Archive for the ‘Utah Jazz’ Category

nate-robinson-baseball

With the dust mostly settled on this offseason’s player movement — and there was a whole lot of it this year — it’s time to take stock of all the fascinating new faces in new places, as well as the more compelling stories of players who will face new challenges while sticking around. Over the course of the next few weeks, Andrew Unterberger will do a team-by-team look at the most interesting players going into next season — one new to the team, and one returning — as we all try to pass the dog days of NBA-less summer, dreaming of hoops-filled months to come. The series continues today with the teams in the Northwest Division: the Nuggets, Timberwolves, Thunder, Blazers and Jazz.

DENVER NUGGETS

Most Interesting New Player: Nate Robinson

I guess? Like the Mavs, the Nuggets added a whole spate of recognizable new players to their roster this offseason, and none of them are even slightly exciting roster adds. Randy Foye? We know pretty well what that dude can and can’t do by now. J.J. Hickson? The Nugs already have one frontcourt energy guy/rebounding machine, and he’s a whole lot more fun to watch than J.J. Hickson. Darrell Arthur? Don’t think there are a lot of NBA fans who watched Denver last year and thought to themselves “fun team, but would it kill them to shoot more 18-foot elbow jumpers?” None of these guys are gonna make the team League Pass must watches, exactly.

That just leaves Nasty Nate, who is at least always fun to watch on a new team — to see the respective fanbases come to terms with his strengths and weaknesses, to see him make funny friend duos with his new teammates (Shrek ‘n Donkey 4EVA!!), to see him get way too many starts when the point guard he’s backing up goes down with injury. It’s hard to see where he fits into this team that already has Ty Lawson (essentially a steadier, less-maddening version of NateRob) and Andre Miller (NateRob’s inverse in just about every conceivable way), but Nate Robinson always manages to make his presence felt by year’s end, and the Pepsi Center crowd should eat him up. He’ll look great in those Denver baby blues, too.

Most Interesting Returning Player: JaVale McGee

This feels like the fourth or fifth consecutive make-or-break year for JaVale, who has still yet to really be made or broken. He shot a career high 58 percent and posted a career high 20.9 PER last year, but proved weirdly unplayable alongside Kenneth Faried and still couldn’t manage to unseat Kousta Koufos as the team’s starting center, averaging his fewest minutes a game (18.1) since 2010. Well, not only is Koufos now gone, but so is head coach George Karl — the latter’s dismissal supposedly coming in part due to his unwillingness to give the high-upside, well-compensated McGee big minutes. It’s never been nower or neverer for old Pierre.

Amazingly, JaVale will still be just 25 years old on opening night, so the belief that McGee has remaining yet-to-be-tapped potential still remains at least slightly justifiable. And for a team that basically went through an across-the-board downgrade (down to the management and front office) in the offseason, getting that kind of level-up in production from their eternal project of a big man might be one of the only ways that the team can stay a contender in a suddenly very crowded West. Even if not, we should be getting a lot more JaVale this season, which you don’t need me to tell you is always a good thing.

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karl-malone-enes-kanter-fishing

You know, just two giant men with a eensy weensy bluegill, which is pretty much everyone’s first catch. And as if this wasn’t silly enough, the photo comes from Karl Malone’s wife, which means these two NBA players went fishing, caught a tiny fish and then Hall of Famer Karl Malone was like, “Come here, honey. Enes caught his first fish. Can you get a picture?” Basically the most normal thing on Earth, only it involves two giants and a therefore hilariously small fish. Good stuff.

Also, Karl Malone has been retired for nine years and STILL has bigger arms than Enes Kanter. He must work out.

mark-eaton-on-a-bike

Being an internet basketball personality of some stature, people send me links to different NBA stories all the time. I don’t mean to brag, but that’s just the kind of life I’m living these days. Life in the link lane.

But anyways, earlier this morning Matt Bailey of Hoopism sent me this link about Mark Eaton’s appearance at Taste of the Wasatch, a charity fundraiser in Solitude, UT, which I just googled and found out is a real place. In it, we learn some facts about the former Jazz center and what he’s been up to these days. But once I heard those facts, I had to find out more. Ergo, here are a bunch of random facts I learned while reading this article and then googling about it afterwards. I feel like this will be good for all of us.

  • Mark Eaton is a managing partner in a couple of Utah restaurants, Franck’s and Tuscany.  That’s why he was at Taste of the Wasatch.
  • At TotW, Mark Eaton’s Franck’s served beef and strawberry ice cream, which is unfortunately not two separate things, but is instead what I think Rachel cooked in that one episode of “Friends” where she botched a traditional English trifle.
  • Not only are Tuscany and Franck’s some of the best restaurants in Salt Lake City, they are also some of the most romantic.
  • Mark Eaton is on LinkedIn, which is fine. But what is notable is that he’s on LinkedIn as “Big Mark Eaton.” So when you’re networking online, make sure not to be fooled by any of the imitation Mark Eaton’s out there. Way too small.
  • There is also a Mark Eaton website: www.7ft4.com. Because in case you were forgetting, Mark Eaton is super tall. You could even theoretically call him Big Mark Eaton.
  • There is a town in England called “Markeaton” that I don’t think has anything to do with Big Mark. It’s a real Chevy Chase, MA situation.
  • It’s pretty well-known that Mark Eaton was a mechanic immediately after high school, but if you weren’t aware, you should probably know that there used to be a 7-foot-4 mechanic who eventually became a two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
  • According to Mark Eaton, it was Wilt Chamberlain who taught him how to be good at basketball, mostly by telling him to just block shots and rebound.
  • Mark Eaton has a gigantic bike.

