Letter to Jazz Fans from David Locke

Dear Jazz fans,

I’m as excited as I’ve ever been for an NBA season. First, on the floor this team is growing and building. Will it be easy? No. Will we win every night? No. But things are undeniably heading in the right direction. Moreover, this is a wonderful group of young men in a tremendous organization.

On the radio, this season feels like the culmination of a lot of ideas and experiments. I believe we’ll be providing the most in-depth radio broadcast in the NBA (if not the history of the NBA). From the production pieces that will run in the game—This Day in History, In the Rafters, NBA Now, Jazz Sound Blast—to the live postgame interviews, what we’re producing in Utah is unequaled. Your interaction at #jazzblast via Twitter, Instagram and Vine is important. Add to the mix the incredible knowledge of Ron Boone, and his 47 years of pro basketball experience, and the broadcast is covered. Finally, the access and support we’re given by the organization allows us to provide you with unequaled insight and information on the team and the game.

I’m so excited to helm the ship that brings you these broadcasts. Thanks for your passion—it drives me every day. Here’s to another wonderful journey to the NBA gyms all around North America.

Thanks for joining us, whether it’s the old-school radio or on an app on your phone.

Talk to you tonight, and all season long.

Go Jazz.


INSIDER – Jazz sign Treveon Graham

Today the Utah Jazz signed 6-foot-6 Treveon Graham—who played collegiately at VCU—to a contract. Graham went undrafted this last draft and participated in the summer league for the San Antonio Spurs in Salt Lake City. Graham has a 6-foot-10.5 wingspan and played shooting guard at VCU. He took five 3-pointers a game, making 38%. Graham finished as VCU’s No. 2 all-time leading scorer. His nickname in college was “The Freight Train.”

Graham has been fighting the odds for a while. He only received two scholarship offers out of high school—VCU and Cleveland State.

He has been compared to Jared Dudley and Jae Crowder.



The following is my draft board based on limited watching of NBA Prospects over the last two months.  My viewing is far more limited than any true scout who has watched every game of these players plus their Synergy.   I have watched on average two to four games of each player.

My board is built with an understanding of the reality of how hard it is to make it in the NBA.  I will rate a player who I am certain will be a rotation player higher than most boards because after the 11th pick I classify a rotation player as a win.

This list is not the order I think they should be drafted they are in order of the players and how I think they will perform in the NBA.  Each team has its own needs.

  1. Karl Anthony-Towns – If he has the IT factor will be in the top voting for MVP and will win an MVP at some point in his career.


  1. Justise Winslow –  19 years old with an incredible skill set.  If I have to take one player that will be an all-star the most of this group I am taking Winslow.  If he adds a mid range shot he becomes unguardable.   Will live on the line in NBA.  Wing scoring is what you need to win in this league and Winslow is the wing scorer in this draft.


  1. DeAngelo Russell –  Comes with great size and vision we have rarely seen.  Not an elite athlete.  Will have to figure out how to play inside 15 feet.  With his vision shouldn’t be a problem.


  1. Kris Porzingis – the hype is real. Has a chance to be elite.  If he can protect the rim and shoot the three that is a unique combination that maybe no other power forward in the NBA has.  If he can also rebound forget about it.


  1. Jahill Okafor – He is really special. He will score in NBA.  I love his game.  However, I am having a really hard time figuring out how he fits in the evolving NBA on both the offensive and defensive end.  He will score.  He will be a beast.  Will he help teams win?


  1. Emmanuel Mudiay – What did he do wrong? A year ago was #2.  Went to China and really nothing should have changed.  Needs to shoot better but that is what you do in the NBA you shoot.   Great size


  1. Trey Lyles – Lyles doesn’t do anything great other than you can win with him. Good sized 4 who can play with the ball in his hands and run the pick and roll.  If he adds a consistent outside shot he will be a terrific pro.


