Thursday, July 31, 2008

Olympic Preview

Next week marks the official start of the Beijing Olympics, but the USA men's basketball team is playing some exhibition games there right now. If the most recent game against Turkey is any indication, here's what hoops fans can expect from Team America:
  • A totally logical starting lineup of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and. . . Jason Kidd. That's right. On a team that features Deron Williams AND Chris Paul, Coach K is starting Jason Kidd at point guard. Apparently Bob Cousy and Nate Archibald were unavailable for duty.
  • Improved shooting. FG% is a bit irrelevant in an exhibition game against the Turks, but Team USA did shoot 81% from the line and 43% from beyond the arc. Pretty solid numbers and definitely an improvement over past Olympic squads.
  • Somewhat limited minutes for our Jazz men. Deron played 20 minutes last night (I guess Coach K woke up halfway through the game and realized that Jason Kidd is 35 and terrible) and the Booze got 10. Carlos's minutes could improve if we don't hit the boards hard (no player had more than 8 last night).
  • Kobe Bryant whining about his minutes, lack of shots, and failure to get calls from the international refs. Actually, that didn't happen last night -- it's just a prediction of the future.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sizing Up The West

With the recent news of the Houston Rockets obtaining Ron Artest via trade, I couldn't resist but think of how incredibly tough the Western Conference continues to become. The arms race presses forward with each team still trying to "best" the other. Will the Jazz be able to keep up?

As I begin to size up the Western Conference (mid-summer), this is how I see the teams playing out this coming year:

1. Los Angeles Lakers

Until otherwise beaten, the Western Conference champs remain the champs. The Lakeshow will return every noteworthy player back from last years squad (except for the Rockstar energy of Ronny Turiaf). In addition, the Lakers get back young center Andrew Bynum, who was looking like a legit, daunting force in the paint last season until he got hurt. Who knows how good Bynum will become? In essence, with the addition of Bynum to the frontline of Odom and Gasol, and Kobe playing out on the wing, there's no question that these guys are the team to beat.

2. Houston Rockets

I hate to admit it, but if this team is fully healthy...look-out! Artest gives the Rockets a comparable big three to that of Boston. McGrady, Yao and Artest, all of the sudden become a scary contender. The Rockets also boast an impressive supporting cast with Battier, Scola, Alston, Landry and new acquisition Brent Barry. In the 2007 and 2008 playoffs, the Rockets took us to 7 and 6 games respectively. With a healthy team and the addition of Artest, the Rockets overcome our dominance over their playoff suckitude.

3. New Orleans Hornets

I believe Chris Paul is honestly good enough to get this team even further. With some established continuity and improvement from the other players, the Hornets could be just as good or better than last season. James Posey will help provide some additional shooting, defense and experience to an otherwise in-experienced team.

4. San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs have remained essentially the same this summer. Only, they're getting another year older. Gone so far are Barry, Finley and Horry. There's still time to advance their cause with additional FA signings, but many of the preferred free agents are falling to other teams. Duncan, Ginobili and Parker will keep the Spurs playing at a high level. But, they need to infuse the team with younger talent. We'll have to wait and see what else transpires this summer.

5. Utah Jazz

Perhaps I need to be more optimistic regarding the Jazz? For two years straight, we've finished in 5th place for playoff seedings. The West coninues to get better while we stay the status quo. I like our talent, especially with Deron Williams being a legit superstar, but something needs to happen for us to improve upon last year's performance. Boozer and Kirilenko, in particular, need to step-up bigtime or else we need to make an earth-shattering, groundbreaking trade.

6. Phoenix Suns

The Suns could actually finish better than 6th next year. With Shaq, he'll only become better acquinted with his teammates. Amare Stoudamire is turning into an amazing frontcourt star... legit powerhouse. And because of it, Shaq doesn't have to carry his team anymore (nor is he able). He and Nash may be getting older, but there's still enough impressive talent on this team to make one last run.

7. Portland Trailblazers

Here's the surprise team! I believe the Blazers have the makings to become a monster. Roy and Aldridge are already playing at a high level. Oden, although young and a rookie, will provide them some defense, at the very least. And the rest of the team is extremely talented...Webster, Outlaw, Frye, Bayless and Fernandez. This will be a playoff team.

8. Dallas Mavericks

I'm not sold on the Mavs. I think they have enough experience to make the playoffs, but I believe they're definitely on the downward slope of their run. Dirk can play at a high level still and Josh Howard is pretty good, but can Jason Kidd lead the team every night? He's starting to get older himself. They'll battle for the last spot in the playoffs with the Nuggets.

9. Denver Nuggets - Traded Camby away for nothing! Don't play defense.

10. LA Clippers - Baron Davis isn't enough to get them there, even with a team-overhaul

11. Golden State Warriors - Too young and inexperienced.

12. Sacramento Kings - Starting over with a new cast of characters. It's Kevin Martin's team.

13. Minnesota Timberwolves - Will be slightly improved with Kevin Love and Mike Miller.

14. OKC - Long ways to go!

15. Memphis Grizzlies - Yuck! These guys will be downright awful.

How do you size up the West? Go Jazz!

