FanPost

Youth vs. Veteran Minutes and Player Assessments

First fanpost so for the 1-2 people that read this go easy on me…

I think Ty has done a great job overall, especially for a shortened season. He really could have used a training camp to both assess new players and teach the young ones, but he hasn’t let that potential excuse stop him from doing his job this season. Some nice words about Corbin so far:

· Most games players stay under 35 minutes

· Using Jazz depth to his advantage – runs 9- 10 deep most games which I think is perfect (anymore and minutes are too thin for guys to get any flow)

· Has shown rotation flexibility to get minutes to guys making plays (mostly)

· Has shown patience to stick with guys struggling with their games. While fans chew out a player for a couple of bad games, a coach showing support is vital for player confidence.

Wall of text incoming

I agree with most fans that our (hopeful) playoff performance in the next couple of seasons will be much more important than our wins this year. With Jazz fans looking ahead a year or two, playing the young guys to develop is a sound strategy. However I disagree with fans who want to wholesale jettison veteran minutes; playing the young guys too many minutes can easily have a negative affect on their development. If you throw out a bunch of young guys there will be chaos, and most players do not thrive in chaos (I <3 you, AK47). In my opinion young guys develop much better when there are only 1 or 2 of them out there trying to learn the ropes - with veterans to keep the offense/defense functioning the rookies can focus on 1-2 things they are responsible for. This is especially magnified with the shortened season where rookies don’t really know the system. I think minutes would be less of an issue if we weren’t currently having a largely injury-free (knock on wood) season. If the team stays healthy I would vote for 10% more youth minutes (24), mostly from Josh Howard (averaging 22.5) which I will explain later.

I generally agree with the idea that in the nba you want to be contending for either the championship or a #1 draft pick – the middle ground sucks. While this draft is very deep, I really don’t think there are any superstar “locks.” The Jazz would have to play so far below their potential to get a top 3 (or get lucky in the lotto) that I think they would probably sacrifice more in player development than they would gain from moving up the draft. I definitely want a pick this year so the front office can take a swing at it, but I am hoping for the GS pick instead of ours. If we get 2 lotto picks we realistically would have to consider trading one cause we have too many young guys to develop as is. Not that it would be a bad problem to have…

Player Assessments

Josh Howard

Nothing against Josh, but I really don’t see short or long term benefit from playing Mr. Howard. He actually performed well early in the season, attacking the rim and getting fouled when the offense was otherwise sputtering, but he doesn’t seem as aggressive following his minor injury. His playstyle seems to lean iso/individual based which is not Jazz basketball, and he is either out of form or past his prime to be that type of player. He certainly doesn’t help the team when he starts jacking up poor shots instead of attacking the rim. I would prefer the young guys to play team basketball, but if the 2nd unit needs someone to carry the offense solo for a bit I would easily vote for Burks or Miles over Howard. He needs to give up his 23 mins barring injury to someone else.

Raja Bell

I really lost faith that Raja could turn it around after a couple weeks into the season, so hats off to Corbin for seeing something I didn’t. While I would probably slightly bump down his minutes (averaging 24), I have no problem with Raja getting 15-25 depending on the flow of the game. The Jazz are just not as deep in the backcourt and Raja has been doing exactly what we need him to for the last few games: making open shots, playing pesky D, and providing some veteran leadership. A big difference between Raja and Howard is that Raja plays in the flow of the game and his possessions mainly consist of open looks.

Gordon Hayward/CJ Miles

Even before breaking out of his shooting slump, you had to have faith in G-Time. His developmental path could not be more opposite from CJ's. Ty could keep Gordo on the court even with his poor shooting cause he brings the effort to do all the other things. CJ usually dissapears from games when his offense and shot aren’t going. Gordon gives great defensive effort – doing a nice job on some tough assignments lately. He may not be an elite finisher, but he always runs hard on the break, and his toughness keeps him attacking the rim even after contact. Hayward is one of the few guys on the team that can create for his teamates, and can competently feed the post. I want the ball in his hands more (Burks/Hayward backcourt anyone?).

