Posted by: Michael Brady on October 20th, 2010The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
It’s a little like the Three Bears. 15 is too many, 13 is too few, but 14 is just right.
The Jazz are currently carrying 17 players on their roster. The league requires a maximum of 15 players and a minimum of 13. The Jazz typically carry 14.
By not carrying the maximum of 15 players the Jazz have more flexibility to trade. And let’s be honest, roster spots 12-15 are virtually insignificant role players or D-Leaguers.
That being said, let’s speculate a little on who will stay and who will go.
There are five players with non-guaranteed contracts. Sundiata Gaines, Othyus Jeffers, Demetrius Nichols, Ryan Thompson and Jeremy Evans.
Sundiata Gaines, Point Guard
If there has ever been a player that has lived longer on his 15 minutes of fame, I’m taking nominations. A short-story of my introduction to Sunny-G (that was a nickname given by KSL Producer C-Moore that was so terrible it must survive). I’ve watched virtually every Jazz game for the past 20 years. Part of it has to do with my job, the other part is growing up a rabid Jazz fan. There’s a few moments that stand out. “The Shot”, “The Pass”, “Triple-OT” and “Sunny-G vs. Cavs”.
It was my day off and instead of covering the game, I was at my buddy Jason Thaxton’s house, watching the game on DVR (a neighborhood tradition).
The Jazz led by 13 (80-67) with 4:39 left to play. The game was in hand, until LeBron turned into LeBron. James scored 18 points on a combination of impossible 3’s, and 1’s, free-throws and layups.
The Jazz were down six with 32 seconds left. DVR runs out.
After screaming at our former friend for not recording for a sufficient amount of time, we started packing up to go home.
Then I checked my phone. I had received a text from Alan Last (who broke the cardinal rule of NO TEXTING WHILE WATCHING DVR).
His ambiguous text: ‘What a game!’ had me baffled.
Was he rubbing in the fact that LeBron parted the sea or had the unthinkable happened?
Had the Jazz erased their epic meltdown?
Had they overcome a six point deficit in just 32 seconds without Deron Williams (who sprained his wrist in the fourth quarter)?
With Ronnie Price and Sundiata Gaines (who was playing his fifth NBA game)?
My mind was swimming. I halt the mass exodus and demand we switch to the TNT post game wrap-up.
The TV gods were merciful. As we turned the channel, as if on cue, a replay. Sundiata Gaines rising high above Anthony Parker and draining the game-winning-fade-away-three at the buzzer.
It was like Santa showing up on December 26th. Late, but worth it. I’ll never forget that epic moment.
Nevertheless, when we consider the signing of Earl Watson and the man-crush that Jazz management has for Tasmanian devil Ronnie Price, there is no place for Sunny-G.
This has been the surprise of training camp.
When the Jazz drafted Evans out of Western Kentucky our collective response in the sports department was, Who?
I called WNKY in Bowling Green, Kentucky to get some highlights of Evans. I asked their opinion of the kid and they said, “We’re as surprised as you, he wasn’t even the best player on the team (that was AJ Slaughter and Steffphon Pettigrew). But he’s a freakish athlete.”
“Really?” I asked.
“I’m talking a world-class athlete, you’ve never seen anything like it.” they responded.
All of a sudden I started wondering if the Jazz had found another 2nd round miracle.
You know you’re a special athlete when Andrei Kirilenko says, “We just like jealous a little bit, like, ‘Ah, I want to be like him right now.”
Even Jerry Sloan’s typical dour comments directed at rookies have been transformed into glowing reviews.
Evans has been terrific in training camp and even better in the preseason, averaging 7 points, 5 rebounds in 17 minutes and shooting an out of this world 76% (16-21) from the field. Evans shot 65% from the field last year for the Hilltoppers.
Othyus Jeffers, Guard-Forward
Verdict: IN (possibly out if they carry 13)
Like Gaines, another late-season pickup by the Jazz last year.
Hasn’t played in the last two preseason games, but played well in the first five, starting once.
Jeffers played well in just 8.6 minutes a game, averaging 6.4 points on 54% from the field. He played best in his one start, 12 points in 17 minutes on 5-7 FG’s.
The Jazz have their 3 point guards, with Raja Bell’s age and injuries, CJ’s inconsistency and Gordon Hayward’s youth, the Jazz need more swingmen. Jeffers gets the nod.
Demetris Nichols, Forward
He’s been good but not great in the preseason. 11 minutes, 5 points, 44% FG’s.
There’s a glut of players at the position he plays. He’s a true 3. Unlike Kirilenko, he doesn’t have the athleticism to play the four and is not skilled enough to play the 2. The Jazz have Kirilenko, Miles, Evans, Hayward and Jeffers. There’s no room for Nichols.
Ryan Thompson, Guard
A big 2 guard at 6′ 6″ and 220 pounds. Thompson runs into the same problem as Nichols. Too many 2 guards to compete with. The same group that can play the 3 can also move over to the 2. Throw in Ronnie Price as a combo-2 guard and you better be Kyle Korver if you’re going to stick.
I think this is an interesting article what are your takes on his choices?
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