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Young Guys and the Lockout

October 17, 2011
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[Wilson] Chandler is living in Zhejiang now…He said he had no desire to languish in the States playing pickup [ball] and all-star games.

“I just wanted to play,” said Chandler. “I couldn’t wait around to see what was going to happen. I just wanted to play and be able to get that game rhythm.” …

“I talked to J.R. [Smith] and he said he wants to play, so he was feeling the same way I was feeling. …

“Wilson’s at a crucial stage, a stage where his game is still developing,” [agent Chris] Luchey said. “So for him, missing two months, three months just wasn’t worth it for him. It would have stunted the growth of his game.

“It’s difficult to simulate the game experience and that’s his big thing. It was just about hooping.” (boston.com)

The above applies to *literally* half our team.

1. NBA players that have headed overseas to play during the lockout invariably cite wanting to play and keep in game shape/rhythm as their motivation. Getting experience under their belt (UDQM) is especially important, if not crucial, for rookies and players that have only played a year or two.

1a. Some players say that they will look into overseas opportunities if the lockout drags on, but they are either 1) just saying that for the sake of saying that when they don’t mind not playing until the lockout ends, or 2) have gotten really bad advice from their agents, because player vacancies are hardly unlimited and the season has already started in Europe and China. Teams are not going to add players weeks or months into the season when that player might be gone in the blink of an eye. Not to mention many teams have foreign player quotas.

Darko Milicic is, well, Darko Milicic, but at least he’s honest about it:

1b. Let’s not pretend that playing in “player leagues” or pro-am leagues accomplishes a damn thing. Those games are basically unglorified All-Star games. Gordon Hayward himself said, regarding playing in the Indy Pro Am Lockout League, “The best thing about games like this is that all the guys realize you have careers. So we’re not going to do something stupid.” In other words, pro-am leagues should really be renamed “No Touch-Contact Leagues.”

2. The Jazz have 11 players under contract. 5 of the 11–Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Jeremy Evans, Enes Kanter, and Alec Burks–have one year or less of experience. Kanter in particular needs game experience more than most: Apart from his stint with the Turkish national team at Eurobasket, he hasn’t been able to play competitive basketball since Spring 2010.

3. ** Gordon Hayward joined a professional video game league.

** The Jazz’s Jeremy Evans and Derrick Favors have no plans to play overseas during the NBA lockout and are sticking to their offseason routines. (Trib)

** [Enes] Kanter plans to remain in Chicago for the immediate future.” (Trib)

Other Jazz players are equally unenthused:

** Devin Harris: I’m really not considering overseas, I don’t know, depends on how long the lockout goes. The decision may change, but as of right now I plan on staying stateside. (WSSP)

** CJ Miles: Miles will likely only play overseas if an extended lockout forces the cancelation of regular-season games. (Trib)

** Paul Millsap: I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet. Either way, I’m going to be happy doing it. Overseas is something different. It’s a different area out there. It would be different for me. (KSL)

Why are Jazz players so reluctant to play ball? Read on…

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