There seems to be some persistent ideas about the Jazz. My observations in last night's game, as well watching other games on TV have led be to believe a few popular ideas are not necessarily true.
Here are three popular ideas that never, ever should be said again by anybody.
1. Al Jefferson is a black hole that can't pass
Since Jefferson came, many fans seemed to have the expectations that he would be Wilt Chamberlain meets Superman. There was little patience for his growing pains into the Jazz system, little patience for his black hole-ness. I admit I was initially frustrated with his play, though I maintained he would come around.
But my observations of the first Phoenix game verse the Hornets game last night reveals that he has come a long ways.
Against Phoenix he would throw up impossible shots, in double, even triple teams. Not much of a passer.
Last night, Jefferson was not only an improved passer, but was actually a rather good passer. He seemed to me to be making a concentrated effort to find the open player. His knuckle head shots were cut drastically--and the bad shots he did take were no where near as bad as his bad shots in earlier games.
The example that is the paradigm of his improvement came in the 4rth quarter. Jefferson had the ball and could've taken a short jumper- it wouldn't have been an awful shot really. But he spotted Millsap right under the basket, wide open and tossed it to him for a dunk. Game 1 Jefferson would not have done that.
His final line stood at 23 and 10...awfully similar to his best Minnesota season-with improved passing.
Jefferson is coming along great. Let's cut down the negative comments on him.
2. Francisco Elson was an awful pickup
I was ticked when the Jazz signed Elson. He was old. He would take time away from Fesenko. Okur would be back in a few months anyways. When the move was made, it didn't receive a rousing welcome here on the Dunk. Why Elson?
In the second quarter stretch of last nights game (typical of what I've seen in other games too), Elson made great contributions. He goes after boards, has a decent jumpshot and doesn't miss free throws too often. Actually, I was rather impressed by his play last night. He has been getting decent playing time, and I like that he and Fesenko seem to be on the court a lot together. He was a great value as a pickup.
3. Chris Paul is the league's best point guard
I thought this myth was debunked last season, but it's back with a vengeance.
Anyone who saw last night's game knows that D Will outperformed Paul. He almost always does in head to head matchups.
I'm going to give one simple reason why 8>3. Size. Deron Williams is a bigger player than Paul. Seeing them play each other in person, the difference in their size is stark. Chris Paul is a great scorer and great passer. So is Deron Williams. But William's size is a big difference maker, and one of the reasons he is a better player.
Here is one example of why that is. Suppose the Jazz had won this year's lottery. They could've drafted John Wall and Williams probably could've adjusted to being an SG, the way he played often in the 2008 Olympics. (Think the same thing the Warriors did with Curry and Ellis) Suppose Brandon Jennings or Rajon Rondo begs to play for Utah. Williams can probably adjust to being an SG--Chris Paul's size would severely limit his ability to do the same. That's all hypothetical; all I'm saying is that William's size offers advantages, such as his ability to play SG.
Generally speaking, this Jazz team has enormous potential. I think we already knew that, and we're seeing signs that the Jazz can truly be an elite force in this league.