Mar 26, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks (10) drives to the basket as New Jersey Nets power forward Shelden Williams (33) and shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson (left) defend during the second half at the Prudential Center. The Jazz won 105-84. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
Yesterday, in The Point Forward blog over at SI, Zach Lowe posed the question that is at the heart of the rookie development debate that has been raging between Jazz fans all season:
Was Burks ready all along, meaning coach Tyrone Corbin was wrong to start Bell for such a big part of the season, or is Burks ready now only because he had several months to prepare?
Of course we'll never know, but ponder this: Burks has undeniably hit the "Rookie Wall". His FG% has dipped from 48% in Feb, to 43% in March, and is 22% in the couple of April games. So an addendum to that question is, would this drop in production (the wall) have come at a more opportune time had he been getting more minutes earlier in the season? Wing production has been an issue for the Jazz all year and they are going to need him down the stretch.
*If you have some time to kill, look at all the pictures you can find of Burks. He is being fouled in about 80% of them. Its hilarious.
Burks isn't the only one struggling. Our own rookie wall, Enes Kanter, has hit it as well, but I don't think its all his fault. His points, FG%, and RBD have all stayed about the same, but his minutes have dropped from almost 15 in Jan, to 12, to just over 11 in this month's games. My guess as to the reason? His defense is hurting. As of last game his Defensive Rating is up to 105, according to Basketball Reference. This has to be due to his PPP allowed when his man runs him off a screen, as in this scenario, according to mySynergySports.com he allows 1.29, ie. the big fella just can't get through those screens very well. However, his PnR defense is a fantastic 0.82 and his isolation is phenomenal at just 0.46 PPP allowed.
How happy are you that we don't have to deal with the Deron Williams stuff? He is now THE biggest FA this summer and it is going to be a circus. The Nets have all but offered to hand him the reigns as GM and I have to say, I wish they would. It would be interesting to see a team say, "Here you go. Build a team", and then to see what the players would be able to put together.
One thing is for certain, Deron is right when he lashes out against Nets fans berating him on Twitter. He didn't choose to go there, he was traded. I completely understand and agree that he doesn't owe any loyalty to them, hell, they aren't exactly showing up in droves to support him. It will be interesting to see how things play out, because its looking like the Nets are going to be on the wrong end of one of the most lopsided trades in history. That KOC is a cold, calculating SOB.
Want to hear something that almost no one is talking about? Sure the Jazz don't have a "star", but what they do have is two amazingly efficient big men. Currently, Big Al and Millsap are ranked 9th and 11th, respectively, in PER. Out of the entire league. Higher than Kobe, Dirk, and Duncan. In fact, the only team with two players that high are Miami, OKC, and LAC, and the Jazz are the only team that have two big men that high.
Finally, some great Jazz fans on Twitter have put together a "Tweet Up" for tonight. All the info is up at The Utah Jazz Blog (The 2012 Annual Utah Jazz Fan Tweetup). The reservation is for 6:00 at the Iggy's near ESA, so if you're going to the game, will be in the area, or just want to meet awesome Jazz fans, stop by. I'm not going to the game so I should be there the entire time.