Advocating devilishly for starting Raja Bell and Josh Howard?

PHOENIX - OCTOBER 12: Raja Bell #19 of the Utah Jazz passes the ball under pressure from Josh Childress #1 of the Phoenix Suns during the preseason NBA game at US Airways Center on October 12, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

If it is not clear about where I stand on Utah Jazz guard Raja Bell and forward Josh Howard let me restate it here again: aside from Josh's rebounds, and Raja's amazing year shooting the ball -- they did not contribute much on the court. PER (player efficiency rating) is far from perfect, but it at least gives you a good 'eye-ball' test. Raja was #14 in PER, and Josh was #12. They were also pretty crappy in both Win Shares (WS) and Win Shares per 48. They did play a lot of minutes though. For the season they both averaged more than 23 mpg; Raja is #5 in mpg and Josh is #6 in mpg. So, they played a lot of minutes and played very poorly. That's the long and short of it.

Perhaps they were the greatest team mates ever, great motivators and instructors for the younger guys in the locker room. I can't confirm or deny these qualitative opinions of them. I am a numbers guy, and as a result, the first thing I mentioned was their numbers in this post. And their numbers, their quantitative contributions on the court were (again) not that great. It gets worse when you actually look at the advanced numbers.

I don't care if they are the best team mates ever, and teach orphaned puppies how to read, and help wayward whales kick their drug habits and find religion . . . as professional basketball players this year they played basketball poorly. Period.

That said, if you are an old school disciple / fanboy/girl of Jerry Sloan -- you gotta start them. One of the longest held, respected, and uniformly administered Sloan Doctrines was that a player (especially a veteran player) would NEVER lose their starting spot due to injury. The reason why these two guys did not play wasn't because they weren't good enough to play, but because they were both not healthy enough. They were officially put on the injury reserve, and kept out of games.

Today they are participating in full speed practices. This is news, as they were previously too injured to play in them. So they are healthy now.

  1. If you love Jerry Sloan
  2. and agree that while he wasn't perfect, he did more good than bad and you live with that trade off,
  3. and wish Tyrone Corbin was more like Sloan,
  4. and the Jazz franchise should retain some of the policies that have served us well for a number of decades,
  5. and Raja Bell and Josh Howard were both starters before they got injured,
  6. and Raja Bell and Josh Howard are now both healthy,
  7. and you support internal consistency,
  8. and you are not a hypocrite,
  9. and remember, you love Jerry Sloan,
  10. then Raja Bell and Josh Howard should start.

I don't think they should start. I would have waived them both this year. Or shot them. Or sent them on a globe trotting adventure. I wouldn't have played them the #5 and #6 most mpg this year. (Their total minutes values are also obscene, but don't look at bad because they've missed so many game this year) And, while I support internal consistency and am not a hypocrite -- I am not a full-time devotee of Jerry Sloan. If anything, I'm a neo-Sloanian dissenter. (This point has been established years ago when I wrote my opinions on the subject and I received some "interesting" feedback for it.)

We're winning playing the guys we're playing. I wouldn't have played those has-beens this year anyway. Don't play them now. That's my view.

But . . . that works for me. All of those 10 statements above follow logically, and are valid for some other people. As a result, some people should be advocating for Raja and Josh to start.

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