Big Spenders

I came back from an extended weekend (in which I experienced my first earthquake) and discovered that the Jazz matched CJ's offer. I'm still in shock. I mean, the deal wasn't a bankbuster, and CJ has shown "flashes," but for a team that is loaded with bloated contracts (read: AK) and mediocre swing players, inking the team's 10th man for at least 3 years seems a little bit ostentatious. Since when do the Jazz sign $15 million deals with 3rd stringers? We're the new Mavs!

But I wonder if the Jazz brass decided to keep CJ as a hedge against the possible apocalyptic tidal wave of player defections that could occur over the next two years. The Tribune has a nice overview of next summer's contract situation, but the gist is that half the team's status is up in the air. To wit: after next season Boozer, Okur, and Korver can opt out, Ronnie Price, Jarron Collins, and Brevin Knight will be unrestricted (and, in Collins' case, undesirable) free agents, and Millsap will be a restricted free agent.

Could it be that the Jazz see CJ as a cheap insurance policy in case Korver and Price look for big pay raises next year? $3.7 million isn't too much to pay for a half-decent back-up swingman, especially when the only other option is player/coach Harpring. If Korver decides to stick around, and the Jazz extend Brewer, they can shop Miles around to teams willing to take a cheap risk on a talented young 2-guard. If Korver leaves, Miles fills the backup shooting guard spot and gives the Jazz some leverage in negotiating an extension with Brewer.

So, just because the Jazz have invested in CJ Miles, don't expect him to cut into Brewer's, or Korver's, or Harpring's minutes next year. CJ's time to shine may not have arrived, just yet. His role on next year's team may well be identical to his present role: brooding bench enigma.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tune in to TCG

TCG took to the airwaves again today, as the Draft Guru blessed the residents of the Wasatch Front with his basketball knowledge. Listen here for the Guru's take on Carlos Boozer's recent comments about Miami, his breakdown of the Revue, and his unabashed love for a Luol Deng-Andrei Kirilenko trade. Excellent work, Guru. . .

Boozer & Williams arrive in Beijing!

Let us all pray that they both wear face masks when they are not on the court.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jazz Match

Welcome Back CJ! Hope you enjoyed your week of Oklahoma City bliss. The Jazz decided to match CJ's offer sheet with Oklahoma City, which will give him a 4-year deal worth $15.8 million.

In just a year's time, the Jazz have gone from a dearth of talented, experienced wing players to an absolute plethora of them. With Morris Almond playing well in the Rocky Mountain Revue (29!), CJ's matched contract ensures that there will be limited time and minutes for all of the six wing players vying for gametime.

Kirilenko, Harpring, Korver, Brewer, Miles and Almond make up the crowded back court positions. Only two of them will end up playing at one point in time during a game. Which of them will stick around in the years to come?

With CJ going nowhere, the Jazz make it perfectly clear that he becomes their future.

To Europe . . .

Josh Childress has sent shock waves through the NBA this last week by defecating on the "NBA Dream" and heading to Greece. This story has no immediate effect on the Jazz, but just wait . . . I have a feeling that this trend will grow. Already this Summer, the NBA has lost Juan Carlos Navarro, Tiago Splitter, Bostjan Nachbar, Carlos Delfino, Primoz Brezec, and Loren Woods. They all said no thanks to the NBA because they got better money from a team overseas. But the truly interesting thing about Childress is that i) he is not European, ii) he has no European connection, and iii) he easily could have stayed in the NBA. But he is hopping the Atlantic anyway.
The Bottom Line: the euro is currently destroying the dollar, and the European leagues (especially Greece & Spain) have had huge injections of capital and can now afford to pay players more than the NBA. Remember this guy?
Most of us assume that Raul's NBA career with the Jazz was a bust, but what we fail to realize is that he is making BANK with Real Madrid, more than the Jazz ever paid him (he never even made $1 million a year in SLC).
For the first time in NBA history, the NBA Draft was riddled with commentary about European players drafted by NBA teams that would subsequently stay home because the money is better is Spain and Greece.
Players turning down offers to play in the greatest basketball league in history? Players turning their backs on the NBA and all its money? Really? Keep your head on a swivel, because we'll be hearing this a lot more.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brevin Knight: Not a Total Waste

The big buzz around Jazztown is that the Jazz UNLOADED JASON HART!!! In related news, they acquired Brevin Knight. Now, I'm no expert, but any move that (1) saves money and (2) unloads Jason Hart is a good one. Kudos to Kevin O'Conner and the sons-of-LarryH for pulling this off.

But, what did the Jazz really get in Brevin Knight?

