As I was checking up on some basketball news this morning, I felt there is alot to be proud of as a Jazz fan. Sure, we don't have seventeen championship trophies laying around our coffee tables, but whatever they are doing in LA is working, how they are doing it is a different matter that many NBA fans feel is unfair. I don't feel that way. I'm still unsure how they finangalled the Jazz pick that would've been Magic Johnson, however, we ended up with Stockton to Malone for twenty years. History is history and in Utah, some history got made. IE, three hall of famers later...and a living tradition.
So, as I cast my gaze out on our NW division rivals while scanning the news, it's no secret how tough the NW division is and should be for years to come. I wrote a satire on Carmelo a couple of days ago and shortly thereafter the trade rumor broke out. Really, I can't believe the nuggets would trade Carmelo. I like the competition they bring and as division rivals, there is a healthy amount of respect on my part for the Nuggets and the talent Carmelo brings to the NW. Carmelo has said the right things about his contract, and believe it when he says it, what he does on the court will do his talking for him. As a Jazz fan I must come to terms that he hasn't been that kind of person so far in his career, but I have to give him the respect that he can be that kind of leader for his team. In my unsolicited opinion, this is the best thing that can happen for the Nuggets. I'm not only a Jazz fan, I like watching good players and I don't have a problem watching Carmelo's antics when the nuggets lose. However, as we saw with Boozer last year, winning clears up alot of hard feelings and the Nuggets and Carmelo need to clear anything up if anything is there because it's the best chances of both sides winning, offensive gestures aside, really.
In Portland, it was reported that Brandon Roy and Andre Miller have never really sat down and had a conversation. What's missing in this picture besides a first round play off victory? Conversation. Maybe thats why Portland has been after a Jazz guy, and finally got Mathews, someone who can create some dialougue between the players on that team if those connections don't exist. Back at home,I guess you could say there's been a conversation since the malone to stockton years, and it's still going on. As soon as Al was traded it was reported that Dwill initiated a conversation over the phone, a conversation that someone started with him. As far as Portland is concerned,in my unsolicited opinion it isn't too late to make Miller part of the team by including him in the teams dialogue, many Jazz fans respect his game, most NBA fans respect Miller's game.
I actually read something like this in the Deseret News recently, it was one from Dwill mentioning the philosophies of the Jazz. Philosophies that are conversations, philosophies are conversations that transcend time, they need carriers of the message too. It's common knowledge that teams like the Celtics and Lakers, can take on players and the the recent Lakers and Celtics, are examples, as well as also having tradition they have conversation. So ya, I don't complain when the Lakers get good players, because the conversations they have also make players good. It doesn't mean they can't be beat.
As far as the Thunder. The other contender in the division. I hope that alot of the analysis I've read on them is more correct than in error. Reports are they want to be the best defensive team in the league. They have high hopes, and no matter what they do with their team from here on out, they do it with Durant having signed long term, when the truth is, the analysis out there is they don't have the players in the paint they need to really punish teams. A problem that we as Jazz fans have been too familiar with the past few years only getting out in the playoffs because of this. Oklahoma has high hopes, maybe their defensive goals will be enough to overcome the depth in the front court. In my unsolicited opinion, front court depth is what you need to be the kind of defensive team that can be the best in the league, I guess we'll see?
On the same token, Jazz fans have high hopes. Talk out of our camp is being a good defensive team. As well as maintaining the high level of excellence on offense the last few years has produced, at least matching that is not a stretch of the imagination. With Bell and the departure of el matador, it's not a stretch of the imagination to think the Jazz can be better defensively too, though it requires more of a comitment on a Jazz fan to believe. In the NBA, great offense wins championships, but neither do teams that don't play great defense.
Not to forget Minnesota, but in my unsolicited opinion, Koufus will not save you.