Sunday Syncopation # 49

Today we look at the concept of revenge games; when it's not okay to boo the other team; and how former Jazz players Francisco Elson, Kyrylo Fesenko, Ronnie Price, Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur, and Deron Williams have been spending their time. Also we take a trip back down memory lane and re-watch the spectacular 2006-2007 Game 7 of the first round between the Utah Jazz up against the Houston Rockets, in Houston. Lastly, we take a quick look at why Deron Williams was so awesome in the playoffs, and what Greg Ostertag has been doing down in the D-League.

Revenge Games

Back in February 9th, 2011 I wrote about revenge games. It was all surrounding the fact that Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer, and Kyle Korver were going to be returning to Utah for their first game back – but all as members of the Chicago Bulls. Last night was a revenge game night as well, primarily for Deron Williams, Devin Harris, Mehmet Okur, and Derrick Favors; and less so for Sundiata Gaines, Kris Humphries, and DeShawn Stevenson. (And even less so for Enes Kanter, the product of the Nets 1st round draft pick) The purpose of a revenge game is for a player to ‘stick it’ to the front office that did not bring him back / traded him, while showing all the fans a little of what they are missing.

As a result we kind of expected Deron to have one of his monster 30-10 games, complete with three point bombs, slick dimes, and ankle breaking dribble moves. Instead he finished with 16 points, off of 20 fg%. If it wasn’t for his 10 free throw attempts his Points per shot value would have been even worse than the 1.07 PPS he finished with. He had as many assists as he had turnovers; and he had a very frustrating night as the Jazz went into the fourth quarter up by 20. Mehmet Okur fared slightly better, finishing with 9 points and 7 rebounds – however he missed all of his three point attempts, and had trouble on defense. He also had four turnovers. It was a less than magical return for both of our former starters.

Kris Humphries did have an 18/10 game against the team that drafted him. He shot 73 fg% and also had 5 offensive rebounds. I’d be mad too if I was traded with Robert Whaley to the Toronto Raptors for Rafael Araujo. Sundiata Gaines was an opportunistic gunner, shooting the ball 5 times in 12 minutes (as a point guard) – and finished with 11 points, and 1 rebound, assist, and steal. Lastly, DeShawn Stevenson went scoreless in 15:49 minutes of ‘action’. The biggest influence he had in this game was he gave Matt Harpring yet another thing to talk about, besides talking about the game he had great seats for.

For the Nets side no one really had a revenge game save for Humphries – but the last time he even played for the Jazz it was 2005-2006, and since then he has played for three different teams.

What about Devin Harris and Derrick Favors? While Deron usually finishes the game with better over-all statistics, in their head to head match-ups Harris and Deron both have 7 wins in 14 games. More than just that, Harris does kind of hold his own with Deron, having head-to-head averages of 13.1 ppg, and 6.6 apg. Most important is that in these games Harris shoots 48.4 fg% (higher than Deron in the match-up), and has a PPS value of 1.50. Last night – not so much. Harris’ revenge game against the Nets had him scoring 2 points (1/3 fg%), getting to the line zero times, and dishing out 6 assists (to no turn overs though). Harris did less ‘bad things’ than Williams did; however, Deron still had better numbers than Devin. Favors was even less impressive as he went 2/7 against his old club (28.6 fg%), and finished with more shot attempts than actual points. It didn’t help that he Fesenko’d it from the free throw line going 2/5. He challenged and changed a lot of shots on defense though, while only accruing 3 rebounds and 1 block. He did register his first assist of the season though. He did not finish this game making Nets fans disappointed that they traded him, though. They could only shake their heads as he continued to be called for avoidable charges.

Enes Kanter had a good game, but it’s not like he was in a mood for vengeance, rather, he was just in a mood to get some darn playing time. I don’t know what the Turkish word for ‘darn’ is, otherwise I would have used it there.

Overall: almost everyone had a ‘bad’ revenge game. Humphries did well, but out of everyone on these two teams, wasn’t he the guy most removed from wanting revenge against the Jazz or Nets?