Positives: First and foremost he is not Jason Hart. Now, I don't hate Hart; he seemed like a classy guy. For instance, he wanted out of Utah, but never went public with it. He should be applauded for that. He should not be applauded, however, for his basketball skills. He was a terrible fit for the Jazz, and rarely looked like an NBA player. He admittedly struggled to learn Jerry's flex offense and shot a miserable 32% from the floor (which I think is generous). By the end of the season I preferred Collins to Hart. That is unforgivable.

Knight, on the other hand, is a crafty, heady ballplayer. Now standing proudly alongside Stanford grads/Jazz heroes Jarron Collins, Curtis Bordchardt, and Adam Keefe, Knight is a wily veteran that can give you 8-10 minutes per game without missing a beat. Or, if you suck like the Clippers, 22 minutes per game. Knight is a true point guard who gets others involved and is a combination of power and grace, just as Kirilenko prefers. OK, maybe without the power.

He is also a perfect Jazz character guy. Aside from his aforementioned pseudo-ivy alma mater, Knight possesses an outstanding resume with attributes that the Jazz love: he's not flashy, does charity work, is rarely involved in strip club shootings, and has nuns for groupies.

One last positive: Clippers fans (all 15) think the trade was a good move for the Clippers. Any group that has been watching nothing but Clippers basketball for the best few decades is probably not the best judge of NBA talent. But hey, if you're excited about the second coming of Jason Hart, go nuts.

Negatives: Let's not fool ourselves - this is not the Brevin Knight that nearly put an end to Keith Van Horn's college career, single-handedly. Knight is 32, and 32-year old 5''10' point guards are not in high demand in the NBA. Knight was once as quick as quicksilver, but has lost more than a step since then. His size on defense makes him a real liability against bigger (read: all) point guards. He makes up for it a little bit with his quick hands, but it's a little like Dee Brown without the cornrows when he's out there.

Lastly, one thing that has been true of Knight since his Stanford days: he can't shoot. A career 41% shooter, defenses simply collapse on him to deny penetration. But, as with everything in this deal, when compared with what the Jazz gave up, his shooting numbers seem like love at first sight.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Welcome, Brevin

Kevin O'Connor made a sweet move. It may not win us a championship, but at least Brevin Knight will help us out more than Jason Hart did. It was obvious that Hart didn't belong on the Jazz. Ronnie Price eventually took over his back-up duties near mid-season when Hart just wasn't effective running the team.

What Knight brings to the Jazz is floor leadership, passing, ballhandling and play-making ability. He gets players the ball and lives off of his assists. No doubt, he'll fit in perfectly with the Jazz and the motion offense. Knight, in his 22 minutes per game, averaged 4.6 ppg and 4.4 apg. He also recorded 1.4 steals per game and had a 4 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. Essentially, he provides some quality defense and doesn't turn the ball over. Those are good qualities to have.

While he may not save the Jazz from noteworthy contenders (like Batman sparing Gotham from the Joker), Knight should at least offer the Jazz some savy point guard play. Long live Brevin Knight to Salt Lake!
Revue Notes...

Almond Scores Big
Morris Almond had his best RMR performance on Tuesday night. He outplayed both Chris Douglas-Roberts and Julius Hodge to post 24 points and 4 rebounds in a Jazz victory. Almond kept attacking the rim with ferocity and was rewarded with 18 free throw attempts while making 14 of them. He possesses a sweet jumper and impressive mid-range game. In fact, it seems that he has a better mid-range jumper than 3-point shot. He plays really well within the offense and has shown a willingness to play some better defense. To me, he looks a little more active and a little more athletic (more bounce to his step). Can he show that he's ready to replace CJ's vacated spot? I think the Jazz will probably let CJ go, knowing that Almond is prepared, waiting in the wings.
Koufos and the Fes
On the other hand, our big guys aren't looking so good. In particular, Fes isn't performing up to par. He hasn't shown to be a consistent performer yet. He played a lackluster 18 minutes last night, scoring only 4 points and gathering 5 boards. Last season, even Hajael Ara-ooojo looked better in the Revue than Fes does now. Fes has a long ways to go. The question is, will he ever get there...fulfilling on his immense potential? He's young... so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Koufos, on the other side, seems to show flashes of brilliance. Occasionally, he'll make a remarkable play or impressive move in the paint, only to then disappear into the night. Koufos also, has a lot to learn and experience. In the mean time, the Jazz STILL have a need for an effective back-up center who can play defense. If it's not going to be these two, and it's not Collins (that's a given!), then who will it be?
Brazleton for the Win
Tyrone Brazleton, the impressive PG from Western Kentucky, broke out his Sweet 16 moves in the 4th quarter to pull out the Jazz victory. Brazleton scored 12 of his 16 points in the final quarter to help the Jazz secure the win. Way to go Tyrone!

See you in hell Hart!

The Jazz finally got rid of perhaps the most worthless back-up point guard since Jim Les (this point may be debateable). Good riddance! I doubt Brevin Knight will be a revelation, but he cannot be worse than Hart. Now let's put Collins on the trading block.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Filling CJ's Slot

Now that CJ is on his way to the prarie, the Jazz suddenly have an open roster slot. (CJ is not officially gone; but he will be, mark my word). So, assuming that the Jazz put someone in that 15th slot (a big assumption) who do they nab?

