The results are in...guess who's #1?

The results of LA Ball Talks team blog contest are in. And once again, Jazz fans have made it clear that True Blue Jazz is their favorite Jazz blog on the Internet. Thanks to all who voted. Stay tuned because we have big big BIG news on the way....Prepare for Jazz heaven.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thanks for the Memories Beijing...

There is one thing the Olympics have taught me. Even small market guys can get big time pub.

Bob McClaren (Deron's agent) has taught Deron how to become a superstar in a small market....see below

"If you have an opportunity to be in a commercial with Kobe, Lebron, Dwight and it. Even if you have to hold a damn banjo."

"Get in photo shoots with current world icons. Even the goofy looking ones."

"Always stand next to Lebron and you will be in at least three times as many
publications as you would by yourself."

"If the best NBA players in the world are standing for a picture with Coach K? Put your arm around him like he's your father-in-law...even if CP3 gives you the evil eye."

"When posing for photos with CP3...always position yourself in front of him. No matter what."

"When the team gathers around should-be-Gold-Medal winner Doug Collins to put a Gold medal around his neck, make sure you give him your medal so you look unselfish and respectful to those Olympians who went before you."
(This is my favorite picture by the way.)

So there you go. If you are a young potential superstar but stuck in a small market town, just hook up with Bob McClaren and watch what he can do to your career.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Let's Do This Boys!

Though it may be Ridiculously Corny, This is an Appropriate Team Picture

This? Well, this is the Team Photo of Silver Medalists

The "Redeem Team" is one win away from reclaiming Olympic Gold. Sunday Morning Team USA will face Spain...again, this time for Gold. This means those of us in Salt Lake City will be watching the game sometime Tuesday or Wednesday. (Thanks Local NBC Affiliate for showing coverage of the Local Dutch Oven Cook-Off, rather than live Olympic Coverage.)
The first match-up between these two was a bit lopsided with the US beating Spain 119-82. This game should have the same result, however, I do not want to get to over-confident. The good news is, we have home court advantage. Why, you ask? Well, first of all, the Chinese worship Kobe, Lebron, etc. as it is. Now, after "Team Photo-Gate 2008" I'm guessing the entire stadium is going to be on our side. (With the exception of Raul Lopez's sister and the Gasol family.....although, I have heard Mom Gasol is disappointed in her boys.")
With Home Court Advantage on our side and the fact that we are simply better than Spain, I would be shocked if our boys are not standing on the Podium Sunday receiving their Gold Medals. I just pray it doesn't come down to a couple of Boozer free throws with no time on the clock. Here are my predictions:
USA 107 Spain 81
Lebron- 28 Points, 8 Boards
D-Wade- 18 Points, 5 Boards
D-Will- 12 Points, 8 Assists
Carlos Boozer- 4 Points, 2 Boards. First chance of national coverage is marred due to lack of room on the podium. Boozer stands behind team as they receive their medals.
MVP for Spain- None other than Raul Lopez! The former Jazz man leads Spain with 6 Points, 1 Board, 4 fouls and 6 carries.
Bring it Home Redeem Team!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

AK shoots 100% against Australia

Too bad that was only from the free throw line where he was 4/4. How was he from the field you ask... a less-than-stellar 1/10. Yep, in 36 min of play, our own AK-47, the star of the Russian team, managed only 6 points in a 95-80 loss. However, he did collect 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and a block; thereby solidifying his spot as one of the highest paid role players in the NBA.

I really love AK's game, but he's only worth about half of what we're paying him. With Booz and Memo looking for (another) big payday, AK's contract may be what sinks this team. Again, I love his game, but we need to trade him for an expiring contract and a center who can play (at least some) defense. At this point, I've even willing to trade him for a Laker, say...Odom? With Bynum back in the picture Odom will be the 4th or even 5th scoring option behind the Doberman, the Racist, the Laker fans' newly annointed basketball god, and the Turncoat. Odom shredded Booz during the playoffs so we know he has some game, although playing against Booz isn't the best way to gauge a player's offensive abilities since he apparently likes to fill his shoes with sand before the games.

Someone call KOC, I think I'm on to something here...

