Entering the game, the Jazz’s new-look starting lineup of Burke/Hayward/Jefferson/Williams/Favors had gone 5-2 when together as a cohesive whole. Indeed, the lineup is now the Jazz’s most commonly used, and it’s one of just 3 of the top 10 most played lineups that are a positive when they’re on the floor. They are:
Notice a common thread? All three lineups have the Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams, and Derrick Favors trifecta, which seems to provide a nice balance between defensive ability and floor spacing on offense. Trey Burke generally provides additional playmaking and shooting, and Jefferson either provides shooting or Burks provides slashing.
It shows me that Burke is getting way too much credit. Looks like the difference has been Marvin as sad as that is! The past couple games It's been Evans outplaying Marvin. Might have to see if they can play them together at times.
Duncan has a nickname of the “Big Fundamental” for his sound mechanics that get called boring. He controls the game on both ends on the floor in every aspect of the game. So, what does Favors want to take from Duncan's game?
“How he takes care of his body,” Favors said. “You can work on a lot of stuff, obviously he worked on his game throughout the years. He's a great player, but the main thing for him to be 37 and still playing like he's 28. That's a big thing, just learning how to take care of your body.”
At first this seems a bit odd. Why wouldn't Favors take his jump shot or his passing ability? For a 22-year-old player still seeking to fine-tune his game he could have picked anything. Instead, he realized that he can work on the small things as long as he takes care of his body.
In Favors' first full year of starting he is at 13.5 points per game and 9.2 rebounds. His shooting is up to 52 percent from last year at 48 percent. He is learning the game and now he seems to realize that he needs to take care of his body to achieve his potential.
Favors missed five games last year with various injuries and two this year with a sore back. The small games missed and little injuries are what can change a nice career into a great one for Favors.
What does Burke want to take from Parker?
Utah Jazz's Trey Burke (3) takes a shot as San Antonio Spurs' guard Tony Parker (9) defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, in Salt Lake City. San Antonio won the game 100-84. (AP Photo/Kim Raff)
Parker is one of the most dynamic point guards in this century. He has become the Spurs' leader over the years and has picked up his game as Duncan has aged. He has scored at least 14.7 points per game every season except his rookie year.
His mid-range game is deadly. His little post-up floater is essentially unstoppable. His work with Duncan on the pick-and-roll has led them to multiple titles. So what does Burke want from Parker?
“I would just say his pace. I wouldn't say it's a move, but just his pace during the game,” Burke said. “He always has the defense on their heels. In transition he's looking to attack. If he doesn't have it he's bringing it out. He's getting everyone into the offense quick. It just goes to show what type of experience he has.”
Another interesting choice, especially from a rookie. Burke has a lot of tools in his arsenal already and now needs to figure out the best way to use them. The pace is the way to keep defenders guessing.
Burke does this some times. Against the Spurs he took a few quick long-twos early in the game, one went in, one rimmed out. He drives under the basket then wheels out to find an open shooter.
Burke has shown some special ability early in his career, but with some veteran savvy, or pace, he could have a long career filled with his own accolades.
What does Hayward want from Ginobili?
Well, Hayward has talked about his affinity for Ginobili in the past. Hayward wears 20 because of the Argentinian. They have similar abilities, height and overall play style, so what else does Hayward want from Ginobili?
“The way he attacks the basket,” Hayward said. “He's really crafty with his moves around the rim, his steps. The way he gets around bigs and obviously his finishing. He finishes extremely well, that's something I need to add to my game. That's why he can still do what he does at his age, because he's so crafty.”
Hayward has been a facilitator for a lot of his career. Much like Ginobili, Hayward is the second option to control the ball on most plays. He looks to get others involved, but a better ability to finish could help open others up.
Of course he is still very good at getting to the rim, but this season he is shooting a career-low 40.8 percent from the field, his career-average is 44 percent.
If he can start attacking bigs to get more open looks for Favors down low or shooters on the outside his other numbers will go up as well. Ginobili scored his career-high of 17.4 points per game in the 2010-11 season. In that season he had shot 34.9 percent from beyond the arc. He added 4.9 assists that season.
His ability to get to the rim and get foul calls has helped push the Spurs to multiple championships.
