Lots of Utah Jazz players are making big news this year. Some of them are playing for their countries, some are not. We go into the who, what, when, where, and most importantly, the why of their decisions. Also, some video game news for our potential rookies. And probably the most important thing ever, what would Larry H. Miller think of our off-season so far?
For us older Utah Jazz fans who remember how involved Larry H. Miller was in his passion project, we remember how sometimes players who 'brought it' against our team would become targets for the front office. There are a number of examples of this over the years, two that jump to mind were Carlos Boozer and John Amaechi. Some of their best ever pre-Jazz games in their careers came against the Utah Jazz.
- Boozer's 32 points and 18 rebounds -- in Utah -- which helped the Cleveland Cavaliers steal one was quite an eye-opener for LHM. Carlos would add another 20/10 game against the Jazz that same season.
- Amaechi was not as beastly as Boozer, but still put up 24 points and 17 points on Utah in 2000, showing what a face-up big could do in this evolving NBA with no illegal defense rules. Being able to play "5 on 5" on offense was something that had not happened in over two decades in the #801 at that point in time.
So, how have George Hill, Joe Johnson, and Boris Diaw done against the Jazz?
- George Hill has played 15 games against the Utah Jazz in his career. He has hit for 20+ points three times, once missing out on a triple double (22 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, with 2 steals to boot). His career averages are a little more humble. In 27.47 MPG he averages 11.47 PPG (.4776 / .3713 / .7878) off of 8.93 FGA, and gets 3.07 RPG, 2.67 APG (2.1 to 1.0 assist to turn over ratio), and 0.93 SPG. But overall I think you see plenty of games where Hill has hurt the Jazz. Though the majority of his best games against the Jazz happened outside of Utah.
- Joe Johnson has played the Jazz 34 times over the years. And in those games he has set the team on fire. Johnson had dropped 30 or more on the Jazz three times, with a high of 37 from back in 2012. (Yes, it was that 4OT game.) He's burned the Jazz for 25 or more nine times. And just flat out 20 or more points on our heads 12 times. It's easier to point out when he hasn't scored a lot on Utah. He also missed out on a triple double against the Jazz (one assist away), and Johnson has hurt the Jazz with his passing many times (about a third of the time he dishes out at least five dimes, four times with 7 or more). His career averages are 16.79 PPG (.4746 / .4409 / .7339) off of 13.09 FGA per game, while adding 3.50 RPG, 3.38 APG (1.77 to 1.00 A:TO), and 1.12 SPG in 34.68 MPG. He knocks down close to two threes a game against Utah as well. Joe has had three really big games in Utah, they aren't like Kobe Bryant big (40+) but they all resulted in Hawks wins in the SLC: 28 points, 28 points, and 27 points. For what it is work, he has hurt the Jazz as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, and Phoenix Suns, but NOT his time with the Boston Celtics! (Small victories)
- Boris Diaw, playing for many years in the Western Conference, has suited up against Utah 40 times in his career. And he really hasn't killed the Jazz with his scoring. He's never broken out for 20 points against Utah, but has 14 of his 40 games in double digits. He hasn't gotten close to a triple double, or even a double double, against the Jazz. Part of that could just be his play style, his complimentary role, or maybe the fact that he's only played more than 30 minutes in a game against Utah 10 times? Probably a combination of them all. His career averages have him playing 25.93 MPG against us, a little more than have the game. And in that time he puts up 7.68 PPG ( .5182 / .4510 / .6512 ) off of 6.18 FGA, and adding 3.48 RPG, 2.58 APG, 0.65 SPG, and 0.53 BPG. His assist to turn over ratio is also a healthy 1.51 to 1.00 for a bigman. The weird thing about Diaw is that while he has 20 wins and 20 losses against Utah, the more he has played, the less likely it is for his team to win. So this could back-fire.
Hill was impressive, especially with his shot (and all three have hit the three against Utah their entire careers). Johnson went full-Trogdor and burninated the land. Diaw was more of a puzzle. He does a lot of nice things, but didn't really show a lot against the Jazz. His games IN Utah were better than his games out of Utah though. So we hold onto that. I think LHM would be happy with the turn the team is taking -- finally winning out and getting an impact free agent and two solid vets to help his guys make the playoffs.
It's all good in the Hood, Rodney Hood , that is! Our erstwhile rising star (11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 threes, 1 steal back in this exhibition game) and potential starter has joined a long and distinguished list of Utah Jazz players by suiting up for the USA Select Team.
Presenting your 2016 USA Basketball Men's Select Team #USABMNT #wegotnext pic.twitter.com/UBDIWbvwZb— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 20, 2016
These young men are running up and down in Las Vegas trying to get Team USA warmed up and ready for the games that count in Rio 2016. Hood joins several other wingmen in this task: C.J. McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers), Victor Oladipo (Oklahoma City Thunder), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Zach LaVine (Minnesota Timberwolves), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Detroit Pistons), Gary Harris (Denver Nuggets), Brandon Ingram (Los Angeles Lakers), Stanley Johnson (Detroit Pistons), Denzel Valentine (Chicago Bulls), Jerami Grant (Philadelphia 76ers), Doug McDermott (Chicago Bulls), Malcolm Brogdon (Milwaukee Bucks), and Justise Winslow (Miami Heat). [N.B. The full Roster can be found here.]