A Restricted Free Agent: Most of the guys that I wanted when free agency began are gone. But there is one big afro still on that list who hasn't signed anywhere - Josh Childress. Unfortunately, it looks like Childress wants more than the MLE - he's threatening to sign a 3-year deal with a Greek team. While I doubt he actually heads to the Aegean Sea this fall, it appears he is looking to get out of Atlanta. But the Jazz are going to have to do more than offer the MLE; Atlanta will match that in a heartbeat. So the only way we get Childress is in a sign and trade. And no, CJ cannot be included in such a trade.

Most other valuable restricted free agents still out there are out of our financial league, although a few (Delonte West, Ryan Gomes, Louis Williams) would make me proud as our 15th man.

An Unrestricted Free Agent: Kwame Brown anyone? Don't scoff just because he sucks. We need to increase our lottery picks. He has hands of iron, but he's a huge body that plays solid defense - two things that Jarron Collins lacks. I wouldn't mind the Jazz throwing a few million at the former #1 overall and hoping he can play defense for 10 minutes a night.

A more likely Jazz signing might be Bostjan Nachbar. The incredibly pale small forward is like a Matt Harpring clone with better outside shooting. Plus, he is from Slovenia, which would mean that we could finally let Deron run wild backed only by 4 Eastern Europeans. How could a lineup of Okur, Fes, Kirilenko, and Nachbar not succeed?

A Rocky Mountain Revue Guy: Karolev, Britton Johnson, the bevy of point guards that were abused by George Hill? This would be a cheap move, but wouldn't improve the club any. I'd rather that the Jazz...

Do Nothing: The Jazz usually don't have a 15th guy. This year probably won't be any different.

[Update: It is being reported that Childress really is going to Greece. Who knew? Also, Nachbar is headed to Russia (thanks for the heads up Guru). All hail the mighty Euro.]

Sunday, July 20, 2008

CJ Signs With OKC

So, I guess we now understand why CJ Miles decided to forgo playing with the Utah Jazz in the Rocky Mountain Revue. CJ signed an offer sheet with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, worth $15 million over 4 years. The Jazz have until next Friday to decide whether or not to match and retain Miles.

The offer sheet seems like just enough to make you wonder what the Jazz will do. With a slew of wing players already stacked on the roster, I think the Jazz may decide to let CJ go. Morris Almond would then get an opportunity to pick up the available left-over minutes that CJ leaves behind.

At the same time, $3.8 million a season isn't a lot of money to be offering a talented, wing player. CJ could prove to be worth more than that amount if he's given consistent playing time. This becomes the problem though, because the Jazz can't match such a contract offer if they're not willing to give CJ the minutes. The Jazz (I believe) would have to make a contingency trade in order to free up time for CJ to see the floor. Is it likely the Jazz keep Miles? Possible...but, probably not.

Revue Notes...

I had an opportunity to watch the first night of the Rocky Mountain Revue at Salt Lake Community College on Friday night, and I almost wish I hadn't. The Jazz got slaughtered by the San Antonio Spurs rookie league team, 82-57.


Fes was awful! He contributed 0 points and had 7 turnovers. He was in constant foul trouble. It was a nightmare performance for him. He even mentioned after the game that it was his worst performance that he's ever had. I'll give Fes a 1st-Game "jitters" pass since everyone can have a bad game, every once in a while. I just hope that he's able to improve over the course of next week during RMR action or else I might become quite worried. He did bounce back in game 2 on Saturday, providing the team with 9 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Twin Towers

Koufos and Fesenko started for the Jazz at the big positions. They looked like a modern day 7-foot, dual-threat combination (ala Sampson and Olajuwon). But unfortunately, it wasn't much of a threat to the opponent, since the Spurs absolutely destroyed us. Koufos was non-existent in game 1. He did, however, have a better performance in game 2 on Saturday night scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 boards.

Almond Consistency

Morris Almond can score the basketball and was the best player on the floor for the Jazz, chipping in 17 points. Unfortunately...

George "Freaking" Hill!

The best player on the floor for either team was little-known, 1st round Spurs selection George Hill from IUPUI. Hill was spectacular against the Jazz, abusing the Jazz from the PG position and posting 21 points. I'm afraid the Spurs may have made another fine, late-round selection. Remember Tony Parker? Hill looked the part of a future stud... 6'3", long arms, great athleticism and fantastic point guard skills and instincts. Rising Stock and I were wondering what Kevin O'Connor must have been thinking as George Hill was dominating the game, doing essentially whatever he wanted. It may not be Greene, Arthur or Jordan we passed on... but George Hill!

Friday, July 18, 2008


As expected, the Jazz re-signed Deron Williams yesterday. Also as expected, D Will took the popular "three-year with a player option for a fourth" max contract that stars like Chris Paul and LeBron James have been signing recently. This is the course that TCGers, led by the Crotty Kid, have been predicting for months now.

