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Mitrou-Long gets Indy two-way, 3x3 ball in SLC

Ryan Aston , 2019-07-31 20:50:14
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Former Utah Jazz guard Naz Mitrou-Long officially has a new home for the 2019-20 NBA season and USA Basketball’s 3×3 qualifiers are SLC-bound.

Another recent Utah Jazz alum looks to have found a new squad following the team’s big roster overhaul this summer. Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Scott Agness, Naz Mitrou-Long is headed to the Indiana Pacers.

The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Long has reportedly come to terms on a two-way deal with the team.

Long was a two-way player for the Jazz during the 2017-18 season, but only saw 31 seconds of action over the course of the campaign. It was just about the most eventful 31 seconds a player could experience — the rookie drained a 3-pointer then collided with former Jazzman Trey Lyles, which resulted in stitches and a scar over his left eye.

He got a larger taste of game action last season, inking a pair of 10-day contracts with the Jazz and appearing in 14 games.

However, the brunt of his first two years as a pro were spent with Utah’s G-League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars. There, his scoring chops and all-around game were on full display. Over 72 games in a Stars uniform, he put up 18.3 points, 5.6 boards and 4.7 assists per contest while connecting on 36 percent of his 3-point shots.

More recently, he starred for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2019 summer league squads in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

The move to Indy is probably a good one for Long. His path to a roster spot with the Jazz had faded and he’ll be in a winning situation with Indy and head coach Nate McMillan.

Look for him to split time between the Pacers and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants next season.

USA Basketball 3×3 Qualifiers Coming to Salt Lake

While the Jazz blogosphere is abuzz with chatter about USA Basketball due to Donovan Mitchell‘s potential involvement with America’s FIBA World Cup entry, another branch of international hoops competition is set to take the spotlight in Jazzland.

3×3 basketball will be making its Olympic debut at the Tokyo games in 2020 and USA Basketball has partnered with Red Bull to host a litany of qualifying tournaments across the country in an effort to identify the men and women who will represent Team USA.

On August 10, one such tourney will be emanating from the grounds surrounding Vivint Smart Home Arena in SLC.

Next: One thing each Utah Jazz starter must improve on

If you’re in the area and you think you have what it takes to follow in the footsteps of John Stockton and Karl Malone as an Olympic gold medal winner, you can enter into the Utah 3×3 tournament HERE.

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Mike Conley praises SLC, wants to win the right way

Jared Woodcox , 2019-07-20 03:31:32
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Mike Conley knows he has a great opportunity with the Utah Jazz and, perhaps most importantly, realizes how meaningful it would be to bring a championship to Salt Lake City.

In a league that’s become all too closely associated with teaming up with star players and forming super teams, for those of us who lean towards supporting the underdog, the 2019-20 NBA season looks like it finally might provide a bit of a breath of fresh air. While there are undoubtedly several daunting teams and some incredible dynamic duos, there’s no lone clear cut favorite as several teams appear poised to compete for a championship.

Among those teams is the upstart Utah Jazz, a perennial small market underdog that has a reputation for fielding a good team, but not one that can truly compete at the highest level. Other such small market teams that may find themselves in that mix this season are the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers who were both prolific a season ago.

But Utah could very well have the edge over their small market competition and find themselves in the same tier as the behemoth LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers who boast some of the league’s best players in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the former and LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the latter. The Jazz got significantly better this offseason, and one principal way they did so was by adding point guard extraordinaire Mike Conley to their ranks.

Conley has consistently been one of the best point guards in the game and is arguably the best active NBA veteran to have never appeared in an All-Star Game. Flying under the radar in Memphis hurt his prospects in that regard, but his talent most definitely isn’t lacking.

And ever since Conley learned that he would be joining the Jazz, he’s been nothing but upbeat and optimistic. Clearly he sees just how high this team’s ceiling can be and how much potential they hold, and he’s excited to be a part of it.

In fact, in a recent article from J. Michael of the Indy Star describing the current situation for small market teams, he gathered some highly meaningful quotes from Mike Conley regarding how he feels about his new team and opportunity. In comparing SLC to other markets, the Jazz point guard had the following to say:

“You have cities like Miami or L.A., New York, big-time markets. There’s a lot of growth that guys see. There’s a lot of things outside of basketball that guys see that can entice them. I didn’t know anything about Salt Lake City. It’s an unbelievable city. It’s an unbelievable place to be. Guys don’t get to spend time in these areas and communities to realize how good the opportunity would be if they went there.”

Man, that’s got to be music to Jazz fans’ ears. Not only is Conley praising the often overlooked and underappreciated Salt Lake City, but he realizes the opportunity he has to make a difference in such a community, even if it is a smaller one than many players might prefer.

But as if that wasn’t already enough, Conley added another bit of great insight that should excite Jazz fans even further. When asked about the tougher path that small market teams have to follow, here was his response:

“You’ve got to do the right things through the draft. It makes it a little bit of a harder road, but also I think it would be more enjoyable to ultimately win a ring in a place you have to work so hard for it.”

