Utah Jazz add Dell Demps and Keyon Dooling to coaching staff

The Utah Jazz have hired Dell Demps and Keyon Dooling, adding them to their coaching staff.

“I was fortunate to work with Dell to begin my career as a head coach in professional basketball and I know he will delve into his role on the bench,” said Head Coach Quin Snyder. “He has an incredible work ethic and commitment to his craft. His vast experience both as a player and in front office roles brings a unique perspective that will be invaluable to our team. We’re excited to welcome him to the Jazz.”

“I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Coach Snyder again,” said Demps. “I have always had tremendous respect for Quin and the Jazz organization. I look forward to joining this talented coaching staff and working with our players. My wife Anita and I couldn’t be more excited to make the move to Utah and become a part of a tremendous community.”

Demps joins the Jazz after most recently serving as senior vice president of basketball operations and general manager of the New Orleans Pelicans. Prior to his time with New Orleans, he spent five seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, including three seasons as the General Manager of the Spurs’ NBA G League affiliate. Before joining the Spurs, the Long Beach, Calif., native worked for the New York Knicks from 2003-05 as a scout and was later promoted to Director of Pro Player Personnel. Demps also spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Mobile Revelers in the NBA Development League from 2001-03, helping the Revelers capture the 2003 league championship.

As a player, Demps had an eight-year career across the globe, playing for three seasons in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and the Orlando Magic. In addition, he played professionally in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA), Philippines, France, Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Venezuela. He was a four-year starter at the University of the Pacific, also earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

“Keyon is a fantastic addition for us on multiple levels and someone I’ve always had tremendous respect for since our time at Missouri where we formed a close bond that has continued throughout the years,” said Snyder. “He’s a natural leader who was a captain on multiple teams in the league and I have no doubt that the way he approached the game as a player will translate to the work he puts in with our roster on the court.”

“I am so appreciative of the opportunity to join Coach Snyder’s staff,” said Dooling. “Every former player who loves the game would leap at a chance like this. Player development has always been a cornerstone of Coach Snyder’s programs and I couldn’t be more excited to get on the court and embrace that process with this next generation of players. My wife Natosha and I look forward to our family calling Salt Lake City home.”

A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Dooling comes to the Jazz after most recently working as the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) wellness counselor and mental health advocate, spending eight years on the NBPA Board in various leadership roles. Since Dooling retired from the NBA, he has become an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, certified life coach and author, releasing his autobiography entitled, “What’s Driving You? How I Overcame Abuse and Learned to Lead in the NBA” in June of 2014.

Dooling had a 13-year NBA career after being drafted in the first round (10th overall) in the 2000 NBA Draft. He owns career averages of 7.0 points, 2.2 assists and 1.3 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per contest with the Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies. He spent two seasons playing at the University of Missouri, where in 1999-00 he played for Snyder.

A look at Utah Jazz roster moves in the 2019-20 season

Here’s the Deseret News with a summary of the key Utah Jazz roster moves entering and during this past season:

Entering the 2019-2020 season, one of the narratives surrounding the Utah Jazz was the notion that they would have good depth after signing players such as Jeff Green and Ed Davis in free agency.

That proved to not be the case, as Green and Davis were an utter failure. Additionally, a third offseason signee, Emmanuel Mudiay, had a few good moments but nothing great and returnee Dante Exum was traded at Christmastime after once again not being impactful because of injury.

Before the Exum trade, which brought Jordan Clarkson to Utah from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Jazz bench was 29th among 30 teams in points per game and routinely gave up leads the starting unit had built. Clarkson proved to be a huge boost, and Utah was 19th in bench scoring after his arrival through the end of the season. Still not wonderful, but a huge improvement.

The good news for the Jazz was that the unit of Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale, Bojan Bogdanovic and Rudy Gobert was arguably the best 5-man unit in the entire league with a net rating of 13.7 in 570 minutes, and the one replacing Ingles with Mike Conley wasn’t too far behind, with a net rating of 9.7 in 381 minutes.

Conley reportedly has an early termination option for his contract this offseason, but considering his salary next season for the Jazz would be over $34 million, there’s a good chance he’ll elect to stick with the team in 2020-21.

