Today is the first day of the Salt Lake City Summer League! GET HYPED! It's also the 4th of July, Independence Day in this, the United States of America! GET FREEDOM'D! It's also effectively a three day weekend for most of us -- but not us who work online! Lots of NBA stuff to get to, and as always, let's keep it Utah Jazz related!
With the NBA Draft now in the rear view mirror, and all but the biggest names spoken for in NBA Free Agency what do Utah Jazz fans have to look forward to? Well, as we now have 12 months a year of basketball let's go over it:
- NBA Summer League (Orlando | Salt Lake City | Las Vegas) -- Every team is playing basketball this summer, seeing the new rookies in their first action, new coaches with new teams, and lots and lots of fouls being called. In Orlando they are heading into Day 3, SLC's Day 1 is today, and Las Vegas will tip off this Friday. In case you forgot the Jazz are playing in two of them, and their schedule is as follows:
|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|
- FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) 2016 (Serbia | Philippines | Italy) -- THIS STARTS TODAY AS WELL! There are 18 teams spread out in six groups of three, and they are fighting for 3 total tickets to Rio. Lots of NBA players and/or NBA level talent in other leagues suiting up for this. I'm sure you can catch all of the games on streams. The teams are playing not just for the competition, but for a chance to bring glory to their homelands.
|5||Czech Republic||B||42||11||New Zealand||D||21||17||Tunisia||F||23|
Correcting the Manila times. Here's the Olympic QT schedule & players... pic.twitter.com/EVDxHAlzLz— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) July 4, 2016
Each location only has one winner. Serbia should look to advance at home. Greece has a little better competition out in Italy, but should hold off Croatia who will have some of their top players sitting. Turkey and France are heading right into conflict in the Philippines bracket, only one will advance. It will be decided in six days, starting today. SO WATCH!
- RIO OLYMPICS 2016 (Rio de Janerio) -- You know you want to watch the best teams in the world go for that Gold. Well, if you are rooting for Team USA you know that Gold is in the bag. The rest of the world is fighting for that Silver. Who's playing?
- Group A will be Team USA, two of the three OQT winners, Australia, China, and Venezuela.
- Group B will be the host nation Brazil (and Raul Neto!), along with Spain, Argentina, Lithuania, Nigeria, and the other OQT winner.
These games are going to be on NBC, and you bet they will be in glorious HD on basic cable. So 12 teams. Games start on August 6th and will go on until August 21st. Oh, that takes us to the end of August? So you mean that our Utah Jazz players will be going back to SLC for voluntary workouts the week after that? The 2016-2017 season will be just one news-light month of September away from starting! WOO!
Looking at our Summer League team (and full breakdown of that roster in the very next post), I think we're most excited to see our draft picks and rookies from last year: Trey Lyles, TIbor Pleiss, J.J. O'Brien, Joel Bolomboy, Olivier Hanlan, Marcus Paige, and Tyrone Wallace. There are a ton of undrafted players on this squad, Terry Allen, Shonn Miller, Spencer Butterfield, Quincy Ford, Aaron Craft, Shaq McKissic, Bangaly Fofana (also a Star Wars expanded universe bounty hunter, I'm sure of it), and everyone's favorite holiday: Dionte Christmas. Not many vets here, as only Lyles, O'Brien, Pleiss, and Christmas have seen NBA action previously.
Including short point guards who are combo guards, this team is bringing seven wings to the table, out of 15 confirmed players. (Remember back in Orlando one year Jeremy Evans played in two games even though he wasn't on their roster? So anything can still happen.) Will one of them be able to do what Chris Johnson was able to do last year? Will any of these wings get an invite to training camp? My money is on J.J. getting another invite if he wants it, but outside of the guys we've seen before I feel like Quincy Ford is going to get a loo-oong look from the Jazz staff.
