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NBA Free Agency Rumors 2016: Utah Jazz and Solomon Hill a sign of things to come? The Downbeat #1944

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NBA Free Agency discussion and a potential target, a look at our young guys who were just drafted, Summer League, injuries, and a long rambling rant.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Summer League is here! Almost! Kinda! Buy tickets though! Also a potential Free Agency target for the Jazz, looking at our new rookies, a long rant about the good old days, Mark Eaton, and injuries. It's jam packed today. Enjoy!

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Summer League, yo. Like for reals -- it's right around the corner and we'll get to see our Utah Jazz go up against the San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 1st Rounders. Er, I mean the Philadelphia 76ers.

If you had somehow forgotten about it already, things kick off at the Aunt Viv on the 4th of July. Here's the full schedule including the Las Vegas Summer League games:

Day Date Summer League Opponent The Good Guys Time Arena
1 Monday July 7 4 2016 Salt Lake City, UT San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz 7:00 PM Vivint Smart Home Arena
2 Tuesday July 7 5 2016 Salt Lake City, UT Boston Celtics @ Utah Jazz 5:00 PM Vivint Smart Home Arena
3 Wednesday July 7 6 2016 Salt Lake City, UT
4 Thursday July 7 7 2016 Salt Lake City, UT Philadelphia 76ers @ Utah Jazz 7:00 PM Jon M. Huntsman Center
5 Friday July 7 8 2016 Las Vegas, NV
6 Saturday July 7 9 2016 Las Vegas, NV Washington Wizards vs Utah Jazz 4:30 PM Thomas & Mack Center
7 Sunday July 7 10 2016 Las Vegas, NV New Orleans Pelicans vs Utah Jazz 6:00 PM Cox Pavilion
8 Monday July 7 11 2016 Las Vegas, NV
9 Tuesday July 7 12 2016 Las Vegas, NV Portland Trail Blazers vs Utah Jazz 2:30 PM Thomas & Mack Center
10 Onwards July 7 13-18 2016 Las Vegas, NV Tournament Play details to be determined

The full roster is supposed to drop today (but I'm going to be on the road during that time so I'm not going to be able to get an immediate post up on it), but from what we know, there are 13 guys on the team and we broke them down here (part one) and here (part two). I'm sure there will be a few more guys with NBA Experience added to the team right now, but as it stands there are a lot of guys who went undrafted and never played in the NBA looking to get more eyes on them by playing for the Jazz.

Our headliner will be Trey Lyles, and we expect him to get that "he only needs to play in one or two games" treatment. He should be head and shoulders above the players on the team and on the other teams by this point. The other teams may actually have flashier lotto picks suiting up (Ben Simmons, Jaylen Brown, Dejounte Murray), so you'll have the first chance of seeing them if you buy tickets! Seriously. You can get four tickets and four hot dogs for less than an XBox game. Do it!

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The Utah Jazz feel like injuries prevented them from making the 2016 NBA Playoffs. Many fans, including myself, feel that way too. Not making the playoffs unfairly labels this team as a lotto team; when they just need better luck. But the people who actually go crazy about this stuff reveal that -- perhaps -- the Jazz were far from the unluckiest team out there.

The article is worth it, here's an excerpt from Jeff Stotts:

As a whole, the league lost 4,496 regular season games to injuries, including games lost to bed bugs, severe testicular trauma, and other more common ailments. The 2015-16 total settles in lower than the two previous seasons and just below the league average (4,570 game lost) for the previous 11 seasons. Nine teams lost fewer than 100 games to injury, the highest number for an 82 game season in the InStreetClothes.com database that dates back to the 2005-06 season. Included in those nine were the league-best 23 total games lost to injury by the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 23 games lost marks the fewest number of games recorded since the league abolished the injured reserve list prior to the start of the 2005-06 season. It also signifies an impressive turnaround for a franchise that lost 224 games to injury in the previous season, including 55 games attributed to Kevin Durant and his foot injury alone.