UPDATE: Ben Gordon doesn't want to play with the Bulls anymore. He stated today that he won't sign a qualifying offer and has played his last game with the Bulls. Gordon made $3.5 million last year and averaged 18.6 ppg and shot 41% from 3 (now THAT is efficiency, you listening AK?) I say sign-and-trade AK for Gordon and Gooden (Gooden is a making 7 mil but is in the last year of his contract). Gordon will likely sign for about 7 mil per (that's double his current salary) so with Gooden's salary coming off the books after this season, that's about 7.5 million more we have to spend on Oboozikur when they opt out. Pull the trigger O'Connor!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

and Lakers fans call us Classless?

Isn't that none other than Lakers star Pau Gasol 3rd from the left?
Feel free to comment Lakers fans.
Stay Classy Spain.
Hey Raul Lopez #6. We don't miss you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Grading the "Redeem Team"

How pathetic were the last 8 years for USA basketball that we have to redeem ourselves in the Olympics this year? I am not trying to be an arrogant American here, but we should not be trying to redeem ourselves of anything basketball related in the world arena. Over the last 8 years our best players were being selfish and arrogant and we put together teams hi-lighted by the likes of Richard Jefferson, Stephon Marbury and Shawn Marion. It is true that the world game has advanced, but not to the point that we would lose to Puerto Rico and Greece whose total population between the two countries can't be more than the state of New Jersey. But alas, we took our dominance for granted and here we are trying to restore the glory and redeem ourselves as the best in the world. After 2 games against a very spirited Chinese team and an Angolan team whose only goal was to lose by less than 40 do we really know anything about our team? Probably not, but I am going to give the players a grade anyway.

Starting 5

Jason Kidd: C-

All I have to say about Jason Kidd is "whatever". Its nice and all that you got off your rocker and came over to be the baby sitter, but feel free to contribute to the team at some time. Its time to give the floor to Chris Paul and Deron Williams full time.

Kobe Bryant: C+

Feel free to hit a shot Kobe. Your defense has been really good and I understand you are not trying to take over and be the main scoring option, but 1-15 from a really short 3 point line just plain sucks.

Lebron James: A

Dude is a freak and playing like an absolute animal on both ends of the floor. The only drawback to his game so far and the only thing keeping him from an A+ is his poor free throw shooting, 3 of 8 so far.

Carmello Anthony: C+

Horrible against China, played better against Angola. He is obviously not on this team for his defensive abilities so feel free to start being better offensively.

Dwight Howard: A-

The Man Child. I would trade AK, Boozer and Memo to get him on the Jazz. In the whole world, only Lebron can compete with this guy physically. I would like to see him rebound a bit more and block a few shots, but over all he is playing great.

The 6th Man

Dwayne Wade: A+

The MVP so far. His stat line for the first games:

38 Points, 13 of 15 shooting, 2 of 3 from 3, 10 of 12 Free Trows, 5 Boards, 3 Steals, 2 Assists.

Keep in mind that he has played a total of 36 minutes or just barely what he would have in 1 NBA game. He has missed a total of 4 shots including free throws. No more needs to be said.

The Rotation Players
Deron William and Chris Paul: B+

I hate putting these two together, but they really are playing very similar roles right now and both are doing it very well. Deron and Chris are both playing very solid overall games; scoring some, assisting some, rebounding a little, being a pest on D and between the two of them should be getting all of the PG / backup SG minutes at Jason Kidd's expense. The team excels when one or both of these two are on the court.

Chris Bosh: B

The Predator is playing some really good ball right now, but tends to get pushed around a bit by bigger opponents. He and Dwight Howard are a good change of pace combo for that position.

The Specialists

Michael Redd and Tayshaun Prince: B-

Both are here to do one thing that they do really good and nothing else. Redd is here to shoot and soften up a zone and Prince is here to be a defensive pest and cause havoc. Redd's shooting could be a little better, but overall they are meeting expectations with their current roles.
The Victory Cigar

Carlos Boozer: D

Tell me if this sounds familiar. Boozer has the ball on the low block at point blank range and misses the easy jump hook or attempts to finesse a finger roll when he should have just rammed it down some poor guys throat. Or how about this one, Boozer is guarding a so-so player in the low block and gets blown by on a simple spin move for 2 while he is left standing there with his back still facing the basket. Its almost like he thinks the guy is still in front of him. Point is, it was easy to look past the defensive short comings when his offense was so brilliant, but throughout the playoffs and now these first two Olympic games I am officially concerned.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Betrayal Skull Dude. We know him as Booz Hound.

