Rocky Mountain Revue: Jazz's young players need to show they can play at NBA level
For players, the Rocky Mountain Revue is a stage on which to you're worthy of the predraft hype, worthy of that big contract, or simply worthy of playing in the league.
For teams, it's about evaluation and speculation - are these guys the future of the franchise? For fans, it's an up-close-and-personal look at the best young talent in the country. And it feeds the addiction until training camp begins in October. But this year's Revue - the 24th annual - also has a different look from previous installments. A team of Development League players joins an unlikely participant from halfway around the world.
Here are the most intriguing aspects to this year's Rocky Mountain Revue, which opens today at Salt Lake Community College:
With restricted free agent C.J. Miles skipping the Revue while his contract situation is settled and Ronnie Brewer not required to participate after an outstanding season, last year's first-round draft pick Morris Almond is the only experienced shooting guard on Utah's roster.
Is there any question that he will play enough minutes and get enough shots to show the Jazz he might be able to help them this season? And what if Almond plays well? Does that make the franchise less likely to match any offer that Miles receives?
According to most prognostications, Koufos was projected to be selected anywhere from No. 12 to No. 16 in the draft. Oops. Koufos slid all the way to Utah, which took him at No. 23. Considering their big-man rotation in the playoffs consisted of Memo Okur, Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap, the Jazz would love if Koufos proved capable of contributing as a rookie. To that end, expect the seven-footer to get plenty of minutes and touches so the franchise can get a road map on just what to expect from him this season.
The leading scorer in Utah State history, Jaycee Carroll was not selected in the NBA Draft. A 6-foot-2 shooting guard in college with one of the sweetest long-range jump shots in the country, Carroll's ballhandling skills and ability to play at least some point guard killed him in the eyes of most NBA scouts.
But Carroll has opened eyes with some outstanding summer-league play in Orlando and Las Vegas and, as a free-agent member of the New Jersey Nets, he comes to Utah trying to build on that success.
If you seek NBA-caliber play, don't miss games involving the Atlanta Hawks. After pushing eventual champion Boston to the limit in a first-round playoff series, this long-suffering franchise finds itself on an upswing and - on paper - Atlanta is the Revue's best team. Its roster includes Acie Law, Speedy Claxton, Wayne Simien, Justin Williams, Luke Jackson and Brian Chase, who nearly stuck with the Jazz in 2006, when Dee Brown edged him for the job as Utah's No. 3 point guard.
After beating Lebanon for the FIBA Asian championship, Iran's national team is headed to Beijing for its first appearance in the Olympics since 1948. On the way, the Iranians will stop in Utah and play tune-up games in the Revue against Dallas (Saturday, 2:15 p.m.) and the Jazz (Monday, 7 p.m.). Hamed Haddadi scored 31 points in Iran's 74-69 win in the Asian title game. Another player to watch: 7-foot-5 Jaber Rouzbahani. He declared for the 2004 draft but was not picked. His game has been compared to ex-NBA center Gheorghe Muresan.
If you go
Dates: Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, July 24-25
Site: Salt Lake Community College's Lifetime Events Center
Tickets: $10, available at ticketmaster.com or by calling 801-325-7328 or at the arena ticket office.