The Utah Jazz can start showing off some of the things they won this off-season. But even though the team made smart moves in the NBA Draft, and clever moves during NBA Free Agency . . . it's going to be about not just winning players or trades, but games that matter most. Yes, we're looming into the territory of "expectations". And as a result, things just got real. It's still unreal to me that we got Diaw, and we break down his game his strengths, and some of the changes he may need to make in a Jazz jersey. Also we peak behind the curtain to how he is off-the court, and look at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2016 that he's currently involved in. Also, Tibor and Rudy were friends before the day started. Will they be friends tomorrow?
The moratorium on deals and signings is now over, and without wasting any time the Utah Jazz announced their trade for point guard George HIll.
OFFICIAL: Welcome to the Jazz, @George_Hill3!— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) July 7, 2016
Trade Details: https://t.co/FqRo2DwBHl pic.twitter.com/1QNYApGzeD
In their presser they break down some of the key points:
SALT LAKE CITY (July 7, 2016) - The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has acquired guard George Hill from the Indiana Pacers as part of a three-team trade with the Pacers and Atlanta Hawks, pending the outcome of physicals. As part of the deal, the Jazz traded the draft rights to Taurean Prince to Atlanta, who sent guard Jeff Teague to Indiana.
Hill (6-3, 188, IUPUI) appeared in 74 games (73 starts) for the Pacers this season, averaging 12.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting a career-high .408 (128-314) from three-point range in 34.1 minutes of action. Hill's seventh-seeded Pacers then pushed second-seed Toronto to seven games as he averaged 13.6 points on .481 (13-27) three-point shooting.
Originally selected in the first round (26th overall selection) of the 2008 NBA Draft by San Antonio, the 30-year-old guard has appeared in 550 career games (325 starts) over eight seasons with San Antonio and Indiana, and owns career averages of 11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists and .376 three-point shooting in 28.8 minutes. His teams have made the playoffs in seven of his eight seasons and he has appeared in a total of 75 playoffs games (64 starts) averaging 12.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.1 steals and a .371 three-point percentage. Hill helped the Indiana Pacers to two straight Eastern Conference Finals appearances in 2013 and 2014.
Prior to the NBA, the Indianapolis native played four seasons at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (2004-08) where he was named The Summit League Player of the Year (2008) and All-Summit League First Team twice (2006, 2008). For his collegiate career, Hill appeared in 94 games and averaged 17.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 33.4 minutes.
It's official! @George_Hill3 will wear #3! pic.twitter.com/acqQ8GfVJp— mizuho nishio (@jashin_mizuho) July 7, 2016
And, obviously, with the trade of Trey Burke, Hill is going to be wearing #3 for the Jazz this up-coming season.
For whatever reason, the OTHER big moves were not announced today, like the Free Agent signing of Joe Johnson, nor the trade that netted Boris Diaw, but everything in it's own time.
You know, like pranks.
@andyblarsen @Lockedonsports @Tjonessltrib @snark_tank @monilogue Looking forward to a fun season ahead!https://t.co/SgLdAWNvET— devendu dharni (@devendudharni) July 6, 2016
If you don't like pranks, then well, there's also actual basketball to be had.
Taking a look at what Boris did last season it's clear to me that, well, he's going to have to make some adjustments from what he did with the San Antonio Spurs to what Quin Snyder wants from their PFs. Expect him to set screens and roll out. I don't know how many times he's going to get to back him man down from 20 feet and score . . . if he does that would be great. The post up is the appendix of the Utah Jazz playbook right now -- we have it, but don't know what it's for.
I hope that he gets to do Boris things, and not get the "Jazz tax" of having good offensive moves be penalized into being travels or offensive fouls. But hey, building a culture takes time. It's not as easy as brewing some coffee from your locker.
Speaking of "not easy" there are still three spots open for the "do we really hafta go" Rio 2016 Olympics. Of the teams eliminated so far we have Angola, Iran, Japan, Philippines, Senegal, and Tunisia. It's the elimination round for each location, and honestly, some of these teams have an easier go at it than others:
- You figure that Serbia has an easy path, they'll have to beat only one more good team, and that will be in the Serbia finals where they are the host nation.
