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News » Utah Jazz Getting Inside 2008-06-30

Utah Jazz Getting Inside 2008-06-30

Utah Jazz Getting Inside 2008-06-30
Draft week was busy for the Jazz, who celebrated the official announcement of Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams as members of the U.S. Olympic basketball team, selected Ohio State center Kosta Koufos in the first round of the NBA Draft and were preparing to start contract extension talks with Williams.

The Jazz were the only NBA team to have two players selected to the 12-man Olympic team. They didn't resist linking their past or present, either, arranging side-by-side pictures of Williams and John Stockton and Boozer and Karl Malone in USA Basketball jerseys for a news conference.

On draft night, the Jazz watched as nearly every big man they brought to Utah for a workout went to a team picking ahead of them. That included Rider's Jason Thompson, Florida's Marreese Speights and Georgetown's Roy Hibbert, who worked out twice for the Jazz and was possibly their top target.

In the end, the Jazz chose Koufos with their No. 23 pick. Koufos had been a projected lottery pick before the draft, with general manager Kevin O'Connor saying he didn't disagree with the 19-year-old when he declined an invitation to work out in Utah, believing he would go far earlier in the first round.

Koufos has drawn comparisons to Jazz center Mehmet Okur for his shooting ability but played only one year at Ohio State before declaring for the draft. The Jazz already have one young center in Kyrylo Fesenko on their roster and now will have to develop another in Koufos.

At 12:01 a.m. on July 1, the Jazz also can start discussing a potential five-year, $80 million extension that would keep Williams in Utah through the 2013-14 season. The Jazz are expecting things to go smoothly, with the biggest unanswered question whether Williams will sign for three, four or the full five years.

Asked if Williams was leaning one way or another, his agent, Bob McLaren, said: "Not necessarily either way. There are advantages and disadvantages of every particular situation. We just need to understand the team and what its viewpoint on these things as well as express our own thoughts on that."

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: The Jazz were 16-16 and out of the Western Conference's top eight after losing to Boston 104-98 at home Dec. 29. But the Jazz welcomed Kyle Korver in a trade from Philadelphia and went on to tie the franchise record by winning 19 consecutive home games. The Jazz beat Portland, San Antonio, New Orleans, Detroit, Dallas and Denver as part of the streak before losing to the Lakers on March 20. That was an omen of things to come as Kobe Bryant and Co. ended the Jazz's season on their home court nearly two months later.

TURNING POINT: No team in the last 30 years has gone on to win a title with a losing road record and the Jazz were no different. They finished 17-24 on the road, losing to six of the seven teams (all except Milwaukee) that missed the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The Jazz also lost twice to Minnesota and once to the L.A. Clippers on the road. Had they won only four more road games, the Jazz would have finished with 58 victories, good for the Western Conference's top playoff seed. That would have given them home-court advantage for the series against the Lakers. The Jazz finished the season 0-5 against the Lakers at Staples Center.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: June 30, 2008


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