INSIDER – The Jazz by Birth Order

Birth order has been studied since Alfred Alder in early 1900’s first asserted that birth order influences personalities. In the book, Born to Rebel, Frank Sulloway wrote that first borns are more conscientious, more likely to be rule followers than later born children. The impact of birth order s not universally accepted in the scientific world. In fact, many psychologists dispute that it makes any impact.

The real scientific issue is controls and the inability to compare one family to the other. However, according to Wikipedia those who believe in birth order believe in the following,

“First borns scored higher on conservatism, conscientiousness and achievement orientation. Later borns scored higher on rebelliousness, openness, and agreeableness.”In addition, “ firstborns mainly have adult influences around them in their early years, they will spend their initial years of life interacting in a highly intellectual family environment. This effect may also be observed in siblings who, although later born, have a sibling at least five years senior with no siblings in between. These children are considered to be “functional firstborns”. The theory further suggests that firstborns will be more intelligent than only children, because the latter will not benefit from the “tutor effect” While recent studies have shown “ distinctly higher rate of success among second borns later in life in the areas of career as well as wealth.”

With all of that said I thought it would be interesting to see where the Jazz players fit in birth order.

CJ Miles – oldest of 4 (2 sisters and a brother)
Enes Kanter – oldest of 4 (2 brothers and a sister)
Jeremy Evans – oldest of 2 with a younger brother.
Josh Howard – oldest of three, a brother and a sister

If the studies show the oldest are less competitive, more rule following, more conscientious I would say that CJ and Jeremy fit that role. We don’t know Enes well enough yet to be able to see how he develops, but early signs are I don’t see the same chip on his shoulder you see out of the guys who had older siblings.

Paul Millsap – the second of 5 all boys.
Derrick Favors – middle kid of three with 1 sister and a brother
Jamaal Tinsley was the 3rd of 8 with 3 brothers and 4 sisters
Devin Harris — the middle kid with an older brother who worked him and a younger sister
DeMarre Carroll – was the 3rd of 4 with 2 brothers and a sister, his olderst brother passed when he was a teenager.

Al Jefferson – the 4th of 5 with 3 sisters and a brother.
Earl Watson – was the 5th of 7 with 6 boys and 1 girl in the family
Alec Burks – younger of two with an older brother who lives with him in SLC

Gordon Hayward – has a twin sister and they competed for everything including seats in the car.

INSIDER – The Stunning Career path of Enes Kanter

Throughout the season we have been interviewing Jazz players about how they grew up in basketball, when they first played, what the court was like and what drove them to the game. I have been conducting these interviews whenever we are near a player’s hometown. We don’t play near Turkey so I decided Boston would be the best we could do for Enes Kanter.

Venturing into the world of a language barrier we started the interview. I asked where did you first play and he said “Turkey.” We weren’t off to a great start. Then I asked how old he was when he first played and he said “14”. Clearly, we were having a huge language barrier. I re-phrased the question to not your first club team or national team but first time you played “14” he said.

Is it possible that I was talking to a 19 year old kid who is playing the in NBA and playing fairly well and he first picked up a basketball just 5 years prior. The answer was yes. I asked if he pulling a “Fesenko” and he had no idea what I was talking about but anyone who knew Fes was laughing.

It is true. Confirmed with Kevin O’Connor, Enes Kanter first picked up a ball at the age of 14. He played on his first team at 15 and told us that he went to one practice and the next day they put him in a game.

Kanter says his father, one of the lead histology professors in Turkey, would not let him play basketball or any sports. When I asked what he did for fun, he said he didn’t do things for fun, he went to school and then to his tutors and those were his days.

He never played soccer or any other organized sport before basketball. He played soccer in the backyard but nothing official. If you ever see him juggle a ball with his feet it is very good.

When you outline his next 5 years it is more stunning. At 14 in 2006, he was introduced to basketball. At 15 in 2007, he played on his first team under the direction of Serdar Apaydin, former Turkish star . By 16 in 2008, just 2 years into playing he plays for a professional Turkish team playing 4 games in the Europleague (first player ever born in 1992 to play Euroleague) and 5 games in the Turkish Basketball League before being sidelined with a knee soreness. Gordon Giricek was one of his teammates on the Euroleague team. He grabbed 5 points, 3 rebounds in 9 minutes in his first ever Euroleague game.

