Well, I briefly ran through this last week, but I've decided to delve into in a little more detail, just in case there are any other teams looking through the point guard crop. I've got to assume that if the Utah Jazz go the D-League route, it's going to be Utah Flash point guard Dontell Jefferson, but we'll delve into a few others just in case they try getting fancy. If they go with a veteran, there are options out there as well, but I'm not sure any of them are amazing. The whole "They have NBA experience" thing does nothing for me, for future reference.
According to Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor, Utah could "go young and ... and give [somebody] a look and see if they can get better and become part of the future [or] bring somebody in who's been in the league awhile that would better protect us if somebody gets hurt." At their meeting to talk about this, O'Connor and Sloan went over a preliminary list of "10 or 12" point guards the Jazz will consider.
With that in mind, I went through and picked out ten point guards that could, potentially, make sense in Utah. I know that's a lot, but it's Sunday afternoon and I'm bored. Plus, the Jazz front office does things I wouldn't do, so I tried looking in places that I normally wouldn't, such as old re-treads that probably still remember the system, but probably also will be in line for knee replacement surgery in the next few years.
I put them in order of last name, but if you're looking for me to handicap a favorite, here's to you, Dontell Jefferson.
Andre Barrett (Currently unsigned) - Barrett has played for six NBA teams in four seasons and I'd venture to guess the reason why he bounces around so much is because he's 5'9" and lacks range on his jump shot, because he's pretty solid every where else. I know, that seems like a big problem, but as a third point guard, he could come in and be reliable. I actually thought he might have a chance to make the Cleveland Cavaliers roster this preseason, but ultimately he was beat out by Coby Karl as emergency point guard, mostly due to the fact that Karl has a jumper and size. I also have to discount Barrett because he hasn't played anywhere this season since being cut by the Cavs, but after his abysmal season in Spain last year, maybe he's actually helping himself.
Antonio Daniels (Currently unsigned) - Daniels requested a buyout from the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this season because he wasn't satisfied being the third point guard behind two young players. I'm not sure if he'd be willing to be the back-up to one very talented young player (Deron Williams), but it's worth a shot, from both sides. The 34 year-old Daniels has played in 867 NBA games, including 220 starts, so he's obviously got some talent - mostly on the defensive end.
Dontell Jefferson (Utah Flash,19.6 ppg, 5.9 apg, 4.7 rpg, 1.2 spg) - Jefferson, who topped the first edition of the Randy Livingston Memorial "On The Edge" Call-Up Rankings, is a pass-first point guard who played part of last season in the NBA after being called-up by the Charlotte Bobcats. He also plays for the Utah Flash, is coached by former Jazz scout Brad Jones, and runs the Jazz system (what that is worth, I'm unsure).
Brevin Knight (Currently unsigned) - Knight played 74 games with the Jazz last season, so that means something. I don't follow the Jazz closely (who does), but I can't find anywhere that says the Jazz were upset with how he played or that Knight wasn't happy with his role, so this isn't all that far out of the realm of possibility. You get what you see with Knight, which is an old point guard who played in this role last season and can sort of run an offense, but can't really play on offense (no offense to your offense, Brevin Knight).
Shaun Livingston (Currently unsigned) - You know Livingston's story. You probably saw the injury that looked like a career-ender, but he was able to come back from it. After getting a call-up last season from the OKC Thunder, it seemed like he was on his way back to a full-time NBA gig, but the Eric Maynor trade cancelled those plans. See the Thunder had to cut two players and Livingston ended up being one of them. I've got to assume that if the Jazz really wanted Livingston, he could've been included in the trade, but he wasn't. Regardless, they could do worse than a 6'7" point guard with great court vision.
Keith McLeod (Albuquerque Thunderbirds, 19.9 ppg, 6.1 apg, 1.8 TOPG, 2.0 spg) - Jazz fans will remember Keith as the point guard to take over for Carlos Arroyo for the majority of 2004-2006. He wasn't terrible in most aspects, but shot worse than 36% both seasons, so, actually, maybe he was terrible. McLeod has spent the past two seasons in the D-League and, as you'd expect, he hasn't really improved his shot. He is a good leader though and Sloan has trusted him before to run the ship, so I'm including him here.
Mustafa Shakur (Tulsa 66ers, 18.8 ppg, 6.6 apg, 4.2 rpg, 51% FG, 2.8 spg) - I don't love Shakur, but his play this season merits a mention. It really seems like he's beginning to get it. He was with the Timberwolves this preseason, and the Lakers over the Summer, so he's obviously on NBA radars, he just hasn't been able to catch on. By shooting 51% as a point guard and leading a dysfunctional 66er team (they just seem dysfunctional, don't ask me why), he's trying to get a look during the regular season as well. While the Jazz probably aren't the team for him, he's a solid prospect to keep an eye on. He's not related to Tupac Shakur.
Curtis Stinson (Iowa Energy, 16.4 ppg, 9.4 apg, 5.8 rpg, 49% FG, 13% 3pt, 2.2 spg) - Stinson is good at getting in amongst the trees and dishing it out for the open 3-pointer. He's definitely a much better creator than he is at scoring the ball, so his 16 points per game is a bit misleading. His 9+ assists, however, aren't. Defensively, he isn't terrible, but don't expect him to shut a guy down. I don't think he's an NBA prospect, but it's mostly due to his lack of a consistent jumper. He knows this as well, and the 13% from beyond the arc doesn't seem to show me that he's working to improve that.
Jacque Vaughn (Currently unsigned) - Vaughn could probably step right into this role, as he spent 224 games mastering the art of the Jazz back-up point guard spot from his rookie year in 1997 until 2001, when he was signed as a free agent by the Atlanta Hawks. Vaughn is 34 and has spent the last few seasons backing up Tony Parker in San Antonio. The fact that he's been able to maintain a career in the NBA without ever entering a season as a starter probably means something, but I don't know if that something should impress anyone.
Mike Wilks (Currently unsigned) - Wilks is the other player that had to be released when the Thunder traded for Eric Maynor. Honestly, I think he can play in this league. Wilks is what I'd consider an organic D-Leaguer in that he used his time in the D-League to become an NBA roster fixture, rather than being assigned to the league. Wilks parlayed 9.6 points on 42% shooting and 3.9 assists over 60 D-League games from 2001-2003 into an NBA job, so he must an excellent leader. Wilks was forced to miss last season after a devastating knee injury in Orlando and after playing in just four games with the Thunder this year, he should still be fairly fresh. As an aside, his agent is Bill Neff, friend of Ridiculous Upside.
Who should the Jazz replace Eric Maynor with?
Mike Wilks (4 votes)
Dontell Jefferson (52 votes)
Antonio Daniels (28 votes)
Andre Barrett (1 vote)
Keith McLeod (8 votes)
Brevin Knight (8 votes)
Shaun Livingston (45 votes)
Mustafa Shakur (7 votes)
Curtis Stinson (5 votes)
Jacque Vaughn (24 votes)
182 total votes