I’ve heard from rival executives that the Bobcats are going to be buyers at the deadline. This is an organization that is tired of losing games and they’d love to make the playoffs this year. This is their opportunity, with the Eastern Conference being wide open. I’d be surprised if they decided to pack it in and tank the rest of the season. I get that there’s an incentive to lose so that they can keep their draft pick rather than giving it to the Bulls, but that didn’t affect their decision-making when they signed Al Jefferson over the offseason and I don’t think it’ll affect their decision-making at the deadline. They want to win.
Gortat and Nene were asked the same question: Which aspect from the older generation would they like to see in the current NBA. Nene liked the old-school style of play. Gortat just couldn’t get those shorts off of his mind. “I would take two different things,” said Gortat. “I would definitely make one of the nights old-school jersey and shorts. That would be funny, if everybody wore those. That would be great. I think they should come up with one night like that. The second thing, I would bring back the old basket construction, that you could actually break them. That would be great. And the third, if I could, the third I would bring back the size. Point guards the size of Magic Johnson. That’s ridiculous. If you could bring back the size, and have people with wingspans of 7-8, 7-9. If you could bring back that, that would be something incredible.” Washington Post
Anthony Davis, Michael Carter-Williams, Trey Burke, Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes, Pero Antic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steven Adams, Andrew Drummond, Tim Hardaway Jr., Terrence Jones, Damian Lillard, Victor Oladipo, Kelly Olynyk, Mason Plumlee, Jared Sullinger, Jonas Valanciunas and Dion Waiters have been named to the Rising Stars Challenge.
The rosters will be finalized following a draft by TNT personalities.
Burke joins Deron Williams, Paul Millsap, Ronnie Brewer, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors as Jazz players who have been named to the team. The game hasn't been around for too much longer to include many former Jazz players beyond Williams, however in previous incarnations of the event Andrei Kirilenko and Bryon Russell played.
The other rookies who will be in the game with Burke are Steven Adams of Oklahoma City, Pero Antic of Atlanta, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee, Michael Carter-Williams of Philadelphia, Tim Hardaway Jr. of New York, Victor Oladiopo of Orlando, Kelly Olynyk of Boston and Mason Plumlee of Brooklyn.
The sophomores are Harrison Barnes of Golden State, Bradley Beal of Washington, Anthony Davis of New Orleans, Andre Drummond of Detroit, Terrence Jones of Houston, Damian Lillard of Portland, Jared Sullinger of Boston, Jonas Valanciunas of Toronto and Dion Waiters of Cleveland.
The arc had already been on the court for six years before Ty Corbin made his NBA debut in 1985, some seven years before Burke was born. But all this time later, the Utah Jazz coach admits he’s still adjusting to it in how he game plans on both ends of the floor.
"It’s always been in my basketball knowledge or my basketball days that you stop penetration to the basket, you stop close shots more than worrying about 3-point shots," Corbin said. "Now you look at the numbers or analytics saying that some 3s are better than some layups. It goes against what basketball has always been about, but guys are making those shots."
They’re making them — and taking more than ever.
In the 1999-2000 season, NBA teams took an average of 1,124 attempts from beyond the arc.
Last year, the average was 1,635. The league as a whole is on pace to take more than 3,000 additional triples this year.
The 3-pointer is part of the gospel in Houston, where the Rockets chuck more than any other club (26.4). The same is true in Phoenix, where Jeff Hornacek’s Suns take more than 25 a night. And in Golden State, the Jazz’s opponent Friday night, where Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are part of more than 24 attempts per game.
Of course, teams can still succeed without such a reliance on the outside shot. The San Antonio Spurs rank 18th in attempts, while the Thunder and Pacers rank 20th and 22nd respectively.
Meanwhile, three of the top 10 teams in attempts are currently out of playoff position.
But the trey has become increasingly more important.
"Back when I played it wasn’t as big a weapon as it is now. There were still a lot of old school coaches that didn’t really want the team focusing on shooting 3-point shots," said Denver coach Brian Shaw, whose Nuggets are in the top 10 in attempts per game. "You played a lot more inside out. We still want to play inside out … but I think a wide open 3-point shot, whether it’s from the corner or the top, when we penetrate and make the defense react and swing it to a teammate in rhythm, is just as good as a layup or a 15-footer."
The Jazz, too, are launching more treys than ever, averaging 18.6 per game. But that number still puts Utah in the bottom five when it comes to attempts.