He turned down professional contracts to play in Turkey and moved to a prep school in the US, because his father wanted him to attend a United States college. In 2009 at 17 he plays 9 games for Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley California and then in 2010 blows up the Nike Hoops Summit, just 4 years after first playing basketball and with limited game experience.

Ruled ineligible by the NCAA he didn’t play in 2010 while attending classes at the University of Kentucky.

Put this together and it is possible Kanter could be on the verge of playing as many if not more games this year in the NBA than he has in his career prior to coming to the NBA.

More striking is every time Kanter has played a big game he has been amazing. He burst on the American scene at the Nike Hoop Summit he scored 34 points and had 13 rebounds.

However, in Europe he was the big man version of Ricky Rubio. In August of 2008 (just turned 16), with less than two years experience, he played in the FIBA Europe Under 16 Championship and averaged 23 points, 17 rebounds and 2 blocks, leading Turkey to a 3rd place finish. He double doubled in every game and twice went for a 20-20, including a 28-20 in the third place game. He finished as the leading rebounder and leading scorer of the tournament, Jonas Valanciunas got the MVP.

That same year as a 16 year old he also played in the U-18’s and averaged 19 points and 15 rebounds shooting 66%. Then in 2009, as a 17 year old he played in the U-18 Euro Championship and averaged 19 points and 16 rebounds and was named the MVP leading Turkey to another 3rd place finish.

Quite a journey in his first five years of playing basketball.

INSIDER – Analysis of Warriors -Bucks Trade with a Jazz slant

The first significant trade has been made. The Warriors have moved Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown to Milwaukee for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson.
This trade has significance to the Utah Jazz. The Jazz own the rights to the Warriors #1 pick as long as it does not fall in the top 7 this year or the Top 6 next year after the lottery.

The Warriors currently sit at 9th in the NBA so the Jazz should be in good shape. However, if the Warriors were to start losing it could make the lottery night a nervous one for the Jazz.

From the Warriors standpoint they gain Bogut as a center, however, he is out with a fractured ankle and it is not clear when he plays again. Stephen Jackson is a huge step down from Monta Ellis. Ellis uses a scoring opportunity at 1.03 points per scoring opportunity and Stephen Jackson is at .92.

Jackson has 10 million left on his contract for next year so I can’t imagine the Warriors are going to release him.

If the Warriors can give more possessions to Steph Curry they will become better. However, Curry’s ankle is unstable and if he gets hurt they are fielding a poor team that will lose a lot.

From the Jazz point view the Warriors could be a lot worse until Andrew Bogut is ready to play.

From a Warriors standpoint I like the trade. They needed to move Monta you can’t have a guy using 24 possessions a night below the league average will prevent you from winning. You simply can’t win when your #1 or #2 guys are using possessions below the league average. The Warriors got out from under his contract and can move forward. In addition, they turned the team over to Steph Curry who is terrific and their future. Finally, they did while acquiring a big man in the middle.

INSIDER – Jazz salary flexibility and what it might allow them to do

The Jazz have some interesting flexibility with their salary structure. Other than Hayward, Favors, Burks and Kanter the Jazz have no players under contract in the 2013-14 season. These can be looked at in two ways. One the Jazz are unlikely to add a player whose contract goes into that period. This is an important time in the NBA because it is when the new putative luxury tax under the new collective bargaining agreement kicks in.

However, the other angle is that because Burks will be earning just 2.3 million and Hayward will be earning just 3.4 million that Jazz could easily add a third wing player who earns more money than their value because the allotment for the position would not be out of whack.

My assumption on the front court would be the Jazz will have Favors and Kanter and either Jefferson or Millsap under contract by that point so adding another big seems unlikely.

What this flexibility could allow the Jazz to do is move one of their expiring contracts (CJ) or short contracts (Raja) for a player with 2 or 3 years left on their deal knowing that can handle that extra money.

Some players that fit under that are Wesley Matthews with Portland who has 3 years after this year at 19 million. That is way too much for what Wesley delivers, but the Jazz might be able to absorb that considering the aforementioned salary situation.

Another player would be Marvin Williams of the currently luxury tax paying Hawks who has 2 years after this for 17 million. Again, over paid but maybe the Jazz would be willing to absorb.

Shaun Marion has 3 years left at 8 million a year. The Mavericks are interested in moving him for to clear space for Deron and Dwight but only if they know they are going to ger Deron and Dwight.

