Wednesday, March 2, 2011

moving, if not forward

to both of my loyal readers, i'd like to apologize for being MIA since the deron trade. i had a family emergency last week that required some last-minute flying around the country. as a result of spending about 48 hours in an airport/on an airplane in a 72 hour period, i've also contracted a particularly interesting set of symptoms that i wouldn't wish on anybody (not wearing a lakers uni).

i get that, as result of this, i'm a little late to the "what the fuck do we do now" party. so late, in fact, that the theme of the event has changed to "well, that could have been worse." we picked up two pretty solid talents, in addition to a couple of probable lotto picks, and "sent a message" to the NBA's top talent that management still holds the cards (most of the time). the jazz are playing as well as i think anybody could have anticipated given the past three weeks; even though they're not winning games, they're at least in games - monday's thriller against boston was a heartbreaker, but it was certainly more fun and encouraging to watch than the last boston-jazz game i saw.

so where does that leave jazz fans? not so very long ago, Jerry's Kids were in a real position to grab the #2 spot in the west; now, Ty's Tykes are two spots out of the Big Dance. bright spots?
  • big al is playing balls-out, all-star basketball. you know the numbers.
  • kirilenko, since jerry left, is shooting 69% from the field. he's also averaging 4 dimes and 4.8 boards, along with 15.6 points per game. compare those numbers to his season averages: .471 fg%, 5.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 12.0 ppg. other than losing out on 3/4 of a rebound per game, Filet-O-Fish has improved his game since jerry left.
  • devin harris is, playing with the jazz, already having improvements in his game versus his career averages (jazz/career): .850/.806 ft%, 3.3/2.5 rpg, 7.3/5.0 apg, 16.7/13.2 ppg.
  • the jazz had 37 assists on 44 field goals against detroit on saturday night.
i posted recently that i'd spend the rest of the season focusing on who is going to show some heart and effort since it didn't seem like deron had enough. (god forgive me if we don't make the playoffs because i didn't knock on wood after thinking that.) the answer has been that our frontcourt has largely responded with heart and hustle. earl, ronnie, and devin haven't been slouching. our shooting guards, however . . . i'm going to re-read the bright spots i just pointed out and focus on that for a while.

what do we need to do in order to get raja to stop making stupid mistakes? how can CJ's game see some consistency? at this point, i'd take consistently mediocre over on fire then sucking balls. and that's pretty much it for the 2 guard spot.

what all this boils down to is this: while i was dealing with my family stuff over the weekend, i had a chance to talk at length with a former jazz-beat writer for one of SLC's big newspapers. it so happened that during our deron trade chatter, my brother-in-law, who lives in phoenix, mentioned that an arizona paper reported the jazz had almost moved paul millsap for robin lopez and pietrus.

if that trade rumor held any truth, i can't help but understand some of deron's grumblings a little better. the jazz were finally willing to make some big trades, potentially and/or successfully moving fan-favorites, all-stars, and team cornerstones. yet the one place the jazz are weakest right now - the 2 guard - remains woefully undertalented (i don't think raja is a very good ballplayer in his old age, frankly, and i already mentioned my thoughts on CJ's current game) and understaffed in comparison to the utah frontcourt.

so, KOC and mr. rigby, if you're looking to get this team moving, what are your plans to get its roster moving in the right direction?

i can only hope we don't have to wait until 2012 to find out.

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