Posted by: Andrew on December 18th, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
As usual, I beat the family into submission so we could go to the scrimmage this year. I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. Thought I’d share my thoughts.
CJ Miles-Came into the arena in fantastic shape, had more lateral quickness than I’ve ever seen in him, very explosive and very enthusiastic. Made most of his shots, had good positioning, and generally outplayed everybody on the floor. I want this kid on the team until he retires. If not for his abilities, then for his personality. He fits the Jazz well.
Gordon Hayward-A guy whose enthusiasm was only beat out by CJ. Played strong, made some shots, had a lot of confidence, and seemed hungry to get back in the game.
Alec Burkes-That three at the beginning of the game made me grin to myself. He made up for his rookie jitters by flooding them with energy. He was fast on the floor, explosive at the rim and seemed to understand the offense a lot faster than I thought he would. Kudos to this kid. I think he’ll surprise us all.
Memo Okur-Didn’t make a ton of shots, didn’t really do anything to wow anybody, but the fact of the matter is this; He was there. He ran the floor, was physical on defense, and seemed genuinely happy to be there. For that, he gets the stud nod.
Jeremy Evans-Explosive, explosive, explosive. This kid was everywhere on the floor, and got a few monster dunks in as well as an outside shot or two. I think Jeremy will surprise us all as well. Now, don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure that this kid’s future will consist of more than coming off the bench for a few Earlie-oops.
Derrick Favors-The sophomore’s confidence, awareness, and general abilities have improved quite a bit since last season, particularly his speed and ability to create for himself. He didn’t have that surprised twitch when the ball got in his hands, and he didn’t try to immediately get rid of it, whether by passing or by a turnaround floater. He took his time and made his shot. I think this kid is going to be a monster.
Raja Bell-I was most surprised by the old vet. He made as many shots in the scrimmage as he did in the entirety of last season. He looked to be in better shape, much faster and considerably more confident in his shot than he was in his rock-bottom year last season. As much as I may not like the guy, I’m excited to see what he’ll bring this year.
Enes Kanter-I know I’ll probably get flake for this, but the kid shows promise. The fans boo’d him in the dance competition, which I think was extremely tactless. This is a kid whose confidence can be shattered by a look. His warmups and drills were sloppy, he kept dropping the ball, couldn’t manage to be where he was supposed to be, all because his confidence had depleted. However, he’s on the stud list because he showed brief glimpses of a strong, fast post ability as well as hustle and a decent view of the floor. I think that, after the kid gets over looking lost on offense and stops glancing at Memo for instructions, he will be nothing short of a beast. A lot of promise.
Big Al’s body-I looked at him a few times and thought he was CJ. He’s lost all his bulk and seems to have a more Malone-esque figure (Not quite the tank arms and intimidating aura, but from the chest down) I think that Al will have much more strength at the post and won’t have to resort to flippy-floaters so much. I think that Al will, in the words of Sir Larry, the Cable Guy, git’er done.
The dance competition-It was just bad…Two guys didn’t even dance. (Still not okay to boo them.) The few that did were nothing special. Where’s Kouf when you need him?
The absense of Millsap, Jefferson and Howard-Three of the five guys I was looking forward to seeing most weren’t there. I’m not sure if I should be worried or frustrated. I can’t really see Millsap or Jefferson having a Diva attitude and sitting out, maybe coach didn’t want to risk them getting hurt. I dunno. Nevertheless, the absense earns them the christen of duds.
The unsigned players-They didn’t really do anything to make them stick out. Not a lot of energy. You’d think, given their position, they’d work a lot harder. I saw a few of them fighting for rebounds, but other than that, it was like they weren’t even there. My gosh, I hope we don’t keep McLeod…
Defense-Other than a few shining players who covered their man like sunlight covers Utah in August, I think the team had a hard time adjusting to the force-baseline defense. I look forward to seeing how they manage it.
The kid who puked all over himself in front of me- …Need I say more?
To be honest, there wasn’t a whole lot of duds to speak of. I’m excited for the Jazz and to see what they’re capable of. It felt like a real family atmosphere, and the excitement and love for the team was tangible. I think this will be a great season. Go Jazz! (Note: Earl and Devin weren’t listed in either category, mostly because they did exactly what I expected of them in a scrimmage. Relaxed and had a bit of fun, but didn’t try too hard.)
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