CJ still makes bonehead plays (one game he bailed out the other team by fouling at the end of 2 separate quarters), and shoots long 2s early in the shot clock. The CJ that attacks the rim, gets steals, and runs the courts is great…he just doesn’t show up with consistency. I really like his move driving from the right and cutting in just before the basket for a little left handed scoop/hook – have seen it a few times now. With CJ it feels like all or nothing – he needs to bring defensive effort whether or not his shot is falling. I was hoping for CJ to turn into our 6th man to kind of carry the offense for short stretches, but I don’t think he is ever going to figure it out for the Jazz. Sometimes players need to change scenery, and sometimes they just never get there. I have no problem keeping him on the cheap, but I would be shocked if he became an important piece for a contender Jazz team.

Mansap

What is there not to love? Efficient offense, good passer, scrappy defender/rebounder, ultimate lead by example type of captain. I think the team needs to make a real effort to feature him more in the offense. Most of his points come fairly hard with him banging down low and getting put backs – we should not use him as a back down post player with his height and skill set. WHEN SAPS MAN FRONTS HIM FEED THE BALL PLEASE (sorry but I’m sick of screaming at Howard and others who can’t post pass). Milsap has developed a lethal midrange game, and we need to use it. Its nice that he has Jefferson as his Valentine’s Day frontcourt partner, but we need to get him a pick and roll partner. Either Harris if he gains confidence in his midrange shot (better last couple of games), or G-Time. We don’t have to exclusively run our offense through Big Wheezy – milsap should be operating out of the high block. He can pick, hit the midrange, cut to the basket, or pass out of the high block…to me he could be just as effective offensively as boozer if we featured him with a competent partner.

Jefferson

Overall fairly pleased with Al, especially with his improved passing. However he still has moments/games when he catches the ball in the post and just puts the blinders on – he usually misses 1 or 2 assists a game to Milsap if he would just dump the ball when the defense collapses. He kind of goes into autopilot down there - sometimes he receives a good pass deep in the post and instead of just attacking the rim goes to his back to the back game. Can’t complain cause the coach want’s to run the offense through the big guy and his production and effort are there.

Kanter/Favors

I think Favors has much more potential, but I am much more confident that Kanter will reach his. I am ready to declare the #3 pick a succes for KOC from what little we have seen so far. He already has an elite NBA skill in his rebounding (according to the advanced stats, and just watching him go for the ball or using his body when the shot goes up). I LOVE Kanter’s pick and roll defense – he shows enough to prevent the guard from turning the corner and often does a good job trapping before he sprints back to the middle. Kanter seems to really listen and I see him improve from game to game (footwork and around the basket seem better to me recently). He also looks to have a decent midrange jumper, but I like that he is not trying to do too much at once, and has mainly stayed glued to the paint.

Favors on the other hand tries to do a little of everything, and winds up excelling at nothing. He shoots midrange jumpers, posts up with backdowns or spin moves, blocks some shots – he just has no go to moves that he seems really comfortable with. He shows flashes but also winds up travelling or turning the ball over seemingly as often. I really like his athleticism, but I wish we had a great big man coach to get him to focus on mastering 1 or 2 things at at time.

Burks

Would like to see him more in non trash time, maybe with G-Time in the backcourt. Good at going to the rim, but needs to either learn to keep his head up to pass or finish around NBA defenders. For now I think he should focus on defensive effort when the coach puts him in, cause if you can guard quick NBA guards you will get minutes. Hopefully can become a really good slasher like brewer cause im not sure if he will ever be a great shooter. Right now he kind of seems like a poor man’s Tyreke Evans.

Harris

Hopefully he continues to build some confidence in his shot so he can pick and roll with milsap. Mediocre passer for a point guard but still a lot to like when he is on his game. He really needs to make the best of splitting minutes with watson and use that extra energy on defense because he can be a pesk when he wants to.

Early Oop

Struggled a little lately I think, but really good toughness and leadership. No complaints with his minutes or role.

Tinsley

Stays positive, good teamate, comes up big when we play him (rarely). Seems like he really has a great outlook on his situation so good for him.

Jeremy Evans

Super exciting but we need to know if this cat can do anything other than dunk and block shots. What type of players is he capable of guarding at the 4 or 3? Can he dribble or shoot a little to play the 3? Wish we saw him more to know.

If this wasn't too awful I might do another on a 3-5 year outlook for the front-office strategy.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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