Jordan Clarkson is a free agent this offseason. He definitely helped the Jazz this year, and they’d be smart to try to bring him back — if salary demands match up, of course.

Jamal Murray shines as Nuggets win Game 5 vs Jazz

While Nuggets center Nikola Jokic scored big, guard Jamal Murray went wild dropping serious buckets Tuesday. Here’s the Denver Post reporting:

With the Nuggets facing elimination from the playoffs and trailing by as many as 15 points in the second half, Murray ripped Game 5 away from Utah’s grips and ensured Denver could fight another day. The Nuggets’ 117-107 white-knuckle win guaranteed, at least, a Game 6 on Thursday, with Utah holding a 3-2 lead.

As his late 3-pointer rattled home, giving the Nuggets a 108-101 lead with 2:00 remaining, there was no hiding Murray’s smile. As this series has proved, Murray thrives as the tension mounts. His monumental 42-point masterpiece saved the Nuggets’ season…

Nikola Jokic added 31 points, six rebounds and four assists, his selfless nature more than willing to cede the spotlight to his counterpart. Neither Nuggets cornerstone rested during the second half.

Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 30 points, but the Nuggets may have finally found the answer to Utah’s offensive riddle. The Jazz managed only 44 points in the second half.

In addition to his scoring, Murray contributed eight rebounds, eight assists and no turnovers. A fantastic performance.

Mitchell has been incredible for the Jazz all series. Through five games he’s averaging 37.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game, on 54% FG shooting and 53% from three-point range.

Nuggets guard Monte Morris analyzes screens set by Jazz center Rudy Gobert

The art of setting screens is tricky business. There’s a fine line between what’s legal and illegal. And making the right call on each instance is one of the many difficult aspects of a referee’s job.

The Nuggets and Jazz are currently playing a first-round playoff series. Here’s the Denver Post reporting what Nuggets guard Monte Morris had to say about screens set by Jazz center Rudy Gobert:

Jazz center Rudy Gobert is a prolific screener, both in terms of sheer volume and effectiveness. A review of Denver’s Game 2 loss showed that he was involved, either directly or indirectly, in half of Utah’s 20 3-pointers.

When asked about it Thursday, Nuggets point guard Monte Morris said he felt some of them were illegal.

“He does a good job at setting screens,” Morris said. “I don’t think all of them are legal, so I mean, the ref can’t call all of them, but we gotta get into the ball and fight through them and not wait on what the ref’s going to do.”

The series is tied 1-1. This after Utah’s 124-105 Game 2 win yesterday. In the victory, Gobert shot 7-of-10 for 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and a lot of screens.

In G League news, Salt Lake City Stars hiring Nathan Peavy as new coach

The Salt Lake City Stars, the official NBA G League affiliate of the Utah Jazz, have finalized an agreement for Nathan Peavy to become the team’s new head coach, it was announced today. Peavy, a three-year assistant coach of the Stars, becomes the Stars’ third head coach since the team relocated to Salt Lake City in 2016.

Peavy, 35, began his coaching career in the 2017-18 season as an assistant under Martin Schiller, the 2019-20 NBA G League Coach of the Year. As a member of Schiller’s staff, Peavy helped guide the Stars to two playoff berths and an improved winning percentage each season. He aided in the development of current Jazz players Tony Bradley, Jarrell Brantley, Juwan Morgan, Georges Niang, Royce O’Neale, Miye Oni, Rayjon Tucker, Nigel Williams-Goss and Justin Wright-Foreman while they appeared in games with the NBA G League franchise. Three players have earned GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA during Peavy’s tenure with the team.

The Stars finished the 2019-20 season atop the Western Conference with a 30-12 (.714) record, amassing the most wins in a single season in Salt Lake City team history. The club also won the first-ever MGM Resorts NBA G League Winter Showcase Tournament last December in the midst of a 14-game winning streak, the longest in the NBA G League last season and tied for second-longest in a single season in league history. Peavy served as acting head coach in the team’s 134-128 victory over the South Bay Lakers at Vivint Arena on March 2.

Prior to beginning his coaching career, Peavy played internationally for eight seasons in both Germany and Puerto Rico, including a stint as a member of the Puerto Rican National Team.