- Jeff Stotts, In Street Clothes.com, 2016

The full article is worth reading, but as this is the internet, you may be too lazy to actually click over for the data. As a service to you lazy people out there I'm gong to reproduce Jeff's chart here:

DB 1944 - 2015 2016 NBA Injuries InStreetClothes com

Chart by Jeff Stotts, InStreetClothes.com

Now that you've see the awesome work he puts into his article, CLICK HERE TO READ HIS ANALYSIS.Casually, as a Jazz fan with an eye for the Jazz, you see that our team is right in the eye of the storm -- but in the middle for both salary lost and games lost to injury. Furthermore, if you were to plot a line you'd see that the Jazz would be right on it, meaning that our woes are nothing if not average. For example, the Memphis Grizzlies MADE the playoffs with the second most games lost to injury this last season -- and did it as something other than the #8 seed. They went Full House Mormont with their injuries and committed all 63 of their men to getting to the post season, even if a lotto pick would have been better for them in the long run.

I spent a few years going really hard at the Jazz for the perceived mistakes they were making, and I've toned it down a lot in the Quin Snyder era. I've made a lot of excuses for them over the last two seasons -- leaning heavily on injuries as the primary reason for their end of season returns to the NBA Draft Lottery. Perhaps it's now no longer possible to use injuries as an excuse. Similarly, age / inexperience shouldn't be one as our team is anchored by a bunch of guys in their 6th and 7th NBA Seasons. (Guess how many times Karl Malone was an All-Star by the time he was going into this 7th season!)

The Jazz are running out of excuses. The old Jazz under Frank Layden or Jerry Sloan wouldn't use them even if they were legit. Let's return to those tougher days.

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Solomon Hill as a potential "Three and D" guy? Maybe. Solomon Hill as a potential sleeper agent for the Jazzluminati? Yes. He was another 1st round, pick #23 -- just like Rodney Hood and Trevor Booker. Jazzluminati confirmed.

DB 1944 - Solomon Hill Illuminati

Credit: Jeff Hanisch - USA TODAY Sports | Edited by: AllThatAmar

Well, the Jazz and Hill apparently have mutual interest, and the Jazz are reportedly more high on him than they are with Luol Deng (whom Quin Snyder has coached before). Hill is a 25 year old guy who has played in three NBA Seasons (2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16) and has made a name for himself as a wing defender. He's somewhat prototypical for size at 6'7 and 225 (According to Draft Express: 6'5.50" in socks, with a 6'9 wingspan and a 37.5" max vertical back in 2013 ). He's not a great shooter, but he can at least hit threes. He has gone 99/305 for his career (1.8 threes attempted per game, .325 3PT%), and he made 11 of 19 from deep in the playoffs last year (this last, past, year that ended with the Cavs winning it all). Same size warning flags all over the place here, of course. But at least he can make threes, which is more than Elijah Millsap could do. Can he defend better than Chris Johnson?

If so then this is a clear upgrade on the wing. He's not going to threaten Gordon Hayward or Rodney Hood 's minutes. But in a pinch he's better than a guy struggling to stay in the league. He's an NBA player. I'm still not crazy about him. But after seeing all those red triangles in that picture I'd be crazy to say bad things about him and the Jazzluminati.

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We've heard so much about "Jazz DNA" over the years now that some of us, myself included, make jokes about it now. (Jazz DNA means letting other players give you a wet willie while just pouting while doing a double tea-pot stance.) Anyway, new Jazzman, and potential Paul Millsap / Jeremy Evans / Kevin Willis remix Joel Bolomboy seems to have Jazz DNA.

We can only speculate how the world would be different today if Len Bias had a same personality (Larry Bird probably would have at least one more championship ring, by the way). Trivia aside, this group looks good even if statistically we shouldn't get too attached to them.They whole group, Bolomboy, Marcus Paige and Tyrone Wallace, will all be gearing up for the Salt Lake Summer League and Las Vegas Summer League this year.

They were introduced to the media today, even if it wasn't as big a presser as it used to be back in the day. Read all about it from Jody Genessy here!

Here's an excerpt:

The newest members of the Utah Jazz organization — second-round draftees Joel Bolomboy, Marcus Paige and Tyrone Wallace — checked some things off of their to-do list on Wednesday.

