INSIDER – Obvious unselfishness

Quin Snyder revealed a phrase with the media today that his players will hear time and time again this season: “obvious unselfishness.”

“The biggest thing I have asked from them is to be unselfish—to have obvious unselfishness, to have it resonate with people that have watched us practice,” Snyder said.

Each of the last two days have had great examples of “obvious unselfishness.” Yesterday in the 4-on-4 setting, Derrick Favors took a pass off the pick-and-roll on the right side of the lane. Favors caught it in traffic in the lane and rather than forcing the shot, he immediately moved the pass to the corner for a wide open 3-pointer. For Snyder, that is “obvious unselfishness.”

Today, the Jazz were playing a high-intensity 5-on-5 where the defense must get three straight stops. The defense accomplished this on a missed three attempt by Rodney Hood, but Snyder was ecstatic about the play Enes Kanter had just made.

Kanter caught the ball on the left block and started a move to the middle. However, the space evaporated. Kanter, who had only eight assists as a rookie and averaged 0.9 per game last year, fired the ball to the top of the key to Hood for a wide-open look. It was “obvious unselfishness.”

INSIDER – Notes from the first day of Jazz Training Camp

  • The morning session of Day 1 was focused entirely on defense and, more specifically, transition defense. Snyder says he doesn’t want to sacrifice the offensive rebounding of both Kanter and Favors, but if you don’t get back in transition you don’t get to play any other kind of defense.
  • Enes Kanter shared that the pace of the practice was intense. There was no slowing down for nearly the entire two hours.
  • Danté Exum says that he got yelled at in his first NBA practice. Coach Snyder also said that he and Rodney Hood both showed some rookie flashes.
  • Rodney Hood was surprised that they ran sprints. “I didn’t think they did that in the NBA.” However, Hood said it only happened when someone didn’t pay attention to details.
  • According to Quin Snyder, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors played like two players who the team was going to rely on—on both ends of the floor.
  • Carrick Felix injured his left shoulder in practice and will be further examined.
  • Brock Motum and Jack Cooley have both found ways to be effective basketball players without great athletic skills.
  • Jerry Sloan, Phil Johnson and Michigan head coach John Beilein were among those in attendance.

INSIDER – Months worth of coaching work shows in Day 1 for Jazz

Today was officially Day 1 for the players, but for Quin Snyder and his coaching staff it represented several months of work coming to fruition.

From the moment Snyder took over as the Utah Jazz head coach, his staff has been working tirelessly to be prepared for today’s practice and the rest of training camp.

“We have worked at it pretty hard. I felt it was important for our staff to really, really have a strong command of what we want to teach and what I want to see,” Snyder said. “The level of intensity and the juice you bring into the gym, that to me is hugely important for our players to feel that when we start. To have a really clear picture of how we want to do things allows [the coaches] to be passionate in teaching it. If you are little gray then it is hard to be as demanding.”

The “clear picture of how we want to do things” started with a multi-day coaching retreat in which the staff dissected every aspect of the game and how they would teach it. The retreat included team-building moments, but was dominated by endless hours of basketball coaching philosophy.

From there the group spent hours debating and the ins and outs of how they would teach. The went from the meeting rooms down to the hardwood, breaking down the tiniest details of spacing, pick angles and more.

Most recently, Snyder had his coaches prepare scouting reports for FIBA teams and take the other coaches through a film session and a shootaround for this “practice” scouting report. Snyder says the details got down to what to capitalize and what to boldface in your reports.

This work came to fruition today as Snyder and his staff ran the players through a briskly paced practice that incorporated somewhere from 15 to 20 stations.

Universally, the players were impressed. All of them mentioned the quick pace when speaking to the media after their practice had ended. The words “details,” “pace,” and “intention” were used consistently as the players described the coaches’ approach to the first practice of training camp.

INSIDER – NBA Rookie Survery

The yearly NBA rookie survery is out—here’s a LINK.

Jazz rookies Danté Exum and Rodney Hood showed up in the following manners …

  • Hood got a vote for Rookie of the Year and a vote for best career.
  • Hood got a vote for best shooter.
  • Exum ranked #4 for best playmaker (behind Tyler Ennis, Kyle Anderson and Marcus Smart).

INSIDER—Jazz reportedly add Patrick Beilein to coaching staff

Here’s a report today from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Quin Snyder will add Patrick Beilein to his coaching staff.

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Beilein is the son of Michigan head coach John Beilein, who coached Trey Burke at Michigan.

Last season, Patrick Beilein was the head coach at West Virginia Wesleyan. Prior to that he was the director of basketball operations at Bradley University. Patrick played his college basketball at West Virginia and was a part of Elite Eight and Sweet 16 teams.

Beilein, whose record at West Virginia Wesleyan was 12-15 his first year followed by 20-12 last season, interviewed for the Marist College opening.

One of Beilein’s signatures as a coach is his ability to teach shooting. He’ll work both in player development with his skills as a shooting coach and in video coordinating.

INSIDER—Australian paper reports Brock Motum invited to Jazz training camp

According to the West Australian newspaper, Brock Motum has been invited to training camp by the Utah Jazz.

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The trade of Malcolm Thomas and Eric Murphy opened up spots on the training camp roster. However, with Favors, Kanter, Gobert, Booker, Novak and Evans present, finding a spot on the roster is going to be a tough task for Motum.

Motum, born in Brisbane, Australia, is 23 years old and played three seasons at Washington State. He played last season in the Italian League. He will be teaming with Utah’s first-round pick Danté Exum in the World Cup for Australia.