You gotta love that this article is on The entire city of Cleveland should see if the website is available. When are they going to let Booz off the hook?

I know that Jazz fans need to begin preparing themselves for the ol' knife-in-the-back from Boozer, but I hope we aren't bitching about it for 6 years like Cavs fans.

Boozer earns his nickname
by Jodie Valade
Saturday August 09, 2008, 9:30 PM AP

case anyone from Northeast Ohio forgot what he looks like, this is Carlos Boozer.Take heart, Cavaliers fans. About 1.3 billion people think Carlos Boozer lied, too. Or at least that he has an oddly shaped head.

In honor of the Beijing Olympics, which began Friday, The Plain Dealer sought to honor the ancient wisdom of China by unearthing some of the culture's nicknames for NBA players - since hoops is so popular in the Far East.

Our Chosen One, LeBron James, is "Xiao Huang Di," which means Little Emperor. That's a translation of his "King James" nickname, but interestingly is also the name of a syndrome that afflicts an excessively spoiled only child in China. Hey, we just report the facts.

According to Bao Renjun, a reporter for the Cleveland-based Erie Chinese
News, one of the more interesting nicknames is for Boozer.
The Utah Jazz forward is known to the 1.3 billion people in China as "Fan Gu Zai," which, loosely translated, means "Betrayal Skull Dude." Bao says Chinese use "Fan Gu Zai" to refer to those who betray, but "betrayal skull" also refers to a protuberant bone on the front or back of a head. The betrayal skull reference comes from the Chinese story of Zhuge Liang, one of China's most well-known intellectuals and military strategists. According to legend, before Zhuge died, he said, "Wei will betray the country sooner or later." Wei was a general under Zhuge's supervision.
"How do you know?" someone asked. "He has a protuberant bone on his head," Zhuge answered.

So Boozer's nickname of "Fan Gu Zai" is for two reasons: 1. His head is not exactly round, and 2. Chinese fans also believe that Boozer gave his word that he'd return to the Cavaliers in 2004 when he bolted to Utah for more money as a free agent. Who are we to question the wisdom of the Chinese?

Friday, August 8, 2008

LHM is still alive, barely

Larry Miller was released from the hospital today after nearly 60 days. LHM suffered a heart attack and his subsequent recovery was hampered by his diabetes. He is using a wheelchair for the time being due to atrophy in his legs. Apparently he almost died several times while hospitalized. It's pretty clear why his businesses were put under his son's control. Glad to have you back! After all, we know you.

SL Trib
Des News

"One of these things is not like the others..."

I take back any previous posts and or comments saying how we should keep AK. Maybe he can come and clown at my soon-to-be-born twin boys 1st birthday in that suit.

(Thanks to Ball Don't Lie for the picture.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hey Ronnie, quit toying with my emotions

Yes, I realize that this is my 3rd post in 24 hrs. I am overachieving a bit here so please don't expect this throughout the year.

On Siler and Luhm's blog there's a great discussion with Ronnie Price. Ronnie states, in no uncertain terms, that he was basically BFF with Jason Hart. Not only that, but Hart was his "guardian angel." I love Ronnie, I do not love Jason. But this makes me feel bad for the constant beratement and general hatred of Jason.
Jason Hart was one of my best friends on the team. From that
standpoint, I'm happy for Jason because he's back home in L.A. with his
family. He gets to sleep in his own bed at night. So it's kind of a
blessing in disguise for him. He's been like a guardian angel to me
these past three years that I've been in the league. He's been there
and helped me grow a lot mentally. He's helped me with a lot of mental
aspects of this game. I'm just thankful that I've had him around long
enough so I could learn as much as I've learned from him.

Q: When I was talking to Jason, he was saying, "Please remind everybody that Ronnie and I are actually really good friends."

A: I'm telling you, great friends. Like I said, he's been a guardian
angel. There's so many mental up and downs that you can face in this
game, when you get to this level of basketball. The character that
Jason has and the man that he is has been special. If you watch, he's
my biggest fan when I'm on the court and I'm his biggest fan when he
was on the court. And I think that's the way it's supposed to be as
teammates in this league. If not, you can drive yourself crazy.

