Sunday Syncopation #6

Hope everyone did something cool with their extra hour last night, if where you live celebrates daylight's saving. We know that the Jazz and Clippers did last night by playing an extra long double overtime game. I'm sure both teams are happy to have an extra hour to sleep in today. But there's no rest for the weary here at SLC Dunk . . . here's your Sunday Syncopation:

  • The Jazz are 3-3 right now. I didn't anticipate this record. Did you? Did Jerry? Last season the Jazz started 2-4. And still managed to get 53 wins. That's not too shabby. We've been NBA fans for a few seasons now. Some of us still live and die with each loss. Now that I'm in my 30ies this is supposed to happen less and less, but I was really relieved by a Jazz win last night. If the Jazz had lost last night, I know it would have made today kind of crappy.
  • Matt Harpring is doing an okay job on the TV broadcasts. I like him much better with the head set on and the telestrator much more than I ever liked him trying to guard someone like Kobe Bryant or LeBron James (like he was unfortunately asked to guard at different times of his career). He really knows the offense and the players on our team - his insights are way better than what I've seen/heard on other broadcast teams for other stations. I also like how there's some crazy double-dipping by the Jazz franchise in this, and many other cases. The media here is owned by the same people who own the Jazz. Effectively, TV and Radio guys are *also* Jazz employees. (Big duh on that one, why else do you have an 'independent' radio guy trying to tell us that Collins > Fesenko, or that Diaw > Kirilenko? Sounds like a decision that is made above the actual radio personalities' pay grade) Harpring was instrumental in a lot of the off-the-court training that a lot of the young guys on our current squad received. I wouldn't be surprised if he sometimes gets some behind the scenes time with our young guys still.
  • Last night was the first ugly win for our team. I'm still not over the Golden State game -- we should have won that game. (i'm not just saying this because I saw it live and watched it twice more on my DVR recording). The last few seasons we end up missing out on avoiding the Lakers bracket in the playoffs by one win. A win in November is worth the same as a win in March or April. Previous seasons we had the experience and familiarity with one another to win these early games. The main problems we're seeing this year are due to inexperience with one another / incorporating in parts.
  • One of the biggest problems this season is that we're passing quite poorly. Part of this is due to guys not knowing where the other guy is going to be in a split second. A lot of balls are either ahead of, or behind the guy they are passed towards. A major culprit in this Deron Williams (by virtue of being our point guard). He's averaging 4.2 turn overs per game. Andrei Kirilenko is second on the team (by virtue of being our second initiator on offense, and some really bad catching so far this season), with 3.0 turn overs a game. Raja Bell rounds out the starting crew with 1.7 turn overs a game. That's nearly 9 a game from the starting 1,2 and 3 men. Last season these three averaged 5.5 turn overs combined. There's a big difference between 9 and 5.5 -- but it's not just all three of these guys. The problem is a problem of familiarity, where a guy who has been here a while is passing to a guy who is new here. Our offense relies upon a lot of people passing the ball to one another. Deron passing it to Raja is a pass where people haven't played with one another. Then Raja passes it to Sap, which is a pass where people haven't played with one another. Then Sap passes it to Jefferson, again, unfamiliarity. Each pass increases the likelihood of a defensive deflection. Not knowing where a guy is supposed to be, or if they are cutting to the basket, or moving towards the passer, makes passing more difficult than it should be. As a result, the floor spacing is off, and the other team is getting a lot of deflections.
  • Poor passing causes turn overs. That's not all, though. Aside from the acute problem of turn overs, bad passing has also resulted in guys getting the ball out of scoring position. Guys have to do more on their own in order to get back into scoring position and score in a one-on-one manner. This means the assists are low, and people are forced into taking more difficult shots. This has a trickle down effect to low assist numbers, lower fg% numbers, and more people standing around on offense while they watch a guy go one on one. That's fine for Jefferson, but it's not Jazz basketball. This is, of course, another problem based upon unfamiliarity. We're not going to have these problems in January.
  • This is the last year of Andrei's massive contract.Thus, this is a contract year for our Russian. I like the prospects of resigning him without having to break the bank based on his play so far this season. He's not being disruptive and trying to 'get his' like some other previous free agents. He knows that the team knows how important he is to the team. Also, he's not really increasing his asking price monumentally with his play (as seen in stats). Everything is pretty much down from last season, except for his three point % (from 29% up to 63%) and his free throw attempts per game (5.0, 4th best of his career). Of course, I have no idea what is 'fair' value for a guy like AK. I wouldn't object to any price, unless it gets into that $8-9m a year range. That said, if you look at the contracts of a lot of guys who average 12 ppg in the league you see that they are all overpaid. Also, there's always Portland . . .
  • Deron is averaging 5.2 rebounds a game this season. Not only is it a career high, it's also more than an extra rebound per game. I guess this is what happens when Boozer leaves the team, there's more rebounds to be had.
  • Othyus Jeffers was the NBA-DL Rookie of the Year. That's kinda crazy. But not as crazy as the point that the Jazz have had two other NBA-DL ROYs on the team at different times: Devin Brown and Lou Amundson. Do we specifically scout these guys? It appears like the Jazz use the Utah Flash less and less as a place to develop players we already own, and more and more like an extensive scouting service for NBA-DL guys.
  • Sundiata was a powerful sub-Saharan African warrior and leader who is credited as being one of the founders of the very rich Mali Empire. I think that's really cool. He's not the only Jazz player who's named after a famous leader. Mehmet Okur is named after (alternatively) one of the greatest leaders of Turkish History, or the founder of his religion depending on how far back you want to take it.
  • I love the podcasts / videocasts by the guys at The Utah Jazz blog. You should be visiting there anyway for their slick highlight packages of each game. Here's last nights' for example:

 

  • I don't know how else to say it, but . . . if you guys ever want to Voltron it up with SLCDUNK, you have my blessing. (But I don't have any authority here . . . what do you say SLCDUNKers? You want to see more media stuff here? Say so in the comments)
  • Lastly, because I never know what to do with it - - - what did you guys do with your extra hour last night?
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