The Spurs built a dynasty on a the backs of a big, a wing and a point guard. The Jazz are looking to do the same.
Interesting. Didn't know he wore that number because of Manu. I like Manu too!
The Atlanta Hawks have recalled guard Dennis Schröder from the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ferry. In addition, Jared Cunningham has been assigned to the Jam. Schröder was assigned to Bakersfield on December 4, 2013. He appeared in six games for the Jam, all starts, and averaged 17.0 points, a team-best 6.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 34.0 minutes (.479 FG%). NBA.com
This will affect the Jazz guys especially Clark. He might get some run at the 1 I imagine.
Rookies Ian Clark and Rudy Gobert each logged more than 30 minutes in their debuts for the NBA Development League’s Bakersfield Jam on Sunday. Gobert scored 16 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. Clark had 14 points and six rebounds.
Jazz coach Ty Corbin called the performances "encouraging." He said he wanted to see Gobert develop more strength and a better feel for the game, and that he wanted to see Clark learn how to find space to get off his jump shot.
I'd think the Jazz could be a player in the Asik deal. Sounds like they might need a 3rd team and the Jazz have cap space, roster spots and expiring deals. They were looking for another deal to pick up assets after the GS one supposedly. I'm worried they won't trade Marvin now and sign him again. I want to keep Rush for a while anyway until he really shows what he can do.
Marvin would actually make sense for the Rockets
Last edited by Xiao Yao You : 12-17-2013 at 08:16 AM.
The fact that Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young are being heavily shopped also means the Sixers have no intention of trying to get better this season. They're apparently trying to figure out how to get worse. ESPN.com
Big surprise. I'm sure they won't be the only one over the next few months.
I wouldn't mind any of those players. Young isn't expiring but if they liked him enough he'd be nice in Marvin's spot.
Last edited by Xiao Yao You : 12-17-2013 at 08:28 AM.
Casey and Corbin, like Wittman, are also in their final year of their respective contracts, but the fire sale clearly underway in Toronto as well as the youth movement undertaken in Utah means those two really aren't being judged on wins and losses at the moment. It's likewise too early for Brown and Drew, both just months into their jobs with new teams, to be feeling any legit heat.
Burke did have a dud of a game against fellow Ohio native LeBron James and the two-time defending champs, including an NBA-low three points on 1-of-8 shooting in Monday’s 117-94 blowout loss.
Even Burke admitted it was a clunker.
Add more evidence, though, and it’s clear that this first-year player is putting together a very nice body of work in his inaugural professional season since a broken finger delayed his debut.
Exhibit B: Three 20-point performances in his first 15 games.
Considering how much he shoots not sure this is something to exhibit.
Exhibit C: Rising assist numbers.
Exhibit D: Playing a key role in the Jazz’s vastly improved offense since his insertion into the lineup.
Exhibit E: Rookie of the Year consideration after beginning his career with averages of 12.4 points, 4.9 assists and just 1.2 turnovers.
All-rookie team maybe. As long as the guy they should have drafted gets healthy again he looks like the sure winner right now. Lack of TO's is the big thing with Burke now and some clutch shots.
Well-respected people around the NBA are taking notice.
In the past week, the 2013 NCAA player of the year has been spoken highly of by the likes of four-time MVP James, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and the Nuggets’ new bench boss, Brian Shaw.
The more Burke plays, the more NBA fans the former Michigan star picks up.
While in Denver, Shaw said he was impressed with what he saw while scouting Burke, who then went on to tally a double-double of 10 points and 10 assists in Utah’s 103-93 upset win. The ex-NBA player credited Burke for being integral in pushing Michigan to the NCAA championship game and for adapting his pick-and-roll abilities and offensive execution skills to his new job.
“You have a point guard who has a good feel for the game,” Shaw said. “Although he is a rookie, (Burke) has a real good feel for the game and a good understanding of the game. … I think he takes pressure off a lot of the other guys. He sets the table for them, makes it easier for them.”
Burke got more praise Saturday night from the best in the business after his Jazz-leading 20-point outing versus San Antonio.
“He’s got a great demeanor. He doesn’t get excited about a good play or get down because there was a mistake. He plays,” Popovich said. “He plays with his teammates. He’s under control. He’s aggressive. He’s a fine young player.”
