Five Observations From Jazz/Blazers - The Downbeat - #645

The only logical conclusion that you can have after last night's pre-season loss to the Blazers is that the Jazz are going to lose every game this season and that Derrick Favors is a hybrid of Dwight Howard and Karl Malone.

Let's focus on the good (that's going to be a refrain this season). Derrick Favors. He needs to be in the starting lineup for a couple of reasons. One, we need to see if he can do what he did last night against the league's best. Second, Tyrone Corbin has stated that every starting position is up for grabs. If that's the case, Favors has made his case in this game. I don't think he'll get the start tomorrow night, but if he turns in a similar performance, I don't know how Corbin can justify keeping him out of the starting lineup.

He was dominant in the paint all night and we need to know if he can continue to do that against starting lineups. It's a disservice to his development if he can't go up against better players.

For a team that's a hybrid of veterans and promising rookies, the five-man units that were used sure weren't indicative of that. If you look at the game flow (man I missed those), you'll see that it was starting five, bench, starting five, bench. It wasn't just a starter/bench split, it was a veteran/youth split. The younger players didn't mingle much with the veterans as for a floor time goes.

Granted, that was Portland's MO as well, but they're a team in a different situation. If the Jazz are in a competing mode, then we should be seeing the best players on the floor regardless of experience. I don't know if this changes for the second pre-season game, but there are a few changes that should be made for the opener against the Lakers (who looked awful against the Clippers).

The glaring weakness on defense was penetration and the lack thereof on fast breaks. In my mind, there's no reason why Raymond Felton should be beating Devin Harris off the ball and getting into the lane so easily.

You can also see that the Jazz are still very much learning how to rotate and trade off on players with their new defensive scheme. The Blazers were making just one more pass and breaking down the defense to get good looks.

Kanter needs MOAR rebounds. It's fantastic to see his thirst for getting boards. Now if he can just be convinced to jump as high on his close shots so that he doesn't keep getting swatted and he'll be in business.

Expect this kind of play for at least the first 10-15 games of the season. The team is nowhere near where they need to be on either side of the ball and that's going to make for a lot of frustrating nights sprinkled with highlights. The veterans aren't going to be as bad as they were last night but this team is far away from having an identity.

You used to be able to set your watch to Sloan's rotations. That's not a knock on Corbin, he just hasn't been given the time to find out what works and who plays best with one another.

This is a long, albeit shortened season. What you see now isn't necessarily indicative of what you'll see at the end of the season.

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