Tag:Utah Jazz
Posted on: June 3, 2011 7:41 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 10:46 pm
 

2011 NBA Draft: Which teams should make moves?

A look at which NBA teams should move up or down the draft board in the 2011 NBA Draft. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Team needs and draft positioning never align perfectly in the NBA Draft. Some teams find themselves just out of reach of their target player while others want to avoid taking their prospect earlier than they need to, hoping to cash in on their draft positioning to add another asset.

Even in a weak draft crop like this year’s, the potential for movement – even if minor – is always there. Here’s a look at three teams that might consider moving up the board and three teams that might look to move down.

Three Teams That Should Move Up

1. New York Knicks NY

The New York Knicks need to fill their center position and will likely do whatever they possibly can to accomplish that goal in free agency. Samuel Dalembert makes all sorts of sense. But there’s another option. Sitting at No. 17, it’s possible the Knicks would only need to trade up 5-8 positions to have a crack at Bismack Biyombo, the fast-rising big man prospect out of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Biyombo is hyper-athletic, has an endless motor and is a very skilled shot-blocker, both in one-on-one defense and from the help side.

Putting him alongside Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony would arguably give the Knicks the most dynamic 3-4-5 combination in the entire league. Biyombo doesn’t need touches, can finish putbacks in traffic and will work hard at all times. Does he need some polish and refinement? Of course. Are there questions about his age? Absolutely. But if he falls to the 9-12 range it’s worth whatever price it takes – it shouldn’t be exorbitant – for the Knicks to move up and nab him.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers cle

The Cavaliers own the top pick and will wisely use that on Duke University point guard Kyrie Irving. The intrigue comes with their No. 4 selection, which doesn’t do them much good. The best available names will either be point guards – and therefore redundant with Irving – or European big men. With Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson in place, the Cavaliers are not the ideal breeding ground for a project big.

The rumored trade with Minnesota to get the No. 2 pick makes all sorts of sense. The Cavaliers need starpower and they need talent on their wing badly. Derrick Williams would be an ideal fit. Cleveland, with a deep-pocketed owner and nowhere to go but up, is in a position where it can overpay for the luxury of drafting Williams. Whether that’s by absorbing salary into its massive trade exception, sending over cash or future pick considerations, or making anyone on their roster outside of Varejao available. The reward of building around an Irving/Williams/Varejao core is worth virtually any risk for a Cleveland team coming off a very, very bad season.

3. 
Charlotte Bobcats charlotte

The Charlotte Bobcats have a gigantic hole in the middle. Addressing the center position through the draft can be a difficult process even if you’re at the very top of the board, but picking at No. 9 in a weak crop with no American-born, star big men makes it an even trickier proposition.

Here, the need is so great that they have to bring a big man home, pretty much no matter what. There’s a distinct possibility that Valanciunas, Kanter and Biyombo are all gone by pick No. 9, although there's variability in the stock of all three players. The good news: The Bobcats also possess the No. 19 pick, good bait to move up the board a few spots, so they can manage this risk nicely. Package the picks, move up a bit and snag whichever of those three big men are the most appealing to Michael Jordan and his staff.

Three Teams That Should Move Down

1. Minnesota Timberwolves
 min

The rumors surrounding the Minnesota Timberwolves' draft position started within minutes after David Kahn lost the Lottery ping pong ball drawing to Nick Gilbert, son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. The reasoning is simple: The second most coveted player on the board, Derrick Williams, is not of particular use to the Timberwolves, as his combo forward skillset is similar to that of incumbent Michael Beasley and the Timberwolves have greater needs at both the guard and center positions. With the recent reports that Ricky Rubio will agree to come stateside, those needs have narrowed to a two guard and a center.

An ideal situation for Minnesota would be to auction the No. 2 selection – perhaps along with its No. 20 selection -- into a pick in the 5-10 range and two ready-now rotation players. That would allow the team to draft a big of their choice – Kanter, Jonas Valanciunas or Biyombo – or one of the class’s elite wings – Kawhi Leonard, Alec Burks or Klay Thompson – while simultaneously speeding up the rebuilding curve. Coming off of 32 combined wins in the last two seasons, this team badly needs to win some games.

2. Utah Jazz 

utah-jazz

The Utah Jazz are in a similar position as the Minnesota Timberwolves, although it’s a bit trickier. The obvious fit for Utah is Brandon Knight, the best point guard on the board not named Irving. He’s an intelligent leader, excellent citizen and has loads of upside. For a team looking to move past Deron Williams, he’s as good as the Jazz can hope for.

Knight might not necessarily be the third most valued prospect on the board, though, especially because teams at the top of the draft order often favor big men. Players like Kanter, Valanciunas and even Biyombo might wind up with more buzz when all is said and done.

