Among the teams I hate in the NBA, as a Utah Jazz fan, some of them are products of logic. I'm not overly fond of the Denver Nuggets -- they are in the next state over, get more press, had those 'thuggets' teams of Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, and so forth. They were easy to hate. And we have had played them in the playoffs a number of times in our history. I'm not a big fan of the Houston Rockets either. We're legit rivals, have played in the playoffs a number of times in the last two or three decades, and we probably would have won the title if we got by them one year. Of course, the Los Angeles Lakers are the best franchise in NBA History in our conference. Part of why I'm a Jazz fan today is because of that 1987-88 season and playoff run by the Jazz, that took the Lakers to 7 games in the 2nd round. The Portland Trail Blazers have killed us in the playoffs a few times and broken my heart. They've also gone after our players in free agency, they are in our same division now, and somehow get more press than we do -- while we've been a better team almost every year. All of these teams are Western Conference teams that we've tangled with a lot of times. There is a strict geographical bias here. We don't like them, and they don't like us. If you wanted you could add the Seattle Supersonics and San Antonio Spurs here too -- but I don't hate them like I hate these other four teams.
Rounding out the top five is, well, the Chicago Bulls. And that's for obvious reasons. I tried to explain it to my teenaged cousin who was born and raised in Los Angeles. He's a Lakers fan who hates the Boston Celtics. But, I tried to tell him, that each time the Lakers got to the finals and lost was not always a loss to the Boston Celtics. The Lakers had lost to the Knicks and Pistons and other teams in the finals as well. For us, 100% of the times we've lost in the NBA Finals was due to the Bulls. I'm not a fan of the Bulls because of all the special treatment they got. I think a lot of us Jazz fans who were old enough back then to really be this crazy about our team are still waiting for a 1998 Game 7. At home.
Really, I think that many of us are not over it. I know I'm not. I'm not a Bulls fan. And last night's loss really sucks.
For some Jazz fans, not us mind you, have an out of sight / out of mind point of view for some of our former players. For the most part this isn't an absurd point of view to hold -- after all, what has Rafael Araujo done since leaving the Jazz? (Trick question, he's not that bad of a guy to look up.) Yesterday I pointed out the high turn over from our team from season to season. There's not a lot of continuity going on in Jazzland anymore. And again, at the risk of repeating myself, that's usually not how our franchise does things.
That said, some of our former guys who are still in the league aren't ALL having forgettable years.
Over all you could argue that 5 or 6 of these guys would still be rotation guys for our team right now. Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Andrei Kirilenko, Kyle Korver, Carlos Boozer, and Kosta Koufos have been effective at their 'thing'. Deron still controls the ball, scores, dishes, and makes threes. Wesley makes threes and man, he's scoring 15.0 ppg. Again, our lead scorer averages 17 ppg. Crazy. Andrei is still great at everything, Kyle is still a pure shooter with few peers, and Carlos Boozer showed us last night that he's still effective when he gets hot. The surprise is Kosta Koufos who plays half the game and does things that you'd want your center to do. If we're looking at a 7th guy it would be C.J. Miles -- who is having a bounce back year in terms of shooting. I wish him well.
Of course, it's also interesting to note that out of the 39 total Jazz players from the last 5 years, of the 12 players who are all out of the league this year, 5 of them last played in the NBA in a Jazz uniform: Blake Ahearn, Brevin Knight, Kyle Weaver, Marcus Cousins, and Matt Harpring.
Well, back on track, some of our guys are having quite good seasons. You all should check out this article about Andrei Kirilenko that was posted on Grantland, and written by Timberwolves beat writer Joan Niesen (@JoanNiesen). It's really a shame that he's not on our team THIS year . . . but Tyrone Corbin may play him at back-up SG this year for all we know.
Somehow Randy Foye isn't in the three point contest this year. We know that when Kyle Korver was a member of the Jazz he was asked -- but he declined because he had to go back to Philly to do a whole bunch of laundry and check his mail and stuff. Foye, on the other hand, has not indicated that he declined. This season Randy Foye is taking 5.4 threes a game, making 43.1 3pt%, and has made 118 / 274 threes this year.
- Kyle is #5 in most made threes this season.
- He's #11 in threes taken this season.
- He's #11 in 3PTM per game.
- He's #17 in 3PTA per game.
- He's #8 in qualified 3PT%.
The only guys who are doing "better" than him from downtown are Kyle Korver, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Martin.Well, maybe not Kevin Martin -- as Foye has more threes actually made. So -- yet another snub for someone in a Jazz uniform. We can always still enjoy this video though.
Man, I hate the Bulls. They're now 22-29 here in Utah all-time (regular season and playoffs combined). That's a winning percentage ON OUR HOME COURT of 43%. That's altogether way too high. They've won 3 of the last 5 in SLC, and 5 of the last 10. Man, we've even lost games to the Bulls because of Larry Hughes last second jumpers in that stretch. These are things I can never forgive.
Though, with all of my hate for Chicago, and their Bulls (and I guess Shedd aquarium and two World's fairs) the worst insult is that right AFTER the 1998 Finals loss (Game 6 was happening while I was in the air) I went on vacation to Europe to clear my head. My parents booked our family for a tour of a number of countries and stuff for some 'culture'. Because the universe seems to hate all Jazz fans, one of the other families on the tour was a family from Chicago. It was really not something I wanted to have to deal with. That said, now in 2013 my family and that family still keep in touch -- because, well, @AllThatAmar and @AllThatPreeti are kind of a thing.(And yes, that's really how we met, very DDLJ like.)
And thus, this is the Happy Valentine's story / downbeat . . . in a downbeat filled with so much hate for Chicago.
Do you guys and gals have basketball romance stories as well? TPC? Anyone want to share?