A wild card would be Jason Richardson of the Magic at 3 more years around 6 a year.

We will see how the Jazz approach this flexibility .

INSIDER – Jazz without Raja Bell in Chicago

The Utah Jazz will be without veteran shooting guard Raja Bell tonight v. Chicago Bulls. Bell is not with the team in Chicago due to an internal matter.

Coach Corbin has not announced who will be starting in Bell’s place. Earlier on the road trip Corbin decided to bring Gordon Hayward off the bench in order to keep Josh Howard with the starters and give Hayward the ball more with the second unit.

The most likely move for Corbin would be to place Hayward back in the starting line-up, but he has played so well in the second unit it is certain that Corbin would consider moving either Miles or Burks into the line-up with Howard.

Coach Corbin coaches show on 1320, K-Fan will be your first opportunity to hear what he decides be sure to tune into the pre-game coverage starting at 5pm.

INSIDER – Are the 76ers showing the Jazz a glimpse of their future?

Are the Philadelphia 76ers giving the Jazz a sneak peak of their future tonight?

Tonight Philadelphia will start with a two guard set of Jrue Holliday and Evan Turner. Neither will be defined as the point guard. In a traditional sense Holliday is the point guard and Turner the shooting guard, but at Ohio State Turner was the primary ball handler and at UCLA Holliday wasn’t.

This will be the 4th game for the 76ers with this guard lineup and interesting it was increased the assist numbers for Holliday while Turner has finally had productive days in the NBA.

Where it can be most dangerous is on the defensive end. Holliday (6’4 180) and Turner (6’7 205) are both long and active. The problem with this line-up is neither is a true shooter and will struggle to stretch the floor. To Holliday’s credit he knocked down 37% of his three’s in his career while Turner is just 25%.

When the Utah Jazz drafted Alec Burks (6’6 202) they mentioned they believed he could play some point guard. Gordon Hayward is obviously better when he has the ball in his hand. Is it possible the Jazz could one day follow the lead of the Holliday/Turner backcourt and play a line-up of Burks and Gordon Hayward (6’9 210).

The main difference is neither Burks nor Hayward was the primary ball handler at the college level. Burks had Cory Higgins at Colorado and Shelvin Mack had the ball the majority of the time at Butler.

However, Burks and Hayward may have the skills to achieve this. They would be longer than the Holliday and Turner combo. As the NBA goes to more and more offensive point guards and more and more pick and roll at the top the point guard is going to have to become a bigger player.

Similarly, to the 76ers combo Burks and Hayward would have a hard time stretching the floor with their outside shooting.

How the remaining pieces of the Jazz roster fill out will likely dictate if we ever see this combo, but it is worth watching the 76ers combo this evening.

INSIDER – Al Jefferson abuses summer league Talent does it matter?

The last two nights Al Jefferson has been undeniably the best player on the floor. He has dominated the Cavaliers and Bobcats inferior big men with dominating all around performances. The easy answer is that Ryan Hollins, Bismack Bitombo and the like are Summer League talent and Jefferson should dominate.

He should dominate these players, but that doesn’t make those performances any less spectacular or worthy.

The NBA is about how many match-ups you can dominate. Choose any player in the NBA and figure out how many times he has the advantage against an opponent and how many times that advantage is sizable and you have his value. Place each player on a team in a role and then look and see how many match-ups that team has the advantage and then how many they dominate and you have the team value.

It is in vogue to talk about collective effort and focus on group dynamics in the NBA, but in the purest form it comes down to each match-up and finding the advantage.

Al Jefferson dominates a lot of match-ups in the NBA and that is where he sits in his NBA value. When he goes against Bynum, Howard or the likes he struggles. That is his placement in the league.

Early in the year when the Jazz bench was winning games, Tyrone Corbin was finding way to get the game to be decided by match-ups out of the top two or three players on the floor. When the Jazz have faced teams with star players late in games they have had a hard time winning those key match-ups.

The greats in the league have the advantage every night, Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Dirk Nowitzki, etc. As players age those nights with the advantage become less often. For players the tier of Jefferson, an upper level player, but not a star is that he dominates his match-up a good deal but not every night.

These are not only offensive players. Kevin Garnett, Joaquim Noah and others dominate on the defensive side of the ball and it has the same impact as offensively, maybe more so because so few players are able to achieve that standard.

The key to this is when you have the advantage you have to take someone out back to the woodshed and putting a beating down. Jefferson did exactly that the last two nights.

