"I was right behind the basket maybe eight rows, with T.J, watching the game. I saw it. The rough push from the hip check, Matt Harpring’s head hitting the post. The impact caused a ‘ting’ sound and while everyone else was wondering if he was okay, I saw him get right up, and go after the guy as fast as any supernatural creature would in a movie."
That was the beginning of a 2 hour conversation I had with my boyfriend, I think, the last year Matt played. If I was better at stats, I would go back and find that game. The fact that T.J was there with him usually meant it was a Golden State game, but not always. The important part of the story is that was one of the moments that helped sink our Jazz Nation talons into my boyfriend from South Carolina...we made him into a jazz junkie and I will never regret it.
There have been moments like that, that cemented my Jazz obsession. Multiple times of Millsap getting hurt, getting stitches, and getting back on the floor. A couple of times watching someone take out A.K, usually feet or knees first, and have him finish most of the game before he HAD to sit out. I think its the best part of basketball for me, watching the bodies hit the floor and the foul sorting and the toughness that leaks out.
If I wanted mild manner playing, I would go watch a collegiate rowing team.
It also leaves me wondering, who is going to let the bodies hit the floor this year? Kanter is coming off injury. Favors, well, he's solid but never shows that Mel Gibson crazy eye look in Lethal Weapon that would make me cheer for him more. Evans and Gobert have this look that makes me think my 12yr old autistic daughter could take them out in 2 seconds. (no, don't tease them, my daughter took Ben out in 2 seconds and hes 6’2 and about 240 with 8 years military experience.)
With the Front Office of the Jazz holding onto news and promotion so tightly this summer that if they squeezed, they could make diamonds….I figured I had to get some fire lit up under the big guys to ponder before media day. (I worked on this post most the summer...that's how bad I am at stats, and despite my begging, none of the other jazz fans stepped up to help me with them. So no making fun of my small chart.)
Everyone is now worrying about who might get fouled out of the game early, or wrong. But...and there is a butt, and its not the one from So you think you can dance...I don't want this Jazz Team 2013/2014 to be afraid of getting them. There has been a steady decline and I feel its cost us that small part of teamwork, and ethic, that made it harder to get to the playoffs.
(I'm going to try to enter my spreadsheet here. but if not bear with. it)
|Year||Fouls per game average Season/Post||playoffs?||standouts||factors?|
|2011-2012||21.8/20.3||yes||fez (playoffs)||millsap/jeferson fighting for position left the young guys getting fouls without support from team for momentum.|
|2010-2011||22.7||no||favors/millsap||jeff not agressive as solid 5|
|2009-2010||22.7/27||yes||Boozer/mattews||boozer point leader|
|2008-2009||22.3/23.8||yes||boozer/millsap||all pf and c average 3 along with dwill booxer/memo reg season-harpring not as physical this year|
|2007-2008||24/25.5||yes||millsap/memo/boozer||dwill's fouls increase percent wise during playoffs because he wanted it more once they got there/ak fouls increased huge in postseason|
|2006-2007||25/24.5||yes||all starters or first backups average 3 per game including fisher||last game with fisher his fouls dropped half in postseason and dwill and boozer avg 4 each together|
|2005-2006||24.8||no||memo/boozer over 3||memo had most ppg no postseason|
|2003-2004||25.6||no||harpring.ak||bell on team over 3 and no dwill or memo - no stock/malone arroyo not a leader and bell wild|
|2002-2003||22.4/24.8||yes||stock.malone||last yr stock./malone and each malone avg 4 and stock 3 (harpring avg 4.8 in post)|
As you can see, the years when our post-season was the most exciting, someone started getting physical. I know the fouls per game do not fluctuate a huge deal, but they also show that the seasons we had low per game, we suffered or didn’t make the playoffs at all. For those years where our totals didn't fluctuate a great deal, we saw a change in 8 guys getting fouls, to maybe 3-4 guys in the postseason (playoffs).
When DWill was hungry, him and boozer combined for fouls and plays that year which rivaled stats for a Stock/Malone postseason. What I felt was lacking there, was support at the 2 and some other key bench positions that were more solid in previous years than the last 10.
I know its not football...believe me I don't like football much...but this game we love requires us to look at all aspects to make it better. This is an aspect that is either pushed under the rug, or talked about cautiously.
Matt Harpring talked about the bodies the first year of his commentating floor side, and I was asking the same thing. The last couple of years they have groomed him to be a better announcer, but at the cost of his strength and mentality of letting the bodies hit the floor, rubbing off on the team.
Who is going to be a leader? Personally I think Alec and Evans have a potential depending on how Favors and Kanter step up. Gordon hasn’t shown that follow through personality that could sink it, no matter how smart he is. Who will make the bodies hit the floor, who will stand up for his teammates and cause the ref’s to notice the hitting, pushing, body checks and dirty plays, is who I am after.
Big Men (yes all of you in the 4, or 5 position. Those of you who worked with Malone this summer and who hopefully are growing your pecs and your biceps and triceps…)Take a look at how some previous years got us to root for you even more...and let them bleed. Especially Dirk N, because he seemed to want to hit us first, and nobody ever really made him pay for it yet.