The Jazz are in a holding pattern until they get point guard Dante Exum back, according to Brad Rock of the Deseret News in his midseason evaluation of the team. Exum is expected to miss the season after undergoing left knee surgery over the summer. Utah had built its team around the playmaking talents of their second-year point guard and that plan was sidetracked by Exum’s injury, the primary cause for its 18-23 record after 41 games, Rock adds. “We were all looking forward to how our team fit together as a whole; how Dante and Trey [Burke] would play together with their roles,” Snyder told Rock. “So a lot of planning that went into the year shifted at that point.”
In other news around the Western Conference:
- The Lakers are intrigued by the potential of swingman Anthony Brown, who has seen his playing time spike with Kobe Bryant battling injuries, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Brown, a second-round pick out of Stanford last summer, has started five games and appeared in 13 others. Though he’s shooting just 30.9%, the Lakers like what they’ve seen from him defensively, Medina adds. “You can put him out there on the defensive end and he’s going to guard the guy,” Lakers coach Byron Scott told the team’s beat reporters. “He’s going to use his athleticism and length. That’s something we’ve been missing.”
- The Mavericks remain a mystery team at the midway point of the season, being equal parts enticing and confounding, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News opines. Dallas reached the 41-game mark five games over .500, compared to 15 games over .500 a year ago. Owner Mark Cuban told Sefko that the team plays too often to the level of the opponent. “What I like is we play up to good teams,” Cuban said. “What I don’t like is we play down to bad teams.”
- A longtime personal assistant to Pelicans owner Tom Benson alleges in an amended lawsuit that Benson’s wife, Gayle, racially discriminated against him, harassed him and ultimately forced him out of his job last year, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com reports. The former assistant, Rodney Henry, had originally filed a suit seeking years of back pay and unpaid overtime he felt he was owed, the story adds.