The Jazz also hold the No. 12 selection, which could turn out to be a bit of no man’s land in this draft. If there's a run on wings – say, if Leonard, Burks and Thompson all go off the board – the pickings get pretty slim for a team that already has a fairly stocked frontcourt. Jimmer Fredette looms as an excellent back-up option, but he’s more novelty than impact player.

A best case scenario: the Jazz land a veteran guard by swapping picks to move down a few slots and are able to still snag Knight wherever they land. 

3. Portland Trail Blazers por

The Portland Trail Blazers have, arguably, the greatest stockpile of unused pieces of any team in the league. Last year's Draft produced three players that played very few minutes -- Luke Babbitt, Elliot Williams, and Armon Johnson -- and the team has three (yes, three!) players stashed overseas already. Blazers management has already acknowledged publicly that they don't anticipate selecting an impact player at No. 21, and the team is hamstrung salary-wise because of a looming decision with Greg Oden. The oft-injured center will command big dollars, and the team has already committed to large multi-year deals for Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews.

If you don't see a player that will meaningfully impact your rotation at No. 21, then why pay him guaranteed first-round money? Ship the pick for a future consideration. Knowing Owner Paul Allen, though, this is an unlikely strategy. He loves the draft too much to simply fold his hand. The problem? He's already fired his keenest advisors: Former GMs Kevin Pritchard and Rich Cho. In other words, expect more haphazard decision-making.

Posted on: June 1, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 7:09 am
 

NBA executive: Jimmer Fredette 'could be a star'

Jimmer Fredette reportedly impressed during a workout with the Indiana Pacers. Posted by Ben Golliver. jimmer-fredette

Conventional wisdom seemed to coalesce around BYU guard Jimmer Fredette this spring: He should be a solid rotation player and a potential spark plug off of someone's bench.

Is that line of thinking getting turned upside down?

On Tuesday, Fredette reportedly impressed during a group workout with the Indiana Pacers. So much so, in fact, that Jazz.com reports that he left talent evaluators with stars in their eyes.
One high placed NBA executive at the workout said, “He was Jimmer Fredette. He shot the ball well, he handled the point and he played at different speeds.  He needs to get better defensively.  He is a tough kid, he is mature, he is very poised.” 

The most interesting comment that was made was the “he could be a solid back-up or he could be a star.”  This is only the second personnel person I have talked to that had Jimmer as a star.  One other compared him to Mark Price and is adamant about it.  

The report also noted two fairly impressive facts: "Jimmer hit his first 12 3s and 82% of his unguarded 3s in his workout."

That performance left Fredette's workout partner, Duke guard Nolan Smith, impressed, according to Pacers.com.
"Where he shot the ball from, what he did for his team, I enjoyed watching him, seeing how many points he was putting up," said Duke's Nolan Smith, who matched up with Fredette in the workout. "It was quite a show."
Coming out of the workout, Fredette sounded confident, telling Indianapolis' 1070 The Fan that he "definitely" feels that his athleticism is underrated (via SportsRadioInterviews.com).
"I think athletic ability has to do with how you’re able to move your body. … It’s not the most flashy athleticism, but it’s being able to make the most use out of your body.” 
While Fredette is listed anywhere from 10 to 20 on most NBA mock drafts, positive early buzz like this could mean that the bottom side of those estimates are overly conservative. He's got two good shots to be drafted with the Jazz picking at No. 12 and the Pacers picking at No. 15. The Phoenix Suns at No. 13 and the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 10 reportedly have interest too. Does he slip through all four of those teams?

Posted on: May 24, 2011 10:36 am
 

Monta Ellis has a tree tattoo on his chest

Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis has a tree tattoo on his chest. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Well, this tattoo is certainly better than getting some type of World of Warcraft shrine inked on your back like Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, but it still feels extreme.

Pictured below is the chest of Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis, which is now covered in a giant tree tattoo. Have a look.

monta-ellis-chest-tattoo

Some of the design elements here are next level. His bellybutton is apparently serving as a hole in the tree's massive root system, there are angels sitting in the tree's branches over one half of his chest and a giant picture of his child on the other. At the top of the tree the words "Family First" are in huge letters, up among the branches and leaves, which in turn sort of blend into his two arm-sleeves.

I'm no dendrologist, but it's possible that this is a magnolia tree, the state tree of Mississippi. Ellis is a Jackson, MS native.

Also worth noting, on his left arm, Ellis has tattooed the words "Ellis Family" just in case the giant "Family First" reminder wasn't enough. If he should happen to want to enter his name into the field of 2012 Republican Presidential candidates, he's off to a good start.

This work appears on a MySpace.com page called Tattoos By Randy and Atlanta Hawks guard Jamal Crawford, Orlando Magic wing Quentin Richardson and Indiana Pacers center Solomon Jones are other NBA players with tattooes pictured on the page. 