Burke said his cool-headed approach is just how he is, how he’s always been. And he knows that he needs to keep his calm demeanor to be the most effective leader in his point guard role.
“It’s natural. I think me playing my position, I’ve got to be a poised guy out there. My teammates feed off of me,” Burke said. “Point guard is kind of like quarterback out there on the court. I felt like that’s something I need to show. I need to be poised out there on the court. I need to be able to make plays on the team. When things don’t go right I need to be under control and not show any type of emotions. I think that’s just something I’ve always had from a young age.”
The Jazz noticed that from him at Michigan. It’s one of the reasons why the organization traded two first-round picks to acquire the No. 9 selection on draft night from Minnesota.
“That’s the one of the things you look for in the young guys, especially the point guard,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “If they can play steady, they can be great. For the most part, he has been pretty steady.”
Burke didn’t lose his mind or cool Monday, but he didn’t play composed. Corbin noted that the point guard held the ball too long, waiting for something to happen. Unfortunately, the thing that often happened was the Heat’s attacking defense created havoc and the Jazz's offense sputtered.
“I think he got caught up in the Miami thing (Monday) night,” Corbin said. “We’ll just rack it up as that and move on.”
It’s easy to understand how nerves could've gotten the best of Burke on this night. That can happen when you're playing against one of the guys you looked up to growing up.
As a kid in Columbus, Ohio, Burke had an unforgettable chance to watch James and his St. Vincent-St. Mary High School squad take on Brookhaven High School in his hometown.
“It was something I’ll always remember,” he said. “It was my first time actually seeing him play in person. He was phenomenal. I could tell he was going to be a great player.”
Burke then attended James’ elite basketball camp before his sophomore season in high school.
During Michigan’s March Madness run last spring, Burke and James exchanged texts.
Burke admitted he’d pretend he was Chris Paul or another point guard while playing pick-up ball, but good luck finding an Ohio basketball player who didn’t idolize LeBron growing up.
“Obviously,” Burke said, “I watched him a lot.”
Burke called it "unfortunate" that he played the way he did against James, an off-night that contributed to the Jazz's loss.
"I’m just going to continue to try to work," he said.
James has kept tabs on the Jazz point guard over the years as he worked his way into becoming a legitimate NBA playmaker.
“I’ve been watching him since he was a seventh-grader. I’ve seen his growth over the years,” James said. “I was happy with the success he had in high school. I was happy for him with his success he had in college — even though he went to the M-school. ... I’m happy for him so far (in the NBA). He had the little injury to start the season, but he’s back now and he’s playing some good ball.”
James' support has meant the world to Burke.
"It’s very nice when you have a guy as great as LeBron james (saying that). It’s definitely great," Burke said. "It gives you confidence going out there, especially when he’s from your home state."
With that James encounter behind him, Burke is looking forward to Wednesday night's matchup with the Orlando Magic, a team that considered drafting him No. 2 overall but ended up selecting Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo.
“It should be fun going up against another rookie, a guy that is projected to be one of the Rookie of the Year candidates,” Burke said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be exciting.”
Burke admitted he has a bit of extra motivation to play well against Oladipo, whom he became friends with during their Big Ten battles the past two college seasons.
The Jazz’s starting playmaker also wouldn’t mind playing well against a team that passed up on him during the 2013 NBA draft. Six months ago, Burke would have believed he’d be in an Orlando uniform instead of playing for Utah Wednesday night at the Amway Center.
This is a match-up he should be thinking about right now more than how he does against the league's established best.
Burke is happy with that turn of events, though.
“Once Utah ended up trading for me, it was kind of like ‘Wow!’ … I had a meeting with them at the transition program, but I never worked out for them, so it was kind of weird,” Burke said. “But I feel like I’m in the right spot. We’ve got a growing team. We’re really young and I feel like we’re going in the right direction.”
This game is one of those defining moments for a player. It’s one thing to have a poor performance. That happens to everyone in the NBA, even LeBron. But how will Burke respond to one of his roughest outings with the Jazz?
“He didn’t play his best,” Corbin said. “He struggled a little bit.”