  1. Stanley Johnson – Great body and a super defender. Had a hard time in college finishing at the rim.   Physically can play now.   Needs to fix release on his shot and needs to get better handle and control at high speed.  Physical tools should guarantee a solid career


  1. Kelly Oubre – Projecting a lot of things to go right here.  Has a solid shot and great length.  Will need to add a better handle, stronger frame and more understanding of the game.   Scary thought is he is Jeremy Lamb, good thought is he is skilled wing who can really score.


  1. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – 51% of picks after 11 don’t make the rotation in the NBA. Hollis-Jefferson’s defense, passion, athleticism makes him a rotation player.  Good passer, nice open court player and great cutter. If he can re-build his shot he will be terrific.  If not he is a high impact rotation player.


  1. Frank Kaminsky – If you want a stretch big this is your guy. Concern is  his ball fake and drive game won’t translate at all to the NBA leaving him as solely a spot up shooting big in the Channing Frye mold.  Not so bad to be Channing Frye.  Defense is not good but not as bad a people are saying.


  1. RJ Hunter – I love his passing.  I actually want to have him higher.  Had him at 9 but got nervous about his physical tools and toughness.  A scorer but a great passer.  Will be able to be a combo guard and make plays.  Is he Kevin Martin who passes?


  1. Devin Booker – the best shooter in the draft.  In a league about shooting that is a big deal.  If he can show a dribble drive game, a stop and pop game and some athleticism then he is special offensive player.   I asked him today if he was at Georgia State and he said we would have seen more pick and roll and more creating for teammates.  Booker says he likes Klay Thompson’s game but he isn’t as long or as tall.


  1. Willie Cauley Stein – He is the big man Rondae Hollis Jefferson. Defensively should be able to have an impact.  Offensively, who knows and he doesn’t catch great, pass great or do any of the other items offensively to cover up his deficiencies.   Could be a huge defensive impact player.


  1. Myles Turner – Project big. You fall in love with his body and his standing reach.  If it all comes together it is going to be great.  He has a nice touch on his shot that makes you even more excited.  I would have him higher but lots of things have to go right and that makes me nervous.  If it is one thing then ok, but when it is multiple I get scared.


  1. Kevon Looney – I can completely see him in the NBA. The size is right.  The body movement is right.  His shot is smooth.   He averaged a double-double in college.  He played 30+ minutes a night as a freshman.   Has a good handle for a big.  Can rebound and go.  So what is not there?  No real explosion in his game.  If that is due to the hip injury and gets solved this is the steal of the draft.


  1. Bobby Portis – Does everything ok. Plays with a super motor.  No one will ever be disappointed by Portis effort and desire.  I have a hard time seeing him playing the 4 in the league which makes him a back-up 5 and a good one.   If he is able to play out on the floor defensively as a 4 then this becomes a much better pick.


  1. Sam Dekker – I like Dekker.  I think it is going to take him a little while to figure out what his role and position is in the NBA and then he will be a solid pro.


  1. Tyus Jones – Chance this kid just wins and is special


  1. Delon Wright – mature and fearless.  Right situation will help someone.



Not LISTED because I have not watched enough to evaluate

Mario Hezonja

Cameron Payne

Justin Anderson


2nd Round

Jonathan Holmes

Anthony Brown

Norman Powell

Rakeem Christmas

Pat Connaugnton

Olivier Hanlan

INSIDER – Dennis Lindsey on the draft process

This morning, Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey was on with DJ & PK on 1280 and 97.5 The Zone.

These are the takeaways from their conversation

• The crew is on the West Coast to see agent-sponsored workouts. They are currently in Santa Barbara. Remember, the Jazz have the strong tie with P3, where numerous draftees are working out (including Kelly Oubre Jr.).

• The Jazz are getting out early to see these kids. You can’t sit back and wait—if an injury or something takes place, then you never see them.

• Buttoning up the decision-making process is a large part of this process.

• More players than normal are in play for the 12th spot. That’s what is unusual about this draft. There’s usually a tighter set of prospects.

• It’s more unusual to get a deal framework done this early in the process. Commonly, the best hands are shown when people get on the clock.

• Incredible to hear him talk about making a decision in five minutes when something new arises when the team is on the clock. Amazing how fast that decision has to be made when you consider how much is at stake for the organization. This is where Dennis says you have to be over-prepared so you don’t end up guessing.

