The Downbeat - 19 January 2011 - #407 - The Road Less Traveled Edition

   From the New York Daily News (via @lockedonsports)

If the Nets fail in their bid to get Anthony, the kind of superstar Prokhorov wants playing in Brooklyn, Net fans might get to see their future small forward, anyway. The Jazz's Andrei Kirilenko is a free agent this summer and knows Prokhorov well enough that the two have dinner in Russia when Kirilenko goes home every summer. According to Nets sources, Kirilenko is on the team's radar as a potential player and front-office official.

Though his name was involved in the Melo/Nets trade that would have sent him to Charlotte, I don't believe that he's going to be part of the talks this time.  That doesn't mean that his name hasn't come up in trade discussions with other teams.  With an expiring contract that large, there has to have been calls from other teams making inquiries.  There might not be any serious discussions going on now, but as we get closer to the trade deadline and teams fall out of the playoff race, things might heat up.  The incentive for the Jazz to trade him though would be to get under the luxury tax.  They would have to weigh what his contributions are to the team and whether that's worth trading him.

This article of course is talking about his upcoming free agency.  Once things get settled with the new CBA, I think there's going to be a serious run at AK.  He's said that Utah will have the first choice but he doesn't know what the team's plans are for him.  He's going to come at a relatively cheap option for someone that has his versatility.

If the Jazz want him back, he'll be back.

It's also kind of weird that they would mention wanting him as a front-office official in that report given that he has many more years of playing in the league.

Prokhorov is going to be available before the game tonight in a press conference.  Good timing for the Jazz beat writers to get some questions in (if they can get some in ahead of the national guys).

  Britt Robson from SI.com gives his half-way point MVP in addition to the weekly power rankings.  There's no surprise that it's D-Will,

As a result of injuries (Mehmet Okur), trades (Ronnie Brewer, last February) and free-agent departures (Carlos Boozer, [Kyle Korver], and Wes[ley] Matthews), Williams was the only player among the team's five most frequent starters last year to suit up during almost the entire first half of this season. Guiding the team while everyone got acclimated, he is putting up career highs in minutes, points and true shooting percentage, leads the NBA in offensive win shares (which measures how many wins a player creates because of his offense) and has the Jazz tied for third in the West.

Technically they're fourth with the tiebreaker currently with OKC.  I didn't know though that he was leading the league in offensive win shares with 5.6 (he's 7th overall in total win shares).

Robson's runner-up MVP is Paul Millsap.  You can't argue with either of those.

  Maybe the game against Boston will do the Jazz some good.  Last year they talked about how they all went to dinner after the game and wanted to model the team after the Celtics.  They mentioned how the Celtics didn't care for individual accolades so long as they got the win.  Deron talks about taking one of two roads to start the second half of the season.  From Brian T. Smith,

One is straight ahead. It is a road often traveled by the Jazz, filled with promising wins and disappointing losses, highlighted by big-time potential but hollowed out by inconsistency. It is a safe, trusted lane. But the route will likely end at the same place that Utah has eventually arrived during recent seasons: a first- or second-round playoff exit.

The other path is more challenging. It only moves upward. And it requires improved execution, teamwork, communication and an overall commitment to the Jazz way of life.

Deron stated at the beginning of the season and just recently that the team doesn't know the plays.  There's no way they don't know them, they're just not executing.  When they don't, it puts added pressure on the defensive end because they need a stop.

I don't think enough is given to the fact that there was a significant roster upheaval this season.  We're expecting more from the team now than we did at the beginning of the season, as well as we should be.  If you compare the team now to where they were, there's tremendous improvement.  Games like the one against Washington are still happening, but the goal will be to have those missteps be fewer as the season progresses.  We're looking for an immediate change, but it's not going to happen.

When you see someone everyday, change isn't as noticeable.  However, if you have seen someone in several months, something such as weight loss will hit you immediately.  The same thing applies to the Jazz.  The difference between the start of the season and now is good.  Sure, there are still the slow starts but overall things are better. 

I also think we as fans have been discounting their record.  27-13 is nothing to sneeze at.  There have been games they shouldn't have won, but did.  There are games that they should have won, but didn't.

Take a snapshot now, and then look at things in a few more months and see where they are.  You'll see a different team.

  PK on KFAN this morning brought up Joel Anthony's stat line from last night where he had 16 rebounds but no FGAs.  The only other players since 1967 who have had 0 FGAs and 16 or more rebounds in a game were Dennis Rodman (4x) and Wilt Chamberlain.  TrueHoop sheds some light on how Wilt never attempted a FG in that game.

When PK first brought it up, my two guesses for the players were Rodman and Mark Eaton.  I was right on Rodman, wrong on Eaton.  I figured that if anyone would have that many rebounds without a FGA, it would have been him.  He had three games where he had at least 16 rebounds, but he had at least 3 FGAs in each of those.

The winner for most rebounds in a game without attempting a field goal while a member of the Jazz is none other than Jarron Collins with 9.  I'm kind of ashamed I didn't think of him.  Millsap and Eaton were second with 7 boards.

There was also the case of Curtis Borchardt where he took the most shots (9) without making a bucket yet still had 11 boards.  Amazingly, 9 of those were offensive rebounds.  He didn't convert one of those?

If you're wondering what Ostertag's record is, he was 0-6 from the field while pulling in 13 rebounds.

  I dare you to think of Al Jefferson saying "buttocks" without saying it in your head in a Forrest Gump voice.

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