Friday, December 28, 2012

Take It Back

Today's post brought to you by the pride of Victorville, CA.

After Wednesday night's debacle against an admittedly fortified Golden State squad, it's hard (even for us Jazz Kool-Aid drinkers) not to wonder what pieces the Jazz need to have in place to become a more competitive squad.  Foye and Marvin Williams both had off nights, and obviously missing your starting PG is problematic.  But the most recent Jazz loss seemed to be the perfect microcosm of all the little things haunting the Jazz this season:  slow starts, lack of intensity, settling for jump shots, weak defensive rebounding, etc.

It would be nice to have another quality point guard on this team.  Frankly, if we had a better 1 than Mo, I'd be happy to have Mo off the bench and leave it at that, allowing Burks or Foye to run the offense in a real pinch.  But that's not how the Jazz do things.  Similarly, there is no real threat at the 2-3 for a take over performance.  Burks might get there someday, but he's not there now.  And our bigs...well, I think that problem has been discussed ad nauseum already so let's move on.

Who could the Jazz pick up to solve some of these problems?  ESPN's trade machine is probably breaking right now just from people with 801 area codes.  There are a million (well, 420ish) players to consider adding to the Utah roster.  And everybody wants to talk about picking up Steph Curry, Dwayne Wade, or Damon Lillard.  It's not gonna happen.

But that doesn't mean we can't speculate.  And, as long as we're speculating, let's start with the coulda-woulda-shouldas.  The list of former Jazz players spread around the league is fairly impressive, not just in numbers but in talent as well.  Assuming personnel issues and injuries aren't a factor and the paychecks are reasonable, here's a short take on the available Jazz alums and how they might affect this year's squad.

Blake Ahearn (N/A): 6'2", 190, PG.  Last season, Ahearn played four games for the Jazz, and has only played 19 games in the NBA throughout his entire career.  Blake is a terrible shooter from the field, with a career average of 27.3%.  Not a terrific threat from beyond the arc either (.298).  If the Jazz need somebody to fill in for MoW and neither Tinsley nor Watson fits the bill, Blake Ahearn doesn't seem like the answer, either.

Lou Amundson (MIN):  6'9", 225, PF.  Amundson didn't have much of a run with the Jazz, and is only averaging 8.5 minutes per game (in only 11 games) with the Timberwolves this year.  Can't imagine that we'd want this guy over Millsap or Favors; he's shooting 33.3% from the field, 23% from the stripe, and only posting 1.2 PPG and 2.4 RPG.  Snoozer.

Carlos Boozer (CHI):  6'9", 258, PF.  For all the bullocks Boozer gets from Jazz Land, the guy was an integral part of going to the Western Conference Finals with D-Will and Sloan.  His game has fallen off a bit, however.  This year, Booz is shooting at 53.4% (not bad), 68.1% from the stripe, and collecting 9.2 boards on his way to 13.7 ppg.  In contrast, Millsap shoots 51.8% & 71.6% respectively, with 8 boards and 14.7 ppg.  Sap has 2.6 assists, 1 steal, and 0.9 blocks per game, however, compared to Boozer's 2.0, 0.8, and 0.5.  I'd call this one a wash, frankly.

Ronnie Brewer (NYK): 6'7", 220, SG/SF.  If Ronnie hadn't been traded and traded in such a dickfor way, maybe we still have Sloan and Deron.  Just sayin'.  Anyway, this season, the Milkman 2.0 is shooting a lackluster 38% from the field, 30.5% from three and 44.1% on his free throws for a measly 5.1 points per 20.4 minutes (0.25 points per minute).  If we look at this purely in a Moneyball way, Hayward is averaging 12.9 points in 26.6 minutes (0.48 ppm), DMC is good for 5.3 points in 16.9 minutes (0.31 ppm), and Burks gives you 4.2 points in only 10.6 minutes (0.40 ppm).  Cue The Ataris singing the intro to "Your Boyfriend Sucks."

Derek Fisher (N/A):  6'1", 200, PG.  Let's pretend for a minute that Jazz fans don't hate this guy on principle, because we all know it would be nice to have him back on the team.  Fish was good this year for 40% from the field, 37.3% from 3, and 81.7% from the stripe.  Add in 2.1 boards, 3.1 dimes and 8.6 ppg, and it's hard to argue that he wouldn't be a better backup PG than Tinsley (39.3%/32.7%/87.5%/2.0/4.9/3.3) or Watson (29.3%/18.2%/57.1%/1.6/4.0/2.0).  Granted, Jamaal and Earl have higher assist numbers, but neither can score.  Fisher can, and he can do it in clutch scenarios.  Boy, it'd be nice to have him back.

Sundiata Gaines (N/A): 6'1", 185, PG.  Yada hasn't seen any NBA minutes this season, but last year he shot nearly 40% from the floor, 30% from the arc, 56.2% from the stripe while dishing 2.2 assists and scoring 5.1 points in 13.9 minutes.  Plus he's young and is willing to adapt to a coach's system.  Look, I love Tinsley and Earl is something of a personal hero of mine, but I have a hard time coming up with an argument that supports having two aging backup points when this guy is available.

Devin Harris (ATL): 6'3", 185, PG/SG.  Devin is coming off the bench in half the games he's played for the Hawks this year.  In 23.1 minutes, DH is shooting at a 44.1% clip, 32.4% from three and 60.6% from the stripe.  Factor in 2.5 assists and 7.7 points scored, and Harris looks like a pretty solid backup PG if the contract wasn't so absurd.  His up-tempo game would fit well with the second unit, to boot.  Stupid money.