The Jazz once put up more 3s than any other team, but that was 30 years ago during 1983-84 season. Utah has never ranked higher than 22nd in the league in attempts over the last 20 years.
When Griffith was the first guy with a green light from 3 and made 90 and 91 in a season!
A move toward the current trend has been slow. But after a dismal start to the season, 3-point shooting has been key in helping the Jazz climb out of last place in the West. Over the last 20 games, Utah is averaging 21 attempts (the 21st most in the NBA, up from 26) and is making 37.3 percent of them (top 10 in that span).
"You sit guys out there now and you tell them to stay," Corbin said.
Still, how to handle the triple has required a shift in strategy with which the coach hasn’t always been comfortable.
"I don’t like it from the standpoint that I really hate seeing a guy lay the ball up and [we’re] not contesting it with a guy sitting on the corner 3-point shot," Corbin said. "From the time I’ve been playing basketball, when I was little, you always stopped the close-up shots first. Sometimes you have to [focus on the 3] because guys are so good at making that shot.
"It just makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up."
Gov. Gary Herbert has officially declared Jan. 31 as Jerry Sloan Day in Utah.
Sloan, the Jazz’s head coach for 23 years, is being honored by the franchise during Friday night’s game against Golden State.
In the declaration, Herbert said, the state of Utah joins in "... recognizing the enduring legacy of one of the greatest and most respected coaches in the history of the National Basketball Association."
Herbert also recognized Sloan for his "invaluable contributions to elevating and advancing the visibility and status of professional sports, particularly basketball, not only in our state but throughout the nation."
During Sloan’s career in Utah, he guided the Jazz to two NBA Finals, seven division championships and 19 playoff appearances. In one stretch, the team enjoyed 16 straight winning seasons.
Sloan will become the 11th individual to have a jersey raised to the rafters of EnergySolutions Arena. The number "1223" will appear on the banner, commemorating his total number of regular-season and playoff victories during his tenure as coach.
Friday has been declared “Jerry Sloan Day” in the Beehive State by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.
This might be bad news for state legislators who were planning on having ice-pick fights in the parking lot of the Utah Capitol or jackpotting around that day. As he reminded reporters throughout his 23-year Jazz career, Sloan would have none of that.
Herbert’s declaration recognized “the enduring legacy of one of the greatest and most respected coaches in the history of the National Basketball Association.” It lauded Sloan for “invaluable contributions to elevating and advancing the visibility and status of professional sports, particularly basketball, not only in our state but throughout the nation.”
The governor also highlighted the fact that Sloan has the third-most wins in NBA coaching history (1,221 with Jazz and Bulls), that he made two Finals appearances, had 19 playoff appearances, tallied 16 consecutive winning seasons and won seven division titles.
Fittingly, Sloan will be joined by fellow Hall of Famers John Stockton and Karl Malone, huge factors in the aforementioned success, at a press conference before Friday’s game against the Golden State Warriors.
"When I played here — before I came (and) after I left — when you thought about the Jazz, if you didn’t think about Jerry Sloan, John Stockton and Karl Malone, then it wasn’t the Jazz," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said.
"Even today when you go around the country and people hear the Utah Jazz, the three names that you hear are Jerry Sloan, Karl Malone and John Stockton. That’s just the impact that they’ve had on this franchise."
Corbin has spent parts of his interviews this week fielding questions about the man he replaced after Sloan’s midseason resignation three years ago.
The current Jazz coach said he can’t sum up Sloan’s contributions to the organization with which he won 1,223 games in the regular season and playoffs from 1988-2011. That number will be on the banner that will be raised to the EnergySolutions Arena rafters alongside the previously retired jerseys (and banners) of 10 other all-time Jazz greats, including Frank Layden (1), Adrian Dantley (4), Pete Maravich (7), Larry H. Miller (9), John Stockton (12), Jeff Hornacek (14), Karl Malone (32), Darrell Griffith (35), Mark Eaton (53) and Hot Rod Hundley (3,051).
Sloan’s ceremony will take place at halftime of the ESPN-televised 8:30 contest.
“It’s a lot of work, man. It’s a great accomplishment for him,” Corbin said when contemplating the number of wins Sloan had with Utah. “Coach is a tremendous guy to watch and understand and learn from. I’ve respected his work as a player, respected his work as one of his coaches on the staff.”
Corbin appreciated that the respect was mutual.
