Ben Golliver, the editor of SI's Point Forward blog released a list of mid-season grades for each team. He gives the team a C for the first half, and has this to say about the team:
The Jazz possess the Western Conference’s worst record and the league’s third-worst point differential, which is right on track with preseason prognostications. Replacing Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson with the expiring contracts of Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins was a clear recipe for short-term heartburn and long-term asset acquisition, and that’s where Utah finds itself.
Every week (I think), Grantland has some of the NBA bloggers throw down some thoughts about the league in their "NBA Shootaround" post. Last week, Jared Dubin (Hardwood Paroxysm, Bleacher Report, etc) had this to say about the Team USA selections:
I do not see John Wall’s name on this list. This makes no sense whatsoever. I would very much like to meet the person who convinced the rest of the room that Gordon Hayward should be invited to join Team USA over John Wall. I want to hire him/her as my agent.
Here's my thoughts:
Hayward is hardly the deserving direction to point this ire. The "snubbing" of John Wall should be pointed at the selection of Deron Williams and Derrick Rose. Yes, D-Will has been in the system, but he is hardly worthy of the spot at this point in time. Then there's the question of D-Rose. He should absolutely be on the team.... if he were healthy. I can't imagine a scenario where Rose would be included on the team both by virtue of his injury and (what I expect) will be his decision to withdraw himself. How bad would it be if his career was ended in an international friendly against Uzbekistan?
Over at TrueHoop (ESPN) there has been a bit of chatter about how the lottery is making decent teams in the Western Conference even better because of the competition. For example, in this article Curtis Harris mentions the 43 win Utah Jazz getting a lottery pick last year over the 38 win Milwaukee Bucks. This is actually worse than it sounds, because the Bucks' 38 wins were mostly over inferior Eastern Conference teams.
In this short video from Friday morning, Henry Abbott talks about how middling teams like the Timberwolves, Nuggets, and even the Grizzlies would end up with lottery picks, which doesn't help to even out the competition between the two conferences.
Neither post goes on to propose any solutions, perhaps because there really isn't one other than the Eastern teams need to get better.
Also on ESPN (Insider), they had a round table discussion with three former NBA coaches (PJ Carlesimo, George Karl, Avery Johnson) about tanking, and how coaches deal with it. It is VERY interesting. Here are some tidbits:
1. With all this tanking talk, how often are head coaches on the same page with GMs?
Johnson: Look, same page or not, I don't know any coach or GM who purposefully wants to lose games.Karl: As coaches, we know tanking not only weakens our chances to keep a job but to get another job.
About the Jazz:
3. This rookie class is struggling, but somebody's got to win Rookie of the Year, right?
Karl: Well, the guy who's trending right now is Burke. For a guy who was a scoring point guard, he's shown me he's a better passer and pick-and-roll guy than I thought. And you can't deny when he started finally playing for Utah, they started winning games.
Avery Johnson also likes Trey Burke.
Like I said, very interesting. If you have access, you should check it out.
What grade would you give the Jazz at the midseason point? To me, the C grade is spot on. There have been some surprises, and some underachieving. There have been ups and downs, but it all evens out to a middle of the road C to me.