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Morning links: Jazz receive high grades from Sports Illustrated; LDS mission helps NFL QB

The General Manager of the Utah Jazz, Dennis Lindsey talks with media during a press conference at the Zion's Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 8, 2016. The Utah Jazz acquired two new players, George Hill and Joe Johnson.
The General Manager of the Utah Jazz, Dennis Lindsey talks with media during a press conference at the Zion's Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 8, 2016. The Utah Jazz acquired two new players, George Hill and Joe Johnson.
Weston Kenney, Deseret News

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Sports Illustrated delivered its NBA offseason grades and once again, the Utah Jazz earned high praise in the form of an A+.

Talking about the best moves during the offseason, Jeremy Woo writes, "the Jazz made clear improvements and landed helpful rotation players that other teams needed to move. Netting George Hill for a late lottery pick addressed the Jazz's biggest need at the point, and takes pressure off the recovering Dante Exum."

After mentioning Boris Diaw, he continued, "Joe Johnson is definitely old, but adds experience, shot-making and had plenty of suitors. They’re not yet contenders, but the Jazz are certainly better equipped for their first playoff trip since 2012."

"Suddenly, a team that had a massive hole at the one and an unimpressive bench has addressed its biggest position weakness and now runs two deep at all five positions, with the ability to beat opponents with traditional and stretch lineups alike," writes Ben Golliver.

After discussing one of the downsides of all the moves, he closes by saying, "Utah has been poised to turn the corner as a franchise for a few years now, only to fall short when bad injury luck and crippling positional shortcomings got in the way. (Dennis) Lindsey’s big-time summer should drastically increase the Jazz’s chances at making a strong push up the West’s standings. This team looks really, really ready."

The Minnesota Timberwolves got the second highest grade in the division with a B+.

LDS mission helps Brad Sorensen as a quarterback

Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press focused on Brad Sorensen who just recently signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

The former Southern Utah Thunderbirds player is quoted as saying, "The stuff I learned in those two years (on the mission) I keep with me every day,” Sorensen said. “You learn to come back every day and get back up and go fight the next day. It translates to football."

After talking about why the Vikings needed another quarterback, Tomasson quotes Sorensen once again, "I was just a kid and I put football on hold for two years, and it was one of the best experiences of my life,” he said. “I came back a mature, young man ready to get back into football."

Ziggy Ansah a non-quarterback MVP

Former BYU defensive lineman Ziggy Ansah was back in the headlines as ESPN ranked the 2016 non-quarterback MVP for each NFL team.

"He had one of the better seasons for a defensive end in Lions history in 2015, picking up a Pro Bowl berth and 14.5 sacks. He has become Detroit's best overall player with the retirement of Calvin Johnson and even though the Lions are deep on the defensive line, it could be season-crushing if they lost him. He's the anchor of the defensive line and one of the premier pass-rushers in the NFL this season, writes Michael Rothstein."

Jay Yeomans is a sports writer for DeseretNews.com. Contact him at jyeomans@deseretdigital.com.