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On Booing

Last night some fans at the Energy Solutions Arena went a little too far (for my tastes) on the boo-ing thing. This is, after all, a fan base that goes to games and boos our own players during the home opener (see: Raja Bell vs. Philly). It would be naive to assume that there wouldn’t be boos for Deron Williams – after all some people were more than willing to discuss the justifications of it with me on twitter last night. I guess, according to some, he’s the reason why Jerry Sloan retired abruptly. I guess when even a straight shooter like Sloan says he did not, it doesn’t matter. (WHEE LUV JERRY SO MANY HEARTS! DUHRON IS BAD! HE MADE JERRY LEAVE. I LOVE JERRY SO MUHC I DONUT BEELEAVE WHEN HE SEZ DUHRON NO PUSH HIM OUT. I LOBE JERRY SOH MUCH I NO WHEN I DONUT NEED TO BELIEB HIM!) Absolute, Internet-Strawmen aside – some Jazz fans even went as far as to boo Mr. Placid Mehmet Okur. The very same Mehmet Okur who risked his future playing career by playing hurt in a) the last regular season game that could have helped the Jazz playoff standing, and then b) the playoffs. You can boo Deron, but not every time he touches the ball. Try not to forget how awesome he was for our team and all the good things he did. (Like not asking for a trade like Carmelo Anthony did) And please don’t boo Mehmet Okur, who has done everything like defend Yao Ming in single coverage, to hit game winning three pointers for us – as a PF playing out of position at C.

Sometimes the voices of a few hundred idiots drown out the logic and sensible nature of the really awesome Jazz fans. And as a result, as a whole, we get a bad rap. We are good fans. We should not forget which guys were good players for us. The relationship we have, going forward, with Deron Williams (and Memo) shouldn’t be the same one that Toronto Raptors fans have with Vince Carter; or Cleveland Cavaliers fans have with LeBron James. We’re supposed to be better fans than that. If all we do is turn on someone because OUR OWN FRONT OFFICE TRADED THEM WITHOUT EVEN CONSULTING WITH THEM FIRST (which happened in both cases of D-Will and Memo), then we deserve the scorn from the rest of the NBA fans.

With a home crowd like ours it’s no wonder we’re such a hot-bed for luring talented Free Agents.

This is all just my personal opinion. You are allowed to disagree. You are allowed to boo whomever you wish. I just think that last night was not a high point for our franchise, despite a comfortable win against a cellar dwelling team in what should have been a revenge game type of situation for a number of players.

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Video of the Week

In lieu of people forgetting what Deron Williams and Mehmet Okur means to our franchise we have here a youtube video of our 2006-2007 NBA Playoffs 1st Round, Game 7 victory on the road against the Houston Rockets. This is the full game. We don’t have time TONIGHT to watch all of it, but I do think some of those boo-birds should.


Thanks to Ibarron25 for uploading this.

Watching it again, I’m still agonizing over every missed shot, and going nuts over ever make – even though I know how the game ends.

How are our ex-Jazzmen doing?

There was a significant turn-over in our roster from training camp last season to today. Some of the guys no longer on the team are: Marcus Cousin, Francisco Elson, Kyrylo Fesenko, Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur, Ronnie Price, Kyle Weaver, and Deron Williams. Let’s take a little look at a few of them:

