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Outside looking in: Jazz at Suns

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

There are 30 teams in the NBA. Many of them are very exciting. Take the Suns, for instance. The average Phoenix Suns game features about 211 points between the two teams, the highest of any team in the league. Or the Cavaliers, where LeBron is an amazing athlete and Kevin Love has become Marcia Brady. The Splash Brothers can go off for twenty-plus point quarters out of nowhere in Golden State. The Clippers have been an alley-oop factory for three seasons now.

There are other teams who aren’t fun to watch but who are fun to follow. Watching the Lakers and Knicks has become synonymous with schadenfreude. The Sacramento Kings have Boogie. Anthony Davis has become so incredibly good that he can drag a horribly managed New Orleans team into the Western Conference meat grinder. The 76ers are now in year three of losing intentionally, which is nothing if not interesting.

Some teams, however, are neither interesting to watch nor interesting to follow. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2014-2015 Utah Jazz! Of the thirty teams in the NBA the Utah Jazz are the pinnacle of boring. Their best player? It’s a toss-up between Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors. Their coach? Quin Snyder. Their record? 17-32. Could there be an NBA record more mundane than 17-32? Could there be a draft pick worse than 7th? Drafting 7th means you never had a chance at making the playoffs and yet never even got to imagine what your team would look like with Jahlil Okafor. Who did the Jazz edge out for this honor? The runners-up were:

5.  The Denver Nuggets, but they have Kenneth Faried and are in trade talks. Also, Javale McGee.

4. The Orlando Magic, but they fired their coach yesterday, pushing them to fourth.

3. The Boston Celtics, but they have a ton of history in Boston. Plus they have 34 draft picks between now and 2018, most of which are early in the second round.

2. The Indiana Pacers. Watching them is horrible. Truly, truly horrible. However, there are enough story lines here to keep them above the Jazz. Get well soon, PG!

And then there is Utah. Trey Burke will be fun in an IT sort of way, Dante Exum is Australian, and Derrick Favors seems one step away from beast. The Jazz definitely aren’t in the worst position of any NBA team for the future, but for now sit back, relax, and don’t get too comfortable. I’d hate for you to fall asleep.

Suns-Jazz tonight at 7! Get mildly pumped!

Pre-Bonus: Did anybody notice how calm the Suns stayed last night in the face of some pretty terrible calls? The fact that Markieff Morris didn’t throw a ref into the third row after getting double body slammed by Lopez and Leonard is a sign of maturity. Not getting a tech or even throwing a serious fit is a sign from God. I was disappointed by the game, but proud of how well the Suns kept composure.

What Vegas Thinks: Don’t choke (Suns by 8.5, O/U 203.5)

Utah has definitely had our number in a way similar to Memphis the last couple years, despite not being close to the same caliber of team. The Jazz have won five out of their last seven against the Suns despite the Suns being favored in six of those games. The last time these two teams played the Jazz won by 27 points as home dogs. How does Vegas respond? More points for Phoenix! By the way, that 27 point loss was probably our worst of the season. I watched the entire game, and do not remember ANY of it. Watching Jazz basketball has become a blur of limbs and poor decisions, often by both teams playing. Which got me to thinking.The Jazz should probably be as bad or worse than the Lakers, but every player in the NBA still shows up with their battle armor on for a Lakers game, especially in Staples. How many games would the Jazz lose if everybody showed up to EnergySolutions Arena with the same jacked up resolve the Lakers have to face forty-one times a year at Staples? Does this count as a home court advantage for the Jazz?

An over/under of 203.5 was surprising to me. The Suns are averaging over 106 points per game, and while the Jazz defense has been decent it largely relies on their dreadfully slow pace. Of course, the Jazz themselves are only averaging 96 points per game and there have been many games where they throw up an 80-bomb and everybody watching ends up scrubbing their eyes. Let’s move to the part about my thoughts on how the national media is covering Suns trade rumors before an angry mob wearing Stockton jerseys comes and chases me. Vegas Prediction: Suns 106 Jazz 98

What the National Media Thinks: What constitutes a "rumor?"

Obviously with a deep roster of young talent, a GM who loves to trade, and a team sitting in the dreaded "middle of the pack" the Suns were bound to be the topic of trade talk fodder this season. Gerald Green is sitting on the bench despite an ability to score in bunches at the NBA level. Archie Goodwin, Tyler Ennis, and TJ Warren are taking turns between setting the D-league on fire and simply warming the bench in Phoenix. We have more draft picks than we need, and three point guards who could start on multiple teams. It seems like the national media knows the Suns will be heavily involved in trade talks, but do they KNOW anything else?

With the exception of Miles Plumlee and his agent I’ve struggled to find sources on any of these so called rumors. At what point does a "rumor" become a sports writer saying, "I don’t know anything, but this makes sense and my editor wanted a trade piece done by Tuesday"? Major kudos to McDonough for doing an excellent job of keeping this under wraps. The Suns front office has proven themselves apt to avoid leaks, specifically trade leaks, and while that has been frustrating for somebody who Googles "Suns trade rumors" on a daily basis, it is comforting as a fan of the same team. There will be a ton of articles these next two weeks about trade rumors involving everybody on the Suns roster sans Bledsoe and Len, but I’m not sure I’m buying into any of it yet. As long as I don’t hear the words "Goran Dragic" and "Roy Hibbert" in the same sentence again, I’ll be pleased. Trust in McDonough, right?

I could not find a national story line or opinion about the Jazz from the last week. I’m not kidding. If you find one that isn’t simply a game summary/game preview, feel free to post it in the comments. They are 19th in Stein’s power rankings. 19 may be the most boring number that exists.

What the Utah Media Thinks: Fire Shaw!

Now that is what I am talking about! On the very front page of SB Nation Jazz blog, SLC Dunk, the great fans of Salt Lake City want to discuss firing their coach, Brian Shaw! Awesome, this is totally something to talk about!

Wait… Brian Shaw isn’t the coach of the Jazz? Quin Snyder is? The front page of the Utah Jazz SB Nation site features a podcast discussing the potential firing of a coach from a different team. All under the premise that the coach in question, Shaw, used to play for the Jazz. It’s a slow news season. Also, Gordon Hayward is having a baby.