Point guard seems to be a problem, but at least it's not the same problem as before. Now there are too many, and this summer league should prove to be a gauntlet. Olivier has to stave off the better shooting Marcus, while being able to show he can defend better than Tyrone. Tyrone needs to show he can shoot better than Olivier, while being a better distributor than Marcus. And Marcus needs to show that he can defend better than Olivier, and distribute better than Tyrone. It's rock - paper - scissors, but it's probably going to end up in mutually assured destruction for all three in the end anyway, as making the Jazz roster in October is going to be hard. If there are injuries and one of them is free, getting a 10-Day Contract call up could be in the cards, but hopefully unnecessary this year.
The bigmen need to survive off of rebounds, defense, and put backs. Summer League guard play is horrible (except for that magical unicorn Dante Exum game from last year). As a consequence, I'm not expecting big things from Tibor (save for passes), Trey (unless he demands the ball), or Joel (unless he starts to go coast-to-coast like Charles Barkley off of defensive rebounds).
Personally, I feel like Lyles needs to prove that he needs to play in just one or two games and is uniformly better than everyone else playing this Summer; and that Hanlan needs to demonstrate that his one year playing in Lithuania makes him better than the two college Seniors they drafted in the 2nd round the year after drafting him in the 2nd round. Also, Lyles and Hanlan need to show that playing in the Summer League was the right move because this is the second year in a row where they did not heed the call of duty to represent Team Canada. Last year both missed the PanAm Games (Host Country: Canada) and the FIBA Americas (Host Country: Mexico) -- Canada finished 2nd in PanAm and 3rd in Americas. A 1st and 2nd in those tournaments would have put Canada in the Olympics already, instead of having to somehow beat Turkey and France to do it now. (Which is unlikely.)
Oh, Dante Exum is doing silly things with his twin sister:
TWIN FACESWAP! #whoswho? @Daanteeee pic.twitter.com/zACUkTTsuE— Tierra Iman Exum (@tierraiman13) July 2, 2016
This would be at home in an Aphex Twin music video. (N.B. Do not watch any of them.) It's cool to see siblings do things like this. Of course, if you are part of any solid group -- like a sports team -- you eventually develop very strong relationships with your teammates as well. It is not just a brotherhood out there on the court, but these guys are your real family because they are with you through all the ups and downs during the year.
The Jazz family said goodbye to Trevor Booker in Free Agency and Trey Burke via a trade. And both had to say their goodbyes to their family.
I would like to thank the Utah Jazz, my teammates, and the fans that supported me thru my time… https://t.co/kEflcFr5b6— Trey Burke (@TreyBurke) July 3, 2016
I appreciate everything the Jazz organization has done for me and my family! Truly gonna miss my teammates, and the fans. Forever love!— Trevor Booker (@35_Fitz) July 2, 2016
They will be missed, and not just because of the class level they both have, or the qualities of their characters. While they weren't perfect on the court, they did help the team win some of the games they did over the last few seasons.
Okay. Before we do anything else we need to address this find by Aaron:
Has every Jazz fan seen this video? It is a must see. https://t.co/u6rT8WyoMI— Aaron Hefner (@Aheffy) July 4, 2016
Yeah, I like that he puts out a dis track against the hated Los Angeles Lakers and the self-absorbed Kobe Bryant . . . but I think we need to help this guy out a bit. Write some 'bars' for his next video in the comment section please.
Also, this is what my wife did to me when I played this song this morning at a pretty high volume (I thought my head phones were in, they were not.)
July 4, 2016
If you were going to write a song about the Jazz, or about another team, what genre would it be in? Power Ballad about how the Knicks are horrible? Country Western song about how the Oklahoma City Thunder should still be the Seattle Supersonics? Gregorian Chant about how Mark Jackson is a human disaster? Me? The answer is so simple. Bollywood inspired ode to Greg Ostertag and Kyrylo Fesenko. Heck, they'd be in the video -- it's not like they're doing anything with their time right now.
Probably the worst video to watch on the 4th of July.
Or maybe the best. It's a free country.
It's been a few days now and I still can't believe that we got Joe Johnson.
All those games lost by fewer than 5 points should be a thing of the past now.