Tag:Utah Jazz
Posted on: September 24, 2010 11:04 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2010 4:08 pm

The Melo Trade Update: Deal may expand

Four-team trade may expand to five teams by end of weekend, Denver considering holding out for better deal, and Nets want Augustin.

  Okay, so it's been one of those whackadoodle days where nothing has happened for a while and then lots and lots of stuff happens in a very short amount of time. Let me explain. No, that would take too much time. Let me sum up .

  • Most notably, KB says the Nets at some point looked down at their roster , saw that they'd be starting Jordan Farmar and Jordan Farmar alone at point guard, then started making noise about also wanting Charlotte's D.J. Augustin included. That's how these things go, where D.J. Augustin suddenly becomes a sticking point.
  • The Bobcats obviously are reticent to give Augustin up, especially because the deal for them would essentially become Boris Diaw (who has a player option for 2011-2012) and Augustin for Devin Harris. Harris is clearly a significant upgrade at a position they desperately need help at, but that's a lot of assets to give up for a player who's not an elite team.
  • If the Bobcats stick to their guns and the Nets still need a point guard, there's the possibility of a fifth team being added, making this the most ridiculous trade of the year, or at least a strong candidate.
  • Marc Spears of Yahoo! reports that the Nuggets have given Melo a 48-hour deadline dependent upon the teams reaching a deal in principle for Anthony to accept the three-year $65 million extension.
We'll keep you updated throughout the weekend. Eventually, we project this will be a 30-team trade that involves every player in the league outside of Kobe Bryant and the Miami Triad.

Posted on: September 24, 2010 2:18 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2010 2:49 pm

Nets making push for Carmelo in four-team deal

Posted by Royce Young

At some point, Carmelo Anthony will be dealt. I'm convinced.

Until then, we'll just have to settle for a rumor here, or some talks there. But according to Marc Stein and Chad Ford of ESPN.com and confimed by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com real progress is being made. Progress as in a proposed four-team deal.

Though some reports from earlier in the week said Nets rookie Derrick Favors was untouchable, there's a deal proposed that would send Anthony to New Jersey.

Involved in the deal would also be Charlotte and Utah. Denver would receive multiple first-round picks, Andrei Kirilenko from Utah (and cap relief) and Favors from New Jersey. Devin Harris would head to the Bobcats and Boris Diaw to the Jazz.

So take that all in for a second.

Now, of course the hanging chad here is if Carmelo is willing to sign an extension with the Nets. It's become pretty clear that New York and Chicago are Anthony's preferred destinations. But both of those teams don't appear to be serious players at this point. Chicago isn't willing to add Joakim Noah to a deal and the Knicks simply don't have what the Nuggets want.

Stein said the teams are "seriously engaged" in the talks and right now, the trade could potentially drop at any minute. The Nuggets probably prefer to get something done over the weekend if they're convinced Anthony won't come back to signing the extension in Denver. Training camp starts next week and surely management would like to move on with a fresh start rather than having the Melo shadow looming over everything done in camp.

Nothing is done until it's done, but this is a pretty serious deal. The Nuggets would get pretty much exactly what they want, the Nets get Anthony and Utah and Charlotte get to unload some salary. Utah has worked extremely hard to restructure its salary situation and this deal could get them out of the red. A Kirilenko-Diaw switch gets Utah comfortably out of the luxury tax area. In fact, it could be somewhere in the double-digit million tax move. Instead of paying $5 million, Utah could be looking at a $5 million payout .

And of course Charlotte gets a nice point guard in former All-Star Devin Harris. Nothing wrong with that for trading Diaw, who looked pretty fat during the World Championships.

Berger noted the deal is "nowhere near" to completion because of the complications of getting such a deal done, but the talks are happening and the Nets are pushing.

