Utah Jazz Extra: Stockton's statue, a surprise and aligning All-Stars
Park City's paparrazi party is going on again. Reminds me of a proud journalistic moment when I was embedded in a big stalking/gawking crowd and saw the back of Britney Spears' head. Ah, memories. In the spirit of the Sundance Film Festival, here are five star-studded Jazz topics:
1. Call TMZ? Who's the man in the minivan?
True story here: While walking to my car after the Jazz-Nets snoozer Saturday night at about 11:35, a bunch of pre-teen girls and a small boy flew out of a silver minivan parked by EnergySolutions Arena. The group of gigglers raced over to the John Stockton statue, laughing, posing, goofing off and climbing all over the bronzed Hall-of-Famer as a woman with long, blond hair took pictures. While passing the impromptu photo shoot, I glanced inside of the minivan and almost started giggling with the girls. Sitting in the driver's seat of the vehicle with "Dealer" license plates? The statue's doppleganger a.k.a. the real John Stockton. And though I only saw the back of her head, I'm pretty sure the stylish blonde was Nada Stockton and not Britney Spears. The Jazz legend, by the way, did not get out and climb on his statue or on Karl Malone's. Go ahead. Try to top that star-sighting story.
2. All-Star search: Will D-Will make the final cut?
Deron Williams can only hope NBA coaches have the same strong feelings about him belonging in the All-Star Game as some of the guys on the receiving end of his accurately placed passes. "I think he's the most well-rounded point guard in the game," said Kyle Korver of the fifth-year standout, who's among the league leaders in assists (9.6 apg) and scoring for active point guards (18.9 ppg). Added Andrei Kirilenko: "He's playing at an All-Star level. ... I don't think there's any doubt. He's never been there. He should be there finally." Williams has some star-power competition, including guards Chris Paul, Brandon Roy, Chauncey Billups, Monta Ellis and Mr. Eva Longoria. Stay tuned: The chosen-by-coaches All-Star reserves will be announced Thursday.
3. Detroit Lions, you have some company
Some things are so spectacularly bad they stick in your mind forever. Like those 0-for-2008 Lions, Pauly Shore movies and, yes, this season's version of the New Jersey Nets. They have at least one player (Chris Quinn) who looks like a teen who won a contest to shadow an NBA player for a day but then made the team. The 19,911 fans who attended Saturday's 33-point Jazz walloping should feel lucky. It's very possible they watched in person the worst team in NBA history. One can hope that's the payoff for what Nets guard Kenyon Dooling called "a good ole fashion butt whooping." (Part 40.) That's OK. They're becoming stars because they don't shine. There are certainly far worse things to watch from the Garden State than this 3-40 team — like an episode of MTV's nitwit hit "Jersey Shore."
4. Gaines: A D-list star is born
Kyle Korver has company in the crowd favorite department now that Sundiata Gaines has arrived from the D-League's Idaho Stampede and earned a Jazz roster spot for the season. Gaines received a loud cheer and a partial standing ovation Saturday when he finally entered the game in the fourth quarter. The star-struck Utah crowd is enthralled by the kid with a king's name who dethroned the kid nicknamed The King. To borrow a thought from my blog, it's only a matter of time before pink No. 15 Gaines jerseys go on sale at Masha Kirilenko's boutique. Korver does have better hair, though.
5. Don't forget Utah's other potential star
No, we're not talking about Kosta Koufos and his chances of making the D-League All-Star team now that he's Orem-bound, although he did post big numbers (16.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.6 blocks) with the Utah Flash last season. Williams gets most of the All-Star talk in Utah, but Carlos Boozer has legit All-Star numbers this year. Boozer, who averages 19.3 points and 10.6 rebounds, is third in the NBA in double-doubles with 28. He also ranks 12th overall in player efficiency. Maybe the coaches will pull a big surprise and pick D-Will and Booz. Heck, if the cooling-off Suns (26-19) merit two All-Stars, why don't the surging Jazz (25-18)?
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