“Nathan has grown tremendously over the past three years due to his work ethic and devotion to his craft. He brings a wealth of knowledge from his playing career and has a passion for teaching the game,” said Bart Taylor, director of scouting for the Utah Jazz and vice president of basketball operations for the Stars. “He has been a pivotal part of establishing a solid foundation for the organization and is absolutely the right person to be the next leader of the team as we move forward.”

“I’m honored to be named the new head coach of the Salt Lake City Stars,” said Peavy. “I’m looking forward to building on the momentum we’ve created to help the Stars compete at the highest level on the court while continuing to help develop players and staff members for the Jazz, and to have a positive impact in our community. I’m grateful for the opportunity and eager to get started on preparations for the 2020-21 season.”

Multiple Jazz stars will miss Friday game vs Spurs

Friday at 1 p.m. ET, the Jazz face the Spurs. But Utah will do so while giving plenty of rest to a number of key players. Here’s the Salt Lake Tribune reporting:

Of course, with Thursday afternoon’s injury report, we may surmise that where the Jazz are going is to an immediate loss against the Spurs on Friday morning.

After all, with four starters — Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley and Royce O’Neale — slated to sit out due to rest, left peroneal (ankle tendon) strain, right knee soreness, and right calf soreness, respectively, defeating even ninth-place San Antonio would take some doing.

Anyway, that’s the bad news. Now, a look back at the previous pretty good, really bad, somewhat less bad, and somewhat kind of good news …

After the Jazz opened up with a win against the Pelicans, some observers wondered if Utah was potentially capable of securing the Western Conference’s postseason No. 3 seed. Then, after back-to-back losses to the Thunder (wholly dispiriting) and Lakers (merely disappointing), the panic brigade began disseminating widespread missives on the inevitability of the seventh seed. And after a victory over the Grizzlies that was discouraging for how competitive it was, but also encouraging for the signs of progress evident within, the general assessment of the Jazz now is …

Who knows?

Leading scorers for the Jazz this season:
Donovan Mitchell 24.0 PPG
Bojan Bogdanovic 20.2
Rudy Gobert 15.1
Jordan Clarkson 15.0
Mike Conley 14.4

And for the Spurs:
DeMar DeRozan 22.2 PPG
LaMarcus Aldridge 18.9
Patty Mills 11.6
Bryn Forbes 11.2
Derrick White 11.0

With the Jazz also without Bojan Bogdanovic (injured), this is a good opportunity for the Spurs to snag a win and keep their playoff hopes alive. But they face an uphill battle in a crowded West.

Meanwhile, Utah sits 4th in the West and already clinched a postseason spot.

Jazz show life but fall to Lakers, 116-108

Monday night on national TV, the Jazz faced the Lakers, and hung around, but Anthony Davis’ dominance was too much to handle. Here’s the Deseret News reporting:

For exactly 30 minutes on Monday night against the Los Angeles Lakers at Disney World, the Utah Jazz looked like a completely different team from the one that was altogether befuddled in a 16-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder last Saturday.

The new week brought a new Jazz squad, as they were aggressive in getting into the lane, moving the ball and they caught some fire from distance in the second quarter after an 0-for-9 start in the first.

But then suddenly at the midway point of the third quarter, the wheels came off. Up by four at 71-67, Utah surrendered a 14-0 run in less than five minutes, and the new double-digit deficit was too much to overcome in an eventual 116-108 loss.

The defeat moved the Jazz to 42-25 overall on the season and 1-2 during the NBA’s restart in Orlando.

And the Salt Lake Tribune:

What are the Jazz playing for here, exactly?

After tonight’s loss, they’re now in fifth, half a game below the Houston Rockets for the four seed. That means they’d play the Rockets again in the playoffs in the first round, if things started today.

Normally, you’d say that they’re playing for home court positioning. But everyone’s playing in Orlando this year, and I have a hard time believing that the virtual fans are making the Jazz play better or worse. Sorry, virtual fans. The Jazz’s home-court advantage is usually one of the best — if not the best — in the NBA, but it simply won’t matter this year.