C'mon Ronnie! Why couldn't you just say that he was a total downer, or that he tortured small animals? Now I almost feel bad that he's gone! Almost.

Mark Your Calendars

The 2008-2009 schedule was released this morning. First off, there will be FIVE Christmas Day games: Hornets @ Magic, Spurs @ Suns, Celtics @ Lakers, Wiz @ Cavs, and finally Mavs @ Blazers.

Now for the Jazz games:
  • Oct 29 - Opening game for the Jazz vs the rich and creamy Nougats
  • Nov 1 and Nov 3 - A home and home vs former Jazz man Jason Hart, watch as he goes off for 20 points and 12 assists in each game.
  • Nov 9 through Nov 15 - The Jazz's road mettle will be tested early. A 5 game trip versus the Knicks, 76ers, Wiz, Bobcats, and Cavs.
  • Nov 21 - @ Spurs, can we FINALLY win there?
  • Dec. 9 - 20th anniversary of Sloan as the Jazz head coach, but we're IN Minnesota, lame.
  • Dec 15 through Dec 23 - Annual pre-Christmas east coast road trip starts in Boston, then Nets, Pistons, Bulls, and Bucks.
  • Jan 2 - First of only 3 games against the Lakers (anyone want to guess if we get 2 home games or 2 road games?)
  • Jan 7 - Hornets @ Jazz, first head-to-head matchup for CP3 and DWill since playing in the Olympics
  • Of the final 10 games, 6 are on the road and at least 6 are against playoff teams. The final game of the season...@ Lakers. Awesome.
Has anyone else noticed that the Jazz play lots of road games against playoff teams during the last 10 games of the season? Playing AT the Lakers for the last game of the season? C'mon! That game will likely have serious seeding implications. Last season we were AT San Antonio, where the winner got home court advantage in the first round. Before that they were AT New Orleans and AT Dallas before getting a little home relief against 2 more playoff teams (Denver and Houston). In 2006, the Jazz finished the season with 3 straight road games before finishing at home, they played @ New Orleans, @ Dallas, and @ San Antonio.

Obviously the NBA can't know which teams will be good or which will make the playoffs, but they can reasonably predict which teams will be in the top 6 (Lakers, Hornets, Spurs, Jazz, Rockets/Mavs, Suns). I guess it makes for good TV if you've got a game with real playoff implications. But last season the Lakers finished the season with 4 straight home games, 2 of which were non-playoff teams (actually, one game was AT the Clippers, but they play in the same building).

This season, the Jazz have three 5-game road trips and only one 5-game homestand. There are two 6 of 7's at home, but a quick glance at the schedule makes it seem like we're playin 60 road games instead of 41.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Finally sitting at the cool-kids' table!

All your worst nightmares have come true, I am an official contributor to My Utah...True Blue....this blog!

First, a little background: I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, I went to high school in Murray (but not AT Murray) and later went to the U of U where I graduated in Economics in 2005. I worked for a year before enrolling in law school out here in the midwest. I have one more year to go so I guess I should start harassing KOC now for a job. I don't have a wife or girlfriend, I have an XBox instead.

My first memories of the Jazz were during the '95 playoffs when we lost to the Rockets in the first round. The first time I remember being crushed by a defeat was game 7 in Seattle in the '96 playoffs. Since then I have been nothing short of fanatical. As a class officer at my Jr. High, I instituted Utah Jazz Day, where students would be rewarded by wearing Jazz gear. The family eventually splurged on season tickets, but we managed to pick a not-so-good season, the very forgettable (aside from the 6-1 start) '04-'05 26-win season. I was living downtown at the time and going to the games was both easy and fun, I believe I managed to go to 25 games that year.

Since arriving here at school in 2006, my Jazz fever has intensified. Without my fellow Jazz fans around I felt like I needed to overcompensate. So I bought TONS of Jazz gear and, sadly, had to resort to staring at my computer while waiting for the game updates on ESPN. I have attended both Jazz away games out here (1 win, 1 loss) and will definitely be there for the next one. The one thing that I wish I had done earlier, and WILL be doing this season, is subscribing to Comcast's NBA League Pass. I will finally be able to watch more than 7 Jazz games!