But by the way it sounds, it comes down to Anthony's future plans. If he's willing to ink long-term in New Jersey, this deal could end up going through. And it might just work out decently for everyone.
Posted on: September 24, 2010 1:32 am

Preseason Primer: Utah Jazz

Posted by Matt Moore
Losing your second best player to free agency should be the kind of thing that sets your franchise back coniderably (don't tell the Suns). But the Utah Jazz, the model of consistency in the NBA since Jerry Sloan took over back in the Paleozoic Era, they just keep plugging right along. Making smart, well-reasoned decisions have led them to replacing Carlos Boozer with Al Jefferson. The question is if they can pick up where they left off. And that's where we begin the latest of our Preseason Primers with the Utah Jazz.

Training camp site: Salt Lake City, Utah

Training camp starts: September 28th

Key additions: Al Jefferson (trade), Raja Bell (free agency), Francisco Elson (free agency)

Key subtractions: Carlos Boozer (free agency), Kyle Korver (free agency), Wesley Matthews (free agency), Kosta Koufos (traded)

Likely starting lineup: Deron Williams (PG), C.J. Miles (SG), Andrei Kirilenko (SF), Al Jefferson (PF), Mehmet Okur (C)

Player to watch: Paul Millsap. Al Jefferson was brought in to replace Carlos Boozer, after Paul Millsap was given a huge new contract to replace Boozer. Now that Jefferson has arrived, Millsap finds himself in one of two positions entering camp. He either needs to battle on the glass and play "big" enough to prove he can play in tandem with Jefferson, or he needs to detonate to a degree where Sloan has a legitimate quandray on his hands between the two. Under the right circumstances, either is possible, though neither is likely.

Chemistry quiz: This really all comes down to Jefferson. Deron Williams is still the floor general, and many of the Jazz players have been there for years. Jefferson faces tremendous pressure not only to make an impact immediately, but to work in tandem with Deron Williams and commit himself to Sloan's defensive principles. The Jazz aren't exactly a superstar-centric team, and Jefferson has to prove he can fit that model from the get-go.

Camp battles: Outside of the aforementioned Millsap-Jefferson rumble, shooting guard should be lively. Raja Bell has had enough time off to be completely healthy, but he's got a lot of miles on those wheels. C.J. Miles has a fresher set of treads, but he's also maddeningly inconsistent.

Injury issues:
Deron Williams was severely banged up at the end of last season, so keeping him in the best health possible is top priority. Mehmet Okur may or may not be available by start of the season, so that will be the biggest injury to keep an eye on. The Jazz have been banged up in general over the past few years, and that's before you factor in the knee problems of Al Jefferson. Keep the tape handy, trainer man.

Biggest strength: Versatility. The Jazz have the ability to get up the floor, to slow it down when need be, to work out of the post to an improved degree, and to hit from the perimeter. They play solid defense and can compete with anyone. Those elements shouldn't shift much with the new additions.

Glaring weakness: Cohesiveness. The Jazz have mostly had positive runs over the past six years, but the lows tend to be really low. Jerry Sloan will need to work with what is now a younger team to develop consistency. Additionally, while the Jazz have been very good, they've lacked a ceiling of great. That's the level they need to get to if they want to contend in the West.
Posted on: September 22, 2010 11:02 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 11:06 pm

And here's Deron Williams jumping off a cliff

Posted by Royce Young

Don't look, Utah Jazz. This video might make you throw up.

(Let me throw in the caveat here because this is the Internet and you never know, but I suppose this could be fake. It sure doesn't appear so, but I'm just looking to cover my butt if it's revealed that this was faked by someone so that I don't look like a naive, gullible fool.)

Not to sound like my mother here or get all Serious Sportswriter on you, but Deron Williams doing a backflip off a cliff probably doesn't sit all that well with the Jazz or Jazz fans. Obviously he's fine and he definitely knew what he was doing, but with past instances like Monta Ellis on the moped or Ben Roethlisberger on the motorcycle, what athletes do in their free time is always an interesting situation.

They're adults. They deserve the right to enjoy themselves and enjoy their money. Just because an organization is counting on their body to be healthy doesn't mean they can't have some fun. But at the same time, that body is a major investment for an organization. And if Williams had cracked his head on one of those rocks, this would've been a very big deal.