Visit the building and community they hope to call home?

Check.

Do an introductory media tour?

Check.

Say the right things while being interviewed?

Check.

Almost a week after being selected by the Jazz late in the second round, Bolomboy, Paige and Wallace took time to do the aforementioned as well as meet Jazz community partners, take a quick jaunt around Vivint Arena to become familiar with where things like the locker room and Stockton and Malone statues are, and meet fans, some of whom received free tickets for upcoming summer league games.

The players will begin training camp for the Jazz's summer league and the ensuing event in Las Vegas beginning Friday. The full roster, which is expected to also include second-year players Trey Lyles and Tibor Pleiss, will be announced Thursday.

- Jody Genessy, Deseret News, 2016

While we shouldn't get attached to any of these guys, as making the team is an uphill climb for everyone, I just can't help it. I guess I have Jazz Fan DNA which makes me pron to loving guys with Jazz DNA. (If these symptoms persist for over four decades without a championship consult your primary care ticket holders hotline.)

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So this is some great Jazz History . . . Mark Eaton shared with the world how he found out about being drafted back in 1982 . . . via a telegram.

Wild stuff. Also, there's so much greatness squished into those few words, like Frank Layden's phone number. Frank Layden was NBA Exec of the Year and NBA Coach of the year in the same year. And Mark Eaton was an All-Star, All-NBA Defensive team monster who was the Defensive Player of the Year twice in his career.

It was just so easy to fall for the Jazz back in those days with the great personalities, great players, people who were recognized for their talents and the overall vibe of the franchise back then. They were the small market team that was built up the right way, around guys they drafted and played minutes to who became stars. They weren't afraid of the flashier teams out there that were on CBS Sports every weekend. Call it a chip on their shoulder or whatever, but the 80s and 90s Jazz teams (pre-Finals) really were teams you could get by.

And road teams knew it too with how loud the Salt Palace and Delta Center were.

Now the game has changed, the rules have changed, and the team has changed. The cap is humongous and by tip-off there are thousands of empty seats still in the arena. The players don't stick with the team for long, and the fans are asked to support the team no matter the quality of the product for fear of being branded as "bad fans." Times have changed. But the root of the problem is the on-court product.

We want nothing more than to support a team doing it the right way. It's harder to go nuts when your team, in win-now mode, drops games at home to the Los Angeles Clippers when they are resting guys. I don't think Mark Eaton's Jazz would have ever done that.

Seriously. The Clippers? The Clippers have been about as successful as the North Korean missile program over the decades. And now this is a team our guys just don't have enough pride to beat three out of four times a year. Just sad.

Man, I really am turning into one of those old, crotchety fans.

I miss the team playing with an edge. I miss Utah being a place no team wanted to play on the road. I miss seeing guys achieve stardom before their 7th season in the NBA. I'm missing a lot of things teen fans today never got a chance to experience. And perhaps that's what I'm ultimately upset about. There are fans all over the world who are Utah Jazz fans. If the only reason to root for a team is geographic convenience then that's not good enough. The AllThatAmar of today who is in high school outside of the US would have no reason to be a Jazz fan. The AllThatAmar that I was back in the days before the internet or satellite TV still had a billion reasons to root for some random small market team in the mountains, that was never on TV except the NBA Playoffs.

I want the Jazz future to be as fulfilling as the Jazz past was. Even my immigrant, senior citizen mom who doesn't even watch TV or involves herself with social media knows who Mark Eaton is. The Jazz, my Jazz, stood larger than life despite their limitations. Today's Jazz are somehow smaller than they should be. Take that for what you will -- fewer wins per year, fewer fans in the stands, less recognition for their players and execs, to just having a smaller global presence than they did back in the 80s and 90s when people still used Mailgrams to send information to one another.

Today's Jazz fans should be able to puff out their chests at the accomplishments of their team, in the present. Today's Jazz fans should be able to have their own experiences with what a great team is so that they can build a frame of reference for what they see on the court. They deserve that. I don't want to be of the last generation of Jazz fans who saw a Golden age in purple, green, and gold.