Ladies and gentlemen, the times have come that I must finally sit down and write this article. I have had these thoughts since last year, but I hoped this year would help fix things. I was hoping that a locked out preseason was just something to get in the way from development. Sadly to say, we are in a sad state of the Utah Jazz.
First thing I would like to bring to attention is the coaching, or lack thereof. Management made a huge mistake when it handed the reins off to Ty Corbin. Not because of the move. I was alright with the move when it happened. The part that annoyed me was the fact that it wasn’t an interim deal but a long term deal. Earlier this year, around Halloween time, the team exercised the team option to keep Corbin through his contract till the 2013-2014 season. No matter what we do as a team, we are not obligated to pay Ty for those years. Even if we drop him this year, he counts against what we pay coaches. This may hamper having a new coach come in, knowing that he might not be getting as good a money as he could be getting.
Another item of note is our starting lineup. Many times in the past, I have wondered about the starting lineup. As of recently, I have been ok with the thought of Foye in the starting lineup. He gives you 11 points a game. It’s not bad. Especially in an offense that caters to Al Jefferson. What I have a problem with is Marvin Williams in the starting lineup. Marvin just seems like the odd man out in this situation. Hayward is far and beyond the better choice. Going off of ESPN stats it looks like this:
Keep in mind these are averages.
Marvin: 26 min, 8.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1 apg
Hayward: 26 min, 13.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.5 apg
Marvin may be the better option at defending but that brings me to my next point.
Playing time. I feel there is a lack of confidence on the part of Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Jeremy Evans, Kevin Murphy, and to some extent Gordon Hayward. The injuries to Mo and Earl have been a blessing actually. Burks has played some solid minutes. We get to see him run the point. And we have learned what we all assumed, he can play the position well but he needs a proven ball handler like Hayward there to save him when times get tough. Only way he gets better is time on task. When Mo gets back, Burks will find his seat at the end of the bench with Murphy and Evans. Sad but true.
I know many are going to say that Favors and Kanter are getting solid minutes, but I say that you sir (or ma’am) are wrong. Yes Favors is getting some solid time off the bench. But he is playing behind Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. Both those guys want their minutes and Ty is willing to pony them up. Kanter on the other hand, is being screwed the most of it all. Jefferson got his 30 minutes that he averages, against Milwaukee. Paul actually got 37 minutes, normally averages around 30, against Milwaukee. Kanter gives you 17 minutes and gives you 17 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks. How do you reward the kid for a strong performance? You give him 7 minutes two days later against the Bulls. The only reason his minutes per game average stays around 14 is because he plays a lot of garbage time like the Sacrament and Houston game.
The kid was in rhythm. Possibly could have been in a hot streak, and you shut it down before it could get rolling. If you keep messing the young players like this, they will start playing like Carroll and be playing for the rest of the league, using this year to gain a contract for next year.
So how do we fix this? Easy enough, you make some trades. Mo Williams, Earl Watson, Jamaal Tinsley, Randy Foye, Raja Bell, Marvin Williams, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, and Al Jefferson will all become free agents at the end of this year. In my mind, they are all trading pieces. Do you honestly feel that an Al Jefferson led team will take you to the NBA Finals and win it? If that answer is no, then you need to realize that trades need to be made. You send these men out to get your younger players some time. With or without Jefferson and Millsap, this year is a bust. We will not win the NBA Championship. If we rid ourselves of these players we have the option to playing the youth. They get minutes, they get shots, and they get repetition. Most importantly, they get time together to gel as a team. Call this year a wash and let the youth movement begin. It’s not tanking when we are seeing what we have for the future and playing our future now.
Now I am not saying that we go out and trade for whatever. We will not Semi-Pro this and trade a player for a washing machine. I say the stipulation we put down is that if we are trading away our guys, we demand youth in return. A great example would be to demand that if San Antonio wants Al, we want Leonard part of the package. Leonard could be the missing piece to a starting lineup of Burks/Hayward/Leonard/Favors/Kanter. Also, if we are taking on aging players, they must be an All-Star or borderline All-Star player. This includes a Tyreke Evans or Brandon Jennings. If teams feel they are a few missing pieces away from the playoffs, or looking for a salary dump, they will pony for what we demand.
Overall, what I am trying to say is we need to get a better option at coach. With the new coach, I believe he should extend an offer to Karl Malone to come in and coach our bigs. Also, I feel that Horny and Stockton should be made assistants also. Both could do great work with our point guards and wing players. Also, I believe that we should be giving our youth more time. Start moving out pieces, especially those that you feel will not be here next year, and get the youth movement off the bench onto the court and starting.