Jazz Notes: Jazz may send players to D-League
LOS ANGELES - The Jazz later this week must decide whether to take all 14 of their players on an Eastern road trip, or if it might be better to send a rookie or second-year player to Boise to play in the D-League while the team is gone.
"We haven't discussed that yet," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.
But the team likes the idea, according to Kevin O'Connor, because there won't be any practice time during the busy five-games-in-seven-days stretch. "It's the perfect time to send a kid down, when you're doing nothing but traveling," said O'Connor, the team's senior vice president of basketball operations.
Next year, the decision might be even easier. If the Jazz switch affiliations and align with the new expansion team in Orem, as expected, players could be back and forth between the leagues on a regular basis.
"We're trying to learn what the rules are and what we're allowed to do," said O'Connor. "Can a player practice with us while he's assigned to the D-League? Can he work with us, then go down there to play that night? We'll explore all of those things."
Having a team so close will benefit the Jazz in a lot of ways, though. "We'll be able to evaluate the whole league, because they'll be right here," O'Connor said. "Why not find the best kid and bring him over? If you've got a roster spot, you can sign him and develop him with the staff we have in place."
It's possible they could even draft a player for that purpose. "There really aren't any negatives for us," O'Connor said. "When [Orem owner Brandt Andersen] came to us and said he wanted to do this, we were thrilled."
Remembering a legend
Paul Arizin was known for a lot of things during his NBA career, chief among them his reliance on the jumpshot, which was a rarity at the time. But to Rod Hundley, who got to know the Hall of Famer by guarding him several times during their three years in the league together, Arizin will be remembered as the guy who dared to shoot when Wilt Chamberlain wanted the ball.
"I remember whenever he took a shot, Wilt would stand there staring, looking for the ball," Hundley said of Arizin, who died Tuesday at the age of 78. "Like he couldn't believe someone else took a shot."
Arizin, who played 12 seasons with the Philadelphia Warriors, was named to the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history in 1996, "and he deserved it," Hundley said. "He was never a big household name and that's too bad. He deserved to be. He was a great player, a great shooter."
And he had a distinctive style, the Jazz broadcaster said. "He played on his tippy-toes. He was always running on his toes," Hundley recalled. "A really nice man, too."
Former Jazz guard Brian Chase, who plays home games in Staples Center for the Los Angeles D-Fenders, attended Wednesday's game and visited with his ex-teammates. Chase is averaging 14.1 points in the D League.