Hat tip: The Basketball Jones
Posted on: May 20, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 4:08 pm
 

Enes Kanter skips interviews with 3 lottery teams

Turkish center Enes Kanter reportedly will not meet to interview with three lottery teams. Posted by Ben Golliver. enes-kanter

The long, strange journey of Turkish center Enes Kanter took another twist on Friday, when ESPN reported that Kanter "stood up" three teams with lottery picks at the Chicago pre-draft combine.

Kanter reportedly refused to participate in interviews with the Utah Jazz, Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks. The Jazz hold the No. 3 and No. 12 picks in the draft, the Raptors are the No. 5 pick and the Bucks are the No. 10 selection. Update: a second ESPN report notes that Kanter is now scheduled to meet with the Jazz on June 2.

This early in the process, refusing to interview with teams is highly unusual. The only explanations: Kanter doesn't want to play for those teams or he does want to play for someone else.

On Thursday, CSNWashington.com reported that Kanter's preference was the Washington Wizards, who hold the No. 6 pick. In Washington, Kanter would be in a major market on the Eastern seaboard and would have plenty of playing time. He would also be playing with a dynamic point guard in John Wall.

So what to make of the three teams he stood up?

Utah has a fairly loaded frontline with Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap already in place. Indeed, DraftExpress.com reports: "Doesn't want to play for them according to his camp. Too many big men?"

Toronto could certainly use a low-post presence to pair with Andrea Bargnani, but they've also got rookie Ed Davis already in the development cycle and there's the whole "playing in Canada rather than the United States" thing, which trips up some people.

As for the Bucks, Kanter will almost certainly be gone by No. 10 so other than courtesy there wasn't much point in meeting with them anyway. Also, Andrew Bogut is in place, and a Bogut/Kanter pairing might be a bit redundant. 

Kanter sat out all of last season with NCAA eligibility issues and has reportedly told teams he will conduct only solo workouts.
Posted on: May 9, 2011 9:16 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 9:18 pm
 

Andrei Kirilenko has a really creepy back tattoo

Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko got a creepy new tattoo on his back. Posted by Ben Golliver.
ak47-tattoo

Tumultuous circumstances can lead to bad decisions. After decades of placid basketball life, the Utah Jazz underwent a pretty significant upheaval over the last six months, as longtime coach Jerry Sloan retired, franchise player Deron Williams was traded and the team missed the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2005-2006.

Still, all that drama and new-found free time is no excuse for doing what Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko just did to his back. Yes, that picture above is Kirilenko getting some new ink. The pictures come via @Vicback on Twitter, who notes that the graphic was "finished in 12 hours."

The picture above actually isn't the finished product. Click here for that, which notes that the art "sits like a rock" on Kirilenko's back. Here's another shot for good measure.

As best I can tell, the image shows a knight with a shield and sword riding a gargoyle (?) with a tail like an alligator plus giant red, pumping hearts/lungs/wings (?). I guess "mythical" would be a polite and/or trendy way to describe this abomination.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Kirilenko isn't concerned with your mocking of his new artwork.
Yes, Kirilenko got a super-intense tattoo on his back. Jokingly said he's 30 — he can do what he wants. His kids dig it. So does he.
Sorry, Andrei, your kids are probably just being nice. Or they're terrified.
Category: NBA
Posted on: April 15, 2011 7:39 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2011 7:42 pm
 

Deron Williams to consider extension with Nets?

Deron Williams is reportedly interested in signing an extension with the New Jersey Nets this summer. Posted by Ben Golliver. deron-williams-nets

Without a doubt, the most shocking move at this year's trade deadline was the out of nowhere trade that saw the Utah Jazz send franchise point guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets. 

Once the dust settled, Williams realized he was now the floor general for one of the league's worst teams, a franchise with a new owner, a new coach and dreams of moving to Brooklyn, but little else. 

The fact is that unless Williams, a free agent to be next summer, commits to the Nets, he could be in for a frustrating season next year. No free agents will want to join the Nets unless they know Williams will be there and New Jersey's front office will be paralyzed if they can't be sure they will have Williams to build around.

The New York Post reports that it sounds like Williams is open to committing to the team this summer.
“I like the organization a lot,’’ said Williams, who will be a free agent after next season, assuming a lockout doesn’t cancel the NBA's 2011-12 campaign. “I like the direction it’s going. I could definitely see myself staying here.’’
Williams, who will be moving his family to New Jersey, said he’s open to signing a contract extension this offseason.
“I would like to not have the distraction (of looming free agency) during the season,’’ he said.
Those are potentially franchise-altering words for the Nets, who desperately need to retain Williams given the expensive price they paid -- Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and picks -- to obtain him. Williams is good enough to have the Nets in contention for the playoffs next season, by himself, and that, plus the move to Brooklyn, could go a long way to helping the Nets achieve their goal of becoming a top destination for free agent talent.
Posted on: April 8, 2011 10:40 am
 

Deron Williams done for the year

Williams to have wrist surgery, out for the rest of the regular season.
Posted by Matt Moore

Deron Williams has had one of the more rollercoaster seasons you can have. Started off on a hot Utah Jazz team, kept coming up with comebacks, toppled the Heat, started to fade, hit a long losing stretch, battled with his coach, his coach who had been with the team for 28 years resigns, he's traded to the Nets, who assume he's going to re-sign, his wife delivers a baby girl, he's on a lottery squad, they start to make a move for the playoffs, that falls off, he gets injured. 