• Intel is more art than formula. Intel is usually one person’s opinion on a player. Have to have multiple checks.

• Usually you only get 30 minutes one on one with a player before a draft. You have to be a good listener—not a check-the-box interviewer.

•The Jazz use a tier system. If you have players that are in the same tier and one has a skill set that fits your needs, that’s where you might jump. If you have a prospect two levels ahead of a need, more times than not it’s better to take the better prospect.

• The Front Office gives the coaches projects based on their skill set.

• Study the math of the draft. Many times the right thing to do is to take the riskiest pick. Often the lack of risk has limited upside.

• Dennis referenced if they don’t have all the information or incomplete information, he has to go to the owner and be transparent that they don’t have all the data. Are they still willing to make a million-dollar decision?

• You have to have multiple sets of options. If you are in that situation, you will more consistently make good decisions.

Always enjoy the Dennis Lindsey interview. If you listen, he says a lot each time he’s on 1280 and 97.5 The Zone.

INSIDER – Will Jazz D translate to 2015-16?

The Jazz defense since the All-Star break is historically good. Since 2001, only the 2004 Detroit Pistons have been better for a 2nd half of a season. Since 2005, no team has been better than the Jazz defensive rating of 93.0 post all star break, the next best is the 07 Bulls.

Without question the Jazz defense is performing at an elite level. Now the question is will it translate to 2015-16?

METHODOLOGY: Looked at the top 5 post all-star break defenses since 2000-01 and look at what they did the following year. Excluded any year involving the lockout.

* Since 2001 no team that has led the NBA in defense post all-star break has been #1 in defense the next season
* 13 of 24 (54%) teams who finished top 2 defensively PASB were top 5 defensively the next year
* 19 of 36 (53%) teams who finished top 3 defensively PASB were top 5 defensively the next year
* 30 of the 60 (50%) teams that were top 5 defensively PASB stayed in the top 5 the next season
* 20 of the 60 teams (33%) that were top 5 defensively PASB fell out of the top 10 defensively the next season
* 6 of the 60 teams (10%) fell out of the top half defending.

* Of the 60 teams that have been top 5 defensive PASB since 2001 they have represented 8 of the 12 teams next season who were #1 defensively, they have represented 5 of the 12 teams that ranked #2 the next season, 6 of the 12 that ranked 3rd and 6 of 12 that ranked 4th.
* The teams that finished top 5 PASB defensively represented 52% of the teams that were top 4 defensively the next season

* On average the best defensive team after the ASB sees their defensive rating increase 4 pts per 100 possessions the next season from where they performed PASB. None of the top 12 teams improved.
* Teams that finished in the top 5 defensively PASB on average see their defensive rating increase 2.2 pts per 100 possessions.

The Jazz defense since the ASB has been unique. The Jazz have a defensive rating of 93.0. Only 1 team since 2007 has had a post all-star break defensive rating within 4 pts of the Jazz 93.0 – 2013 Memphis Grizzlies (97.0).

It is unlikely the Jazz can maintain the insane 93.0 pts per 100 possessions rate they have held since the ASB for an entire season. However, if they follow the trend of adding 4 pts per 100 possessions they would still be an elite defense. One of the 10 best since 2001 (non-lockout). It seems reasonable to anticipate that the Jazz would be on the correct side of the 50% group that stays in the top 5 defensively. However, it is clear there is wide variance year to year.

Next project if you are top 5 defensively what does it mean for your win total

INSIDER – What to make of Jazz defense since All-Star Break

Since the All-Star Break the Jazz defense has been otherworldly.  In those 21 games the Jazz has allowed 86.3 points per game the next closest is New Orleans at 94.7.   That can be skewed by the Jazz arduous pace of play.  However, if you equalize for pace the Jazz are still #1 in the NBA with a remarkable 93.2 pts per 100 possessions.  The next closest in the NBA is 97.5, the Golden State Warriors.

If the Jazz were to hold a defensive rating of 93.2 pts per 100 possessions over an entire season it would be one of the greatest defensive performances in NBA history.  It is unrealistic to believe the Jazz can maintain at this level.    But how far can they slip and still be elite.