- The "more acutely interesting" bracket is up for grabs as a bunch of nations who saw action in WWII go for it. Canada is still without Trey Lyles (and other high provile guys) but is two wins away from the Olympics. Not bad. The same could be said for the other three teams in this spot too. France has Boris Diaw, and they came from behind to win against the strong New Zealand team -- Diaw had 10 points 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in 29 minutes of action. Not great, but he had a lot more "hockey assists". They will have to get over the Turks on their path to the Group Finals.
- In the last group, well, the "finals" will be the "semi-finals" here as Greece and Croatia got for it, and will mop up whomever makes it out of Italy / Mexico
I could be wrong though, I haven't watch all of the games these teams have played, so maybe Italy, a host nation, is actually good? I know I can't support Mexico -- because Canada is better than them according to the PanAm games and FIBA Americas tournament, and regional rivalries die hard. Getting your squad to the Olympics is a great feat, seeing how there are so many nations in the world today.
Getting plowed into the Earth by the Golden State Warriors, uh, I mean Team USA should be an honor.
Like most of us, I'm excited for this season to start as soon as possible. It's FUN to be excited about a team again. Of course, it's not just about excitement. With this team, and all the moves they have made over the last month, it's clear that this is a "win now" roster. As a result, or consequence, there are going to be expectations now. We're going to EXPECT the Utah Jazz to win games again. It's not just a "learning" year.
And it's not just fans, but other outlets -- like the National media -- will expect the Utah Jazz to win games. There's the grand possibility that Utah could "under perform" if they don't hit some magic number of regular season wins and reach a certain playoff round. It's possible for the Jazz to also win the division this year.
High goals would be a division banner, 50 wins, and at making it to the 2nd round. Right?
Or are these the expected goals now?
How has your perception changed about what this team is supposed to do from the beginning of the off-season to now? For me I expect the team to win at least 50. With this roster? With this bench? C'mon. The team won 40 last year after missing Dante Exum for the full season, Alec Burks for 2/3s of it, and Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert for 1/4th each. You almost have to start at 50, right?
Winning the division may be tougher because it's not like the other teams just want to give up. The Portland Trail Blazers are gunning for the #1 spot as well. The Oklahoma City Thunder don't want to just let anyone dethrone them yet, and made big moves in the off-season to get better, regardless of what Kevin Durant did. I'm not so certain the Jazz are just going to walk over the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves either. After all, the T-Wolves just got Brandon Rush as a free agent! (Happy Birthday Rush!)
Happy Birthday to former #Jazzman @BRush_25 -- can't wait to see you again in Minny! pic.twitter.com/DAYC8keWji— SLC Dunk (@slcdunk) July 7, 2016
The bottom line is going to be the playoffs. If Utah wins four games and gets swept in the second that's still a success in a pass / fail world. To go from the lotto for forever to the 2nd round in one jump is big. A tough 1st round exit may not be good enough, that's what I'm saying. Sadly.
Btw, guess which teams the Jazz have had the most trouble against over the last few seasons?
Basketball Teams Win Rates against Other Teams since 2012 (US) [OC] https://t.co/KDjdXHLlOy #dataviz pic.twitter.com/06YXBG0PXb— /r/DataIsBeautiful (@DataIsBeautiful) July 7, 2016
Guess which teams we'll be facing in the playoffs. Fun.
Today was that big game between Grance and Fremany. Er, I mean France and Germany. Having both French and German players on our team right now we got this candid shot of Rudy Gobert and fellow "pivot | base" Tibor Pleiss in happier times.
The game has ended with France prevailing 2-0. Or 2-nil, which is soccer for "scoreboard, babeeey!" You can check out the "report" of that game here. I'm not being dismissive here of Soccer of Football or Futbol or Pelota or whatever. I'm being dismissive about writing downbeats all day instead of using my summer to go out and and have a Moni style vacation now and then.