In an era where players have been more prone to seek out the easy way to a championship (looking at you Kevin Durant) rather than working through trials and building something special and meaningful albeit in a perhaps difficult situation, Conley’s point of view is a breath of fresh air.

Today’s society is predicated on instant gratification, handouts and taking the easy way out. Lost in that mindset is an attitude of working hard to defy the odds and experiencing the joy that comes from overcoming those obstacles with diligence and integrity. But Conley is one of the rare few who still gets it. He knows that the harder the journey and the more daunting the path, the greater the reward will be.

In other words, he wants to win a championship, but he wants to win it the right way. He wants that enjoyment that will come from taking an under-appreciated and overlooked team all the way to the top of the ladder in spite of all the challenges that surround them.

Fortunately, the Jazz have put themselves in about as ideal of a situation to do so as they could have. They have a loaded and well-rounded roster with great shooting around defensive star Rudy Gobert and budding star Donovan Mitchell. They’ve added an experienced floor general in Mike Conley and a sharpshooter extraordinaire in Bojan Bogdanovic.

They’ve played their chips just right to bounce back majestically from the Gordon Hayward fiasco of a few summers back. And now they, with Conley leading the charge, have a chance to raise their small market squad to the ultimately glory.

It’s hard to imagine a joy that will be greater than that for the team and the Salt Lake City faithful. Winning a championship in Utah is something that to this day many would say is impossible. The players likely recognize that general sentiment as well, which is why winning it all would be so rewarding, as Conley pointed out.

Next: Rudy Gobert will be the key for the Utah Jazz to outmatch the LA Clippers

Mike Conley knows how special this next season could be with the Jazz and he’s excited to get underway in a new city in which he’s making the absolute best of his opportunity. His viewpoint thus far should have his teammates and fans totally thrilled with the exciting season that lies ahead.

Can it be October already?

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Utah Jazz: Raptors title is incredible, but makes absence of one in SLC sting more

Jared Woodcox , 2019-06-14 12:00:16
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The Toronto Raptors made history by winning their first ever NBA Championship, something the Utah Jazz have been unable to do despite a longer tenure in the league. History was made on Thursday night as the Toronto Raptors won the franchise’s first ever NBA Championship by defeating the Golden State Warriors 114-110. The injury bug […]

Utah Jazz: Raptors title is incredible, but makes absence of one in SLC sting more – The J-Notes – The J-Notes – A Utah Jazz Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Tyus Battle back in SLC for pre-draft workout

Ryan Aston , 2019-05-08 13:45:12
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Former Syracuse standout Tyus Battle will join the latest group of six prospects looking to boost their draft stock in a workout for the Utah Jazz.

Tyus Battle’s last trip to Salt Lake City didn’t go exactly as planned. In an 8/9 match-up in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, his Syracuse Orange fell to Baylor — the alma mater of Dennis Lindsey, Royce O’Neale and Ekpe Udoh — at Vivint Arena in what would ultimately be his last collegiate game.

Just a few months later, he’s back in the 801 for a pre-draft workout for the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. Undoubtedly, the 6-foot-6, 210-pound shooting guard is hoping for a better result this time around.

Early draft workouts are largely playgrounds for fringe prospects and underclassmen looking to test the draft waters. Battle, however, has a legitimate shot at hearing his name called in the second round, where the Jazz band will be on the clock at No. 53.

Given his size, length (6-foot-9 wingspan) and penchant for coming up big in the clutch for ‘Cuse, that should come as no surprise.

When Battle sunk rival Georgetown with this triple in December, Boeheim spoke glowingly about his two-guard. “He‘s made a lot of big shots,” he said after the game. “Probably as much or more than anybody we’ve ever had here in late-game situations. He’s right there.”

Over a three year career under head coach Jim Boeheim, Battle averaged 16 points, three boards and 1.3 steals per contest. His willingness to take the big shot may be his best attribute, next to his big NBA body. He also excelled as a mid-range jumpshooter as a collegiate, but it’s hard to say how well that will serve him at the next level.

Unless you’re Chris Paul, that’s generally not a shot people want you to take in the modern Association.

He’ll need to work on his rim finishing, which was middling at best, but the bigger question facing his transition to the next level may be the 3-point shot. Battle shot just 33.5 percent from distance for the Orange and actually got worse every year after knocking down 37 percent of his triples as a freshman.

Nevertheless, Battle has the mindset of a big-time scorer, a flair for dramatic offense and is a willing defender as well, so he should get some consideration from NBA teams this June.

Joining Battle in this workout session will be NCAA tourney hero Matt Mooney of Texas Tech, Miami big man Dewan Hernandez, Notre Dame point man Temple Gibbs, forward Mamadi Diakite from Virginia and Arizona wing Brandon Randolph.

Battle, Hernandez and Diakite will all take part in the G-League Elite Camp, running from May 12-14. A strong showing there could see them snag one or more of them a spot in the NBA Draft Combine, which begins on the 14th.

The 2019 NBA Draft is on Thursday, June 20.

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