So what does it mean?

First, the good:
  • We lock up Williams for at least three years. He's the cornerstone of the franchise and by all accounts, appears happy to be in Utah.
  • He has an enormous financial incentive to play well and help the Jazz win ballgames for the next three seasons -- a trait you like to have in your franchise player. He'll be looking for a huge contract when this one wraps up and will no doubt be playing like it. Someone who takes three years of guaranteed millions instead of five thinks they're going to keep competing at a damn high level.
And the bad:
  • It would have been nice to have him for five years, which apparently is what the Jazz were pushing for and what took the contract process two weeks to complete. At the end of the day though, D Will had all the chips and everyone knew it.
  • The Jazz are going to have to pay the luxury tax in 2009-2010 if something drastic doesn't happen. We have almost $45 million committed to three players that year (Booze, Kirilenko, and Williams) and $65 million to six players. If we want to keep Brewer and/or Millsap we're also going to have to give them bigger bucks. The cap that year will probably be around $75 million, so you do the math. . . unless Greg Miller is a hell of a lot less frugal than his old man, Boozer or AK will probably have to go.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What Has CJ Been Doing with His Free Time?

What has the most polarizing third-string shooting guard in Jazz history been up to now that he has cleared his summer schedule of any professional basketball related activities? Two things, mostly: games of dynamite against 7-year olds and rapping.
First, he made a cameo at Dallas' Schimelpfenig Middle School (actual name). The article states that Miles was one of the final six contestants in the knock-out tournament (note: knockout is referred to as Dynamite in Utah). The other five contestants were all 7-year olds. When Miles missed a free throw he would throw down a vicious dunk over those little posers. The article doesn't report who won, but the kids were "wowed" by Miles' shooting ability. That's a good sign, right?

Second, he is making music. Really good music. Actually he made this rap last summer with former Jazzman and current Wizard Dee Brown. But its still hot enough for summer '08! Hopefully with all his time off he can work on his freestyle rhymes and put Shaq to shame. Maybe Jerry will be impressed with his chops and stick him in the rotation.

P.S. Please rely on these links for all of your CJ Miles information. Do not do a google image or youtube search for "CJ Miles" unless you are looking for the latest phillipino soft-core porn star.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Breaking News

A bit of breaking news out of the SLC. The Tribune is reporting that Greg Miller, Larry Miller's son, is going to be the new CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. A further sign, perhaps, that TCG's favorite softball player is not in the best of shape. Godspeed, LHM!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Great Moments in Utah Hairstyles

The big news out of camp today is that The Cher"noble" Giant, Kyrylo Fesenko, died his hair blonde!!! Truly groundbreaking stuff. While this would seem to be a non-issue in a state in which it is still cool for dudes to have blonde tips, when your coach is a no-fun party pooper it makes for the second most popular Deseret News article. Sloan has a way of winning these battles-of-the-coif and I assume that if Fesenko is on the active roster on opening day he'll have his head shaved.

But that doesn't mean that players from Utah never have stunning, even trend-setting locks. A trip down memory lane, accompanied with a lameness ranking:

Gentlemen Prefer Blonde:
Fesenko is hardly a trendsetter on this Jazz squad: Okur and Kyle have already done the peroxide thing. It works better if you are married to Mrs. Turkey or have post-NBA aspirations of being in a Christian boy band then if you are just some big Ukranian. Also, Kyrylo, that look is seriously so 1999.

Lameness Quotient: 9 out of 10. As Mo Almond said, this look might fly in the Ukraine, or Turkey, or church, but it has no place in the NBA. Bobby Sura notwithstanding.

Ward-ball hero:
If you are a 6'11'' basketball player and you don't like to come inside the three point line, or if you are infamous for crying during practice or playing simcity, it's best not to look like a complete choir boy when playing in the NBA. But, if you are going to flaunt your dorkiness, go all out: you might as well go for the Cherokee Parks look, ala Memo circa 2001, or the pre-balding combover, ala Kirlenko.

___ Lameness Quotient: 7 out of 10. Remember how Cherokee Parks had to become a gothic to get anyone to take him seriously in the NBA? That's what happens when you look like this.

The "Edgy" Look:

These hairstyles are a little closer to what the Jazz need - some edge, some toughness, some realness. Kirilenko needs something that says I-am-not-really-in-control-of-my-rage and his short-lived faux-hawk was about as close as he ever came to that. Deron is all business now, but in high school he rocked the afro puff (bring it back!). And Millsap with the mini-braids? I love it. All of the sudden he loses the gentlemanly manner that he acquired from sitting next to Jarron Collins and becomes a menacing presence.

Lameness Quotient: 3 out of 10. You stick out a little with these 'dos, but its obvious that you mean NBA business.

