Where do the Jazz go from here?
Do they come back after the NBA All-Star break, regroup and get it together to make a strong postseason push?
Or do they continue to struggle down the stretch, unable to pull out of their frustrating tailspin, and wind up missing the playoffs completely?
Over the past few weeks, this team has been tougher to watch than "Jersey Shore" and "Teen Mom." With losses in 13 of their last 17 games, including an unfathomable five straight setbacks at home, the Jazz are in serious jeopardy of missing this year's playoffs.
Longtime head coach Jerry Sloan got a gut-full of what was going on and rode off into the sunset on his John Deere tractor, taking his loyal sidekick, Phil Johnson, with him.
Ty Corbin inherited a squad which staggered badly into the All-Star break and, although it hasn't become a train wreck yet, it's a team that could be on the verge of leaving the tracks if something doesn't change soon.
Indeed, where do the Jazz go from here?
Here are 20 questions pertaining to the current state of the Jazz franchise and, hopefully, it won't take too long before we start getting some answers.
1. Having won his apparent war of wills with legendary tough-guy Sloan, will banged up point guard Deron Williams truly assume "ownership" of this team and find a way to turn things around?
2. Or are the Jazz's internal and personnel issues more than D-Will or anyone else can overcome?
3. If the team cannot become a title contender, will a frustrated Williams opt to become a free agent when his contract expires in 2012?
4. With the trade deadline approaching, will the team find a taker for Andrei Kirilenko and his bloated but soon-to-expire contract?
5. And, if they do make a trade, will the Jazz get a difference-maker in exchange for AK?
6. Or, if they don't trade Kirilenko, is there another player or players on the Jazz roster who may become trade bait?
7. Speaking of difference-makers, will Mehmet Okur ever be healthy enough to return to the lineup and provide some of that 3-point shooting and instant offense the Jazz have sorely missed this season?
8. Can Al Jefferson continue to evolve into the powerful low-block presence this team desperately needs him to be?
9. Will the acquisition of Raja Bell and his veteran leadership start paying some much-needed dividends down the stretch?
10. Will C.J. Miles someday become consistent enough with his game that the media can finally stop using the word "erratic" to describe him?
11. Can rookie Gordon Hayward's continued progress prove that the Jazz didn't make a mistake when they took him with the No. 9 overall pick in last year's draft?
12. When will Corbin get his first victory as a head coach? (You might circle Friday, February 25, at Indiana).
13. Will Karl Malone or another former Jazz great be asked to join the current coaching staff?
14. How long will it take the Jazz to re-establish their once-feared homecourt advantage, which has disappeared this season?
15. Will we ever see Sloan and Johnson set foot in EnergySolutions Arena again?
16. How long will it be in the not-too-distant future when the franchise decides to hang a jersey from the ESA rafters in Sloan's honor? (And, deservedly, they should hang one for Johnson, too).
17. How long will it be before we see statues of Sloan and Larry Miller outside the arena?
18. Has the front office done its job in assembling this team, or did they overestimate some players' contributions?
19. Will this team ever truly contend for an NBA championship again?
20. And, finally, when it's all said and done, does the team's front office just need to blow this thing up and start all over again?
Here's hoping that most of the answers to these questions are "yes" — with the exception of that last one. Let's hope it never gets to that point.
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