The Jazz has performed at in this rarefied air for just 25% of the season.   Yet, if the Jazz played average defense for the other 75% of the season they would still come out as the 3rd best defense in the NBA for the season.   For the Jazz to play average they would have to allow 9 pts per 100 more than they are since the all-star break.  That is a huge amount as you see below

Let’s try to make some sense of how much range exists in defensive efficiency ratings.  The best team in the NBA is Golden State at 97.4, the worst is Minnesota at 108.9.  Only three teams in the NBA are under 100 and only 4 teams in the NBA are above 106.   23 teams in the NBA exist within a 6 point range of 100 to 106.  The league median is 102.6.

For 25% of the season the Jazz have been 93.2 pts allowed per 100 possessions.  Even if the Jazz dropped 6 pts per 100 possessions (the same as #4 to #27) they would be above 100 pts allowed per 100 possessions and 2nd best in the NBA .

Let’s use two benchmarks moving forward.  If the Jazz were to slip to 96 pts allowed per 100 possessions or even 100 pts allowed per 100 possesions for the whole season how would they rank.

2013-14:  Best defense was Indiana at 96.7 and 3 teams were under 100 def rtg

2012-13:  Best defense was Indiana at 96.6 and 4 teams were under 100 def rtg

2011-12:  Lockout season offense was way down

2010-11: Best defense was Chicago 97.4 and 4 teams were under 100 def rtg

2009-10: Best defense was Charlotte at 100.2, no defenses under 100

2008-09:  Best defense was Orlando at 98.9, 3 teams were under 100 def rtg

2007-08:  Best defense was Boston at 96.2, 3 teams were under 100 def rtg

2006-07: Best defense was Chicago at 97 and 4 teams were under 100 rtg

2005-06:  Best defense was San Antonio at 96.9 and 4 teams were under 100

Over the past 10 seasons (9 full seasons) the best defensive team had a 96.2 and only three teams had a rating under 97.  Moreover, in none of the 9 seasons did more than 4 teams have a defensive rating under 100.

So if the Jazz slipped 3 pts per 100 possessions for an entire season compared to what they have done since the all-star break they would be the best defense in the last 10 years.   If they were to slip 6 pts and stay under 100 pts allowed they would almost certainly be a top 5 defense

Therefore, considering the Jazz run defensively since the all-star break it seems fair to feel the Jazz will be a top 5 defensive team in the NBA next year with a real chance at being one of the best defenses in the NBA in the near future.

INSIDER – Jazz bigs and how they have played together

Quin Snyder has had the difficult task of dividing 96 minutes a night between 4 good big man, Derrick Favors, Enes Katner, Rudy Gobert and Trevor Booker.   Each player has there strengths and weaknesses and in turn compliment each other differently.

What is striking is how this has changed through the season as the defensive system has evolved for the Utah Jazz.

The following chart is the Jazz big man pair for the first half of the season

playing pair bigs 1st half


The much talked about Gorbert and Favors combo was rarely used in the first half of the season.   In the first half of the season each line-up with Enes Kanter was a disaster.

Since Dec 19th the halfway point of the 52 games so  far things have been very different

jazz 2nd half bigs


The Favors/Gobert combo has become a much more prominent line-up.  Most interestingly the Kanter and Favors line-up has gone from -5.2 per 100 possessions to a -.3 over 100 possessions.  A great improvement.    In addition, the Favors/Booker that was prominent in the first half of the season and unsuccessful has been reduced to particular circumstances and been much more successful .

All three line-ups with Enes Kanter on the floor area above better than league average defensively.  League average is 103.7 and Kanter/Favors is 101.7 since Dec 18th.  101.7 would rank 11th in NBA for a team.   Kanter/Gobert is 100.4 would rank 9th.

What is most exciting about the above graph is that over the last half of the season every Jazz big man pair, other than Booker and Gobert, is a really strong defensive unit.   They have not figured out how to score yet, but they are all defending very well.