So there you go — just a few Mark Eaton facts to tide you over for the day. Maybe you knew some of these, maybe not. All I know is at the end of the day, you can say to yourself, “I thought about Mark Eaton today.” That’s not something that comes up every day, but it sure is nice when it does.

jerry-sloan-bored-at-a-game

You are not going to believe this, but I had zany hair in high school. By the time senior year came around, I’d been growing it for so long that I opened the season in white guy cornrows that you could tell were highlighted, and sometimes I would play games where the best way to describe my hair was “Bizzy Bone.” My coach told me this was OK as long as I played hard.

Apparently, Jerry Sloan would make for a very good high school coach. From the Deseret News:

The Nuggets beat the Jazz by 14 that night. Andersen went 5-for-7 shooting, snagging seven rebounds and blocking three shots.

Sometime during the game, Jazz players had begun mocking Andersen’s body art, which didn’t yet include his famous “Freebird” collar. Upset with his team’s intensity, Jerry Sloan raged along the bench, where he overheard his players’ wisecracks.

“I wish ONE of you guys played as hard as him!” Sloan shouted.

Yeah, that sounds about right. In sports, you can get away with looking however you want if you either a) are awesome or b) try really hard all the time. If you’ve got one of those two things going on, you can look like Birdman, no problem.

Which brings up something I’ve wondered a lot about lately — are hustle players naturally drawn to looking different than anyone else? I mean, between Birdman, Joakim Noah and Anderson Varejao, you could make a pretty good case that that’s the case. Then you bring in the Lopez twins — Brook is more skilled and looks more normal, Robin has to rely more on playing hard and has pow pow curls — and you start to think that there might be some validity to that theory. Maybe being a hustle player post-Rodman just naturally draws in the weirdos or maybe you have to be a weirdo to be a great hustle player, the world may never know.

Either way, this just goes to show you that anything is possible in the NBA. I mean, if Jerry Sloan can come to appreciate Chris Andersen and his tattoos, then literally anything is on the table. Cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria, Jerry Sloan parting his hair on the other side for even a single minute — anything.

(via PBT)

Look there at the bottom — one man, two children, one basketball game, one sideline, one baseline, one set of stairs, NO WAITING TO GO TO THE BATHROOM (except for the ball to be inbounded).

paul-millsap-randy-foye-on-bench

You know how when a bunch of people from the same workplace have babies around the same time, someone inevitably says “There must be something in the water?” Well, there must be something in the water in Utah because this Jazz birth story is kind of incredible. From the Deseret News:

Thursday was quite the day for the Utah Jazz family.

Both Paul Millsap and Randy Foye welcomed babies into their worlds on the team’s off day.

The great excuse to miss practice wasn’t the only thing they shared.

Both Jazz players became proud papas of little girls. They now each have three children, all daughters.

And, get this, both have similar names.

Millsap’s daughter was named Paular.

Foye’s little girl was named Pilar.

And, no, they didn’t plan it that way.

“Same day, same name. It’s crazy,” Millsap said. “What a coincidence, really.”

“I’ve never heard of that before,” said Foye, adding that he and Millsap didn’t know their significant others were being induced on the same day until earlier this week. “I think that’s probably once in a lifetime.”

Whaaaaaaaat? This is a real Lincoln-Kennedy situation. I mean, two players on the same team having a kid on the same day is strange enough. But they also both had daughters and they also both already had two daughters and then they both gave them almost the exact same name — that’s just bananas. Next thing you’re going to tell me is that they once played in an NBA-sanctioned game together before ever becoming teammates or something crazy like that.

Whoa.

enes-kanter-cool-hat

According to Al “Mr. Blackwell” Jefferson, the answer seems to be yes. From the Deseret News:

The free-spirited Turkish ballplayer showed up for Monday’s Jazz-Pistons contest wearing a fedora, sparkling gold jacket, jeans and snake shoes.

“He makes it look good,” teammate Al Jefferson told reporters. “It’s not like it don’t look good on him.”

Hey, I’m not going to argue with Al Jefferson. He’s got a giant bed, a mean looking face and some size on me, so if he says Enes Kanter looks good then I guess Enes Kanter looks good. I would have just thought he looked like a college sophomore going to a “Pimps and Ho’s” mixer at Sig Ep, but I guess we can trust Al Jefferson on this one. If you disagree, you be the one to tell him.

(image via @DJJazzyJody)