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New York Knicks hire Jeff Hornacek to be head coach, Utah Jazz fans have mixed feelings -- The Downbeat #1915

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A mixed bag of stories today, but a birthday party and another group of pre-draft workouts!

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The New York Knicks hired a head coach, and it's someone we love. Someone else we love just turned 24. The Utah Jazz have a lot of options going into the NBA Draft, and we talk about it. But before we get there, the team still has to work out about another 80 players. Six more are in Utah today! All this an some #TBT Jazz swag!

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First of all, with the one spot today we have to say Happy Birthday / Feliz aniversário to our point guard Raulzinho Togni Neto. Raul Neto was a fantastic addition to the team, and even as a rookie came out and took it to the other team -- even outplaying former "MVP" players like Derrick Rose.

I can't wait to see what he does in his next year. Also, in related news, man, to be 24 years old again . . . ? That would be great.

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I guess the two-guard spot here has to go to the big news that Jeff Hornacek is now going onto his second head coaching job in the NBA. He was snatched up by the New York Knicks, and will be working under Phil Jackson. That just gives me an outbreak of hives, to think about it. I do like that Jeff continues to be infinitely more employable than Tyrone Corbin, but the Knicks are not the stable organization you'd hope for -- especially not after just coming from the unstable organization known as the Phoenix Suns.

Of course, because it's a huge media market that doesn't care -- just as long as you win -- the people went crazy with it.

Now, to their credit, the Knicks did win 32 games last year, and have some good players in Carmelo Anthony, Arron Afflalo, Robin Lopez, Kristaps Porzingis, Jose Calderon, Derrick Williams (ordered by most minutes last season), and uh, no 1st round draft pick this year. Afflalo and Williams have the opportunity to opt out, but overall NY is making some smart moves right now.

I am saddened that Jeff is not joining the Jazz. Utah really could use someone like him as an assistant coach. Being a part of a stable franchise is a plus, being a part of a team that needs to learn how to make free throws also displays a need. But NY will treat him well, during the honeymoon phase.

This phase also includes having nice things said about you and Jerry Sloan right now . . . but P-Jax is known to talk to the media to air out dirty laundry and write books about it. So watch your back, Horny.

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The Utah Jazz are working out six more players today, Sebastian Telfair / Stephon Marbury family member Ethan Telfair (PG, Idaho State) and Jarrod Uthoff (F, Iowa) are really the only notables. There are two point guards and four wing players.

Only two of the six appear on my big board (which is 193 players deep right now):

  • David Walker (6'6, 196, combo guard, Northeastern, Senior) -- 110.50th average draft rank (+/- 23.33)
  • Jarrod Uthoff (6'9, 210, combo forward, Iowa, Senior) -- 49.56th average draft rank (+/- 14.27)

This, like the previously worked out Jaron Blossomgame, will be a work out to feel out the bottom of the draft and also see how these players work against guys who will go undrafted. The Jazz have three second round picks this year (#42, #52, and #60). In previous years Utah would just go ahead and hope the guys they like do undrafted and then invite them to play in the summer. This year they have the picks to actually get "players." (I know, I'm scared too.) Are any of these guys players?

Well, one of them seems to be just playing himself as Telfair has negotiated some sort of deal where he will work out but not be available to the media afterwords. Cool. Glad to know that you think you are special.

As for Uthoff, specifically, he is an athlete. This means he can get rebounds, contest shots, and even send a few back. But most everyone really gush about his shooting ability. He has made 42.5%, 37.2%, and 38.2% of his threes over the last three seasons and is ranked as the 10th best Senior in the draft by Draft Express. Hitting over 40% of your threes when you are taking only 1.2 threes a game (as he did two years ago) isn't that big of a deal. Hitting almost 40% of your threes when you are taking 5.2 a game (as he did as a Senior) is something entirely to talk about.

He adds depth at both forward spots if selected (and if he makes the team). For what it is worth, he is represented by Ben Pensack (of Pensack Sports), who also represent Jack Cooley, Colton Iverson, Kim English, and a number of other guys who either got Utah Jazz pre-draft work outs, Free Agent Minicamp invites, or both.

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I love the NBA Draft time of the year. Moreso in recent years as we've been in the lotto for years and years, so now I have the hang of this thing. But it's fun to talk about it. Right after the NBA Draft Lottery I was asked to join Danny Thompson on the NBA Full Court Press show. We talked about, duh, the NBA Draft and what the Utah Jazz are going to do with their #12 pick.

Listen here!

Also, I was on the radio last afternoon on ESPN St. George (I'm afraid I don't know the name of the station) to talk about the same stuff, and free agency. It was a lot of fun. If someone can dig that one up I'd love to hear it.

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I wanted to share this tweet from Mikey, who was among the most popular three people on our podcast. This is what being a fan is about . . . whenever I go to my parents house I find stuff like this in my room too.

What are some of your most cherished Jazz memorabilia?