I don't necessarily have an opinion on it because it's really hard to figure where you draw the line. A player like Kevin Durant spends a lot of his summer playing pickup ball. And it's not that hard to come down wrong and turn an ankle or tweak a knee running some ball on the blacktop. Clearly playing basketball isn't quite as drastic as doing backflips off a jagged cliff, but still, there's a point in there somewhere.

In the end, it doesn't really matter. And I shouldn't have brought it up. Because the moral of this story (and video) is, Deron Williams is pretty darn cool. And good at cliffjumping in a backwards manner.

Via SLC Dunk
Category: NBA
Posted on: September 16, 2010 2:13 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2010 2:13 pm

Heat already zeroing in on final roster?

Posted by Royce Young

Currently, the Miami Heat have 18 players on their roster. That's, like too many. And with Ken Berger's report that Miami is the leading destination for Erick Dampier, the roster might be even more crowded.

But Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel reports that based on some interviews, the 15th and final roster appears to be second-round pick Da'Sean Butler's over Kenny Hasbrouck and Patrick Beverley.

For the Heat, training camp won't just be a time to build up chemistry for a completely revamped roster, but it's also a big audition for a number of players. It's clear that a lot of guys are willing to give up quite a bit to be on the new Heat roster, but Pat Riley and Eric Spoelstra want them to prove that in camp. Which is probably a smart move. Camp will be intense and competitive as guys battle for spots.

Players like Shavlik Randolph, Dexter Pittman, Butler, Beverley and Hasbrouck and looking for how they might fit in whether that's on the roster or somewhere in the rotation.

Winderman's report doesn't mean everything is over in Heat camp. Even if Miami cut ties with Hasbrouck and Beverley, the roster would be at 16, one over the maximum. I think the suggestion here is that Butler was in competition with the other two for that final spot. But if Dampier signs, someone else will be pushed out the door as well.

It's not a done deal for Dampier to head to Miami though. The Houston Chroncile reported that the Rockets have already extended a two-year deal worth $4 million. And Mike Wallace of the Miami Herald says Utah may be a leading contender for Dampier. But if Dampier heads to Miami, the Heat's front line will get even older, even slower but at the same time, even deeper.

It's probably a good thing the Heat moved training camp off site to an air force base. LeBron and friends are already a pretty big distraction not to mention all the roster and position battles to go with it.

Posted on: September 9, 2010 5:15 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2010 6:38 pm

Pop Quiz: How does Jefferson fit with the Jazz?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

How does Al Jefferson fit with the Jazz?

When Carlos Boozer departed for Chicago, the Jazz were facing a severe identity-search. Deron Williams may be the best point guard in the league (simmer down Chris Paul fans, I said "may"), but he can't do it alone. And even with Paul Millsap, the Jazz needed a legitimate post scorer. What they got, was a premier low-post scorer in the league in Al Jefferson.

Jefferson, who couldn't find a place in Minnesota (don't even get us started), is 25 years old, averaged 17.1 points and 9.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks last season. This in a season where he was coming back from significant knee surgery. Jefferson's offensive repertoire is extremely versatile, able to spot up, power-in, and comes with a drop-step hook that's a premium in today's NBA. He doesn't come without his question marks, though. Injury, defensive capability, and focus have all been listed as weaknesses on Jefferson. But that was in Boston and Minnesota. How does he fit with the Jazz?

Using Synergy Sports which provides us with in-depth stats of how players performed in certain sets, we can compare what Boozer did last season with the Jazz with what Jefferson did, and how the two overlap. For starters, Jefferson spent more time in isolation, just slightly. Boozer only spent 5.7% to Jefferson's 8% in ISO. Neither were very productive, scoring only .69 (Jefferson) and .67 (Boozer) respectively. Not surprising for post players, though. In the post, we see some surprising numbers. Boozer only played 21.5% of his overall scoring plays in the post (355 out of 1649). This is compared to Jefferson's 56.8% (772 out of 1358 total). Jefferson was also much more efficient, scoring .92 points per possession in the post to Boozers' not too shabby .79.

