Nobody knows what the second half of the season have in store for the Utah Jazz and its fans, but I think we can all imagine that things will look differently in 30 games than they did to start the season, or probably even do now. So for today's downbeat, I will talk about some of those moving parts and make some predictions. Please chime in on what you think will happen as well. Not what you want to happen, we talk about that all the time, but what will happen.
One thing that can't be ignored is the brutal second half of the schedule. In one way, it will be fun to be a Jazz fan. Thirty-four games in the next 59 days (refer to randomly place schedule in the middle of section 3). No more stretches of nights without a game. On the other hand, the Jazz are going to be on the losing end of too many of those games. I just want to warn you now. Nineteen road games, lots of back to backs and tough competition. Murderer's row of the NBA schedule for the Jazz, I'm afraid. But there will be some hightlights as well. I predict the Jazz will win a couple unexpected games with some great team performances.
But I don't see any reason to waver from my preseason prediction of 28-38. That's 13-21 for the second half of the season. I wouldn't even consider myself a pessimist.
Unfortunately we have to talk about starting lineups as well. I am surprised that Coach Corbin even tipped his hand by mentioning starting Josh Howard before the break, but here we are. Tonight we will find out what the starting lineup will be. I'm already going to break my rule for this downbeat. I want to know from you guys what the starting lineup should be. What would you do if you were coach Corbin? Keep in mind that you may lose Paul Millsap emotionally from the team if you bench him again. Is it worth it?
I think for the second year in a row, the Millsap/Jefferson combo is looking like a fruitless one. I think most fan GMs would break up that starting combo first. There are justifications for starting either or for benching either, really.
I think these are your future first two off the bench. Charlie Villanueva is a future Hall of Famer, obviously.
My prediction is that the starting lineup stays the same tonight that it has been: Harris, Bell (if he's available, Howard if he's not), Hayward, Millsap and Jefferson.
But I think in 17 or 18 games, when we are looking like a lottery team for sure, I think we finish the last 15 games or so with a lineup of Harris, Burks, Hayward, Favors, and Jefferson. That's the starting lineup at the end of the season, when we won't have to justify competing for a playoff spot.
Obviously trade rumors are going to be a constant thing the next few weeks. I already predicted that CJ or Josh Howard are getting moved before the deadline yesterday. But I can tell you two trades that won't or shouldn't happen. From ESPN, John Carroll (Matt's brother?), puts the Jazz in two trade scenarios I don't understand. It's an insider article, so I will give you the highlights.
We have talked about this trade, but if the Jazz take on Marion's contract, they would be doing the Mavericks a favor. The first round pick from the Jazz makes little sense. But I also think this trade makes more sense in the offseason. Mavericks can still contend this year and then clear Marion's contract, while giving the Jazz a pick or Rodrigue Beaubois as well into the Jazz's trade exception. And the Jazz wouldn't have to pay any of Marion's contract this year. I think this is a possible trade partner down the road, but not in this form ESPN has it.
Why the teams should make this trade: Calderon has had a nice seven-year career with the Raptors, but at 30 he might not be in the team's future. Head coach Dwane Casey is all about defense and Harris would provide an upgrade over Calderon.
This has been a well-rumored trade and makes some sense for both teams. But is Calderon a big enough upgrade over Harris that the Jazz would have to include a first round pick? The thing I find most funny is that Carroll says Harris would be an upgrade defensively over Calderon, so that would work for Toronto but also work for the Jazz? The last time I checked, the Jazz are the 10th most efficient offensive team, but the 7th worst defensive team, and upgrading for offense and downgrading defense would be a good move? I've never understood the league's value of offense over defense, but that thinking is alive and well.
I have another predictio. Any trade that gets mentioned like this in the media or gets traction among Jazz fans, doesn't happen either. I am convinced that some "rumored trades" have been cancelled in the past, because Kevin O'Connor prides himself on only making deals that are complete surprises. I think that is his calling card on trades. A challenge he gives himself.
Prodigal Punk already broke the news, but Karl Malone is on twitter under the user name @TheDeliverer_32, which is a synonym I suppose of a Mailman. That or else, Karl has developed some psychospiritual issues he needs to work out. You should go follow him and seek his weird, wise counsel. But the timing of his presence, I think is strange after his inclusion in the media these days. I think this shows that he is done being a contentious figure.
I predict that we will never again hear anything more about the Karl-Greg feud. It's over, they set aside their differences and Greg Miller gave Karl some great tips on how to use the Direct Message feature on Twitter. I think it's over and we can all set it aside as well.
That is my advice, young grasshoppers.
And the whole Karl Malone on twitter thing got me wondering what it would be like if other great Jazz players got on twitter. I predict at least one other great Jazz figure will join us on twitter in the next year. I hope for Sloan or Stockton, but I would settle for Pace Mannion or John Crotty. I wonder what would those accounts be like?
Stockton: He has probably had a twitter account for like 2 years, but hasn't tweeted, because he feels like what he has to say "isn't important enough."
Jeff Foster: He probably is on twitter several times. He runs all of the anti-Laker twitter handles.
Mark Eaton: He's on there. He's the guy with zero followers, because he has "blocked them all."
Okay, I'm done. I'm being arrested by the terrible twitter jokes police as we speak.