Corbin added that it’s just another learning opportunity for Burke, who’s been soaking up as much information and as many lessons as he possibly can so far. At Tuesday’s practice, Burke even talked about how much he’s learning from more experienced Jazz veterans about how to behave off the court, how to eat, how to get enough rest, and how to act to get the best on-the-court performance.
“I look forward to him being really good (Wednesday) night. … He’ll respond. He understands,” Corbin said. “We had a little conversation. He didn’t play his best game and he feels bad about it. We’ll get the lesson and move on.”
Burke’s biggest fan in Miami seemed genuinely happy to have watch him move on from being a middle school player with promise to becoming one of the top players of his draft class.
“To see (Burke) be here now in this league where he’s always had a passion, always had a dream about being here,” James said, “I think it’s unbelievable.”
If there was a Jazz player, coach, fan or front office member that was optimistic enough before the season to believe the Jazz would compete for the playoffs, surely they have adjusted their thinking after just six wins in 27 tries.
So, under the assumption that the Jazz have no chance of making the playoffs this season, what then is the purpose of the team’s final 55 games?
The purpose is for the Jazz to do everything they possibly can to set themselves up for future playoff runs and serious contention.
The target is the 2016-17 season.
Why not the 14-15 season or even the 15-16 season? If they get one of the studs in the draft to add to what they already have plus Neto and possibly another lottery pick and who knows what else with their cap space they should be looking to compete right away.
Coach Tyrone Corbin has 240 minutes to give out per game. These minutes should be divided up with an eye toward the 2016-17 season. Every strategy the Jazz implement, every play call they make, should be done with an eye toward the future. Everything the Jazz do should be with an eye toward that season.
The 2016-17 season is three years from now and is the earliest anyone can realistically expect the next title-contending era of Utah Jazz basketball to begin. If the Jazz play their cards right and avoid major injuries, that season could be the beginning of a very nice window for the Jazz to compete for an NBA championship for a number of years.
Here is a glimpse of what the 2016-17 team might look like:
Center Enes Kanter: Kanter, the former third-overall pick, will be 24 years old and going into his sixth NBA season. Look for Kanter to be making $8-$12 million that season based on his current growth curve.
He looks to be gone as things stand right now. Parker could be their stretch 4 next year.
Power forward Derrick Favors: Favors, another third-overall pick, will be 25 years old and going into his seventh NBA season. Favors is already under contract for that season and will make about $11 million.
Looks to be more of a center.
Small forward Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker: Assuming the Jazz are able to get one of the top three picks in next year’s draft, they should be able to land one of these two guys. Wiggins or Parker will be going into their third NBA season in 2016-17 and will still be on a rookie contract, making between $4-$5 million. To contend the Jazz will need their first pick in the 2014 NBA draft to be a top-10 NBA player by his third season.
Getting way ahead of ourselves. Even with the worst record they could get the 4th pick which is still considered a stud but probably not one of these two.
Shooting guard Gordon Hayward: Hayward will be 26 years old and going into his seventh NBA season. Look for Hayward to be making $12-$15 million by then.
He could be gone next summer.
Point guard Trey Burke: Burke will be 24 years old and going into his fourth NBA season. He will be on the final year of his rookie contract that will pay him about $3.4 million.
Be time to pay him too. Could be another Hayward situation. Who knows?
Guard Alec Burks: Burks will be 25 years old and going into his sixth NBA season. Look for Burks to make $7-$10 million that season.
Does he sign an extension next year? Another Hayward situation?
Center Rudy Gobert: Gobert will be 24 years old and going into his fourth NBA season. Like Burke, he will be in the final year of his rookie contract that will pay him about $2.1 million.
Could be another Kanter situation.
Top-13 pick in 2015 NBA draft: Plan on the 2014-15 season being an extension of the youth movement. Look for the Jazz to make big improvements during the 2014-15 season but not enough to make the playoffs. If they end up with a top-5 pick in that draft, consider this a sign that the current core is not good enough to compete for a title. The player the Jazz take with this pick will be in his second NBA season and should make about $2 million in 2016-17.
What was this guys prediction for the team before the year?
Warriors’ pick in 2014 NBA draft: The Jazz acquired the Warriors’ first-round pick in a trade this past offseason. The Warriors started hot this season but have cooled considerably, which is good for the Jazz. Right now the Warriors have the 12th-best record in the league which would put the Jazz’s pick around No. 18. The player the Jazz select here will be going into his third NBA season and will be making about $1.5 million in 2016-17.