  • Elson is currently the Captain of the Dutch Men’s National Basketball squad. The most recent article online that I could find (and understand) that even talks about Frank is from December 21st, 2011 – which laments that for the first time since 2002 the NBA is bereft of any Dutchmen.
  • Kyrylo has flirted with a number of teams, first being listed as a possible Training Camp invite for the Boston Celtics, to then being potentially signed by the Golden State Warriors – and now most recently to be leaning towards signing with the Dallas Mavericks. Yet he continues to not be on any roster, or make any ripple in NBA news. He’s not 100% recovered yet from his injury, but one serious wonders whether or not he’ll ever play in the NBA again.
  • Andrei is in full "beautiful, wild horse" mode. After his asking price (even the home town discount) was too high for any NBA club (despite being courted by about 11 different ones during the off-season after the lockout ended), he has decided to finish the season in Russia. He’s playing great. It would not surprise me to see him finish the season, join the Free Agent class of 2012 and actually have a higher starting price as a result. In a way it only makes sense for Andrei to leave what he has now for a really ridiculous sum of American dollars. As a Jazz fan and as an Andrei fan I’m happy he’s not playing in the NBA against us this season.
  • Memo was an 18 and 9 guy six seasons ago, yet in my memories (pun not intended) it seems like he was that yesterday. This season he’s a 7 and 5 guy, while playing slightly more MPG than his second season in the NBA. Back then he was a 10 and 6 guy. It would be safe to say that he’s on the downward slope of his NBA career right now. His Per 36 Minutes values for points, rebounds, and blocks are all below his career average. In terms of just points and rebounds, they’ve almost never been lower than they are today. I love Memo. I hate the circumstances of how he was traded. But in a situation where in a four man rotation at the PF and C spot without Memo, we’re still only playing Favors and Kanter 22 and 13 mpg – it is better for him not to be here.
  • Ronnie Price is an energizer bunny in basketball player form. In the obvious wake of Steve Nash slowing down he’s been a significant role player for the team – even starting a game (which wouldn’t have happened on the Jazz). So far in this early season he’s had games of 16 points and 18 points. He’s also been dishing out the rock at a healthy rate as well (8 in his last game). This year he’s averaging career highs in minutes, points, assists, and rebounds – and has his second highest fg% of his career. In little over a quarter’s worth of work he’s averaging 5.4 ppg, 2.7 apg, and 1.7 rpg. Way to go Ronnie P. Glad you are getting a shot somewhere!
  • Deron Williams is having a twilight zone season. His career PER 36 minute averages are 17.4/9.3/3.3. This year he’s getting 18.5/8.5/3.4. That’s essentially the same, right? Except last season as a member of the Jazz he was doing 21.3/9.7/3.9. Furthermore, last season on the Jazz he was shooting 45.8 fg%. This year on the Nets he’s averaging only 36.6 fg%, easily the worse of his entire career – even worse than the year Jerry Sloan would only play him as a shooting guard. Deron isn’t the worst guy in the world, but it’s hard not to believe in a displaced version of karma as a result of his very bad season so far. Even Dwight Howard can’t save these Nets, it seems. D-Will probably hasn’t even tried to remove MarShon Brooks’ head with a rocket pass this year yet either! See how bad things are going for him?

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Stats Class

Deron Williams, unlike so many of our former players, came to play in the Playoffs. For his career he averages only 17 ppg, 9 apg, and 3 rpg. In the playoffs? In the playoffs Deron Williams (Duh-ron according to out of state media) became a house hold name. Behold!

21 ppg, and nailing like 2 threes a game, while getting to the line 7 times a game? We’d want that from our shooting guard, but we got that from our PG who was also getting 10 assists a game, and making the most of his opportunities. His points per shot (PPS) was out of this world in the playoffs – 1.38. And this isn’t just for one game, this is for 44 games over four different seasons. Boo Deron for being on the wrong team. But don’t boo Deron for being a bad player in our uniform. At times he was the only guy on the floor who deserved to wear our Jazz uniform.

What’s the 128.3 GO Rating mean? Well, my catch-all offensive stat looks at everything he does and gives out a number that shows how much pressure he puts on the other team, when he has the ball in his hands. Magic Johnson’s GO Rating for his career was 138.8. John Stockton’s was 111.9. Deron, in the playoffs, was right in-between the two, and higher than some guys named Charles Barkley, Alex English, Kevin Johnson, Isiah Thomas, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, and so on. Again, Deron Williams was a beast for our team. He carried us during all those "middle of the season" holidays that Carlos Boozer would take, and we don’t win a single playoff series without him – let alone make the playoffs. Without Deron Williams, the Utah Jazz post-Stockton to Malone era is no different than the Washington Wizards after Wes Unseld hung them up. With Deron Williams we were 3 wins away from the NBA Finals.

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Hope you didn’t miss . . . .

The amazing changes we’ve tried to make here at SLCDUNK over the last few days . . . ! I’m way too busy to do a link dump here, so I’m postponing this part for yet another week . . .

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Did you know . . . ?:

. . . down in the NBA Developmental League that our very own Greg Ostertag is averaging 4.8 ppg (56.3 fg%), 5.4 rpg, and 0.6 bpg in 13.7 mpg? It’s trooo! His best game so far this season was on January 11th, against the Sioux Falls Skyforce. In 21 minutes of action he had 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He also got to the line 7 times that game, and finished off with an assist. He seems to not suffer much in terms of production when he plays in the second night of a back to back either. If some team gets an injury inside to one of their bigs, I would not be surprised to see them taking a good hard look at Ostertag if he keeps up this level of "treading water". I wish him all the best.

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