It is likely that the Utah Jazz will have a representative at the upcoming NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City. After the first fan returns, former Arizona star Lauri Markkaken is ranked seventh in the Western Conference amongst front court players. As fan votes make up 50% of the selection process, Markkanen has already received 466,988 votes. His impressive stats for the small-market team have definitely made a statement.
The 7-foot Finnish player is having a stellar first season with the Jazz, after being traded from Cleveland last summer. His field goal percentage has increased from 44.5% to 52.9%, and he has scored 28 or more points in the last five games. Although his potential game-winning three-pointer against the Kings was released too late, there is no denying his high-level performance this season.
The Jazz are currently nineteenth in the Western Conference, with a record of 19-21, and the team looks to Markkanen to help them secure the tenth and final playoff spot. It is highly likely that he will be selected to the All-Star Game, with the help of the fan votes and the support of the NBA players and media members.
Versatile forward Josh Howard has agreed to play for the Utah Jazz, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN. Howard was most recently with the Wizards and was an NBA All-Star in 2007 with the Dallas Mavericks.
Howard has had trouble with injuries starting in 2009 and has been working to return to form following an ACL tear.
But you knew all that, right? What you might not know is that Howard has a good history related to the Jazz, in a way. He scored his career high of 47 points on December 8 in 2007.
Maybe getting around the Jazz will prove be just the right move.
You also might not know that Howard recently jumped on Twitter @RealJoshHoward, so Jazz fans should stamped over and see what he’s up to.
Gordon Hayward was a player who many basketball fans were unfamiliar with just one year ago, but a spectacular year at Butler and a stunning run to the NCAA championship game changed all of that. Despite playing in a foul heavy title game, Hayward’s talent was obvious and within a few days the the relative unknown became a top draft pick and landed with the Utah Jazz.
In this exclusive interview, Gordon talks about his first couple of NBA games this summer, and digs into his thoughts about the NCAA title game.
James scouted every game of the 2010 NBA Summer League in Orlando, Florida, where many rookies try to start their NBA careers off on the right foot and many young players with a year or two of experience try to get more court time. After an exhausting week of scouting games, getting interviews and flagging down General Managers, James wraps up with this scouting report of the Pacers versus the Jazz.
Utah (1-2) vs. Indiana (2-1)
Pacers win 83-74 Box Score
• How many illegal screens have we seen this week? This is crazy.
• Pacers getting out in transition; off and running.
• Poor defense for Jazz. Pacers are getting way too many easy buckets.
• Pacers were up by 20 for over 2 quarters. Jazz came back in late 3rd and 4th and made it a game.
Gordon Hayward (24 min,1-5 FG, 0-2 3 pt, 5-5 FT,2 reb, 2 st, 1 blk, 7 tp) – Matched up with Paul George most of the game. Was not quick/athletic enough to guard him. Looked like he was rushing his jump shot- jumper was off the mark. Looked frustrated this game. Had a nice steal and finished with a two-handed dunk and the foul.
Jeremy Evans (13 min, 1-2 FG, 2-3 FT, 3 reb, 1 ass, 4 tp) Helped bring Utah back into the game. Hustles every play; great second round pick for Utah. I like this guy a lot; will be a solid player. Needs to get quicker feet on defense. McRoberts blew by him a couple of times. Very long, great shot blocker, needs to get stronger. Grabs rebounds at rim level. Very athletic, had a huge dunk from way outside the lane, and got fouled.
Tyrese Rice (11 min, 2-3 FG, 1-2 3 pt, 5 tp) Has a nice looking wrap around pass. Can shoot the ball well. Will be a career D-Leaguer.
Kosta Koufos (29 min, 7-10 FG, 5-10 FT, 7 reb, 1 blk, 19 tp) Big game for second year player from Ohio State. Has a nice spin move on baseline that he finished with two handed dunk. Strong finisher near rim, keeps ball high on rebound. Has a nice sweeping hook. Had a nice block on the more agile McRoberts. Has a decent 18’ jumper. Solid rebounder; secures the ball.
Paul George (29 min, 5-9 FG,1-2 3 pt, 4-5 FT, 9 reb, 3 ass, 1 st, 15 tp) Very good rebounder and slasher. Lamar Odom type; can rebound the ball, dribble it up and court, stop and shoot the 3 or take it to the rim. Is a good passer. Sometimes over dribbles and tries to do to much, gets him in trouble. Is a good shooter; has a nice step back J.
Josh McRoberts (31 min, 5-6 FG, 1-1 3 pt, 10-10 FT,3 reb, 4 ass, 1 blk, 21 tp) Best performance yet this week. Was connecting on his jump shot this game. Is playing very well, active on boards, is a good passer and plays good D. Gets to the line and makes his FT’s. Had a couple of very athletic finishes.