So given that, the only reason the Jazz are playing right now is to

A) avoid the seventh seed, which would mean playing the Clippers in the first round

B) figure things out so that they can play well in the playoffs while staying healthy

C) find the best matchup they can in the first round and throughout the playoffs

And the OC Register:

The Lakers (51-15) are a better team when Davis is a focal point. And while LeBron James (22 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists) got in on the action, particularly in the fourth quarter, it was no coincidence that Davis’ most assertive game so far in the restart was also the Lakers’ most convincing win.

The added emphasis on getting Davis rolling early was part coaching script, part teammates feeding him, and part Davis himself, feeling unsatisfied after his 14-point effort two nights before.

“I have to play better basketball than I did to help the team win,” Davis said. “Even though I was making the right plays, I still have to be aggressive. I didn’t like the way I performed. … So it was a collective effort to come out more aggressive.”

In the win for the Lakers, Davis shot 13/28 for 42 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals, while LeBron James shot 9/16 for 22 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and two steals.

In the loss, Donovan Mitchell shot 9/22 plus 11/12 free throws for 33 points, while Mike Conley hit 8/17 shots for 24 points and eight assists. But 21 turnovers and just 10 combined points from their starting forwards made it tough for Utah.

A look at Utah Jazz lineup combinations in first NBA scrimmage

In NBA scrimmage action Thursday, the Suns beat the Jazz, 101-88. Donovan Mitchell got buckets in the loss, hitting 5-of-8 FG, including 3-of-4 three-pointers, for 17 points. It was the first game for either team in a long time. Here’s the Deseret News reporting on the various lineups the Jazz played around with:

The Jazz started the game with the expected unit of Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley, Royce O’Neale and Joe Ingles.

From there, more of the expected with Jordan Clarkson and Georges Niang being the first subs to enter the game and later Tony Bradley giving Gobert some rest. But, when O’Neale committed his fourth foul in the second quarter, Jazz coach Quin Snyder had to zag a little and go with a smaller lineup.

Mitchell, Conley, Clarkson, Ingles and Gobert closed out the first half. That lineup with Bojan Bogdanovic in place of Clarkson is a familiar one for the Jazz, playing a total of 236 minutes together during the regular season. With Clarkson instead of Bogdanovic, Thursday was the first time the group had played in a game together.

The Jazz will be without one key player for the remainder of the season: Bojan Bogdanovic, who had season-ending wrist surgery a few months ago.

Interview: Joe Ingles discusses idea of wearing headband

In the 2018-19 season, Joe Ingles started all 82 games for the Utah Jazz, averaging 12.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.

This season, he’s come off the bench in half the games he’s played, averaging 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists, in 1.4 fewer minutes per game.

As for much bigger issues? World-changing issues? Championship-deciding issues? Here’s a video of Ingles discussing the decision to start wearing a headband:

It’s not yet clear how this will affect Vegas betting lines.

Rest assured, we will track this carefully, or maybe a little, or not at all.

Utah Jazz a Western conference team to watch in NBA restart

The Utah Jazz are a team to watch. At 41-23, good for 4th in the Western conference, they’re a main contender in the upcoming quest to send one of the Los Angeles NBA squads home earlier than desired in the playoffs. Here’s the Deseret News summarizing the Jazz situation as they settle in at the Disney NBA restart campus in Florida:

The Utah Jazz arrived at the NBA bubble on July 7, isolated in their hotel rooms for two days, then held their first practice in nearly four months. After six consecutive days on the court the team took a day off on Wednesday. On Saturday, they took their second day off from practice…

The Jazz have six more days before exhibition games begin, with their first scrimmage against the Phoenix Suns on July 23. It’s another week after that before the NBA season restarts on July 30…

The players showed up in great shape as far as conditioning goes but there’s still some fear about being ready for the burst movements in games and some of the things that regular weight training can help prepare the body for. This was a big concern of Donovan Mitchell’s leading up to the team leaving for the bubble and Mitchell has mentioned it as a concern even after going through practices in Orlando.

The Jazz went on wildly erratic runs this season, stringing together stacks of wins for a few weeks, and smaller streaks of losses for briefer stretches. It’ll be fascinating to see which squad shows up come playoff-time.