PF then there wouldn't be enough room behind him. So there's light for a bench guy backing him up. But in the Lakers game we saw something odd. I maybe had not have noticed it before in other games, but not only was Derrick the back-up center, but Trey Lyles ended up playing some 3rd string center as well. (Pushing Jeff Withey down to 4th string)

In a world where teams go small, are we going to end up seeing Lyles play both PF and C, instead of PF and SF? Well, the guy who started this season off as a teen has a whole lot of work to do on his body still, but in Draymond Green can be a SF/PF/C, why not our guy?

The average height for a Jazz bigman (since combine records have been released) is 82.22" tall in shoes. Lyles was measured at 82.25" tall. Er, I mean 6'10.22" for Lyles. (Data set includes: Aleksander Radojevic, Rudy Gobert, Luther Wright, Greg Ostertag, Curtis Borchardt, Marcus Cousin, Keon Clark, Peter Fehse, Enes Kanter, Jack Cooley, Jarron Collins, Derrick Favors, Al Jefferson, Kris Humphries, John Amaechi, Robert Whaley, Steve Novak, Brock Motum, Carlos Boozer, DeMarre Carroll (3/4), Marvin Williams, Trevor Booker, and Paul Millsap.) On height alone Lyles is only shorter than Keon and the six guys ahead of him. He's also above average in Wingspan and standing reach. His hands wider than everyone's except Enes, and longer than everyone not named Enes or Rudy.

By the measurements he is better than all of those other guys (on average), and most of those guys spent some time at center for the Jazz over the last few years. So I guess he could too. A three point shooting center who can put it on the floor, block shots, AND DANCE? This is a really cool development.

I'd love to seem him get some back up SF minutes too (seeing how he played there in college on the way to the Final Four). But if he gets PF / C minutes I'm not going to complain. Just get him minutes.

As for his body, he was measured as having 12.1% body fat -- which was the highest of all the guys who were measured. The next chubby guys were Millsap (9.7%), Novak (8.1%), and Cooley (7.0%). So there's a lot of baby fat to get rid of. So I guess fewer Maple Syrup sandwiches this off-season, eh?

He does have that attitude that we all appreciate though.

So I know, how does his rookie season compare to that of Mehmet Okur 's? It looks like money. (Data via Memo played more minutes (somehow, under Larry Brown . . . but he was three years older), and did more all over the boxscore, but if you naturalize it by minutes or possessions you see Lyles' value. Furthermore, Lyles is a better shooter off the bat -- .439 / .392 / .687 is better than .426 / .339 / .733. He's also, as pointed out, more mobile and versatile on defense being able to guard small forwards.

I wouldn't be upset to see Trey come in as the first big off the bench next year and take up minutes at PF and C both. His versatility and potential is making me have trouble projecting what kind of player he's going to end up being. But I know for certain that I want him to be a Jazzman for life.



So.... this isn't Utah Jazz related, but what's wrong with the Los Angeles Lakers? Or, more precisely, what's right with them? They almost got 50-pieced by the Jazz two nights ago, and everyone had their say. ESPN's talking heads called it an abomination and suggested that his teammates quit on Kobe Bryant. Legendary icon Magic Johnson went on twitter to lambast the once proud franchise, suggesting that it is their worst season ever. And well, today we're getting hints of just how fractured their locker room is with rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell apparently filming teammate Nick Young doing things that look to be ending his current relationship with finance Iggy Azalea.

Oh, and now the players have decided to isolate their point guard of the future. Nice.

This is a grand display of big market team problems. All of their failures (and successes) are blown up for all to see. The other thing is that this is a good comparison to our team, where nothing makes the national media cycle unless it's huge, like Jerry Sloan resigning during the middle of a season. Furthermore, I think our team builds their rosters based on more factors than just star potential or big game ability. We don't have "Swag" (unless it's Alec Burks, and occasionally, Rudy Gobert). But we also don't have players being isolated. This good chemistry isn't an new occurrence either.

Andrei Kirilenko mentioned in ROOT Sports about how those high performance Jazz teams in the 2000s were constructed, and how the players all really got along well. (We only need to Google his infamous parties to see the truth of that statement.) Sure, our team has never had to overt physical talent of a Kobe Bryant or a Shaquille O'Neal. But thankfully we've also never had the two best players hate one another either.

I think we are under-estimating how bad the Lakers may be NEXT season as well. Byron Scott is likely to be back. D'Angelo will have to do a lot to get the trust of his teammates back. And seriously, things could be bat there for a while no matter what types of rosters they cobble together with their star power, big market, and historical franchise.

This is not entirely an excuse to post this video.

But at the end of the day, will the Utah Jazz make the NBA Finals before the Los Angeles Lakers do again? Or will LA be bad, but overtake the slow and stead Jazz once again?