The Black-Panther-Party Look:

Nirvana. To look as stellar as Gerald Govan did, it takes more than just a fantastically militant afro - it also requires the spectacles of a basketball professor and the physique of Ben Wallace. Obviously to find someone with this look I had to go to the pre-Miller, pre-Sloan era: the Utah Stars, baby. This look would never fly in the Larry Miller regime. Rebounding-machine-meets-social-revolutionary is not what Miller is all about.

Lameness Quotient: Negative 1 out of 10. Even Dr. J's afro couldn't hang with Govan.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tune in to TCG

TCG was back on the radio this week as Pasty Gangster was a featured blogger on David Locke's radio show on KFAN. If you are near a computer, you can listen to the show here. (Fast forward about two-thirds through the show to get to the blogger section). Fortunately, there was no mention of Pasty's embarassing man-crush on Jarron Collins.

The Revue

Ah, the Revue. As the Guru notes in his latest post, it's upon us once again. And it's come a long way since it was held in East High's flood prone Mickey Oswald Fieldhouse. Which, incidentally, has since become the site of a new and, in my mind at least, less intriguing annual event: the filming of the damn High School Musical series. Old Os is no doubt rolling over in his grave.

But I digress. Below are three things you'll see for sure at this year's Revue:
  • A Jazz roster featuring names like Mike Efevberha, Haminn Quaintance, and Leemire LaTray Goldwire. The Jazz have 15 players under contract but hardly any of them are going to play in the Revue, so we have to field a team somehow. Anyway, better luck next year, gentlemen. There's no room at the Jazz Inn this year. . . enjoy your season in the IBA.
  • The Iranian national team. That's right. As the Bush Administration contemplates air strikes against the regime in Tehran, the most conservative state in the nation is hosting their basketball team. Not exactly a hardwood version of the Miracle on Ice, but close enough. Color me unsurprised if a group of Young Republicans from Orem starts chanting "Ahmadinejad Sucks" during halftime of one of the games.
  • A team of D League All-Stars. Isn't this entire squad an oxymoron? If you're an all-star in the D League you should either a) not even be in the league because you're in the NBA or b) at least be playing with an NBA team during the summer (like Fes and Almond).
And three things I hope you'll see:
  • A breakout performance from Fesenko. I've been picking up a lot of rumors that the Jazz brass is very excited about his work ethic and development. I'd love to see that translate to big numbers on the court. Come on Fes -- we need you!
  • A sharpshooting Mo Almond. It's likely he'll be buried on the bench again this year, but if CJ leaves and someone else gets injured. . . you never know. We could always use another shooter, especially one who is more athletic than Korver.
  • CJ suiting up. Eh, a guy can always dream.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Reviewing the Roster

The Jazz announced their Rocky Mountain Revue roster for next weeks games. And the biggest news perhaps, is that CJ Miles won't participate in the Revue. Just like last season, CJ will by-pass the opportunity to play on the Jazz Revue team and the chance to work on his game in Summer League. As a fan, I wish that he'd play. It can only help improve his game, whether he stays on the Jazz or not.

Forgetting about Miles, the Jazz will have Morris Almond, Kyrylo Fesenko and Kosta Koufos playing for the team. Those three players will garner most of the attention from the local crowd. With our 15 regular season roster spots currently filled (including CJ's qualifying offer), there probably won't be additional RMR Jazzmen making the actual team. Regardless, I'll share my thoughts on a few players from our RMR roster who might seem intriguing to fans and possibly Jazz brass alike.

Yaroslav Korolev 6'9" SF Russia
Korolev was drafted 13th in the 2005 NBA Draft by the LA Clippers. He was drafted as a young kid with extreme potential to become a good player. But after 2 seasons with the Clippers (not seeing the floor), they let him go...clearly admitting that they had made a mistake in drafting him so high (Danny Granger went after him!). I'm not entirely sure why the Clippers gave up on him so fast. He was a big project at the time. I don't think he ever got the opportunity, the training and development he needed to become a player. He's 3 years removed from that draft and hopefully has progressed to a better point as a player. Who knows? Maybe he was going to be a bust all along. But from what I know, he's got some skills and talent. He played for Moscow Dynamo last season and didn't seem to put together especially convincing stats. We'll have to see how he performs in the Revue. Perhaps he'll be able to follow in the footsteps of our own Russian star, AK47.

Earl Calloway 6'2" PG Indiana
Calloway has been considered a late-bloomer and has played well in Summer League already. He was named to the All 2nd-Team from the Orlando Summer League this past week while playing for Indiana. Last season, he played in the D-League for Fort Wayne and improved quite a bit. He's cat quick and very crafty as a point guard. It sounds like he's already getting some attention from NBA teams, but mostly from International scouts. He should at least be able to get an offer overseas if it doesn't work out in the NBA. We'll have to see how he runs the Jazz team in the RMR.

