On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love game to me ... five Utah Jazz topics and tidbits (sorry, Santa apparently ran out of golden rings):
1. Apologies aplenty
One positive came out of the Atlanta annihilation. It wasn't the way the Jazz played, but you had to be impressed that a star like Deron Williams apologized to fans twice. That accountability in this day and age is refreshing. Of course, we might get apology fatigue if every NBA player said 'Sorry' for all subpar performances. But it was a good gesture by D-Will.
2. Know more Mr. Nice Guys
The Jazz have had three of the most well-spoken veterans in the NBA recently, and they ran into one Saturday in Charlotte. Fans recall Brevin Knight for being a bit of a disappointment. I remember him for being a great guy, a pro's pro and a family man (he was truly thrilled to visit his wife and children in North Carolina during the All-Star break). Derek Fisher and Jarron Collins were also pleasant, although one is remembered for leaving and landing with the Lakers and the other for landing on his backside while flopping.
3. Rocking the ... vote?
Does it bother anyone else that players, even some in Utah, openly campaign to be All-Stars? Maybe I'm just a party pooper, but I think votes should be based on — get this — players' play. It seems like we're in high school again and the popular kids are hanging up posters and handing out pins to wear. Another reason I don't love that fans have full control of the All-Star starters: Thousands keep voting for Yao Ming's teammate, Tracy McGrady. As for me, I'm voting for Pedro.
4. Still scratching my head
It's still baffling how the Jazz talked a good game before playing Minnesota, and then laid an egg at home to a team that'd only beaten two other clubs. "You find out who you are," said coach Jerry Sloan that day, "when you have to play teams like this." At least Jazz fans know who they're rooting for — a team that can play with the best and the worst of 'em. Best listen to Craig Buckleuperjack: Hold on tight, it's gonna be a wild ride.
5. Good times on TNT, right?19 comments on this story
Deron Williams tweeted that he "had a good time" on the TNT set Thursday, but he seemed to squirm while being razzed by Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. They gave him grief about his height (Barkley had to be set straight that D-Will claims to be 6-3, not 6-5), about the "elephant in the room" (a.k.a. Boozer), about road woes, and even that he's setting his sights too low (Smith wants him to shoot for All-NBA teams, not All-Star teams). Barkley did offer this compliment: "This is the best point guard in the NBA." And, yes, he was talking about Williams, not Smith or host Ernie Johnson.