In fact, he had to encourage Sloan to speak up and give him advice and to not worry about stepping on his toes after stepping down. Corbin said his Hall of Fame predecessor “wanted to make sure that I didn’t feel any undue pressure” after taking over on Feb. 9, 2011.
“I loved having him around. I appreciate his friendship, his leadership throughout the process,” Corbin said. “Anytime you replace a legend like him, there’s going to be some comparisons, there’s going to be some talk about how he would’ve done it. … Coach himself has been great, and I really appreciate him helping me through it.”
Sloan, hired this past offseason as a senior basketball adviser, is often seen at Jazz practices and games. Corbin said they talk often and that he appreciates the honest, non-sugar-coated input he receives from Sloan.
“I appreciate his loyalty to me and this franchise and this city and this state,” Corbin said. “But he enjoys the game and he enjoys being a part (of it). We should all welcome him around and want him to be a part of what this thing is because he helped build it.”
On Friday, the Jazz and the state of Utah will thank Sloan for doing just that.
Five players are listed with game-time decision status, including four starters.
Point guard Trey Burke and small forward Richard Jefferson have been battling with gastric distress; center Derrick Favors continues to be bothered by right hip inflammation; power forward Marvin Williams is experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired Achilles heel; and backup point guard John Lucas III has a lower back strain.
“If they can’t make it it’s unfortunate,” Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward said, “but we hope they can.”
Hayward, not too far removed from his five-game injury absence, is the only Jazz starter not listed on the medical report.
“That was kind of a shock to me, too, this morning,” Hayward said after shootaround. “It’s unfortunate that it’s like that, but that’s just how it is. That’s how the NBA season goes.”
Golden State is coming off of an impressive 111-92 home victory over the Los Angeles Clippers late Thursday night. Power forward David Lee and sharpshooting guard Steph Curry each scored 22 for the Warriors (28-19).
The Jazz (16-29) haven’t played since beating Sacramento 106-99 Monday night at home. A win would give Utah, which has lost twice to the Warriors this season, its first three-game winning streak.
“They’re pretty good offensively. They’ve got a lot of weapons, a lot of things they can do well,” Hayward said. “It’s going to be a challenge for us. We’re going to have to make sure all five guys are focused every play. When you have one guy who’s not, it just really kills you, especially against this team because all five of them can make plays and score the basketball, so it’s going to be difficult.”
The game comes on a special night for the Jazz organization as Utah celebrates what has officially been declared “Jerry Sloan Day.” The Hall of Fame coach will be honored by a banner-raising ceremony at halftime. John Stockton and Karl Malone are among the local legends in town for the ceremony.
Hayward and forward Jeremy Evans are the only remaining players on the Jazz roster from the Sloan Era.
“I learned a lot about basketball and I learned a lot about just life in general (from Sloan),” Hayward said. “It’s pretty cool that he’s still here and involved with the team (as senior basketball adviser). It’s pretty cool that we’re honoring him tonight and we can all be a part of it.”
I thought they were supposed to be resting. Overworking them in practice?
While not all of Sloan’s fans will be able to make it Friday, there is an impressive group that will be in attendance for the day’s events, which include an invitation-only luncheon, a press conference and the halftime ceremony.
Confirmed guests include Hall of Famers John Stockton and Karl Malone; longtime coaches and front-office stalwarts Frank Layden and Scott Layden; former players Mehmet Okur and Howard Eisley; and well-known Jazz fan/musician Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Jazz figures who remained in Utah are also expected to attend, including Sloan’s trusted assistant Phil Johnson, Mark Eaton, Thurl Bailey, Matt Harpring and, of course, Utah coach Tyrone Corbin.
Another former Jazz player, Warriors coach Mark Jackson, will be on Golden State’s bench.
Price will get his next chance to see Sloan on March 22 when the Magic visit town.
“There’s not really words to describe what Sloan’s been for me. He’s a legend, definitely a legend. He’s an icon in this game,” Price said. “There’s no question the level of respect that he’s gained throughout his career as a player and his career as a coach.”
Two years after his stellar Utah Valley career concluded, Price was signed by the Jazz as one of Deron Williams’ backups in 2007. The athletic Price remained with Utah through the end of the tumultuous 2010-11 season during which Sloan called it quits.
“There’s no words to explain how valuable he’s been for people’s careers and the type of mindset and structure that he’s established and that people have adapted to,” Price said. “The city of Salt Lake, the state of Utah, have been used to a very professional-based team and a lot of that has to be do with Sloan."
