Wow. Did you hear the news? The Utah Jazz have bought the Idaho Stampede, cementing their relationship. And, obviously, meaning that the Stampede will one day move to Utah. It's a real farm team for the Jazz, and I can only imagine that the two previously distinct pieces will one day work together in concert.
Many of us joked about this in the "stream thread" and on social media; but laughs aside this is a great thing.
Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey "We want to take this next year and show the Boise market that we can be good partners"— Will Hall (@WillHallKTVB) March 24, 2015
Utah Jazz President Randy Rigby on long term future "Taking it a step at a time, we have a one year window to look at things long-term"— Will Hall (@WillHallKTVB) March 24, 2015
The clock is on now, we'll see if there is anything that Idaho can do to prevent a move in two seasons. But beyond the future of the team, what about the actual heart of the Stampede? What I've heard directly from former NBA players who have played in the NBA DL (Woah, 1st hand sources? From a non-Jazz credentialed blog?) this is exactly what more teams need to do. There used to be a huge disconnect between affiliate teams and the actual NBA teams, particularly at the top of the food chain. And this caused problems all the way down. Effectively, farm team owners wanted their teams to also be winners, popular, and make money. This was a huge problem with the Jazz and the Utah Flash. The former owner of the Flash went to stupid lengths to try to do all three of those things.
Who can ever forget this? (thanks to @UGottaLovItBaby for this trip down memory lane)
More than anything, he became the Mark Cuban of the NBADL, without any of the substance. More dangerously for the Jazz, when players were sent to the Flash they would become completely unusable to Jerry Sloan because they didn't run the same sets, didn't play the same game, and didn't even do the same things in practice. Eventually the Jazz just stopped even trying to sent people to the NBADL because it was a great way to de-develop younger guys. (Case Study confirmed by three sources off the record: Morris Almond -- and how the Flash owner wanted a star and wanted to win, while the Jazz wanted to mold him into a player who could one day play for Jerry Sloan. A few 50 pt games in the NBADL and one singular great game against the Sacramento Kings later, he was never seen from again.)
Utah is not letting that mistake happen again. And evidence points to the Stamps main owner wanting to be a winner, etc. The Jazz now own the Stamps and they will dictate everything. Dennis Lindsey had two coaching searches last summer, and picked Quin Snyder and Dean Cooper. Both were part of the Utah Jazz training camp process this fall. And all the players, also picked by Lindsey, will be able to fit into either system. Why? Because it is all one system, with the singular goal of one day winning an NBA championship.
It's no longer "we have an NBA team, and some cowboy operation in the NBA DL that wants to make money and sell tickets."
I asked for Idaho to wow me. They didn't. But the Utah Jazz continue to.
Speaking of making headlines . . . the much maligned (by non- Kool Aid drinking fans) duo of Matt Harpring and Craig Bolerjack have made some friends. Namely, Minnesota Timberwolves ' boss Flip Saunders.
Flip Saunders angry after Jazz broadcasters accused Timberwolves of trying to lose on purpose http://t.co/xM4mernbub— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) March 24, 2015
Flip Saunders calls a Utah broadcaster's insinuation that the Wolves are tanking 'irresponsible' - http://t.co/Gln3pm4LZM— Kelly Dwyer (@KDonhoops) March 24, 2015
Yikes. So why was he so mad?
Okay, so hindsight being 20/20, we lost to a team playing seven guys and is tanking. What does that say about the Jazz? I wonder if the Jazz' broadcast guys editorialize on that subject in the next game. "We're trying to win, but we can't beat a tanking team? Something has to be done to disincentivize losing to the worst team in your conference."
I've long been a critic of who the Jazz are paying to be their mouth pieces. And this isn't the first time Harpring has come under fire. (Last season he was ridiculed for his inability to understand why Per 36 stats are not analytics, during a take down of analytics during a Jazz game, by national bloggers for big sites.)
I love Elijah Millsap. I hope the team brings him back next season.
From being somewhat wingless this year to another gear of Gordon Hayward, a structurally finally healthy Alec Burks, and another off-season under the belt for Millsap, Rodney Hood, and Joe Ingles our team is going to be flying. That is all.
Are you following the NCAA March Madness this season? Jahlil Okafor (Duke) still should be #1, but Karl-Anthony Towns (Kentucky) has played well so far. I have been less than impressed with Willie Cauley-Stein, the Junior should be playing bigger -- but he is getting boards. So that's good. Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell is up and down from three, going 4/7 in the first game, and then going 1/7 in the next. 5/14 is less than .333, but I need more data on this guy when being guarded. Kevin Looney (UCLA) has great athleticism, and is playing hurt. But he seems to be a one way player so far. Guys like Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, and Nigel Hayes (all from Wisconsin) are showing what strong team play can do to your individual draft stock. The same goes for Jakob Poeltl and Delon Wright of Utah.
Domantas Sabonis (Gonzaga) looks like a clutch performer who steps up when the game is on the line. I love players like that. But his name isn't nearly as crazy as Marmaduke's is. (UC Irvine 's Mamadou Ndiaye, aka that 7'6 kid.)
Which player wasn't on your radar who now is? For me it's R.J. Hunter. And it's basically because of his dad, the coach, falling down during the "big shot.".
Trey Burke has a lot of confidence. Perhaps too much. A number of guys on the team do not seem to display any, on offense. This is going to be an ongoing debate forever. Trey Burke has made A_LOT_OF_CLUTCH_SHOTS over his entire career, from high school, to the NCAA Tournament, to the NBA. This season, more than any other, he's taking a lot of shots because that's what the team demands of him. He takes more shots than I would want him to, but I'm not the coach. And I'm not the decision maker out there with the ball in my hands. Earlier this season Burke has had game winners against the New York Knicks, and most recently put the Detroit Pistons on ice. But against the Timberwolves we saw him take those "high confidence shots" without making them.
Having confidence is important to anything you do. Sometimes it helps you succeed where others fail. I can remember our bench guard Howard Eisley getting a defensive rebound in a close game, not calling a time out, and then going up the court and hitting a three to win, back during out 97-98 season. Some guys have it. Some do not. ESPN puts Trey in the Top 30 out of all the 99 PGs in the NBA this season. Do I want him not calling time outs and taking threes without even looking back at the head coach? No.
Do I want him to be able to win games with his clutch shooting? Yes.
Is confidence and recklessness related? Sadly yes.
At the end of the day, does having a confident back-up point guard who is willing to take big shots (like Sam Cassell) a bad thing?