Lance Stephenson (28 min, 6-8 FG, 7-10 FT,2 reb, 1 blk,19 tp) Should have had several assist, but recipients couldn’t finish. Is a good passer; good vision. Loves the no-look pass. Gets in trouble sometimes by getting airborne when making passes. Very creative with the ball. Uses his body well to shield defenders. Has good body control in air. Moves his feet well on defense; always displays hand in face of shooter. Jumper looks solid, displays good form and good ball rotation and is hitting jumpers nothing but net. Makes the defense pay when defender reaches. High energy guy. Can post up smaller defenders and finish strong. More athletic than once thought, finishing above the rim several times. Has big hands and is a beast down low. Lance does a good job taking command of the game and is a good FT shooter. One negative is that he sometimes gets ahead of himself and gets in a hurry and turns the ball over. Lance continues to impress and surprise.
Magnum Rolle (29 min, 4-5 FG, 2-2 FT,8 reb, 4 blks, 10 tp) Very athletic player who was a second rounder out of Louisiana Tech. Finishes over the rim and is a big time shot blocker. Great defensive player who can be a presence in the paint; comes out of no where to block shots. High extension of Left handed hook. Under the radar player, has a chance to be pretty good. Has a nice looking 18’ jumper off screens. Good passer. Made a rookie mistake when a committed a moving screen at very end of game; stupid mistake.
Gordon Hayward ( 19 min., 3-5 FG, 1-2 3 pt, 7-8 FT, 2 reb., 2 ass, 1 blk, 14 tp)- Hayward came out looking a lot more comfortable than yesterday. He was also more assertive and looked to score a little bit more. He had a really nice athletic block on Ewing Jr. He continues to make the right play whether it be in half court or on the break. He is a great shooter, and he hit a big 3 at the end of the game, and also hit his FT’s. He is also a strong rebounder. Look for him to continue to improve every game.
Sundiata Gaines (20 min, 3-6 FG, 1-3 FT, 3 reb., 3 ass, 7 TO, 7 tp)- Gaines is most known for hitting a game winning 3 in his first NBA game after being called up last season. He struggled with TO’s today, but is a good and willing passer. He also did a good job changing speeds in P and R situations, and was able to attack the basket several times and finish.
Tyrese Rice (16 min., 2-5 FG, 2-2 FT, 1 reb, 4 ass, 5 TO, 6 tp)- Tyrese did not have as good of showing as yesterday, but still played a solid game. He struggled today when Sean Singletary was guarding him. He showed good anticipation on defense, getting a few steals. Is a good passer. Had a nice acrobatic tip in too. Is too out of control to make a roster and he gives up too much on the defensive end.
Jeremy Evans ( 15 min. , 3-6 FG, 5 reb, 2 ass, 2 blks, 6 tp)- Jeremy Evans, Utah’s second round pick, played a solid game. Evans is super athletic and can finish with contact. He is a good passer too. He is very long and runs the floor well. Good timing on blocking shots. He is an intriguing player with lots of upside.
Trey Gilder ( 12 min., 1-2 FG, 2 blk., 3 tp)- His stats wont impress you, but this young man, who played in the D-League last year, can really play. He is very long, lanky, and this enables him to play great defense. He plays the passing lanes well. He has a high release on his jumper. Definitely a guy to keep an eye on.
Patrick Ewing Jr ( 27 min., 7-12FG, 2-4 3pt, 1-2 FT, 3 reb, 2 blk, 17 tp)- Another solid game from Ewing today. He continued to show he can shoot, both of the screen or off the dribble. He tends to fade on his jumper though. He also continued to show off his athleticism. Had a very nice block on Koufos.
Daniel Orton (17 min., 0-6 FG, 2-4 FT, 2 reb, 1`blk, 2 tp)- Daniel had another rough game today. We will start with what he did well. He did display some more patience today in the post, but was not able to capitalize. He altered/blocked several shots in the paint today. Now the bad- He looked really tired/out of shape today- several times he only ran to half court, and had his hands on his knees only several minutes into the game. He sets poor screens, and sometimes falls asleep on defense, losing sight of the ball. He recovers too late on defense and does a poor job rotating. He is not effective at all at he high post, and needs to do a better job finishing. He definitely would have benefited from at least 1 more year of school, may be 2.
Sean Singletary (13 min., 2-5 FG, 1 reb., 1 ass, 4 tp) – Sean had a pretty solid game today after registering a DNP yesterday. Sean is a very good defensive player, who has quick hands and moves his feet well. He also does a good job fighting over picks. He was a little shaky at the beginning, mis-communicating on several passes and committing a few unforced TO’s, but shook it off and settled in. Showed that he can still shoot, either off the dribble or a set shot. He has picture perfect form- a very calm, fluid looking stroke. Is a good passer too- should have had more assist-put his teammates in very good positions to score.