The Downbeat #926 - The "Fix or Throw It Out" Edition

USA TODAY Sports

Okay, so we lost another close game at home to a team that is leading our conference, and now on a 16 game win streak. If this was the Spurs, or Shaq/Kobe Lakers would we be this upset at dropping the game, or the final outcome? Maybe. Maybe not. The problem of perception is what's getting us (or most of us). Is this a bad loss because we dropped a 19 pt lead? Yes. Is this a bad loss because it was to the Los Angeles Clippers? We'd think so -- but they're a really good team. Is it a bad loss because they were on a 15 game win streak before the game? No, they're hot. Is it a bad loss because we lost to the best team in our conference? No. Is it a bad loss because we lost at home? Not implicitly . . . after all, we've never won ALL of our home games before. Better to lose a home game against a super hot team that's also leading our conference . . . than to lose at home to the Detroit Pistons or Charlotte Bobcats right?

I'm not happy with losses, especially when we let the other team storm back during the second half of the third quarter. However, I'm not going to beat the team up for this. After all, the players may be playing better or worse than they are -- but when they are all on the floor they are trying their hardest to win. It just may not be good enough. Furthermore, we're a team with no stars who is in a 'win now' mode. As a result, it's hard to win against the best teams when they are playing their best.

It sucks. But perhaps from these losses we can use the data to properly evaluate and understand what we're working with.

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Part of the problem in evaluations is that a single player is always on the floor with four other players. Rotations kind of matter, as the five man unit should be better than the sum of their parts. (Or at least they are on well coached teams) What we saw last night (here's the popcorn machine game flow) was pretty much what we've seen ALL season long.

  • are starters play worse than the other team's starters -- and we usually lose the first quarter.
  • the bench unit is better than the other team's bench unit -- and we usually make a push here.
  • the games are most likely closer around halftime than they were after one.
  • the only real variation occurs in the third quarter, either our starters put on their big boy pants and show up, or the other team puts their foot on our collective throats. Last night we saw both.
  • in the fourth quarter anything goes and is too unpredictable to guess at.

The majority of the stability this year has been in the starting lineups. And much of it over the last 10-20 games has been that we have Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Marvin Williams, and Randy Foye all starting games -- and for the most part, finishing them too. Early next season I'm going to seriously try to evaluate each of these four players -- while none of them may have a future with the team, our very present is dependent upon their play this season.

Still, we're not the only ones to notice these things. Hoopspeak.com just recently ripped Foye here, and David Locke's last vid had him saying some of the things a number of other people have been saying for a while. Heck, even opponents of playing the youth more are admitting now on twitter that "hey, maybe they should play more because they earned it." That's really nice. Change may be coming in at least the hearts and minds of the people who look at the team; even if it doesn't happen within the team.

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So the Brooklyn Nets are without a head coach having recently fired Avery Johnson. The Nets are 15-14, but 4-6 in their last 10 games. A number of people are thus blaming Deron Williams for this and calling him a coach killer. I don't know how true this is. Avery hasn't really killed it as a coach since his Dallas Mavericks days. His team is a .500 club, but playing in a super big market with high profile owners and a number of high profile 'star' players. You can't fire the players, so you fire the coach. That's how the NBA usually goes. Deron Williams is having a crappy season by his standards (17 and 8, with 40 fg%). But he's not the only under performing Net out there.

Does Deron have a history of not getting along with Avery? I don't know. I try my best not to follow the Nets since they traded away franchise corner piece Mehmet Okur to the Portland Trail Blazers.

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It's easy to be upset with this team though. But I really look at this year as a transition year. We have the parts to be good, even if other people aren't honest enough to admit that.

I believe in the Utah Jazz. Maybe not the 2012-13 Utah Jazz. But I'm still a fan, as all of you are as well. I could believe in the Utah Jazz of 2012-13 still -- only if they started to play and rely more on the players we used to make the playoffs last year. My point of view is that players like Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, and Alec Burks are the future. But they're only the future because hierarchy and systematic insecurity have prevented them from really being our present.

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I had to catch two squirrels today inside my parents house, disassemble a really heavy desk from the 1960s, and connect an old bigscreen TV (front projection from the 1970s) that only had ancient connections to a bluray player today. Being around your elderly parents is fun. That's what family is for, to be for each other. And the holidays are for being around family. As a result, the Downbeat is late. What's your least favorite / most favorite holiday chore? Mine has to be fixing everything in this old house every time I visit. I'd write more, but someone's gotta replace the old clothes dryer connections.

Go Jazz Go.

(Btw, the old team we loved that worked well needs a lot of maintenance too. Time to fix what can be fixed, throw out what doesn't work, and replace it with stuff that does.)

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