Western Notes: Conley, Turner, Howard, Suns

After a long, successful run with the Grizzlies, Mike Conley was viewed heading into this season as the player who was going to help turn the Jazz from a solid playoff team into a bona fide contender. However, it has been an up-and-down first season in Utah for Conley, who is averaging just 13.5 PPG on 39.8% shooting.

Speaking to Tony Jones of The Athletic, Conley admitted he hasn’t been able to entirely block out the criticism he has faced this season, and that he understands that criticism.

“Nobody is more frustrated than me,” Conley said. “Not the fans, not the media, not my teammates. I’m not a guy who runs from looking in the mirror. But, at this point, I have to control what I can control. I have to stay locked in. I have to focus on what I can handle. I know what’s being said. But in a big way, it’s not in my control what people may think.”

As Conley gears up for the home stretch and looks to become a consistent, reliable contributor for the Jazz, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Western Conference…

  • The Timberwolves and Evan Turner “came close” to reaching a buyout agreement by Sunday night, but couldn’t finalize a deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of SKOR North. According to Wolfson, Turner would still like to play this season, but that seems unlikely to happen with the Wolves, who are prioritizing the players they expect to be longer-term pieces.
  • Discussing Dwight Howard‘s initial stint with the Lakers, team owner Jeanie Buss singled out former Lakers – and current Rockets – head coach Mike D’Antoni as a reason why the veteran center didn’t succeed and chose to leave in free agency. “We hired a coach that didn’t respect his game and wasn’t going to put him in a position to succeed,” Buss said (video link via The Los Angeles Times).
  • Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic examines how Jordan McRae could fit with the Suns this season and potentially beyond. Phoenix reportedly intends to place a waiver claim on McRae, but there’s a possibility Detroit will do so as well, and the Pistons would have the higher priority.
  • NBA fans interested in the league’s salary cap minutiae will enjoy Jeff Siegel’s latest article at Early Bird Rights, which details the unusual case of the Kings‘ buyout agreement with Anthony Tolliver and explains why it could indirectly cost the Trail Blazers a little money.
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13 thoughts on “Western Notes: Conley, Turner, Howard, Suns

  1. shmurdascene

    Mike Conley was going to turn the Jazz into a contender? According to who? Remember they lost Ricky Rubio and added Conley. It was a lateral move at best.

    • Luke Adams

      Zach Lowe: “In trading for Mike Conley, the Utah Jazz announced themselves as a legitimate contender to make the Finals next season and swiped the first domino in what is set up to be an interesting and unpredictable point guard market.” link to espn.com

      Kevin O’Connor: “Welcome to the championship chase, Utah. By acquiring point guard Mike Conley from the Grizzlies, the Jazz will immediately solidify themselves as one of the leading Finals contenders in the Western Conference.” link to theringer.com

  2. El Don

    Ricky Rubio is a lot better than Conley, to me it would seem to be a backward move, not even lateral. Rubio is what you call a proper PG, Conley… not so much. Just another a dozen for a dime scoring first guards, & on top of that past his prime & with a lot of injury issues.

    • Jason Lancaster

      Rubio clogs the lane and a lot of teams didn’t guard him at the 3pt line. Not to mention, Conley has been hurt.

      Utah also lost Favors, who has been beastly in Nola. They lost a lot of defense.

  3. Y’all are stupid if you think Rubio is better than Conley.

    Conley has made the playoffs 6 times to Rubios 2. Conley has made an all defensive team and Rubio hasn’t.
    Conley averages 15/6/4 shooting 44/37/82
    Rubio averages 11/8/3 shooting 39/32/84

    Conley was surprise to be a nice complementary scorer and passer next to Mitchell and yes he is old and overpaid but when he signed it was a move to solidify them as a contender, they were never going to go anywhere with Rubio.

  4. Chucktoad1

    I think the eventual plan is for Mitchell to become the lead guard maybe as soon as the playoffs this year. Rubio wasn’t a bad player per say but he can’t play a complimentary role next to Mitchell as he can’t shoot. So far Conley hasn’t been himself this season either but he is a career .374 three point shooter and he’s not shooting terrible from 3 at .360 this year while being hampered by a nagging hamstring injury. Conley just needs to adapt and play more of an off ball role, play solid D and be secondary playmaker.

  5. Crazy if you think Rubio is actually better than Conley in addition to being a better fit next to Mitchell. Look beyond just this year’s stats and everything would say otherwise. Conley is the better shooter, scorer, and defender. You could make the argument that Conley’s career scoring numbers could be a little higher if he played in a faster system than the grit-and-grind Grizzlies with Z-Bo and Gasol. Were the health issues a legitimate question, sure, but imo the Jazz had reached their ceiling with Rubio barring a crazy uptick in shooting efficiency from him.

  6. x%sure

    Conley was perceived as better than his team and who needed to move to a contender, while Rubio was perceived as needing to be replaced for Utah to advance.
    The wisdom of this has not proven out so far!

    Conley’s seniority helped him in Memphis, since by attrition that team was built around him. But being a Mitchell helper in Utah has done him no favors.

  7. Buckman

    Utah +1.3 when he is on court and +4.0 when he is off court. 21-16 with him and 17-6 without him. Has not improved the team.

  8. Skip, Tampa

    Understand letting Rubio go, just not the move for Conley at all. Should have went all in on Brogdon or Dinwiddie.

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