To take these numbers into context, it means that it's unlikely Jefferson will be taking over Boozer's role, so to speak. Boozer was strong, but not incredibly so in the post, Jefferson is very strong, and efficient. Another interesting aspect to consider, though, is that Boozer had a higher rate of shooting fouls drawn in the post. Boozer drew a shooting foul in the post 9% of the time to Jefferson's 7.4%. This helped even up the scoring percentage (percentage of possessions resulting in points) between Jefferson and Boozer (46.6% to 44.2%). Jefferson will need to draw more fouls in the post to duplicate Boozer's success there.

But if Jefferson is the stronger post player, it's in the pick and roll that we see where Jefferson will really have to adapt. Jefferson's likely to get a fair number of possessions in the post where he's comfortable. But in the pick and roll last season, Jefferson only wound up in a scoring situation off the P'n'R 6.4% of the time. This is compared to Boozer, who ran the pick and roll with Deron Williams to death, using it 13.5% of the time he was on the floor. Boozer was also hyper-efficient in this set, scoring 1.27 points per possession in the pick and roll, good for 11th best in the league. Jefferson on the other hand, shackled by either Kurt Rambis' triangle system, a lack of a solid point guard, or his own limitations, only ran the play 87 times total, and only had 1.02 points per possession, though that still ranked extremely well. With Deron Williams, Jefferson will need to duplicate or improve upon Boozer's performance if the Jazz want to not only meet their performance of the last few seasons, but exceed it. The area Jefferson will need to improve most upon in the P&R is turnovers.

Jefferson turned the ball over 12.6% of the time in that set, compared to just 5% for Boozer. That's a lot of opportunities that Jefferson left on the floor. Part of that will improve considerably with Deron Williams as his point guard. But Jefferson will have to know where he's at in the play and how to finish, and that may take time to learn in a new system, especially given how little he ran it last season. He'll also want to improve on drawing fouls, where Boozer was better at 10.4% to 8% for Jefferson in percentage of shooting fouls drawn. Some of that comes with better teammates creating opportunities down low, and some of it comes with being more aggressively moving towards the rim in that set.

Another surprising differential was what Boozer did off the cut. Boozer often received the benefit of the Jazz' cut plays, using cuts 364 times for scores for 22% of the time. Jefferson only ran off-cut 6.8% of the time. Both were very efficient in this set though, with Boozer scoring 1.29 points per possession to Jefferson's 1.26. This looks like an area that could really benefit Jefferson, if his body and knees are able to execute it properly.

Outside of what Utah did, Jefferson is able to bring some things he's a beast at. Specifically, scoring off of offensive rebounds. Jefferson and Boozer were nearly identical in their offensive rebounding performance. Jefferson had an offensive rebound rate  (percentage of all available offensive rebounds snagged) of 8.0%, and Boozer finished just slightly ahead at 8.2%. But in terms of scoring off of those rebounds, Jefferson is, quite simply, elite. Boozer is no slouch, scoring 1.16 points per possession off captured caroms. But Jefferson scored a stunning 1.41 points per possession of his 111 attempts. Once again, we see that Boozer was better at drawing fouls, though, getting to the stripe 11.3% of the time underneath versus only 5.4% for Jefferson. (In case you were wondering, neither were great at getting and-ones here, with Boozer only nailing the shot and drawing the foul three times, to Jefferson's 4). Jefferson managed to score 70.3% of the time when he grabbed an offensive rebound. That's stunning stuff. The Jazz have had troubles with being tough down low. Jefferson looks like he'll improve that area offensively immediately.