Kris Humphries (BKN): 6'9", 235, F.  Besides being famous for having sex with another famous person who was famous for being famous, K-Hump (as I like to call him) has a 46.6 FG%, 66.3 FT%, scores 7.1 points, pulls 7.4 boards, and shows 0.6/0.3/0.7 in assists/steals/blocks per game.  These are better offensive numbers (not accounting for minutes played) than Carroll puts up, but defensively Carroll has a slight edge.  Favors scores more and is has better rebound/block numbers.  Is it worth comparing Humphries to Jeremy Evans?  Touch the Heavens is good for 2.2 points and 0.5 blocks in 7 minutes.  Given Humphries' minutes, Evans goes to almost 7 points and nearly 2 blocks.  Not sure that I'd want Humphries back on our bench.

Andrei Kirilenko (MIN): 6'9", 220, F.  I'm not going to bother with stats.  If AK was getting paid a reasonable amount (I'd go as high as $6 million per year) and could stay healthy, of course you'd want him on the team.  I'd have him over Marvin Williams or DMC.  Hell, even with the risk of injuries, I think I'd still like to see AK in a Jazz uni again, just to show the kids how to 5x5.

Kyle Korver (ATL): 6'7", 210, F.  42.8% from the field, 42.1% from three, 84% from the stripe, 2.8 boards, 1.6 assists, and 9.5 points per game.  Puts asses in the seats, lots of them female.  Did I mention 42.1% from beyond the arc?  Please come back, Kyle. Gordon will only play 2 from now on.

Kosta Koufos (DEN):  7'0", 265, C.  This clown sharted all over the floor in a Jazz uni for two seasons, landed in Denver a few years later and was suddenly a reasonably talented big.  This year, Koof is shooting 59.4% from the floor, 58.5% from the FT line, collecting 6.3 boards, blocking 1.8 shots and scoring 7.6 points in 22.1 minutes.  Enes, in contrast, shoots 51.7%/65.9% and scores 6.4 points in 15.3 minutes, plus 4.2 boards and 0.5 blocks per 15.3 minutes.  Favors shoots 44.7%/70.3% and scores 9.6 in 22 minutes, plus 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.  Enes is worth keeping around for a while simply because he has such enormous potential and is still so young to the game.  I'm not sure that I would be that pissed about trading Favors and some other serious assets for a package that returned Kosta and Ty Lawson.

Wes Matthews (POR):  6'5", 220, SG.  With 15.6 points per game, a 39.5% three-ball, and 1.6 assists per game, do you want this guy coming off the bench instead of Burks, Hayward, or DMC?  No, because you want him starting instead of Randy Foye, who is shorter, smaller, slower, and only gives you 10.3 ppg, 36.9% from three, and 1.8 APG.  Up yours, Portland.

CJ Miles (CLE):  6'6", 210, G.  In 19.7 MPG, CJ is scoring 10.1 points on 38.5% shooting, including 37.6 from three and 90%(!) from the stripe.  CJ's good for 2.7 boards, 0.8 assists, and 0.5 steals a game as well. I don't think you give up Gordon Hayward or Alec Burks for this proven inconsistency.

Sasha Pavlovic (POR): 6'8", 220, G/F.  If you're like me, the mention of Pavlovic in a Jazz uni will make you think, "Oh, right, I guess he was on the team for a season."  Anyway, Portland's Pavlovic is effectively a non-factor, with just 2.3 points on 37.3% shooting in 13.2 minutes a game.  Hard to see his value above that of Hayward, DMC, or even Kevin Murphy.

Ronnie Price (POR): 6'2", 190, PG.  I miss Ronnie, and you do too.  The dude wasn't on his way to being an all-star or anything, but he was a guy you were glad to have on your squad.  This year, Ronnie is good for only 2.9 points  in 14.6 minutes, an abysmal three point percentage, and negligible impacts on boards, dimes, or picks.  Sadly, while it's fun to feel nostalgic about Mr. Price, we're not missing much.

DeShawn Stevenson (ATL): 6'5", 210, G.  What to say about our 23rd pick in the 2000 draft?  DeShawn is shooting at 41.2%, including 40.8 from three, on his way to 6.9 points in 24.5 minutes per game.  He also manages an impressive 37.5% from the free throw line (seriously), 3.1 RPG, 1.1 APG, and 0.2 BPG.  While it would be nice to have Stevenson's distance, I'm happy with DeMarre and Gordon.

Deron Williams (BKN):  6'3", 210, PG.  Okay, pretend Deron never got bent about losing Wes, Korver, and Ronnie.  Maybe he never has a problem with Sloan, and he's still on the team.  Do you really care that he's having a crappy season?  Mo Williams isn't a better point guard than D-Will.  I'd take him back.  You would, too.

So who do we take back?  Fisher, Gaines, Harris, Kirilenko (sorta), Korver, Koufos (sorta), Matthews, and Deron.  Too many PG's, obviously, and I'm not sold on Koufos without it being part of a package.  Otherwise, here's how my super-alumni backed Jazz would look:

PG: Deron Williams, Derek Fisher, Sundiata Gaines (sorry Devin Harris and the existing PGs)
SG: Wesley Matthews, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks/DMC (see ya, Randy Foye)
SF: Andrei Kirilenko, Marvin Williams, DeMarre Carroll/Burks
PF: Derek Favors, Paul Millsap, Jeremy Evans
C:  Al Jefferson, Enes Kanter, Kosta Koufos

That's a full 15-player roster.  It's excessive, but it's hard to argue that it doesn't have the makings of a better squad than what we have now.  Granted, most of the departed players who "made the cut" left as free agents.  But as long as we're speculating, right?

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