I hope I will bring another interesting voice to this great blog. I do have some inside info on some of the players, though. For example, did you know that Matt Harpring played football in high school? It's true; in fact, he comes from a family of football players! Finally, my favorite Jazz player of all time is John Stockton, but really, this is like asking a Bulls fan who their favorite player is. Do we really expect them to say anyone but Jordan?

Thanks again to C.B. Jack, I look forward to many good discussions and Laker-bashing. GO JAZZ!

Matt Harpring needs your help! - Hoops Addict Floor Burn Tournament

Jazz fans. Matt Harpring needs your help.

We may not be as big of a market as Houston, but we can make this close. Please put the above link to your blog and encourage Jazz fans to vote. We can still make this respectable for Matty. Vote for him on the bottom of the page. Then delete your cookies, and go vote for him again. Repeat. I hate Houston. I hate Shane Battier. They hate us even more. We must represent!

"Each night ESPN, and YouTube are flooded with clips of players soaring through the air for rim rocking dunks, buzzer beating three-pointers and blocked shots that make your jaw drop in amazement. While those are all entertaining plays, teams who win championships need players who are willing to get a little dirty and do the little things needed to help their team win. As valuable and crucial as these players are to their respective teams success, these players rarely get the credit or respect that they deserve. With that in mind, the First Annual Hoops Addict Floor Burn Tournament will kick off this week.
Over the next few weeks we’re going to pare down 32 participants until we’re left with one final player who will be heralded as the First Annual Floor Burn Tournament Champion. As players are eliminated, they’ll be matched against the bracket below them. For example, the winner of the West/Powe match-up will face off against the winner of Dudley/Nocioni in the second round.
Keep in mind that voting for the first round will end on August 11th at 12:00 AM."

Go Vote for Matt Harpring!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

USA wins The Cold War 2008

The Cold War 2008

Nice defense Andrei. Where was that in Western Conference Semis?

Andrei Kirilenko was Russia's "go to" man while Team USAs Human Victory Cigar - Carlos Boozer - played 5 minutes with 2 pts and 0 (zip/zero/nada/zilch) rebounds.

The Cold War presented some interesting questions.

Why is Andrei Kirilenko so dominant in FIBA basketball?

Mother Russia plays Andrei at a true four (as we see above). His line from the game was much better than his average Jazz night (and the entire game is only 40 minutes):

31 minutes 6-14 8 rbs 4 ast 18 pts

The only real drawback was his 6-12 FT shooting.

Perhaps having Boozer leave SLC wouldn't be such a bad thing for the Jazz. I know I have been a ranking member of the "Move AK" club, but when I see what he can do as a true power forward, it makes me think that maybe the defensive big man we are lacking, is actually already in a Jazz uniform. (?)

I do think Andrei has a love for the game of basketball and perhaps it is his love for the NBA that has dwindled. What do the Jazz need to do to get the ammo back in the AK-47? Team Russia found a way to do it. In fact they were able to use Andrei so effectively they came out of the bottom of the pack to defeat Spain and win the FIBA EuroCup last year. Who was the MVP? See the picture below. When was the last time you saw this much energy and passion from Andrei Kirilenko (and this picture doesn't count). Perhaps the Jazz should consider bringing Team Russia coach (American born) David Blatt in as part of their staff. He has proven that he can win, and we've seen the success a FIBA coach can have in the NBA (see D'Antoni, Mike).

Somewhere in that scrawny frame is an Basketball Star. I am positive of that. Perhaps the simple answer is allowing AK to play his natural position. He is much quicker than most power forwards and his length can give anyone fits. Allowing him to roam closer the paint will only make his help defense that much more valuable. If you watch Andrei's post moves, they are much stronger than any hint of an outside game he thinks he has. Playing the true four would allow him to get a lot of put backs and his length would make it difficult for the defender to get a good position on him while preparing for a rebound. Andrei had 8 boards against Team USA. That is 7 more than Boozer, Bosh, and Howard combined.

Team USA didn't dominate this game in the paint. They dominated with the outside shot. Was this in part to Andrei being in his element? I know Russia has a big front line, but I am starting to believe that all Andrei needs is a little confidence and position alterations to return to his All-Star form.

Perhaps this is the duo who will lead us to the promised land. Agree or disagree? Leave us a comment. -CB Jack