A leopard can't change its spots, but can it learn to climb a different tree? - The Downbeat - #511

After the draft, the #2 hot topic on SLC Dunk lately is whether the Jazz should jettison the team and rebuild with youth, with Big Al being at the "center" of the discussions.

Defense- and offensive efficiency-wise, Al has room to grow. I'd like to take the discussion in a different direction, so let's leave this aside for the moment and instead ask these questions:

1) Is it within the realm of possibility that he can improve? If so;

2) If the Jazz, cognizant of which areas his game needs improvement, leave him at locker room cleanout with "work hard," "watch film," and "we'll check in on you when we can" and send him back to the same people/coaches that he's always worked with throughout his career that shaped him into the player he is today, should the Jazz bear some responsibility for his development or lack of if they don't get a guy who knows the system and what a big should be doing in that system (Karl or whoever the case may be) to work with Al and show him and teach him how to improve and be successful in the system?

It's like, some people are naturally great dancers. Some take classes and become great dancers. Regardless of which you are, I guarantee that the person that goes and takes classes with a real live instructor will reach higher heights than the person that tries to learn steps at home by himself from instructional DVDs.

Some guys naturally understand where they need to be and how to get there, and can make themselves great. Some guys need step-by-step instruction. It doesn't make them less of a player if they need instruction, or mean that they can't be as good as the first guy. Assuming that Ty won't be completely changing the system, the Jazz have the option of getting Karl--a guy who knows how to work and propelled the system to new heights--to work with Al. And we know Al would be up for it. When Karl attended a practice this past February, the one guy he singled out for being coachable and taking his advice was Al.

We all have our opinions on which direction the Jazz should go in, but I just don't see the Front Office blowing things up now for a better future down the road. Which means Al is staying with us. Which means his development is, at this point in time, more crucial than Derrick Favors' (future though Favors may be). In conclusion, the Front Office should be quoting TMac and saying, "It's on me."

To continue with this line of thought: We don't have the best history developing bigs. The Jazz annals are littered with bigs that never lived up to their potential or broke down before they got anywhere. While part of this is that the Jazz have rarely had high picks, I just don't have much confidence in the Jazz's ability to develop bigs.

A better game plan, IMO, would be acquiring established and/or role-filling bigs whose abilities and limitations are already clear, meaning you already know what you're going to get from them and are not working on the basis of potential, through trades and free agency than trying to draft and develop them. We've gotten nowhere with the latter route, and if we have to go back to Mark Eaton to find a success story, then I'm sticking with "we've gotten nowhere with the latter route.") Thoughts?

Working out for the Jazz today: Paul Carter, Jimmer Fredette, Josh Harrellson, Senario Hillman, Malcolm Lee and Kemba Walker.

Speaking of Jimmer (smooth segue, right?): According to Chris Mannix (mp3), Jimmer sees himself as a Deron Williams-Steve Nash hybrid.

Mannix also said that Jimmer has been strategically planning his workouts--Sacramento, Phoenix, Indiana, New York--with teams that he either wants to play for or whose system (up-tempo, PNR-heavy) fits his game. For this reason, Mannix believes that Jimmer will be available at #12, as teams that he refused to work out for won't be drafting him without having seen him.

Also, "[Jimmer] told me Utah is his number one choice. He wants to play for the Jazz. He wants to move 45 minutes down the road on the I-15. He wants that pressure and that responsibility of being a star in Utah."

What do you get when you combine a slow news day with crazed fanaddicts? This.

Help me out: favorite iPad/tablet apps? [Effort to make this relevant to this post and site] Best Jazz/NBA apps?
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