Of course, offense is only half the battle, and most cliche artists will tell you it's the lesser half. Defensively is where Boozer really looks like the better player. Boozer, being slighter, took on more isolation players, and held them to only a .7 points per possession mark. Jefferson, on the other hand, spent only 54 plays on defense in ISO situations, ending up with a .98 PPP mark. In the post, where we saw Jefferson was strongest offensively, Boozer was still the better player. Boozer used his length and savvy to harass opponents into a .88 PPP mark. Not elite, but not shabby. Jefferson wasn't far behind however. Jefferson allowed a .92 PPP mark, and only gave up a shooting foul 8.5% of the time, to Boozer's 14.8%. This helped even the gap, and the two finished remarkably close to one another in scoring percentage allowed in the post, with Jefferson slightly ahead (45.8% for Al to 45.9% for Boozer).

What does this mean? It means that in a better defensive system, Jefferson could not only not be the weak link, but could also be an improvement. In a bizarre development, both players defended the pick and roll man only 8% of the time. The results, however, indicate that Jefferson has a ways to go. Jefferson allowed a .95 PPP with a 46.2% scoring percentage. This is in contrast to Boozer, who allowed only .79 PPP and a 37.7% scoring percentage. Boozer did foul more in this situation, which is indicative of Sloan's system which is more likely to foul than allow easy layups or dunks.

All of this gives us a picture of what the Jazz will look like on the floor. If Jefferson is able to maintain his efficiency and burly nature down low on the offensive end while improving in the pick and roll, the Jazz offense will have a pair of beasts for Deron Williams to work with, and it may take a considerable amount of pressure off Mehmet Okur so he can do what he does best, shoot from the outside. The Jazz offense might wind up with better numbers than it had with Boozer. Defensively will be the issue, and head coach Jerry Sloan will need to work with Jefferson on where he needs to be and applying pressure. In an offensively loaded Western Conference, the Jazz have to be able to slug it out or they'll wind up in the same position many teams have found themselves. Able to bring their guns to the fight but without any protection from their opponents' weapons.

Next to Deron Williams, this could be one of the biggest surprises of the season. We've said for years that Jefferson just needs a chance to show what he can do. He's got that opportunity, now. The question will be if he can step up like Boozer has, and if he can bring the toughness Utah desperately needs.

Oh, yeah, and he needs to stay healthy. That too.

Posted on: September 3, 2010 9:17 am

Shootaround 9.3.10: What's in a position?