In the west they could miss the playoffs and it becomes a possible top pick.
Forward Jeremy Evans: Evans will be 29 years old and going into his seventh NBA season. Evans has been playing more minutes this season and is showing he can be an effective role player in the league.
He'll have to be paid too!
The luxury tax threshold this current NBA season is nearly $72 million. It should go up over the next few seasons. Even if you take the high-end on all salary predictions for the players projected to be on the Jazz’s roster in 2016-17, it would only put the team at right around a $62 million payroll. This should leave the Jazz plenty of room to fill out the roster, re-sign Burke after the season and maintain sufficient payroll flexibility moving forward.
Who knows! They might use their cap space this summer to make a big signing.
By no means is the Jazz’s rebuilding plan a safe bet to lead them to title contention. There are many potential obstacles in the way, some of which the Jazz control and some of which they don't.
The Jazz do not control, or at least do not fully control, player health, player development, and players like Hayward, Burks and Kanter choosing to re-sign with the team after their rookie contracts expire.
They can match any offer. Rather that is wise remains to be seen.
As real as those threats may be, the single biggest threat to the Jazz’s rebuilding plan is team management. The Jazz must make certain they do not get in their own way. The front office and coaches must be on the same page.
Dennis Lindsay, the team’s general manager, has to ensure that the coaches realize and appreciate that every minute given to players that are not likely to be major contributors for the Jazz three seasons from now is essentially a minute gone to waste.
The same goes for next season.
There is no long-term upside to the Jazz giving guys like Richard Jefferson, Marvin Williams or Andres Biedrins significant minutes. The concept of any of those guys playing more minutes than any player that is more likely to be contributing in 2016-17 is nothing short of bad team management.
There should not be a single Jazz fan that wants to see, in any game, Jefferson play more than Burks, Williams play more than Kanter or Biedrins play more than Gobert.
Without those guys they might not get to 9 wins. They are competing now which is important. Williams and Biedrins(Rush) are young enough to be part of the future(I hope Marvin is not!).
The fact that the Jazz sent Gobert to the D-League is proof that fans could have legitimate reasons to worry about the Jazz getting in their own way.
The fact that it took so long to send him down there is a bigger worry. He's better off down there playing big minutes and working on his weaknesses than playing behing Favors and Kanter for at best a few minutes. Could have left him in Europe to which could have made even more sense.
Think about it. If the Jazz’s purpose this season has nothing to do with making the playoffs then it has everything to do with player development. Players develop by getting on the court in meaningful situations and learning the difference between doing things right and doing things wrong. For a vast majority of players this means learning some hard lessons and making a lot of mistakes.
Players cannot make meaningful mistakes that help them grow from the bench.
Not the only way to develop.
The Jazz make a mistake and get in their own way every time their coach worries about matchups with the other team this season or pulls a young player for making mistakes.
Bull! Pulling Burke and Hayward against the Heat was the move to make. Let them sit and watch and hopefully play better when they go back in.
The only long-term thing that makes sense for the Jazz is to give Favors, Burke, Hayward, Kanter and Burks 36 minutes per game. Gobert and Evans should get between 15-20 minutes per game. The other 20-30 minutes per game? Who cares?
If the Jazz follow that blueprint they will give the players of the future maximum opportunity to develop. They will also, as a convenient bonus, set themselves up for a top-3 draft pick next summer.
They might not win another game either if you was paying attention earlier in the year.
Every big move or small decision the Jazz make this season, and for the foreseeable future, must be preceded by this overriding question: How does this move make us better in 2016-17?
Nate Gagon is a published sports, music, and creative writer. He is also a wholehearted father, grateful husband and ardent student of life. He shoots roughly 94% from the free throw line and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or @nategagon.
Jefferson and Marvin especially have possibly made themselves tradable which could bring more assets. More than one way to skin a cat as they say. This guy is clueless!
In the past few seasons, Utah has been one of the teams on that separate spectrum as they’ve rarely have used the D-League in the past few seasons. Tony Wroten, Kevin Murphy, Jeremy Evans, Kosta Koufos, Morris Almond, Kyrylo Fesenko and CJ Miles round out the small list of current (Evans) and former players who have been assigned to the D-League by Utah.
