The Long Haul & the Trade Deadline - The Downbeat - #706

How to beat the Jazz, EZ as 1,2,3: 1-Get a speedy PG, 2-Run P&R's, 3-See if your speedy PG can somehow, someway blow past Big Al.

So, the Jazz lost last night. It's a bummer, because Phoenix is just about as mediocre a team as the Jazz. At the same time, all you had to do was remember a couple things and the loss suddenly becomes kind of expected:

  1. The Jazz are dreadful at P&R defense.
  2. Phoenix does a lot of P&R's
  3. Steve Nash is the guy running those P&R's

So, yeah.

Incidentally, the Jazz players agree (from the SLTrib):

"Man, Steve Nash," [Al Jefferson] said. "Sometimes I feel like it’s 5-on-3 out there, the way he penetrates into the lane. He seems to always find somebody wide open. The older he gets, the better he gets."

Devin:

"They have one of the smartest players ever running the pick-and-roll," Harris said. "He understands where guys are coming from and how to get guys open."

This is #Positivity Week (Amar's second attempt), so to support him I will not bring up Howard's dreadful play (earned an F from Salt City Hoops), Alec Burks' DNP-Coach's Decision, how the bench built a 2nd quarter lead the starters would kill, or how the bench came back from another starter-built 3rd quarter deficit only to see starters let the game go in the 4th.

Seriously, I'm not going to bring it up. Because this is #Positivity Week, and I want to help Amar be successful.

Tonight we play Minnesota, and I'm bummed because we won't get the Earl-Rubio PG bonanza we've been dreaming of.

Rubio has, of course, torn his ACL.

Last night Earl sprained his ankle, and is listed as doubtful for tonight.

Just out of spite, I'm going to absolutely ignore all trade discussions/rumors until either the Jazz actually pull off a trade or the trade deadline passes (3:00 ET today).

I hate it when trade rumors overshadow the actual games. I think the constant bombardment of questions from reporters creates a toxic atmosphere around teams. Especially when they've been asking a guy if he's leaving for three straight years.

So forget it.

Wait, I will write one thing. The SLTrib gives us some startling insight into the Jazz Master Plan, Trade Scenarios being Bounced About, and all things Front Office:

With a little more than 24 hours remaining before a 1 p.m. MT Thursday trade deadline, Jazz General Manager Kevin O'Connor declined to comment Wednesday morning about any possible deals involving his team.

Actually, I'll say one more thing about trades. Reading about Dwight's waffling, remembering the Deron trade, and reminiscing Melo's situation killing his teammates last year ... I just have to say this:

These idiots are killing their teams AND their own chances to play for championship contending teams.

Here's a bit of Truth regarding building a team:

  • It took the 76'ers 7 years to build a championship team around Dr. J.
  • It took 10 years for the Rockets to get it right around Hakeem. Included in those 10 years are four straight first round exits followed by a year missing the playoffs completely.
  • The Pistons didn't win it all until Isiah's 8th season. He missed the playoffs twice in those 8 years.
  • It took Jordan's Bulls 7 years to win it all. They began his run with three consecutive first round exits.
  • It took the Celtics 10 years to get the right team around Paul Pierce. They missed the playoffs five times during those ten years and had an additional two first round exits.
  • It took 13 years for Dallas to get it right with Dirk. This run includes missing the playoffs twice, one of the most infamous melt-downs in Finals history, and four consecutive years they were booted in either the first or second round.

The point is that it takes time to build around a star. Even some of the most memorable quickies weren't really so quick. Yeah, Tim Duncan won a championship in his second season. But the other side of the story is it took 10 years to get the right team around David Robinson. We remember that Magic won a championship his rookie year. But in reality it took the Lakers five years to build the right team around Kareem (they even missed the playoffs once with Kareem).

Although the modern Lakers are a weird exception (because Shaq fell into their laps), you can even look at them: They missed the playoffs once, followed that with two first round losses, and endured Kobe pining for a trade before things turned around for them.

When stars commit for the long haul they give their front office a chance to build the right team. And it takes time. It almost NEVER happens immediately. And when players WON'T commit for the long-haul, it cripples the team. They have to muddle around like a 6-year-old in a toy story, desperate to spend their money NOW on whatever they can find that looks shiny. They can't save. They can't say ... you know, this young player is going to be really good. He'll be the missing piece in three years. They can't spend two years acquiring expiring contracts for a big trade.

And most importantly, the teams can't make a move, give it a couple years to see how it works out, and then make further adjustments.

And how many of these wandering hearts, dissatisfied stars, and NBA transients win a championship?

As far as I can tell only one has: Shaq.

(I'm not including guys like Kidd, Moses Malone, and crew because although they changed teams several times, they didn't do the ridiculous crap we see from Melo, Dwight, and company).

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