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INSIDER—Quotes about Carrick Felix

Today the Jazz acquired Carrick Felix, the 33rd pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. Here’s what people are saying about him:

Chad Ford on the night of the 2013 Draft—”Felix made his mark as an athletic defender. He really impressed teams in workouts. He’s a really nice player in the second round who could end up as a rotation player.”

Eric Musselman, Arizona State associate head coach when Felix was at ASU, (from SB Nation)—”He’s a great, great leader. Not a good leader but a great leader. Our team was leaderless other than coach [Herb] Sendak so he was the voice that, starting in the preseason when we did conditioning and stuff, he just kind of took the whole team and wrapped his arms around the whole group and pulled them. He didn’t lead by just voice, he led by example. And I thought he just did a phenomenal job of getting our team to believe and that was a lot of the reason for the big turnaround this year was his leadership.

“He’s going to make the Cavaliers’ practices good in January and February when it’s kind of hard to still be into it mentally. He never has a bad day, he’s always smiling. He’s serious and yet understands, he lights up the room with his smile. Even after a loss, he’s just got a great disposition about himself.

“Putting on an NBA uniform is really important to him. And he’s not going to take it for granted. And he’ll do all the dirty work. It’s not often you’ll see a senior carry the equipment bags in and out of hotels. That’s the type of kid he is. He’ll just pick up a bag and carry it in. He’s egoless and his game’s egoless on the floor. He believes in doing things the right way and because of all that he’s going to find his niche in the NBA.”

INSIDER—All about Utah’s trade with Cleveland

Dennis Lindsey and his staff keeps working. Today the Jazz made a deal acquiring Carrick Felix, a second-round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers and cash. In exchange, the Jazz traded the three non-guaranteed contracts of John Lucas III, Erik Murphy and Malcolm Thomas.

WHO IS CARRICK FELIX?

Felix is a 6’6″ shooting guard out of Arizona State and the University of Southern Idaho who was a 2013 second-round pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is 23 years old.

Out of Southern Idaho, Carrick originally committed to Duke, but was denied admission.  He spent two quiet years at Arizona State and then had a very good final year with the Sun Devils.

Felix is a defensive-minded wing player and an excellent athlete. He has shown signs of being a solid spot-up shooter. He’s also a very strong rebounder for a shooting guard. At Arizona State, Felix was Pac-12 All-Defensive Team after averaging a remarkable 8.1 rebounds per game as a shooting guard.

Last year, he played in just seven games for the Cavaliers. His season was derailed by a stress fracture of his left patella (knee cap) on January 29 that sidelined him for eight weeks.

Felix played nine D-League games as well, averaging 11 points, five rebounds and two assists while shooting 46% and hitting 33% of his 3-pointers.

Since-fired Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said Felix “is a young guy that brings a ton of energy and tries to play the game the right way. He’s a guy who can get extra possessions, who knows how to defend and he’s a great runner in transition.”

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM CARRICK FELIX?

Felix is going to a part of the Utah Jazz. His contract is guaranteed at $816,482 next year. He has a four-year contract with the next two years non-guaranteed.

He adds depth to the wing positions, where the Jazz were a bit thin. With Hayward, Burks and Hood, the Jazz needed a fourth wing player. Hood showed in Summer League that he is ready for playing time and a rotation spot. Hood’s performance changed Utah’s approach to adding another wing player. They’ve now opened that door for Hood, and Felix is insurance.

The Jazz scouts have had an eye on Felix and like his defensive mindset, his ability to rebound and his potential to shoot the three. He’s not an offensive playmaker with the ball in his hands. This is an opportunity for the Jazz to add a player they like and believe has a chance to develop into a rotational piece.

I wouldn’t expect a great deal of playing time for Felix unless injuries give him opportunities.

WHY DID THE JAZZ TRADE THESE PLAYERS?

The Jazz gave up two who weren’t going to be on the roster next year and a third who was very unlikely. John Lucas III was not returning as the backup point guard. Eric Murphy, after a disappointing Summer League, was not going to get his guarantee on August 1.

Malcolm Thomas had a very strong Summer League and was expected to be at training camp for the Jazz. However, the Jazz have a duplicate at the position with Jeremy Evans, who is guaranteed the final year of his contract next season. Evans’ experience gives him the edge at this position.

Thomas was going to have a hard time making the team. With six bigs already on the roster (Favors, Kanter, Gobert, Booker, Novak and Evans) it’s hard to see the Jazz carrying another. If Thomas were to make the team, the Jazz would probably have to trade or cut Evans. With Evans guaranteed $1.7 million and Thomas at $1 million, then you end up with a choice of Evans at $1.7 million or Thomas at $2.7 million (the two contracts combined)Strange how it works, but the numbers were against Thomas.

The Jazz received a player they like who is going to play for them next year and a second-round pick in exchange for three players who were not going to play for them next season.

WHY DID THE CAVALIERS MAKE THIS TRADE?

This move gives the Cavs more flexibility and gives them some tradable chips on non-guaranteed contracts. The rule of aggregation means the Cavs can’t put these three players together in a deal for a period of time (maybe 2 months). However, they could add Lucas ($1.6 million) or Thomas ($1 million) to a deal and the receiving  team (read: Minnesota) could release the player and never pay the contract.

Just a thought that the Cavs need to get within 125% of Kevin Love’s $15.7 million or within $5 million to make a trade as long as they are over the threshold. Lucas’ contract would put a Bennett, Waiters combo within the range of Love.