Woo! The Utah Jazz won on a Friday night! (As the guy who does the downbeats on Saturday these are things that stick out in my mind) And they went 2-0 on a road trip, and beat two Western Conference teams: the Sacramento Kings by 21 points, and then the Denver Nuggets by 10. This team is really coming together, when healthy right?
It sure seems that way if you look at how close these guys are getting. This is just a simple thing, a pic with your 'boys', but it's not really that. All five of these players are all new Utah Jazz players for this season, and it's very likely that none of them had met before save for the two vets. Still, I love this from Trey Burke, John Lucas III, Brandon Rush, Ian Clark, and Diante Garrett. This is what sport is all about -- brotherhood. And these guys are like brothers, here.
More importantly . . .
. . . the Jazz continue to be champs and hold onto the belt for at least one more game.
THE BELT STAYS WITH UTAH http://t.co/j5AHv9nvl2— Layton Shumway (@theshums) December 14, 2013
While this may not mean a lot in the big picture, it's nice for the Jazz to finally get a chance to defend their belt. Previous to the Kings game the Jazz were 0-2 as the challenger for the belt. After beating Denver we're now 1-0 when defending our championship belt. We're now 2-2 overall, and have played 4 "Belt" games -- only the San Antonio Spurs (10 games), Oklahoma City Thunder (5 games), and Philadelphia 76ers (5 games) have played in more.
ESPN's David Thorpe, Kevin Pelton, and Amin Elhassan posted an article about the NBA's Top 25 under the age of 25. It's an In$ider article. So click on that link to read it all. Because we're nice I'm just going to list them here and give my commentary (free!).
- #1-5: Anthony Davis (Age 20, Pelicans), Paul George (Age 23, Pacers), Andre Drummond (Age 20, Pistons), James Harden (Age 24, Rockets), John Wall (Age 23, Wizards)
- #6-10: Blake Griffin (Age 24, Clippers), Kyrie Irving (Age 21, Cavaliers), Damian Lillard (Age 23, Trail Blazers), DeMarcus Cousins (Age 23, Kings), Derrick Favors (Age 22, Jazz)
- #11-15: Eric Bledsoe (Age 23, Suns), Serge Ibaka (Age 24, Thunder), Greg Monroe (Age 23, Pistons), Kawhi Leonard (Age 22, Spurs), Michael Carter-Williams (Age 22, 76ers)
- #16-20: Nicolas Batum (Age 24, Trail Blazers), Harrison Barnes (Age 21, Warriors), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Age 19, Bucks), Gordon Hayward (Age 23, Jazz), Jrue Holiday (Age 23, Pelicans)
- #21-25: Klay Thompson (Age 23, Warriors), Nikola Vucevic (Age 23, Magic), Ricky Rubio (Age 23, Timberwolves), Jonas Valanciunas (Age 21, Raptors), John Henson (Age 22, Bucks)
Okay, so two of our C4 are on the list, and two of our F5. Obviously, you look better and get more recognition for your achievements and media attention with the more you play. Only Hayward and Favors have been both consistent minute receivers and consistent performers. They are both the longest tenured Jazz players on the team (coupled with Jeremy Evans). A few questions:
Are you okay with these two being two of the top 25 guys under 25? (Happy with the nomination, maybe not happy with the rank)
Are you upset that more of our players aren't on the list? (Really?)
If you would re-order the list, would you have ranked our guys higher?
I found this picture of former Jazz shooting guard really cool. Why? Well, because he seems to adjust his depth chart at each position by which team they are playing against.
Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 13, 2013
It only really opens up other questions though. We'd want to know if our team does this, or what adjustments do they make. It would be all that much more easy to embrace and fall in love with our coaching staff if they let us in a bit more. Everything, good or bad, is a no comment; dialog is abbreviated; and the on court results over the last four seasons are less than encouraging. I think that the vast majority of Jazz fans would want to just love guys like Ty and wish him success. But you can (I hope) recognize that 'wishing the best for someone' and 'thinking they are the best for you' are two different things.
One is assuming that Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey also knows they are two different things as well.
Has Coach Corbin not improved in certain spots? Of course he has. Has he improved enough? Time will tell. Two little wins against a team missing 3 rotation guys (Rudy Gay, et al.) due to trade rules, and playing a team where they are missing 2 rotation guys (Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee) and their best player scores zero points (Ty Lawson) are not career changing wins for a coach. Sorry Tyaphiliacs, they just aren't. Especially not in a season where wins or losses are not metrics of evaluation.
It's how you play the game. And our players played well these last two games. Ty gets credit for that. How much? That's for DL to decide. Similarly, it's up to DL to decide what to do with the following players who are on expiring or non-guaranteed deals right now: Richard Jefferson (27.9 mpg), Marvin Williams (26.1 mpg), John Lucas III (19.7 mpg), Diante Garrett (15.6 mpg), Brandon Rush (14.2 mpg), Mike Harris (12.6 mpg) and Andris Biedrins (8.4 mpg). And I would assume again here is that is a factor in who the majority of Jazz fans are willing to go all out for. We don't know which of these coaches or players are even going to be around next season.
We don't want to be one night fan'd again like we've been over the last few seasons with players playing big minutes, in a lot of games, helping our team fight, and then not be brought back. (Examples: Devin Harris, Mo Williams, Randy Foye, Josh Howard, etc) This roster insecurity is a factor that influences fan psychology.
And the roster insecurity is by design to maximize flexibility. And that's where the on court / off court disparity exists. Some of us fans would just LOVE to love Ty. But there are legit reasons why some have not. And it's okay, Tyaphiliacs. If he's worth it, he'll be back next year. Let those of us who are not there yet get there on their own time; and let those who have already made up their mind have their own opinion on the matter.
If we're drawing lines in the sand here, I'd love to keep Marvin. Everyone else is still being evaluated by my own internal criteria.
Take a look at this!
I remember when this cookbook came out, and I wanted it back then! I didn't even know how to cook, I was a kid. Anyway, Karl Malone, wife Kay, and eldest child Kadee -- and the rest of the Jazz family -- were involved in making a Jazz cookbook. If our team was to make a 'team how to' book this year wouldn't that be cool? Or maybe you're more interested in if they produced a different type of book?
A world / region / city factbook could be cool with each player / Jazz family member getting a page to talk a bit about where they are from what what's cool there. (Derrick Favors talking about Atlanta would be a great read)
Another interesting idea could be like a "problems in the workplace / management handbook" where on each page a Jazz family member describes a problem, and Tyrone Corbin gives his solution -- 120 pages talking about how people need to get better and/or be better.
If we want to focus it on the team, we could do a "Jazz guide to Utah" where the players state their case for why other NBA players would want to live there / join the team.
Or in the spirit of fellowship, the Jazz family members can submit stories where they talk about their teammates and it turns out to be a "Chicken Soup for the Jazz soul" or something.
Or, you know, maybe a cook book. What do you think?