We've seen it many times this season: the Jazz matching up with teams that are missing key players due to injury. Now it appears the impact of the shortened season is affecting the Jazz, too. Josh Howard has missed several games with a nagging quad injury, Big Al has missed two due to persistent tendinitis in his ankle, and on top of that, Steve Luhm reported yesterday that Raja Bell is a game time decision due to being 83 years old. Okay, its bad knees and back problems.
Mark J. Spears, of Yahoo! Sports, wrote a pretty sobering article on the number of injuries, many of them quite serious, that have befallen players during this season. You can find it here.
On Wednesday, Forbes magazine released the rankings of the value of all of the NBA teams, and to no surprise, the Lakers surpassed the Knicks as the the most valuable. This is due to that behemoth television contract the team signed last year with Time Warner last year. How big was it? The value of the team shot up a gargantuan 40% after the ink had dried on that deal.
The Jazz are actually doing quite well for a small market franchise, sitting at #16. The team is valued at $335 million and are above many other teams that operate in large markets. The info is pretty interesting, especially the listed $16.4 million operating loss.
There's been a lot of posts this week about how well Paul Millsap is performing and how he deserves to be an All-Star. The starters will be announced on Inside the NBA next Thursday, but none of use reasonably expect any of the Jazz players to be on the list. In the mean time, until all the participants, in all the events of All-Star weekend are announced, we here at SLC Dunk will be relentless in spreading the word about our favorite players, to help ensure they don't get overlooked. Starting with this fantastic article from our own Amar for Dime Magazine.
Next week I will be starting a weekly post titled "Media Busters", wherein I will attempt to find out whether there's any truth to the sometimes outlandish comments made by members of the National and local media about the Jazz or its players. A little preview:
During the Toronto game, or beloved Matt Harpring continually made the comment that Utah was playing into the Raptor's hands during that brutal 2nd quarter when Earl Watson came in and attempted to do what he has done all year: push the tempo. This may have been a valid observation had it been against the Nuggets, however, it doesn't serve when relating to the Raptors. Here why:
The Raptors rank 24th out of 30 in pace of game at 91.9. This means they are the 6th slowest team in the league. Further, they are only averaging 87.5 points per game. This can also be attributed to their horrendous 42.1 FG%, but it also means they aren't getting up a lot of shots.
Meanwhile, the Jazz have an average pace of 93.5, which doesn't seam like a lot, but that is almost 2 full possessions more and could have meant several more points on the board.
If you have heard or read something from the media that set off alarm bells to you and made you think, "That can't be right", send suggestions for Media Busters to me on Twitter @prodigal_punk.
Finally, the Jazz are about to embark on a brutal month of hoops this February. The motto of the month is "Lowered Expectations", so how do you feel about it?