Since playing for Sloan, Price's career has continued in Phoenix, Portland and Orlando, and the 30-year-old thanks his previous mentor for that.
“One thing I did learn from Sloan was how to be a professional and how to be a man in the league and gain respect from others (and) to take your job serious and to respect people," Price said. "He taught a lot of younger guys, a lot of guys, more about life through basketball than anything else, and I love him for that."
the Jazz had the lightest schedule in the NBA during the month of January with three three-day gaps between games and three two-day gaps. While the other teams in the league were playing an average of 15.5 games in the month, the Jazz will have played just 12. Seven teams played as many as 17 this month.
It was quite a contrast to early in the season when the Jazz were playing the most games in the NBA when they had 17 games in November followed by 16 in December. They’ll have 12 games again in the short month of February, which also includes the All-Star break before playing 17 in March and seven in April.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin has noticed the disparity in the schedule and has enjoyed some extra practice time for his young team. But he also wouldn't mind a little more consistency.
“You adjust to it,’’ he said. “It was difficult when we had so many games early and we were hurt. Then we got these guys healthy and were playing at a pretty good pace and we got a rhythm going and then you shut that down.’’
The practice time seems to have benefited them. Send Gobert and Clark back to the D-League now?
The Jazz were just 3-14 back in November when Trey Burke was out with a broken finger and they started to get in a groove in December when they went 7-9. January has actually been a winning month at 6-5, but the fact that the games are spaced so far apart at times might be the reason they were in a win-lose-win-lose pattern for much of the month.
“I think that threw us off a little bit because we had a little more time,’’ Corbin said. “We needed the time to get our bodies back, but the focus was lost a little bit. Because whatever you do in practice you can’t simulate in a complete game, so it throws you off. And you want to go hard in practice, but you also have to be careful not to get guys hurt.’’
Generally players would rather play games than practice and the Jazz have been having a lot of practices this month. Jeremy Evans says he can see both sides to having a lighter schedule as the Jazz have had.
“When you win two (in a row), you’re ready to go out and play the next night and keep it going,’’ he said. “But at the same time, it helps our bodies recover and we can work on our mistakes and watching film.’’
One advantage to the recent schedule for the Jazz is that they are catching the busier teams playing back-to-back games. That’s the case with the Warriors, who had to play a game against the Clippers Thursday night before flying to Salt Lake. It was also the case with the last two Jazz opponents, both of which they beat, as Washington played in Phoenix the night before playing Utah and Sacramento played Denver the night before.
Avery Johnson likes what he sees when it comes to the long-term potential of the Utah Jazz, and the strides the team’s young core has taken this year.
That’s one of the reasons he thinks it’s critical the Jazz bring back fourth-year swingman Gordon Hayward, a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
"He’s what I call a valuable asset. The worst thing you can do with a valuable asset is allow a valuable asset to walk without any compensation," Johnson told The Tribune this week. "The best thing to do is to retain their services. I’m hopeful that he and the Jazz can work something out contractually this summer. … It’s hard to allow [coaches] to put 3-4 years into a young man like that and just allow him to sign an offer sheet and leave. Look at what happened to Wes Matthews [who left Utah for Portland after one season]. I think if the Jazz could do that one over again, they probably wouldn’t allow Wes to leave."
I'm sure they regret that one. They'll regret overpaying G too though.
Johnson, who played point guard in the league for 16 seasons, has also been impressed with the early play of Trey Burke and thinks the Jazz got a steal by trading up to grab the point guard out of Michigan at No. 9.
"If you re-do the draft, that’s an easy one," Johnson said. "He would be a top-five pick. I thought he was going to be a top-five pick."
With a highly touted draft class expected this year, there’s been plenty of attention already on what might happen in June. But Johnson, for one, is not an advocate of "tanking."
"You can supposedly tank and still not get the first pick. We don’t have a system like football," he said. "The Spurs got Tim Duncan and they and the fourth-worst record in the NBA that year. … It’s really a crapshoot. You just never know. People said for a while the Houston Rockets should tank. Instead they added valuable, marketable assets and they got James Harden and Dwight Howard."
Asked what the Jazz need to do to strengthen their roster in the offseason, Johnson turned his attention to the Bluegrass State.
"I think they can use more of a hybrid four, more like a Julius Randle type of player," Johnson said of the Kentucky freshman. "A four-man that can put the ball on the floor, create some offense, play outside and inside."