Posted by Royce Young
  • Positionality has become quite a discussion this offseason and Daniel Leroux of Real GM has an interesting take: "The new-look Miami Heat provide an excellent prism for discussing the positional paradigm since they have a few atypical examples when it comes to positional definitions. Both Wade and LeBron have been the primary ballhandler on their teams in recent years, mostly to great success, as each led their respective positions in assists per game each of the last three seasons. In fact, other than Jason Kidd (who is listed at 6’4”, but is clearly a PG on offense and defense), all ten of the best assist per game seasons by a player 6’4” or taller since the 2003 Draft have been by Wade and James. However, neither spends much time guarding the point guard position, which is obviously the traditional lead position offensively."
  • Tom Haberstroh for Hardwood Paroxysm has an look at positions by shot selection: "[W]e find that Miami Heat point guard Carlos Arroyo deviates the most from the shot selection of a traditional point guard.  In particular, 65.3 percent of his shots come from long twos and he barely attacks the basket or launches from downtown.  His z-scores total to 8.19 which is the highest sum of the point guard bunch.  Perhaps is good that he doesn’t attack the basket, as he only converts on 47.8 percent of his tries which is far below new Charlotte Bobcat Shaun Livingston’s 71.4 percent success rate."
  • Aileen Voison of the Sac Bee: "A few hours before Israeli and Palestinian leaders met in Washington, D.C., Thursday in the latest movement toward peace in the Middle East, Omri Casspi placed himself on the fringes of the conversation. At the Peres Center for Peace youth sports camp Wednesday in Jaffa, Israel, he supervised drills. He answered questions about Kobe Bryant. He scrimmaged with a girls team against a boys squad consisting of Israeli and Palestinian youngsters. Sounding at times like a diplomat and on other occasions like a coach, the Kings' second-year forward spoke about unity and tolerance. He stressed the cultural, ethnic and political diversity of the Kings. He left the community center, he said, encouraged and better educated." 
  • Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun with some strong words for Steve Nash: "Hardly anyone talks about Steve Nash and the fact that the 2000 Olympic Games hero refuses to play for Canada now, even though he's still a great player. Yes, he has chronic physical issues, as do many other veteran players who pull on the jerseys for their country at international events. And, yes, he only has a few good years left in the NBA and wants to maximize his abilities in that regard. But, again, the same can be said for other, particularly European, veterans who play in the NBA. But consider this: Canada Basketball undoubtedly would have bent over backwards to get Nash on the team. I know for a fact they would have allowed him to arrive at training camp whenever he was ready. They would have limited his minutes to what he saw fit. Hell, they probably would have lobbied to have a street named after him. But, no, never a discouraging word is said about the man. Speaking out against Steve Nash is like speaking out against Motherhood in this country. Nash is a wonderful person and had given a lot to Canada Basketball the last few years. But you have to wonder why everyone, including Canada Basketball officials, are so reluctant to knock the Golden Boy, even just a little bit, for turning his back on the program and the country. It's not like he spent the entire summer lying on his sore back."
  • Bucksketball wonders if Milwaukee should worry about Andrew Bogut: "And even if he misses some time in October or November, better that then have Bogut battling issues all season.  The Bucks will do their best to make sure their franchise big man is in good physical standing for season, even if they keep the details to themselves.  If it’s late November and reports on Bogut are still muddied and unclear?  Yeah, then it’s time to grab a life jacket and jump ship.  But until then, let’s all stay on the ship and try not to get sick."
  • Hey Jazz fans, aren't you so fired up for Francisco Elson? You're not? Well, why not!?!?
Posted on: August 17, 2010 8:39 am
Edited on: August 17, 2010 10:16 am

Shootaround 8.17.10: New uniforms for everyone

Posted by Royce Young
  • An extremely smart look at Tim Duncan v. Karl Malone in the greatest power forward of all-time discussion: "When you look at Karl Malone’s stats compared to Tim Duncan it is hard to make the case that Duncan is a better player that Malone. Why? Because it is hard to make the case that many players are better than Karl Malone by looking at the stats. He is 2nd all time in career points and 3rd all time in win shares (an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player) with more win shares than everyone but Kareem and Wilt. Tim Duncan would need 6 more years of his average production to equal Malone. As it currently stands he is still isn’t within shouting distance of the Mailman. However, any Duncan supporter might bring up the fact that of course Malone’s career numbers would be better because he played 19 seasons."
  • JaVale McGee makes a common statement: "Reporters who never played the game of basketball or never succeeded in it… Shouldn’t b able to report on it #FACT"
  • Scott Carefoot for The Basketball Jones on why you shouldn't sleep on Blake Griffin: "He’s not just a great dunker, of course, or else he wouldn’t have been the first overall pick. He’s also a highly productive rebounder, he’s a very good ballhandler for his size, and everybody who knows him claims he has a great attitude and work ethic. Plus, he’s had a full season to study the pro game from the sidelines so he should be prepared for the speed and flow of the NBA when he returns to the court."
  • Sam Amick of Fanhouse talked with Ron Artest: "I'm always hungry. That's the good thing about me. Every year I'm hungry. That's the good thing about me is I don't have to get any more motivated. There's nothing anybody can do to motivate me. I'm already there 100 percent. ... That's the good thing about being me. I'm going to work hard every day." Hey, what's the good thing about him?
  • Big Baby Davis says he's ready to grow up and change: "This is the year of finally hitting that line of maturity, of finally becoming that player that I knew I could be." Throughout my career, my three years being here, it's been up and down. When I play, you've seen glimpses, like, 'Wow, this guy could start. Or come off the bench.' Glimpses up and down. But this is the year of Glen becoming that whole player that 10 years down the road, eight years down the road, will hopefully be an All-Star."
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com