ASK INSIDER LOCKE – Should the Jazz trade for Goran Dragic

Burt Macklin @Forrresttree2  @Lockedonsports dragic for Kanter? #asklocke

 The number 1 name in the trade deadline talks right now is Goran Dragic.  Should the Jazz get involved in the Dragic trade talks.   The Jazz point guard position is still developing and there is no question an established point guard would help the Jazz win more games right now.

However, I don’t think the Jazz should jump into the Dragic sweepstakes.  First, he is a free agent at the end of the season and you would have to make sure you could sign him to a long term deal if you trade for him.

Secondly, he seems set on getting a 5 year max deal for nearly 100 million dollars.  You can’t do a 5 year deal unless it is the max.  His entire trade demand is based on getting the 5th year.   I don’t believe he is a 5 year max player..  Last year, he was great in Phoenix a 3rd team all-nba player.  However, prior to that he has not been at that level.  I would be very careful in offering him the 5 year max deal when he may not be a top 10 point guard in the NBA.

Finally, if you sign Dragic for a 5 year deal what are you doing with Burke and Dante.

For all those reasons I don’t think the Jazz should get involved in the Dragic deal.


ASK INSIDER LOCKE – Has Enes Kanter been underutilized?

Nicholaus Hensley @NicholausHensle – Is Kanter an under-dipped oreo cookie?
Great question.  If you listen to Enes’ Agent with Scotty G and Hans Olsen on 97.5 home of the Utah Jazz you would believe this to be true.   However, it is probably worth revisiting some facts about Enes Kanter’s basketball development.
Enes started playing basketball at 14 years old in 2006
In 2007-08 Enes played for the U16 Turish team and lead the European Championships with 23 points and 17 rebounds.  This tournament was over 10 games.  Turkey finished 3rd.  
In 2008-09 Enes Kanter played 4 games in the Euroleague for a total of 31 minutes and 5 games for Fenerbahce in the Turkish League at 14 minutes a game.  
In 2009-10 he went to the US for high school and played limited competition at Stonebridge Prep and then played 9 games in the u18 championships averaging 19 points and 16 rebounds.  Turkey finished 3rd 
In 2010-11 he didn’t play at all and was ineligible at Kentucky
In 2011-12 he played for the Utah Jazz 
Enes was under the control of Fenerbahce Ulker from 2006 to 2009 but the only records show him playing 4 games.
Total up the games played and Kanter played somewhere around 27 high level games before joining the NBA.  His production was terrific, but his experience was insanely limited. 
So was Kanter underutilized (an under dipped oreo cookie)?  Considering how little knowledge he has of the game it seems the Jazz progession of 13 to 15 to 27 minutes over the first three years of his career seems reasonable.  
Kanter has maintained his ability to put up numbers when he is on the floor.  He is amazingly gifted.  However, his lack of experience has prevented him from knowing how to make his teammates better and how to help his team win.  
Kanter has made great progress this year.  In a span of 13 games before his ankle injury he played 30 or more minutes.   You are seeing him grow on the floor.
To answer the question, he may be underutilized for a 3rd pick of an NBA draft, but he is certainly not underutlizied for a player with this little game experience.

ASK LOCKE #1 – Will Jazz add a shooter in the off-season?

Tommy @tomcat340

@Lockedonsports is this offseason too soon to add a veteran shooter (Danny Green maybe?) or should they let guys develop more? #asklocke

This is a great question.  Right now the Jazz are still in the asset accumulation mode and when do they shift to team building?  The first piece to be diagnosed is which pieces are the core pieces.  I am not sure we will be there by the end of the season.   The Alec Burks injury slowed down how all the pieces fit together, plus the Rudy Gobert emergence alters how you view some things.

I still think we are looking to form the core pieces,rather than place complimentary pieces on the puzzle.  With that said, Tony Allen was added to Memphis while they were still building and I would call him a core piece.   So it is not always obvious what a core piece is.

The Jazz are looking to improve so if the right piece that fits well both with the current talent, with the attitude of the team and moneywise is there, I could see the Jazz making a move.

Danny Green may get 8 digits however.