That's a tough group to crack, and the internal competition between these young men will probably be higher than that of the competition against the USA Men's team in scrimmages. It's an honor for Hood to be part of this group. (Luckily, none of his loved ones were pregnant at the time making him to have to pick between family and country, ahem, Gordon Hayward .) But being in the pipeline doesn't really mean much unless you perform.
Players like Derrick Favors and Trey Burke were in the USA pipeline before, and have since not been a part of the Team USA program since. Hopefully Hood stays with it. If he is projected to be a star, and not just a late 1st round surprise, then being in these groups will only help him reach it.
Hood is not the only young Jazzman getting some recognition. 2016 NBA Draft picks Joel Bolomboy (#52) and Marcus Paige (#55) were in Las Vegas getting scanned for the next NBA 2K game, by 2K Sports. Hayley Byrnes has the video:
Marcus Paige and Joel Bolomboy get scanned in for NBA 2K17 https://t.co/mH0dQhdcag via @YouTube— Hayley Byrnes (@HayleyByrnes) July 20, 2016
No matter what, being in a position to be scanned for a game has to be a huge moment for a young player's life. Back in the old days of basketball games they just didn't always pay attention to details (once I saw a game where John Stockton was blonde), and didn't even bother with Utah Jazz rookies (at best they had the wrong jersey number). So I guess the Jazz and the "If it's in the game, it's in the game"-ness of video games have both improved their lots in life.
I am excited to see if Bolomboy makes the team, I think he could really be groomed into exactly the type of player every playoff team wants. At the age of 22 he could one day be a Bismack Biyombo type with better range and touch on his shot. Of course, if he's in the next NBA 2K (which I've already pre-ordered) then I'm just going to boost his stats to be at least as good at dunking as a 1994 Shawn Kemp. Bolomboy himself seems to have a similar idea, if you watch the video.
Also, this is precisely the type of content I love seeing. Thank you Hayley!
Keeping it within the Commonwealth (Canada my home and native land, and New Zealand, where Hayley is from, both are in the shadow of much louder neighbours), let's zip down to Australia. Several Utah Jazz players had planned on adding babies to their families this off-season. One of them is Joe Ingles , who has twins on the way. But unlike many other Utah Jazz players, Joe had also planned on playing in the 2016 Olympics this off-season. (Yo, whatup G-Time?) There is a little bit of a time conflict -- as the 'Games' start in less than two weeks . . . but Ingles has a good handle on things. While his mates have made the trip, he's still at home.
Boomers depart for Rio without expectant father. @Joeingles7: https://t.co/tykp2j3nYn pic.twitter.com/jmgzIHpgYE— FOX Basketball (@FoxBasketball) July 20, 2016
THE Boomers stars departing Australia in business class on Wednesday will be without expectant father Joe Ingles but confident they can still conquer the world.
Ingles is expected to remain back in Melbourne for several days to await the birth of wife Renae's twins, which are due this week.
He will catch up with the squad which plays a pair of lead-up games in Argentina then a three-match series in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.
The Boomers squad is supportive of Ingles' delaying his departure, with the miracle pregnancy coming after the high-profile pair initially told they would have trouble conceiving.
The 213cm frame of Andrew Bogut will be on Wednesday's flight, although his lack of court time in last week's camp means no one has a clear guide on his availability.
A rusty Boomers outfit that was far from dominant against an American college side in two games at Hisense Arena will need vast improvement.
I hope the delivery goes without a hitch, and that the Ingles family will be safe, happy, and sound enough for Joe to fly to Rio as soon as possible.
Of course, with all the Hayward slander so far this Downbeat, we have to go to the man himself to talk about what's been happening in his own words:
Via https://t.co/x8Xk2DbV86: With Arrival of Baby Charlie, G-Time Puts Team Hayward First, Defers Team USA Dream: https://t.co/kRUtPaW0UV— Gordon Hayward (@gordonhayward) July 20, 2016
First of all, Bernadette's baby sister is going to be named:
Charlotte "Charlie" Margaret joined Gordon, Robyn and Bernie as the fourth member of Team Hayward. Gordon made the announcement shortly after midnight on Tuesday, sharing that everything went well with Robyn's labor and the birth of their second child.
Very cute, but what about Team USA?
Sims continues to write:
The expected arrival of little Charlie and the expansion of Team Hayward also forced the two-time father, Gordon, to forgo another dream: representing his country in the Olympic Games.
It has long been one of G-Time's greatest basketball dreams to suit up for Team USA in the Olympics, but family came first this summer, as the Utah Jazz forward had to send his regrets when USA Basketball invited him to join the 2016 Olympic squad for the upcoming competition in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
G-Time has worked his way up through the USA Basketball system over the years, first helping guide the U19 squad to a gold medal at the FIBA World Championships while at Butler University. He was in contention for the FIBA World Championship squad last year, making it all the way to the final roster cut.
Gordon finally received the Olympic invitation he had been hoping for in late June, but with Charlie due in a matter of days, the Brownsburg, Ind. native had to make a tough decision.
Please read the full news dispatch over at Hayward's site here. And my own selfish reasons for having another Jazzman in the Olympics aside (how it would really help elevate Hayward's rising star and hopefully help him become an All-Star and get Star calls), I'm very happy that Hayward is putting his family first. All of us would make the exact same decision in his place.
I will bet you that Ingles jokes around with Hayward during the season, or at least in training camp, about how much he missed out / how AWESOME it was to be in the Olympics.