Britton Johnsen 6'10" SF The Runnin' Utes of Utah
The local product from Murray and the U has a chance to play for the local team. If nothing else, this will be a good experience for Brit and a great storyline for the local media hacks. Honestly, I've always enjoyed watching Johnsen play over the years. He had a terrific career at the U for Majerus and even had opportunities to make the NBA, with short stints playing for the Orlando Magic and the Indiana Pacers. My thoughts on Brit (being a Ute fan and all), are that if he had developed a deadly outside jumper from 3, he would have been a staple NBA player. He was always on the skinny side and lacked some strength, but possessed a great handle, passing ability, length and mid-range game. If anyone knows his game, I do, since I played against him throughout high school. It's great to support a former foe. Will he make the team? No... but it'll be fun to cheer for him. Go Brit Johnsen!
Other Notables...
Tyrone Brazleton - The impressive Western Kentucky guard who lifted his team to the sweet-16 in the NCAA tourney
Kevin Kruger - Former UNLV guard and Utah Flash player
Rickey Paulding - Missouri wing and former 2nd Round Detroit Piston pick has some athleticism
Hiram Fuller - Actually made the fall camp roster for the Jazz in 2006 before being let go.
Enjoy the Revue. Hopefully, Almond and Fesenko dominate it!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Update: Former Jazz Backup Point Guards

Two bits of news on a slow Friday for those of you who follow former Jazz bit players a bit too closely.

Keith McLeod: The former Jazzman is coming back from his days in Italy to back up Jason Kidd in Dallas. The crazy thing about McLeod is that he wasn't really a backup for the Jazz. He started. A lot. He was quite average in just about every way. Amazingly, he started over Deron for about half of Williams' rookie year, even though Keith shot around 35% from the floor as a jazzman. Kind of like this guy.

Dee Brown: Unlike McLeod, Brown was actually a guy that I would have liked to see in Utah for a while. He was undersized, but scrappy like a wolf, or a really energetic beaver. My hometown Wizards signed him to a deal that the Jazz can match, since they still own his rights - but have said they won't. I never understood why we let him walk just so we could sign Jason Hart to a two-year deal. Oh yeah, because Dee liked to party.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why Not?

As a Jazz fan, it's always fun to listen to trade rumors and create your your own trade offers using the Trade Machine. In this edition of Jazz GM, I offer some trade ideas and possible acquisitions under the heading... "Why Not?" I believe these opportunities could possibly benefit the Jazz this coming season.

Sign Alonzo Mourning

Why? He could be a force for the Jazz inside the paint. He'd only have to play about 15 minutes per game, and his defensive prowess and shotblocking would be heaven-sent. The Jazz could sign him for a 1-yr deal.
Why Not? Will his health hold up? Does he want to leave Miami? Something tells me..."No". Memories of Ronnie Seikaly may come back to the surface (of someone who doesn't want to play in Utah...even if it's just for a year).

Trade Collins, Hart and Almond to Indiana for Jeff Foster

Why? Foster can play some D in the paint. He may not be a shotblocker, but he can man-up. His contract is only for a season. We'd give away expirings and an asset shooter in order to make the deal. Doesn't Foster just look like a Jazz-man?

Why Not? We probably wouldn't re-sign Foster after this next season. We already have some young centers in the pipeline that could help us out. This acquisition could possibly stunt their growth.

Sign & Trade CJ Miles to New Jersey for Sean Williams

Why? The Jazz need post defense and shotblocking. New Jersey needs wing players. Williams could help us defend the paint. CJ would be a nice young piece for NJ.

Why Not? Sean Williams has been known to be a "loose cannon". Can he keep it together while playing in Utah? Would the Jazz want to gamble on his talent?

Sign & Trade AK, Miles and Almond to Philly for Iguodala and Green
Why? The Jazz could use a dominant shooting guard in the line-up. Iguodala has it all...athleticism, scoring ability, upside, and unselfishness. He would become the best shooting guard the Jazz have ever had; not only on the current roster, but compared to all past greats. He could be the missing piece. The Sixers need wing play and shooting from the perimeter. Miles and Almond are young shooters. Kirilenko would provide another piece to a formidable Philly frontline.

Why Not? Philly is probably set with Brand coming on board. I think they'll be satisfied with resigning Iguodala. Why would they make this trade?

Trade Boozer to Charlotte for Gerald Wallace and Sean May

Why? Are we confident Boozer will sign with us next summer? He may bolt without the Jazz getting anything back in return. This trade allows the Jazz to pick up a great wing defender and save us a few bucks in the future by not having to sign Boozer. I believe our point guard (Deron) is SO good that he can potentially make any power forward look great...even Sean May. Charlotte needs an offensive force. Boozer is it. This is a classic rumor going around the internet. Be careful of those rumors!

Why Not? Boozer is one of the keystone players to the current Jazz franchise. Would we give up on the Booz now, while we're a contender?


Now...Jazz brass would never do it, but can you imagine Artest playing for the Jazz. Pickin' fights, beatin' down foes, wrestling get the idea. That would be sweet! Maybe we need to get him before LA does.

