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The Utah Jazz have turned the corner. For reals, this time. -- The Downbeat #1955

This is Monday's Downbeat. Sorry it is late. Blame these Futurama DVDs that are so much fun to watch.

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz are turning the corner, be sure to buy season tickets. (I know, I know, we should do a kickstarter with SLC Dunk coin to send people.) But for reals, the Utah Jazz are going to be good, and hopefully peak at just the right time. Also, could the NBA lose another legend this off-season? What happens when you don't pick up the phone from a legend? And which player did the most with what time they had in SLC and Vegas this year?


The Utah Jazz really ARE turning the corner. I'm not just drinking the Kool-aid either. So the spin is that the Jazz went from 20 wins to 30 wins to 40 wins. If you actually graph the wins it doesn't look as linear.

DB 1955 - Linear vs Actual Wins

The "normal" trend of +10 wins a year (which no one said was the goal or plan or whatever) would have gone from 25 wins to 35 wins to 45 wins. Instead, this Jazz team really killed it in 2014-15 with 38 wins; and then the 2015-16 season was a downer with only +2 more wins. We point to a poor bench and injures as reasons. And I think they were kind of legit. But at the same time, when healthy (with Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Trevor Booker, and Shelvin Mack all healthy as they were to finish the season) they still dropped "must win" games. I'm never going to forget two of them, the loss at home to the Los Angeles Clippers 3rd team, and then the last game of the season, a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Let's not forget that the Utah Jazz were KILLING the Lakers in that game, but then gave it away in the 4th quarter.

But flat projections and sad losses aside, I think this team has turned the corner. The data really supports it. This team, when healthy, was really good. It's somewhat occluded because of all the obstacles they faced last season. But I believe in this team. Even without Joe Johnson, George Hill, and Boris Diaw this team was a threat for 50 wins. Now? This team is capable of putting up an epic fight in the 4/5 seed round in the NBA Playoffs.

Fight me.



Okay, if your boss calls you outside of work hours . . . do you take the call? Always? Sometimes? If you're not busy? Well, it seems like Indiana Pacers point guard George Hill found out he was traded to the Utah Jazz from a voicemail left by Larry Bird.

You gotta take that call George, it's Larry Legend! Actually, the story by Dwyer points out that he was in the middle of a workout and that's why he was unavailable. The Dwyer article also goes on and on about Larry Bird and his way of telling people things (players, teams, etc). It's an interesting historical perspective on Bird, things I didn't know.

I also didn't know that through the ping-pong-ing of links, that the Hill story first comes from And they have a really COOL article on Hill. Here are some bullet points:

On Friday, Hill met with local reporters to discuss his the trade, his new home, and more. I documented the key notes and quotes below, including Hill being over the blonde look and his relationship with Indy guys Gordon Hayward and Trey Lyles — both of whom are already on the roster.

  • After a workout, Hill first learned he was traded when he listened to a voicemail from Pacers President Larry Bird saying "we had to trade you to Utah."
  • On his relationship with Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey, who was with him in San Antonio: "Very good. He was the guy that helped draft me. Like I said, we have a lot of stories. He helped draft me, he got rid of me, he brought me back. But, in reality, he's the first team and organization that gave me an opportunity to play this game that I love. So, very familiar with him and his family, very familiar with the head coach in (Quin) Snyder."
  • Hill said he isn't focused on his role. "We have one common goal and that's to win games and to try to get to the playoffs. That's my focus right there."
  • With the Jazz missing the playoffs in each of the last four years, Hill noted how valuable veteran, playoff experience will come from himself, Boris Diaw, and Joe Johnson.
  • On if he was surprised that he was traded: "It came as a surprise. Last time I checked, I was supposed to retire from Indiana. Very surprising, but I know this is a business and anything can happen. So, I'm not upset about it. I think I'm in a great situation here. I'm here, somewhere where I feel wanted right now."
  • On his relationship with Gordon Hayward: "I've been knowing Gordon every since he was a sophomore in high school. I don't even know how long ago that was because he's getting old now, too. I've known him since he was a sophomore at Brownsburg and I was in college at the time. And then him going on to Butler. When I actually got to the NBA, I still kept tabs on him to see how he was doing, him and Shelvin [Mack], at Butler. Because IUPUI and Butler are right down the right street from each other, so we're all kind of like one big little group there."
  • And Trey Lyles: "I only got to meet Trey like once. He was a lot younger than me. ... He was a big guy in our city and I knew a lot about him I just never got the opportunity to meet him. Trey's a great guy; he kind of mentors one of my young kids that's in my AAU program. He's really taken that kid under his wing and showed that kid that he can do anything."
  • Community remains his top priority: "My first thing is when I get here, is to touch down in the community. The biggest thing you can do is to give back to the community and the community embraces you. It's always bigger than basketball."
  • On what color his hair might be next year: "I was thinking about going green or blue, just to open up. I'm not sure. We'll see where it all goes from there. But I think the blonde faze is out. It was just something I wanted to try and I gave that its run for its money. It didn't turn out too, too bad. But who knows. I like to do crazy things at times."
  • Hill plans to get the team together in Utah a few weeks before the season to start building chemistry.
  • On living in Utah: "Not prepared for the cold but it happens. It comes with the territory. It's not like I've not been in the cold coming from Indiana, so it can't be that bad."

- Scott Agness,, 2016

Check the full article out here. Also, of note, it's all taken from his press interview WITH the Jazz media that happened last week. So this really isn't news. Unless you live under a rock. Like I do.



Kobe Bryant. Tim Duncan. And now . . . Kevin Garnett maybe? The NBA could lose three future Hall of Fame players who were all drafted in the 90s.

I feel old knowing that these guys are my age. But I feel okay with them all moving on this year, if need be. The game has changed with what the Golden State Warriors are doing, and the game is fixed now with Kevin Durant joining them. I don't know what else Garnett has to prove, and while he is still under contract (unlike Kobe and Tim, who had contracts that expired) I don't think he is hurting for money.

The Minnesota Timberwolves will get a nice passing of the torch ceremony, and make KG's statue right now. But please, dude doesn't need to play anymore. He's already done it all.



I'm excited for the season. You may share in my excitement as well. One thing I'm not excited for is to see a ton of green seats at tip-off. So . . .

But tickets. Please.



Okay, I wrote like 6k words on the Summer League just TODAY. I watched a lot of the games (not just the Jazz games). And I have to say that beyond Trey Lyles I don't know if we have any rotation players on the roster. But I want to know what you think beyond Lyles.

2016 Summer League - Full Utah Jazz Player Stats 0 Profile

Who was the second best player on the Utah Jazz summer league roster? Tibor Pleiss? Joel Bolomboy? Dionte Christmas? Spencer Butterfield? Aaron Craft? Quincy Ford? Someone else? (No, you can't pick Olivier Hanlan! He's not on the team anymore!)