I'm not one for New Year's Resolutions. I mean, it's not like I'm gonna keep it, or, you know, remember it the next day, or anything, so why bother? So in lieu of the typical go-to-the-gym-more vows and call-my-parents-more-often promises, I thought up a resolution that I, as a Jazz fan, would want each member of the team to make, and hopefully keep. (Add your own suggestions for resolutions in the comments below.)
Deron Williams: Be more ninja-like. We've all seen when you go into ninja mode. It's often after you get beaten on the defensive end, and you will yourself to the basket to throw it in the other guy's face, or break someone's ankles with a filthy crossover into a step-back 3-pointer. It's when you get this look on your face that says you absolutely will not be denied. But you can enter this mode pretty much whenever you choose. Choose this more often, Deron. Don't wait until after you force a turnover or get beat defensively. Trust your now-healthy ankle. Trust your game. Trust in the ninja.
Carlos Boozer: Make up your friggin' mind. Stay or don't, play hurt or don't, opt out or don't, get surgery or don't. Just do something, and stick to it. Then get the crap out of the spotlight. We just want this to go away. We're on your side if you really, truly want to stay, because you're a great player when your head's in the game. But if you want to go to Miami... dude, just go. Quit leading us on.
Andrei Kirilenko: Less with the World of Warcraft, more with the jump shot practice. Seriously, nobody appreciates a nice level 80 paladin more than me, but I don't think you should be worrying about your melee DPS when your field goal percentage is at its lowest point in five years. You've been awesome off the bench for us. We're grateful you were willing to do that. But stop the chucking.
Mehmet Okur: Train the younglings. You have the perfect Padawan in Kosta Koufos. And even Big Fes, though he lacks your shooting touch, could learn a lot from your poise and skill. Make an effort to take them under your wing. Teach them to be Money Men. And keep being one yourself.
Ronnie Brewer: Focus on being a defensive stopper on the perimeter. We need this from you more than anything. We love your energy, your back-screens, your alley-oops and slams. But this Jazz team has plenty of offensive weapons. We don't need you for that. We'll happily take 10 points a night from you if you can limit the opposing 2-guards to that same number, and do it consistently.
CJ Miles: Oh, CJ. We know that, like Bret and Jemaine, sometimes when you freestyle, you lose confidence. But you play your best when you're not overthinking things, when you're in the flow of the game. Sometimes that means shooting a lot of 3-pointers and risking the wrath of Jerry. Sometimes it means running the floor on the break for a dunk. You're a versatile player, and you have enough experience now to do whatever the situation dictates. Have faith in yourself. Have confidence.
Paul Millsap: Just play. We've seen now that you're going to get hosed sometimes on calls. You're not going to get the benefit of the doubt. Like, ever. So don't expect it. Be a beast anyway. If you foul out, we forgive you. Because we know you're giving your all. Get healthy, Paulie. And then just play. Less this...
... and more this.
Kyle Korver: Seriously, just go out with Danielle one time. Oh, and we're glad you've cut down on this, but keep working on it. Also, be willing to cede your spot on the floor in the fourth quarter if you're too slow to stay with the other team on defense. The less gay elf out there, the better.
Brevin Knight: Be a stabilizing influence. You're the oldest dude on the team. We need you to keep the young'uns in check at times. Show them how to make the extra pass when you're on the floor with them. And don't be afraid to shoot when you need to -- if yours is the best shot. We'll trust you to make that decision when it comes.
Ronnie Price: Don't try too hard. So you're not getting too many minutes, and you want to prove yourself when you're out there. Well, here's how you do that: if you get in the game, and we had a lead when you came in for D-Will, just do whatever it takes to make sure we still have that lead when you leave. You don't have to light the world on fire; you just have to stop the candle from going out.
Matt Harpring: Make your layups. Is that too much to friggin' ask? Oh, and try not to make the universe hate our team any more than they already do.
Kosta Koufos: Stop saying "sir." It's okay. We like you. Your teammates like you. Hell, Jerry Sloan likes you even though you're a rookie, which is pretty much an event without precedent. You made it. It's all good in the 'hood. Now quit being so polite and learn how to box out and hit the offensive glass. A little appropriately-timed nasty goes a long way.
Kyrylo Fesenko: Quit goofing off. We love you, Willy Wonka. You're hilarious, you've got tons of raw talent, and you've got a huge body at a time when we really need huge bodies. But you've GOT to make good on your potential. And it's all up to you. You really don't want to spend the rest of your life in Orem. You have the talent to be a starter in this league. Make it happen.
Morris Almond: Make open 3-pointers. Jerry Sloan has said in the past that if you can do just one thing really, really well in this league, you can make it with any team. The one thing we need from you, Mo Nuts, and what you need to do to be valuable to us in your limited minutes, is to make open 3-pointers. That dribble penetration, getting to the free throw line, freelance stuff? Fantastic in the D-League. Doesn't work with the big boys. Run your sets, pick your spots, and when you're open, shoot it. And make it.
Jarron Collins: Um, can you make your contract end more quickly? If not, can you go race golf carts some more? If not, can you at least teach our other bigs how to work whatever voodoo you use to get charging calls? Thanks -- that would be swell.
Jerry Sloan: Be more flexible. I know that's like asking a steel beam to be more flexible, or like asking Nancy Grace to be less annoying. But seriously, Jerry: don't be afraid to shake things up a little, when it's necessary. Call a timeout to stop a run. Stick with the hot hand instead of keeping to your etched-in-stone substitution schedule. Play the youngsters every so often. Trust in your team, and I don't just mean D-Will. I know that, like Garth Algar, you fear change. But sometimes change is good.
Larry Miller: Break the luxury tax. Just this once. Easy for me to say, since it isn't my millions being spent. But if everyone really wants to stay here, we can have a championship roster. If it comes to that, Larry... well, I know you want a ring just about more than anything else, and you don't have many more years to get it. Whether that means re-signing Boozer or trading for other talent, or at the very least, matching on a high offer for Millsap, or whatever -- open the wallet this one time and make it happen.
Craig Bolerjack: Simplify. No more long arms climbing ladders. No more ridiculous mixed metaphors. Just keep it simple. And quit jinxing guys at the free-throw line by talking about how many they've made in a row.
Ron Boone: ... you know what, just be you. It's working for you, apparently.
Hot Rod Hundley: Say it with me: KYYYY-ELLLL KORRRR-VERRRRR.
David James, Pace Mannion and Thurl Bailey: Try to act like you at least sort of tolerate each other when you're on the air. On some nights the hatred is tangible.
Bear: More motorcycle exhaust in opposing players' faces, less breaking appendages.
And finally, for all Jazz fans: Have a little faith. We have a great TEAM, probably the best roster 1 through 15 in the league. So we've had crippling injuries. So we've had to deal with Boozer's distractions. So we've lost games we shouldn't have, been on the wrong end of a few calls, had a few setbacks. We're still right in this thing. We've got four whole months to get to the top of the division and get that home court advantage. Have faith that we'll get there. And show that faith by re-establishing the EnergySolutions Arena as the toughest place to play in the entire league.
It's going to be a bumpy ride, this 2009 thing. But let's at least try to enjoy the trip. Happy New Year, everyone.