And finally, word has it that Detroit may be putting together an offer for CJ Miles. This rumor is coming from We'll have to see what happens.

From Losers to Lottery Picks

Last month's draft seems like a distant memory, so let's start prepping for next year's draft. I know next to nothing about who's hot and who's not for 2009. But it might not even matter - the Jazz may not even have a first round pick next year.

Here's the skinny on our future picks. Due to the Korver/Giricek trade, we owe Philly a first round pick sometime between next year and 2013. However, due to the memorable 2004 Keon Clark/Tom Gugliotta trade we picked up a first rounder from the Suns (who acquired it from the Knicks in the Stephon Marbury trade).

Both picks are heavily protected next year, but the Knick's pick is completely unprotected in 2010! (Note: good GMs never let picks become completely unprotected. Score one more for Isaiah.) 2009:

So, here's the breakdown for the 2009 draft. First, let's suppose that the Knicks are not one of the top 8 teams in the league next year. This seems like pretty safe assumption, unless they can find someone to feed Malik Rose in the post. If they suck the Knicks keep their 2009 pick. If the Jazz are a top 8 team next year then Philly receives our first round pick. That means if the Jazz pick between 23-30 next year, the pick goes to the 76ers; if the Jazz pick between 1-22 we keep the pick, but still owe Philly a future pick.


With me so far? Now, 2010 is where things get hairy. If the 76ers get our pick in 2009, the Jazz get two first round picks in 2010 - their own pick as well as the Knick's pick. This is the ideal scenario.

On the other hand, if they still owe Philly a pick the Jazz would forfeit their own pick to the 76ers if the Jazz' pick is outside of the first 15 picks. If in some cruel twist of fate the Jazz are lottery-bound in 2010 (like if Boozer and Okur both opt out), then the Jazz keep both picks in 2010.


If the Jazz' pick doesn't go to Philly by 2010, the 76ers receive the Jazz' pick in the first year in which the pick is between 17-30. If (god forbid) the Jazz never draft higher than 16th from 2010-2013 then they give Philly some cash and call it even.


So, what should the red-blooded Jazz fan cheer for in the coming years? First, hope that the Jazz are one of the top 8 teams in the league next year. That way we give Philly a crappy pick in a crappy draft. Then silently root against the Knicks next year (as long as they aren't an elite team we're golden) and then root like crazy against them in 2010. It's impossible to predict the state of the Knicks in 2010 (look at the turnaround the 76ers have pulled off in 6 months) but if anyone is capable of sucking in two years its a team that still has three more years of the Jared Jeffries era to look forward to. If the Knicks really tank in 2010 the Jazz could have two picks in that year, including a dynamite lottery pick.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

You Know This Guy Is Still In the Hospital

The Salt Lake Tribune has an article today stating that Jazz owner Larry H. Miller is still a patient at the University of Utah Medical Center, nearly a month after being admitted. Not many people have hospital stays for a month unless they are 1) really sick or 2) in detox. While I suppose it's within the realm of possibility that he has a closeted addiction of some sort, the chances of that are slim enough that we can rule out #2. Interestingly, he will not be participating in the upcoming contract negotiations with Deron Williams. This contract is pivotal to both the Jazz's immediate and long-term future, and "The White Rhino" has a reputation for having a hands-on management style, so his absence gives further credence to the notion that his health is not so hot.

Although the Jazz are on no one's short list of franchises to relocate, the recent move of the Seattle Supersonics franchise, a team once beloved by the Emerald City, shows that nobody is invulnerable. It is well known that Miller is absolutely committed to keeping the team in Salt Lake. But in his absence (God forbid), a combination of poor management, economic downturn, and the citizenry's penchant for fiscal conservatism, especially when it comes to raising taxes (i.e., money needed for a new stadium), could produce a perfect storm grave enough to renege on this once-solid commitment, either by his family or a new owner. If the situation ever became that dire, let's hope that the owner, whoever it is, has a solid relationship with the First Lady of Utah.

While this doom-and-gloom scenario is only something to talk about in the mid-July sports dead zone, a question remains. That question is posed no better than by Larry H.'s mother, Lorraine, who asked him, "How the hell are you going to get out of this?"

However he does it, everyone here at The Cowhide Globe wishes Larry H. Miller a full and speedy recovery because, despite his faults, we know this guy, and we need this guy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kyle Looks Great, Even in a Turban

Instead of spending his summer vacation doing something lame like competing in the Olympics for a country with which he has no real connection, Kyle Korver is spending his summer vacation in India, teaching poor kids about the relevance of NBA basketball in their lives.

Can you spot Kyle? He's in the back row wearing a turban - three turbans over from the Laker's Ronnie Turiaf and behind the Laker's Saddam Hussein. You can read all about Kyle's adventures in the orient at The funniest story Kyle tells consists of ordering a Subway sandwich with spicy mustard and instead getting a Subway sandwich with plain mustard and spicy sauce!!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Oh, man, crazy things sure do happen when you travel.