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Old 10-12-2013, 10:22 AM   #85
Xiao Yao You
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Midvale, Utah, U.S.A.
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Default Re: 2013 Fall camp/Pre-Season!

The biggest loss here in the big picture is the loss of Jeff Hornacek.

Hornacek pulled double duty as an assistant coach and as a "on his own time" player development coach. He has worked specifically with helping players fix their shots or put themselves into rhythm to be effective on offense off the ball. His list of students is long, going from DeShawn Stevenson and Andrei Kirilenko to sharp shooters like Kyle Korver and Randy Foye (both had career years under Jeff). Most importantly for Jazz fans, Jeff has become integral to the development of Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks. After all, they weren't getting better from all the playing time they were getting in games, it was Hornacek's work put in beyond practices and shoot arounds that made the difference for them. He even helped Derrick Favors on his free throws. And he's gone, and in the hearts of Jazz fans no adequate replacement has been found.

I love Jeff but who knows what they've got exactly. Lowe has been a head coach in the league a couple times. Sanders played in the league. Corbin was a heck of a player for a long time.

On the players side of things, last season alone these players averaged starting in 64.4 games and playing 25.4 mpg for Head Coach. Tyrone Corbin. If you add up the playing time numbers for some of his favorites over the last few years you see a significant removal of experience and potential on court playing time that could have gone to some of the younger players who are actually sill on the roster today. I'm not the head coach, but I know that if I was then Favors wouldn't have made the Rookie / Soph game just because Tiago Splitter was injured, and our guy was an injury replacement. I probably would have looked forward a little bit more than Tyrone did.

Is it all on Ty? Obviously things have changed with Lindsey running the show.

1. What significant Moves were made during the off-season?

The Jazz made a number of good-faith moves this off-season in order to show the fanbase that they are serious. GM Dennis Lindsey was hyperactive on draft night as the Jazz made three trades: the first for Michigan Wolverines superstar Trey Burke; the second for the French combine wonder Gobert; and the last for Brazilian pass first lead guard Raul Neto (not listed above because he's not playing in the NBA this year). In addition to that, the front office bolstered the good Karma with the fans by bringing in two Hall of Famers back to the franchise in Sloan and Malone. Sloan's role is not as defined as we'd want

What does that mean? We want him as the head coach again? Sounds like he's a huge part of the whole thought process who cares how it is defined?

, but Mychal and Amar found out about Sloan way back last May at the NBA Draft Combine. Malone's work with two raw, former #3 picks is the more overt addition

and others

, and it appears to be paying dividends already. Kanter and Favors are both running the floor better, and learning some of the tricks of the trade. The Jumbotron upgrades were long overdue, fans are happy.

More: All of SB Nation's NBA previews to date
Fans are going to be even more happy with the more they see from Burke as the season goes on. The Jazz sent Trey Burke (and Alec Burks) to study under John Stockton for a bit this off-season as well, and if you watched the first pre-season game you could see some signature Stockton in the off the break, off the dribble, one handed passes that resulted in Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans finishes.

Nice! The patented Stockton pass!

He's my pick for Rookie of the year.

Still isn't shooting good.

And that's coming from the position of someone who abjectly focused a few months of his life on all the struggles he will have making the transition from the NCAA to the NBA.

2. What are the team's biggest strengths?

At the end of this season when national observers look at this team, and look beyond the presumption of a weak bench, they will see a team that really defended well. This Jazz team is going to buck the trend over the last few seasons of getting progressively worse on defense with each successive year. Instead of anchoring our paint with a disinterested post scorer and a tweener this Jazz team has four guys who could average a block a game or more in Favors, Kanter, Gobert, and Biedrins. Five, if you add in human Saturn V rocket Jeremy Evans (12'7 max reach!) if he ever gets on the floor. Many shots will be contested inside, some will be blocked, but the majority will be changed -- and thus the Jazz will finally get some stops.

Can they play smaller though? The league has gotten smaller. Have to be able to match-up.

It's impossible to think of a team as a defensive minded club without solid team defense against perimeter opponents. The Jazz suffered greatly in previous seasons when trying to stop pick and rolls with Jefferson and Mo Williams or Devin Harris. This year we expect to see a more mobile set of bigs showing and slowing the depredations of those Russell Westbrook / Tony Parker types. Our wings appear more defensive minded as well, with "hustle" guys gone, and actual three and D prototypes brought back in with Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush now in the fold. They'll work well with Gordon Hayward (criminally under-estimated on defense) and Marvin Williams in forming a core of athletic wings who all had distance on their shot, and defense on their minds.

All big question marks there outside G.

Ultimately the main point of attack will always been against point guards. Rookie Trey Burke isn't going to make anyone think he's Rajon Rondo; but Corbin will be forced to use combo guard Alec Burks (6'6, crazy wingspan) against the bigger or quicker points. He isn't as amazing on defense as you'd want from a 'stopper', and I don't think Burks is a stopper, but he's a game changer for sure -- doing everything from getting to the line, making ultra-acrobatic finishes, hitting shot clock beating threes, and to executing game saving chase down blocks on the road (think Tayshaun Prince vs Reggie Miller -- but against opposing point guards like Ricky Rubio).

Burks, Hayward, Rush/Williams/Jefferson, Favors, and Kanter/Gobert aren't going to scare a lot of teams on paper -- but their cumulative length and non-aversion to defense will greatly improve the Jazz defensive rating as a team. The team can capitalize on this if they slow down the pace like those Mike Fratello Cleveland Cavaliers did in the Terrell Brandon days. But we'll see what this team does on the court. Fans like a faster pace. But thankfully we fans don't run this team.

The most overt strength this season will be the Jazz' youthful vigor and athleticism. No more shackled to the bench, and none of them having had any serious injuries, this youth brigade will excite with their enthusiasm on the court and frantic activity. Trey is 20, Rudy is 21, Enes is 21, Ian is 22, Alec is 22, Derrick is 22, Gordon is 23, Jeremy is 25 -- and if these players get the majority of the minutes then this team automatically becomes a League Pass Must Watch team in a hurry. Even if they are a grind it out, defense first team like those late 90s Cavs or current era Grizzlies they'll still be worth watching because of the activity.

Why with all that youth and athleticism why would you slow it down? Play D and push the ball. Got to think that's where they will have a chance of competing.

And that youth and activity leads to probably the least obvious strength this team may have. This team have just have the audacity and naivete to beat teams they have no right to be in games against. The last few seasons when our franchise started and promoted browbeaten veterans no other team wanted, career losers, we were out of a lot of games before halftime. These guys, supported by vets like Rush, Williams, Jefferson and Lucas III, could stay in a lot of games they should stay in based upon inexperience and youthful vigor.

Depth has been the key to them being competitive the last couple years with their 2nd unit outplaying most teams. Now you're expecting Lucas, Marvin and Jefferson to do this?
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