Thursday, June 23, 2011

drafts and draughts

i suppose my nearly 3-month vacation needs to come to an end here, and what better day to get back into the swing of things than draft day? of course, since i have been either stuck in a library or packing up an apartment for a 2200-mile, cross-country move for the last three months, i'm a little out of the loop on what's going on with the draft. with that in mind, i'm going to give my naive-guy take on this jimmer fellow, and continue by rambling about various jazz/nba thoughts that have occurred to me since the regular season ended.

1. i''m still undecided on this jimmer business. i still think he's too small, and he hasn't shown the kind of all-around brilliance (or, in some cases, even better-than-averageness) that is required of a 1 or 2 guard-off-the-bench utah jazz utility player. i certainly don't think he'll be starting at anytime soon, but for the sake of 2-guard matchups: hornacek was only good for 13.7 ppg, 1.9 spg, 6.6 apg, while shooting 47.8% from the field and 77.6% from the stripe his senior year, and was listed at 6'3" and 190 pounds. jimmer is listed at 6'2" but most analysts say he's really closer to 6', and posting at 195 pounds; this year, he was good for 28.9 ppg, 1.3 spg, 4.3 apg, and shot 45.2%/89.4%.

it would be a fool's errand to try and make much more of a comparison between hornacek and jimmer; they're different players from different times, and even if fredette lands at ESA, they would be players on very different teams. but much like jordan needed pippen and steve kerr (at least for three rings), the jazz played to their highest potential with karl and stockton being aided by jeff "insatiable" hornacek (utah media might be too high-brown to play off the innuendo of hornacek's real nickname, i am not).

after all of the clamoring about a lack of outside shooting threats for the jazz this year, maybe having jimmer in the mix would re-open the paint so al jefferson can get nasty in there again. hell, if utah had jimmer and a healthy memo . . . let me put that combo on the likelihood shelf next to "very spicy" curry from bombay house that doesn't melt your o-ring the next day and my next job as fighter jet/megan fox test pilot. anyway, i guess i've softened on jimmer a bit from my intense distaste during the NCAA tournament. i do still remain convinced that most utah residents highly over-rate his game, particularly those utahns who are members of a singular religious organization. but what do i, and every draft analyst saying there's no way jimmer goes in the top ten of a weak draft class, really know that "rise and shout, the cougars are out" doesn't tell you anyway?

2. i think everybody i know under age 35 who had jazz season tickets last year decided not to renew this season (with one possible pseudo-mohawked exception). i get it, but it's still a bummer.

3. for all the NBA fans who spent the last 12 months whining about lebron and miami, kudos to you for jumping on the bandwagon with the rest of us. for the portion of them who are jazz fans, it would be counter-larry-h-millerish to back james' method of departure from cleveland as well as the idea that a large-market franchise should be able to just dump a zillion dollars into three of the league's superstars when a "small market teams can't afford this ludicrous payroll and play .500 ball, let alone win a playoff series" lockout was 14 months away

the problem for jazz fans was really watching the heat play dallas in the finals. it strikes me that, besides, LA, dallas is public enemy number one for anyone bearing The Note on the sleeve and/or soul. and it's a complicated hatred: it's easy to hate LA, and you don't need to explain it; you can hate san antonio but you have to respect how crisp tim, tony, and manu's game was when they were winning championships; it's hard to really hate a portland team featuring wesley matthews; kevin garnett probably deserved to win a title or two and boston is LA's timeless hoops nemesis. i could keep going with every team above .500 for the last ten years but you get it. so why do we (and by we i refer to myself and my immediate circle of friends) hate dallas so much? is it just mark cuban? is it dirk's normal tendency to disappear in the playoffs? jason terry's morale-and-dream-crushing clutch shooting? jason kidd's constant stench of adult diapers and ben-gay? the simple fact that they play in texas?

whatever it is1, jazz fans were faced with the difficult prospect of rooting for either the base, classless, and vile miami heat, or our conference rival mavs. while most of us probably settled on "rooting against miami" and therefore pussying out of actually backing a team, i "lucked out" in having a close friend who is inexplicably both from salt lake and a mavericks supporter and thus was actually backing dallas through this series. i say "lucked out" because i was able to avoid falling into the following highly offensive trap that victimized many of jerry's kids.

jazz fans, or really any fans of any western conference team that has a problem with dallas, spent an entire season criticizing the heat, and then lots of them decided it would be better to root for miami in the finals rather than, as i've heard it put, root for a team the jazz will have to go through to get to the finals in the next few years. this is absurd for a few reasons.
(A) the jazz aren't going to the finals in the next few years, barring a miracle. you know it, i know it. stop pretending it's not on my aforementioned shelf.
(B) if you actually think the jazz have a shot at a ring in the next five years, would it really be wise to simultaneously hope that the miami heat - with all of its money, star players, and access to medianoche sandwiches - start off its first year of the superfriends with an NBA title? yeah, you're right to think "oh. oops."
(C) most importantly, if you "gave up" on being disgusted by the heat in order to avoid backing the best team in your own conference, you're lying to yourself. you love lebron. you wanted to root for miami all season, but knew how embarrassing it would be to admit to your friends and yourself that you have no moral code whatsoever and were just waiting for any opportunity to make your shifting allegiance to what amounts to the NBA's version of a fully functional death star seem like a natural result of a tough call; your lesser-of-two evils facade didn't fool anyone. congratulations on being a total douche, at least the people who didn't care about the questionable ethics behind "the decision" were up front about it last summer. you, however, are a shark. nothing more, nothing less.

4. after all is said and done, i still love deron williams. or at least my dislike for melo is so intense that i'm wishing deron - via picking up dwight howard next year and crushing the knicks for a few seasons - the very best.

5. 11 more days and i am back in cutthroat country.

1. jazz fans hate dallas because they beat us when it counts. remember the williams-boozer years of "beat great teams, struggle against level opponents, get blown out by cellar dwellars"? dallas was always one of those teams that was about as good as the jazz through that stretch, yet we couldn't close out important games against them. also, they play in texas.