The Downbeat #1177- They're Going to Slump Edition

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

As you all know, the Jazz fell to the Thunder last night, 88-82.  I'm not going to lie, I didn't watch the game (none of us did legally, because... you know, the game wasn't broadcast by the Jazz), nor did I really have a chance to follow it, but judging by the comments on Twitter, there were some unhappy campers when it comes to the rotation.

First off, the NBA.com highlights are here: http://www.nba.com/video/games/thunder/2013/10/20/0011300082-uta-okc-recap.nba *

*Warning: There's only 2 Jazz highlights in the video

Now, about the rotations.  I'm not going to turn this into a tirade about Corbin. The fact of the matter is, every NBA coach gives the preseason roster guys burn, just to see what they may or may not have.  Wesley Matthews would never had made it into the league if Sloan didn't give him some preseason burn.  The issue comes in that this is a VERY young team, that needs all of the practice against NBA caliber players that it can get; especially the less pressured kind.

Alec Burks is officially in a slump.  Over the last 4 preseason games (all losses), Alec has gone 10-49.  That's not good.  It is tough to know what to make of this.  Part of it is that he has been expected to do more scoring (especially in his "bench scoring punch" role), but its tough to say what's happening beyond that.  The entire team is struggling (They shot a blistering 38% last night) and that has everything to do with a lack of playing time together, a lack of consistency in rotations, and the fact that they're just young players.

Whether this is an indicator of Burks's future, we should probably wait for a little bit larger sample size before writing him off.  The other warning: This is going to happen this season. A lot. Get used to one of Hayward, Favors, Kanter, Burke, and Burks to be slumping at any given time; Its part of the learning curve.

Is anyone else tired of the "Derrick Favors lack of offensive game" talk? To me there is simply nothing wrong with a defensive big man.  For all of the one-sided offensive players that get paid around the league, its difficult to understand the backlash against one with a strong defensive game getting the same.  As Amar pointed out on Saturday, and UtahJazzBasketball1 very aptly pointed out in his post (find it all here),  the payout to Favors is fair.  Look at the development of Dwight Howard.  He got paid and developed into the type of transcendent defensive players that can carry a team of chuckers to the Finals; think Bill Russell.  No, I'm not saying Derrick Favors is as good as Dwight Howard, and I'm not saying Howard is as good as Bill Russell, but there is a place for a big man guarding the paint in this wing dominated league.

With the way the Jazz are seemingly being constructed, Favors' role will be just that. This becomes even easier to understand when we look at how good Kanter has been offensively.

Kanter has looked more and more like a polished offensive threat.  Over these preseason games he has averaged just about 13 points, on 50% shooting, and 75% FT. Kanter has emerged as the second biggest scoring threat, behind Hayward. The problem with having Kanter develop into a strong low post scorer, will be the potential to rely on him too much to develop offense. This team needs a strong mix of pick and roll, flex, and isolation in order to be successful, and there have already been stretches where they have gone into what I am calling "OffEnes".

However, if Kanter does develop that strong of an offensive game, he needs only to be an above average defensive player to be a very valuable asset to this team.  When paired with the innate defensive prowess of Favors, you have a tantalizing frontcourt duo.

Last Saturday we had a small organized hoop game against the guys over at Salt City Hoops. It was a good time, even though I was only able to play for 20 minutes.  This only reaffirmed my desire to organize a regular weekly game.  Not necessarily with static teams formed, but just get as many people together to play.  God knows I can use the exercise. So, here's what I'm proposing:

Its getting cold now, so if anyone has access to a gym, email me (dustin.lamarr at gmail dot com) and once that's settled, I can put the word out on Twitter and on here to get something going.  I think that early morning on Saturdays would work the best (think 7-8:00 am) for the guys with families, so lets try for that.

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