Comments about ‘Utah Jazz: Jazz can't deliver with the Mailman watching’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 20 2012 11:55 p.m. MST

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Bigpics
West Haven, UT

I have a feeling that consistency may be the one thing we won't see from this group this year.

My brain is suffering from the emotional whiplash of following this team - which from top to bottom (maybe for the first time ever) is filled with true NBA caliber players - and 6-8 well above the league average. And as I keep thinking about it, my mind keeps coming back to a few "culprits," and in particular, the point guard position.

In Earl Watson the Jazz have a nearly ideal backup PG - especially for the style Coach Corbin wants to play. He's savvy, uptempo, clutch, tough, protects the ball, distributes, etc., etc. - but what he is is an excellent "journeyman" player with a great attitude who's worked hard to squeeze the max out of a second tier skill set - and he would not be anywhere near an ideal STARTING point guard in a league of Chris Pauls and Derron Roses...

...and it's not a good situation for a team when your backup PG brings more to the table than your starter (who has shown fleeting flashes of first tier abilities since arriving, and, yes, I know he played his best overall game tonight, so I hope he makes me eat these words, but far more often seems almost not in the team's game, rather in some universe of his own - from the position where, along with real talent (which many have), being totally involved with everything that's happening and using that to control to the flow is the primary quality you're looking for (which few have).

(Note: I do expect Watson to go on to achieve his his post-playing goal of becoming a coach - and maybe an excellent one at that.)

There are other holes - outside shooting (which would partially be remedied by the shooters receiving the ball in rhythm at the right time, i.e., keyed by better play by the starting PG), 3 point shooting, failure to take advantage of the foul line to stay in and get back into games, C.J. Miles continually lapsing back into thinking about tomorrow's Tweets and news stories instead of where he is and what he should be doing or whatever it is that makes him use undeniable talent in some of the most bone-headed ways imaginable, the inexperience of the "under 21" squad, as much potential as they shoe, etc.

But all of these could be compensated for - and the team could forge that elusive "identity" - if they had a true floor leader. Deron Williams gave the team a true personality - and as his attitude soured, so did the team. But these are in no way D. Harris' Jazz - nor are they anyone else's (except maybe Corbin's - who's not suited up the last I checked). Even Earl's "cardiac kids" have a personality, but a team's personality can't come from the second unit.

Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap can help any team win games - but they can't create wins from their positions. You'll notice that the experiments of having Millsap switch to the wing to get Favors into the 4 spot are pretty much a memory except in spot situations when the opposing team is also play three trees on the front line. And Hayward has more hustle and movement than anyone - but he suffers too from spotty play - partly from the lack of leadership from the point. Raja continues to have the D to handle some of the explosive 2's in the league well enough and has recovered his shot (crossed fingers), but will never be a volume scorer again, nor can he compensate for what's not being brought from the one spot.

I read a stupid Bleacher Report article which had Utah trading Favors and another decent Jazz player for some 20 ppg 2 guard wonder as a solution for this year's playoff picture and shouted "Nooo!" at the screen. Getting Favors (and Kanter and more to come next year) for a year of D-Will's tainted services may turn out to be UT's best trade ever - but not until the organizations comes to grips with getting a true floor leader (or Harris comes out of his coma and remembers how he became an All-Star just a few short years ago - but I'm no longer that hopeful about this possibility).

I know such players don't grow on trees and even if UT could get one without gutting their core at this point in the season, there'd be little opportunity to meld him into the team, but looking to the off-season, the free agent market and the draft, etc., the Jazz have picks, cap room, exceptions and that deep-deep bench to utilize and I suggest they apply it all to solving this problem. If they do they'll be on an OKC type of rising trajectory and can focus on some other easier to solve upgrades, like a deadly sharpshooter, etc.