And now, surgery. 

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reports Williams will undergo surgery on his wrist to remove bone fragments Friday. He will miss the rest of the regular season (which isn't as scary now as it used to be, since the season's only got another five days on it). It's unfortunate he'll be dealing with the injury when he should be getting acquainted with teammates, working out, trying to fit into New Jersey and getting his mind right after a tumultuous year. Then again, considering the lockout, he could be on the shelf for quite a while to heal and still have time to do all those things. 

Williams won't have international competition to worry about, won't have the grind of the playoffs, the wear and tear on the body. He should be in good condition to recuperate from surgery, then get his mind and body right for his contract season. He's going to have to come up with a strategy to shut down questions about where he's going in 2012, something no one, from LeBron to Dwight Howard, has been able to figure out. Meanwhile the Nets will have to continue to woo the man they already traded for, which they likely did not anticipate. It's been an up and down year for Deron Williams. 

And it's going to continue on that path for the foreseeable future. 
Posted on: March 31, 2011 6:24 pm
 

Jazz on the verge of the wrong side of history

Posted by Royce Young



I'm not sure anyone, Nostradamus included, could've predicted how this Utah Jazz season would turn out. Jerry Sloan resigns/retires mid-season, Deron Williams is traded and the team completely falls on its face and is set to miss the playoffs for one of the few times since the team moved to Salt Lake City.

And all this after they were a chic preseason pick to win the West and verified that with a strong 15-5 start. But it all started to fall apart in January. The Salt Lake Tribune lays it all out very well.
The Jazz’s dramatic mid-season collapse has left casualties. Gone are two once untouchable coaches, and an Olympic talent was traded away. The fall started suddenly, then picked up speed and has changed the face of the organization while significantly altering its future during an already uncertain time.

It is also on the verge of becoming historic.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no team in NBA history has ever started a season 15-5 and not made the playoffs. In addition, no squad during the 64-year timeline of the league has reached 27-13 and not qualified for the postseason.

The Jazz stand on the precipice of both.

Utah’s elimination number has dwindled down to one with seven regular-season contests to go. Either a Jazz loss or Memphis win during the 14 games that remain for both teams will automatically end Utah’s playoff bid, disbanding the 2010-11 Jazz ahead of schedule and preventing the small-market franchise from receiving a postseason payday for the first time in five years and just the fourth in 28.

That's pretty unbelievable. Think about it all for one second. Jerry Sloan leaving? That's crazy. Trading Deron Williams? Just as wild. And then going from 27-13 and a certain Western Conference playoff team to now basically eliminated? Put all of that together and you have one of the most up and down seasons for anyone , ever.

I honestly think this Jazz season is worthy of a two-hour DVD or something. Remember that crazy stretch back in December where they spotted teams double-digit halftime leads and came back in like five straight to win? Remember their wild win in Miami with Paul Millsap losing his mind in the fourth quarter and overtime? Remember how they were really good?

And now this. Now they're 36-39 and have most recently dropped six straight. Since sitting at 27-13 halfway through the year, they've gone 9-26. That's bad. That's like Washington Wizard, Minnesota Timberwolf, Sacramento King bad. The way they've lost at home, the way they've been unable to stop anyone, they way they've seemed to lose focus in close games -- it's been almost staggering.

It's easy to point at the Williams trade, but it was really unraveling well before then. The tension between Sloan and Williams combined with the entire team struggling to buy in to the system. Al Jefferson just wasn't fitting into the flex offense and the Jazz missed Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews and Carlos Boozer a lot more than they expected. They probably would still be a playoff team -- barely -- with Williams, but general manager Kevin O'Connor saw the writing on the wall. Best to blow up and start anew.

I think the natural move is to point at new coach Ty Corbin but obviously I don't think anyone is to blame. That roster has undergone quite the transition leaving All-Stars like Boozer and Williams for new guys like Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and Gordon Hayward. The team is trying to transition and so far, it's been pretty painful. I mean, Earl Watson has started the last 10 games at point guard. That kind of says it all doesn't it?

The Jazz have been trying break through for a long time and make history. They're about to make some now, but definitely not the kind you want your name next to.
Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com