This is a little late (been a crazy day), but we had to jam about the Utah Jazz right now, how they are playing, the teams they are beating, and how their younger guys are developing. Check it!
1. Which game was the biggest win of the season?
Prodigal Punk: The one that gets the Jazz to 40 wins.
JuMu: The win over the Cavs was the most exciting win for me, that Hayward gamewinner was downright bananas!
Diana Allen: There have been so many awesome wins this season, including last night's win over the Houston Rockets. I am having a hard time coming up with the biggest one. I think I will have to go with our two road wins in Memphis. So impressive to beat a tough playoff team on the road and we did it twice. Then again I loved beating the Spurs and seeing Rudy just toy with Tim Duncan. Why do you have to ask us such hard questions Amar!
TazzJazzFan: Spurs. At times we out Pop'd a Gregg Popovich team. That was the game where I thought 'hang on, the players are starting to 100% live what Coach Quinn has been teaching!"
AllThatAmar: I have to say the January 7th game at the Chicago Bulls. The Jazz are young, went out on the road, played a great team, and blew them out. The 97-77 victory was against a healthy Chicago team, Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, everybody. They were healthy. Rested. And it was the precursor to the team we see today. The Jazz didn't have Enes Kanter or Alec Burks, and it was a good game for so many of our players. Derrick Favors had 20/11. Gordon Hayward had 18/4/5/3/1. Trey Burke had 17/3/4 while shooting well. Trevor Booker came off the bench to add in 15 and 8, with a three. Oh, and this skinny dude Rudy Gobert got the start due to injury, and finished with 11 points, 15 rebounds, 5 blocks, and just manhandled Gasol (shot 38.5 FG%).
To me that win was evidence that this club is going to be good -- because they took out the best on the road while missing two starters, while they were healthy. Lots of the other wins have come to teams that are tired or hurt. Chicago was neither at this point.
2. From being rookies to being sophs we've seen a huge positive change for Rudy Gobert, less than stellar results for Trey Burke, and almost no data from Ian Clark. Out of our rookies this season (Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, Elijah Millsap, Grant Jerrett), not including 10 day contract players, who is likely to make a Rudy like jump next season?
Prodigal Punk: Danté. Rodney has looked pretty good the last few games -- especially defensively and 3pt shooting -- but Danté will have had almost half a season going up against the best PGs in the NBA. His defense has been fantastic, so hopefully that will lead to increased confidence on the offensive end. He benefit immensely from a regimented offseason program setup by the Jazz (P3), including shooting work. His conditioning has been an issue all season (we all know the "Danté is exhausted" look), and that in itself will do wonders.
JuMu: Most likely Exum. He's definitely leaving room for improvement on the offensive end. He also is currently lacking in consistent aggressive play. Combined with the high projections people have for him, he is very likely to have the best peak out of all of our current rookies. The main question will be is when he makes the jump, not if. I suppose Hood could be better primed (especially at his ripe old age of 22), to make the biggest jump next season,, but I'm still putting my money on Danté. This may be because I already own an Exum jersey though and would hate for it to go to waste.
Diana Allen: I think Dante will make the Rudy jump next season. He is already improving as this season goes on. I see an amazing starting point guard for the Utah Jazz when I see Dante.
TazzJazzFan:Rodney AND Dante. Why? Our coaching staff are now much better at helping all our players grow, and these 2 both have enormous potential:
Rodney's injuries hampered his progression his season, and he's a grown man so he should cope better with the rigours of a full season. Plus with another year learning the offence he will find better positions for his shots, and they will fall. Oh yes, they will fall. I think we've found a real marksman here, one with the potential to turn out like the old fashioned Terry Teagle / Vinnie Johnson style bottled lightening from the bench.
Dante will benefit from a summer doing Jazz-guided conditioning and resting (important for a you my man who is still growing) and also the ability to relate and rank himself against NBA level talent. We are already seeing flashes of it in his improved spot up shooting, but next year his ability to create his own shot will grow too. Just look at Gordo for proof that this coaching staff can help that emerge from a player.
AllThatAmar: Joe Ingles and Elijah Millsap are both 27. Grant Jerrett is completely unknown to me outside of the 'almost nothing' data that we have on him. Rodney played NCAA ball for a few years, appears more comfortable out on the court and is almost at NBA game speed. But I'm going to go with Dante. He's going to make guys like Elfrid Payton, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Napier, and Marcus Smart look like they were correctly drafted after Exum. I really expect his offensive game / attacking game to be almost Alec Burks like next year.
Thanks again guys for jamming with me. Readers -- what are your answers?