Wroten? Hopefully that will change and soon they'll have their own team again under Lindsey.
That list expanded over the weekend as rookies Rudy Gobert and Ian Clark were moved to the Bakersfield Jam (Utah’s current affiliate) refine their skills as the Jazz start their road trip out east. The duo of Gobert and Clark joined an incredibly skilled Jam team that featured Atlanta’s Dennis Schroeder and NBA alums Brian Butch, Damion James, and Ike Diogu who was acquired mere days before the Jazz players landed in central California.
In their D-League debut, Gobert, Clark and the Bakersfield Jam squared off against the Reno Bighorns (D-League affiliate of Sacramento). On a Bakersfield that featured a wide array of solid players, guard Ian Clark really didn’t get an opportunity showcase his overall skills as Schroeder, Diogu and top 30 prospect James Nunnally took over the majority of the offense. With that said, Clark was still able to be somewhat productive on the offensive end as he finished out the night with 14 points on 5-16 shooting from the field. As he can tell from the following reel, Clark was able to spot up from the perimeter (2-6 from beyond the arc) and penetrating to the rim.
16 shots is plenty to showcase yourself.
While Clark had a very pedestrian D-League debut, 7’2 center Rudy Gobert had a fantastic night against NBA alum Mickell Gladness. Not surprisingly, Gobert used his amazing frame to his own advantage as he was able to use his 7’8 wingspan to snatch nine offensive rebounds over the 6’11 Gladness. While his long arms were the main factor behind his success on the offensive boards, Gobert was still able to successfully box out the BigHorns front-court which is a solid sign for a raw player like himself.
Sticking with the offensive side of the ball, Gobert’s main ability on that end of the court is still using his large 7’8 wingspan to dunk in lobs or just barrel his way to the rim and put it in. Since he’s still only 21 years old and still incredibly raw, Gobert will need to utilize this D-League opportunity to define his offensive game. A small glimpse of that was in the above clip as Gobert was able to nail a small hook shot near the basket. Overall, Gobert had an extremely efficient scoring performance as he laced up 16 points on 7-10 shooting.
To the surprise of practically nobody, Rudy Gobert was an extremely effective defender in his D-League debut as he worked as a huge 7’2 brick wall to the opposition. Aside from his solid six blocks, Gobert stood in the way of a barrage of Bighorn players who tried to penetrate their way to the rim. While the skill level is clearly better in the NBA, Gobert should still be able to be an effective defender in the NBA simply because of big frame and above average mobility.
While it shouldn’t be expected that Clark and Gobert will stay in the NBADL for an extended period of time, both of the two players could face interesting challenges as the Jam will play against the Idaho Stampede (D-League affiliate for Portland) and Santa Cruz Warriors (affiliate for Golden State). What makes those matchups interesting for Clark and Gobert would be the high level of athletes that they’ll have to work against. For example, Clark will have the opportunity to work against four top-30 prospects in Santa Cruz’s Cameron Jones and Seth Curry and Idaho’s Dee Bost and Pierre Jackson. Meanwhile, Gobert will be challenged against Idaho’s Dallas Lauderdale and Santa Cruz’s Dewayne Dedmon who are some of the most efficient offensive front-court players in the D-League.
Ty Corbin mentioned that the center had been dealing with a minor back injury, Kanter said, "I don’t want to make excuses. I just need to be more focused and that’s it."
The third-year big man got back on track in the first half of Monday’s game against the Heat. After sitting the entire first quarter, he scored 10 points and hauled in seven boards in the second.
"Everyone knows Enes is good," guard Alec Burks said. "He had a couple of rough games, but he’s back. I knew he was going to get back right. Enes is a good player. He has his head on straight, so I know he is going to get better."
Kanter saw more time in the second half (just under 9 minutes, compared to the 8:12 he played in the first), but wasn’t as effective, managing just one more basket and board.
"In the second half they were not going to let him get the ball in the post," Corbin said. "They fronted him more. They were more aggressive on the ball. Enes couldn’t get the ball where he wanted to get it."
Hard to not like the guy. Says all the right things. Doesn't complain about going to the bench and doesn't make excuses. Just keeps working.