I don't know about their trade value, nor the details of contracts or who might become available, but Miles, Harris and the protected pick (the Jazz have plenty of young, rising players) are all quite expendable in this pursuit (Howard is probably too old to command much) - and while Hayward and Burks show promise, and Evans is a great watch, filling this need is important enough to consider trading any of them if the result is a true team leader. In fact, as much as I admire Millsap's toughness and heart, he's not going to get taller or faster and has about maxed out his shooting range - so if he were the price, I think while Favors and Kanter, have rough spots yes, either could start effectively next year - while still unable to get into a bar - and leave the Jazz with three really good bigs and they could pick up a veteran backup (or use that last pick from the D-Will trade to keep bulding from youth).

And then they'd have the potential to be truly fearsome to face. If they don't, they'll continue to flounder between brilliance and el stinko while loaded with good pieces.

Dustin
Idaho Falls, ID

I agree with Bigpics on everything except for Milsap. I think he provides tertiary leadership, which is always needed with great teams.

Here is a list of upcoming free agents that I would like to see us try to get this offseason:
Deron Williams (I know it won't happen, but I can always dream)
Steve Nash
Chauncey Billups (if his injury has healed)
Ray Allen
Jason Kidd
I know most of them are aging but, they are leaders, and provide much needed experience for our young guys to follow.

Notice I did not start talking about making trades this season. I don't think making a trade this season is in our best interest(unless it is a no-brainer).

JBQ
Saint Louis, MO

Surprisingly, the entire team played well. With five players in double figures, they matched that of the Spurs. Nevertheless with the score at 102-100, you cannot break down in discipline by having your best rebounder step out and take a long range shot (18 ft). The rebound then fell to a guard and they then came down quickly and set up for the "dagger" shot. The defense was not set because Jefferson took an undisciplined shot which cost them the game. The correct position should have been for the ball to go inside to Jefferson with a look from him to Millsap or a kick out to a guard for a shot. This is the basic fundamental mindset for a game winning shot or, in this case, a game tying shot with the possibility of an "and one". Playing well for 47 minutes does not win games. It has to be for 48. It is also a matter of team play. There should have been two options of the triangle to shoot when Jefferson could not get open down low.

gdog3finally
West Jordan, Utah

The Jazz are 12-6 at home. I think 4 of those 6 have losses have come against elite teams in the final seconds.

The difference in the Jazz winning those games has been a lack of outside shooting and the opposing star players getting breathed on.

The preferential star treatment makes the NBA mostly unwatchable for me. The lack of outside shooting makes the Jazz a hard watch as well.

In the Jazz I see a young team doing a lot right, but they have a major flaw. The Jazz play inside out with solid post players who get zoned in, and then the perimeter players can't produce when the ball is kicked back out. It is getting really old. Since Hornacek retired, the Jazz have had mostly shooting guards that can't shoot.

Ronnie Brewer was an athletic slasher and all around player, but he could not hit the broad side of a barn. C.J. Miles, Gordon Hayward,and Alec Burks are the same player. Sure they all bring their own intangibles and show promise with their athletic skills, but they can't shoot.

Who could shoot? Korver could shoot, but was a liability everywhere else. Shooting was all he brought to the table. Well he had good looks. Wes Matthews could stretch the floor, play defense, and run the break ect... (big mistake letting him go). Now we have Raja Bell. He was solid the frist go around but left as a free agent after one year. Now he chose to come back. At this stage of his career, he has to be a back up. To many miles on those legs to play big minutes.

Not having training camp looks to have really hurt Hayward and Favors. They look like the same player as last year despite their talents.

Johnson72
Salt Lake City, UT

The Spurs won? Woot Woot.

Anonymous Infinity
American Fork, UT

Officiating in the Spurs game was very suspect. The Jazz got jobbed again.

ouisc
Farmington, UT

JBQ, I have to admit, since our guards shoot so poorly, AJ from 18 feet out just might be the higher percentage shot for this team. It just means the other four guys on the floor need to get into the defense mindset, and they just ended up chasing the ball until Richard Jefferson hit that huge 3.

Carnak
Salt Lake City, UT

Poor guard play. Again.

Kakashi
Tokyo, Japan

i dont think hayward burks miles are the same player...but i have to agree...they are struggling to shoot...i wonder why? last year Hayward shot was good...is the added muscle hurt his rhythm?

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