Utah Jazz news! NBA History being made! The Olympics are worth watching. And the Utah Jazz summer league team finally won a game!
We start things off with the retiring of long-time NBA center Tim Duncan. The San Antonio Spurs were very lucky to win the lotto in a year a once-in-a-generation player was around and it catapulted their "ha ha, you think you are a contender" team into one that would win several NBA Championships. Of course, they had to continue building around Duncan after their old core of David Robinson, Sean Elliot, and Avery Johnson all moved on. And they did, by adding Hall of Fame player after another in the NBA Draft. The Spurs were lucky to get Duncan, but in another more precise way, Duncan was also lucky to get the Spurs. By the odds, he was supposed to go to the horrible late 90s version of the Boston Celtics instead, and man, his legacy would be much different as a result. Oh, by the way Ayesha Curry, Duncan going to a small market team with no rings instead of the Celtics is evidence that disproves some of your conspiracy theories.
Tim Duncan was a great team player who used to be dominant. However, Gregg Popovich has mutated the Spurs to feature other players around him while giving him an increasingly diminished role. In a way part of Duncan's greatness was never really seeing a wins downside to his eventual on-court performance failures. After all, he averaged 13.4 ppg at the age of 34, an age where other Super stars are still at their peaks and being "the man" for their teams. Duncan did not have to be "the man" for his team for the last six years of his career. In an oblique way, he didn't have to go to another team to chase rings as an old vet who was over the hill because Pop and R.C. Buford already transitioned him to be a vet chasing a ring by passing the torch to Tony Parker and then Kawhi Leonard while he was still there.
At his peak Duncan was a force of nature, evidenced by the fact that he has more Finals MVPs than season MVPs. And many claim him to be the best Power Forward in NBA history despite, you know, facts:
@Paulmillsap4 https://t.co/pKHRuGbwk5— Kris (@5kl) July 11, 2016
I took the time to break this down on my own as well, and the "Tim Duncan is the best Power Forward of all-time" argument is the "jet fuel can't melt steel beams" of NBA arguments. If the dude was 7 feet tall and his main job was scoring off of post ups, blocking shots, never doing anything when facing up from 20 feet out, and getting defensive rebounds -- dude was a center. A stronger argument for him playing center would be the fact that he "played with four guys shorter than him while he took the tip off to start games" for the vast majority of his career.
Karl Malone started his career off at small forward because of Mark Eaton and Thurl Bailey / Marc Iavaroni. That doesn't mean that Karl Malone was the highest scoring small forward in league history, right? C'mon man. Be better. Get better.
href = " Tyrone Corbin Face . bmp "
Duncan was one of the best defensive players of all-time and was a solid two-way threat for about half of his career. He was integral to transforming San Antonio into an NBA success story. Individual records being what they were, he wasn't the best center. He could be, at best, "maybe" the 6th best center of all-time (behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Bill Russell . . . competing against David Robinson and Kyrylo Fesenko for the 6th spot). But he wasn't a guy obsessed with his ego.
Tim Duncan co-authored a paper on 'excessive egotism' during his time at Wake Forest. https://t.co/AaPuh4SI4F pic.twitter.com/vBjaEYRjDd— theScore (@theScore) July 11, 2016
He was about the win. And few people won more than Duncan did. I wish him all the best in his next adventure. Roll for initiative, fellow D&D player.
The Utah Jazz got their first win of the summer yesterday! It was a 79-72 win over the New Orleans Pelicans! Utah had gone 0-3 in their own Salt Lake City Summer League, and dropped their first game in Vegas. So at least the streak is over. I didn't watch this game, and I missed out on some great performances from big name draft picks for New Orleans:
- Lotto pick Buddy Hield exploded for 21 points off of 20 shots (Big Al Jefferson salutes you!)
- Pels bigman Cheick Diallo added a double double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, with four blocks
But on the Jazz side of things, they more than held their own:
- Six players scored in double figures (#Teamwork)
- The Jazz got to the line 22 times in a 40 minute game, and because they are the Jazz, they shot 63.6 FT% (hooray!)
- Joel Bolomboy had 13 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, and went 3/3 from the line
- Quincy Ford had 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists
- Tibor Pleiss dropped another three, but was 3/9 from the field, and continues to be a low rebound / no blocks 7'3 guy
- Tyrone Wallace, the #60 pick in the draft, led all scorers with 15
- Marcus Paige had more assists than threes, showing his diversity, along with his scoring punch
- Spencer Butterfield came off the bench to drop 11, most from outside where he went 3/5
- Trey Lyles had the day off
I'm not really convinced that this is a team build for wins, and the Vegas Tournament will help prove or disprove that hypothesis. But I am really happy for Bolomboy. Last Summer League we saw Olivier Hanlan go from "he could be something" to "he's clearly not yet ready for this jelly." And I was fearing that Bolomboy would have to spend a year out of sight / out of mind in some random European league for a year. I feel like he could be better in the long run than Pleiss. And he would probably gain more from the experience of being a 15th man than the 26 going on 27 year old German would.
More games like this -- and hopefully making at least one three -- could help secure his spot on the 15-man rotation.
The Utah Jazz are on the hype-bandwagon -- at least in the off-season, for like the 3rd year in a row it seems. Fill up, Jazz fans!
Look out, @NBA: @utahjazz are playing a win-now tune: https://t.co/dMLhMusPx2 | via @SInow pic.twitter.com/iT8B9iHhQK— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) July 11, 2016
"The Utah Jazz Are Finally Ready to Make the Leap" https://t.co/h26HCbo02o— Jonathan Tjarks (@JonathanTjarks) July 11, 2016
I just hope that this year the team can stay healthy and reach the expectations we all now have for them. Very few teams go from "NBA Lottery" to "2nd Round of the Playoffs" in the blink of an eye; however, the additions of George Hill, Joe Johnson, and Boris Diaw is supposed to help the Jazz do just that.
Never cut that mullet, Tom Chambers. Please never. Change.
Lots to read today . . . let's finish things off with this amuse-bouche video:
...and now for the biggest news of the day: Rudy Gobert has announced that he will play for Team France in the Rio 2016 Olympics:
C'est avec plaisir que j'annonce que je serai présent à Rio avec mes frères pour défendre les couleurs de la France! #RoadToRio— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) July 11, 2016
France is in Group A in the men's contest, where four of the top six go on to the elimination round. The teams in that group with France (Rudy Gobert, Boris Diaw) will be the United States of America (not Gordon Hayward), Serbia, Venezuela, China, and Australia (Joe Ingles, not Dante Exum).
We almost only have to watch this group to get all of our Jazz basketball; as only Brazil (Raul Neto) is in Group B. Of course, Group B will also be fun because they do still have Spain (not Raul Lopez), Argentina, Lithuania, Croatia (maybe Ante Tomic, not Gordan Giricek), and Nigeria.
It should be fun. It WOULD have been more fun of Team Canada (maybe Trey Lyles, possibly Olivier Hanlan) was able to take care of business against Venezuela back on the 11th of September, 2015 when they lost by one point in the FIBA Americas tournament (79-78 in the Final Four), but whatever. I'll get over it. Eventually. Probably around the next time Canada and Venezuela play Ice Hockey.
Anyway, now we have a risk involved and reason to watch the Olympic games. You know, besides catching that new strain of mosquito-to-TV-to-home viewer Zika virus.