INSIDER – Corbin to start Howard sends Hayward to the bench

The Utah Jazz first round draft pick from the 2010 NBA draft Gordon Hayward will move to the bench tonight for the first time all year with Raja Bell’s return to the line-up. A move that had been percolating for the last week or two week has come to fruition.

Coach Tyrone Corbin explained what he liked out of Josh Howard, “I like what we are getting from Josh in the starting group, the way he cut off when Al is posting up and the way he reads situations.”

Tyrone thinks this could assist Gordon as well, “ This is a way to get the ball in Gordon’s hand more with the second unit and run a few more things through him and pick the tempo up we have gotten stagnant with the second group.”

Over the last six games as a starter Howard has averaged, 13 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists while shooting 48%. The 7 rebounds might be most vital to this teams needs.

The new starting line-up of Harris, Bell, Howard, Millsap and Jefferson is the most veteran line-up Corbin can put on the floor. “Most experience we have on this team, should give us a chance at the beginning of the game. Veteran guys know how to prepare themselves on how to play as we go down the stretch trying to make the playoffs,” explained Corbin.

Gordon said all the right things about the move to the bench, with each answer to each question coming out about the exact same ““Whatever the team needs, it doesn’t matter, help the team win” and “It doesn’t matter come in with the same mindset and help the team win.” And “ You can only control how you do on the court” and “ Same mindset get better each day, play good defense whatever it takes to win, don’t want to make a big deal just help this team get wins that is what we need.”

Corbin wouldn’t commit to what the second unit would be mentioning both Miles and Burks as playing with Gordon. However, he says he is more comfortable with playing Burks, Gordon, Kanter and Favors together, “it is not at beginning of the season, we have a history we have a understanding of what guys are going to do. That is what scared me at the beginning of the year is that they were so young together, they now know what to expect and we will see how they respond.”

The Jazz are currently 11th in the West three games behind Denver for the 8th spot and Corbin is trying to make his playoff push with a veteran core and an energy based young bench.

INSIDER – Youngsters playing without the ball

The biggest adjustment in the NBA for young players is learning how to play with teammates and off teammates. Every college player that heads to the NBA is used to have an offense predicated around them and creating for them. Now they enter the NBA and they aren’t in the same role and they don’t touch the ball on every possession.

In the San Antonio game the final 5 minutes Gordon Hayward didn’t get a touch. Alec Burks goes down the floor and doesn’t touch for consecutive possessions something that never happened at Colorado.

I asked Tyrone Corbin today about this adjustment for young players. “It is learning process, when to cut, when to space the floor, when to come to the ball. It is a huge adjustment for guys who are used to having the ball and making the plays to have other guys set them up it takes them a while to understand when to cut and when to move. It is difficult to get a rhythm, you can’t get it from just having the ball in your hand. It takes a while to figure out how to get a feel for it”

Jeff Hornacek had similar thoughts – “It is an adjustment, guys have to put themselves back to when they first played ever when they got fewer opportunities. You have to be ready to make a play. It is a mental thing to not take yourself out of the game.”

This is why we see such inconsistency out of these players. The rookies who have the ball in their hand every play, Knight, Irving and Walker are having an easier adjustment.

INSIDER – Favors reaction to Rising Stars Bid

Derrick Favors will be joining Gordon Hayward in the Rising Stars game in Orlando for All-Star weekend. Both of the Jazz 2nd year players will be on Team Chuck. Favors was named today as a replacement for Spurs 2nd year player Tiago Splitter.

Just talked to Favors at our hotel in Minneapolis. He is really excited to go to the game. His agent called him this morning and told him there was a chance but that nothing was official. He was planning on going to Orlando for All-Star break for one night and then going to Atlanta to see family. Now he will be staying a little longer.

Favors will be heading from Minnesota directly to Orlando as will Gordon Hayward.

This is a nice well deserved honor for Favors. Favors is in a tough spot right now. He is not getting a huge amount of minutes and so it has been difficult for him to put his stamp on a game. Moreover, those minutes are with other inexperienced players.

This will be a nice confidence boost to Favors and let him know that he is being recognized for what he is doing despite not getting an endless supply of minutes.

For the Jazz organization it is nice to have two members playing in this game while arguably the most deserving Enes Kanter is being left out. I have a feeling the Jazz will have 2 players in this game a year from now as well.