The Utah Jazz won again, on Friday? The team is now 3-2 in their last 5 Friday games. I guess I'm taking all of Diana's Wednesday mojo. It was an interesting game where the other team's best player took HIMSELF out of the game (Eric Gordon), and we were having trouble stopping Greivis Vasquez (21/9/5), Anthony Davis (24/12/3), and Robin Lopez (12/7). I guess in a way part of it is that you have to guard everyone at the NBA level. The other part could be that maybe Gordon is their version of Al Jefferson, but in malcontent form? And that everyone else steps their game up when he's not around?
We've seen that on the small scale all season long with how most people who seem to be on the floor at the same time as Big Al have been struggling this year. Gordon Hayward was having trouble and then thrived on different units without him. Marvin Williams only seemed to get his game together again (and then now the DNP-CD, after a solid streak of games. Coaching.) after leaving the Al-dominated units. Last night we saw Paul Millsap break out of his funk while playing without Jefferson as well. In the second quarter, with more autonomy and greater importance playing with Jamaal Tinsley (pass first), Alec Burks (low level option), DeMarre Carroll (hustle guy), and Derrick Favors (defense first guy), we saw Sap flourish. He would finish the quarter with 13 points (5/6 fg, 1/1 three, 2/3 ft), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block. He would play the entire second quarter and that included five man lineups that were slightly different. With those four other secondary guys he was able to elevate their level of play and make them better, and they went +11 in +/-. Then Mo Williams replaced Jamaal (who would later leave the game with an injury), the team went +4. When the rest of the guys left and were replaced by Big Al, Randy Foye, and Gordon Hayward they went -6 in +/-. For the record, all three groups Corbin used played against the same team on the floor (Lopez, Vasquez, Davis, Gordon, and Al-Farouq Aminu -- with a little stint of Xavier Henry). But we can't make any grand conclusions from the 2nd quarter. It was still the decisive quarter for us. The team went from being 7 points down and finished 2 up.
The grand conclusions, if any, will have to come from looking at ALL the 2nd quarters, or ALL the time we've seen guys do better with or without Al Jefferson on the court. I'm beginning to think that despite being such a great guy, and team mate, and mentor, and old school back to the basket scorer -- that perhaps Jefferson doesn't make his team mates better. That's something to look at elsewhere, at another time.
It's good that the Jazz won because the dastardly Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies by 2 points. I did not watch that game, but if you do a little looking you can find some information worth noting. The Lakers and Grizz played a close game. And the Lakers, at home, held off the Grizzlies at the end. Memphis went +1 after the third, and both teams scored the same number of points in the second. So the main difference here was the first and fourth quarters. The largest point here is that the Lakers started off strong at home in the first. A strong first quarter is something we can't overlook. And LA had that when they won it 25-18. In fact, the lead was big enough there for the Lakers to endure not winning any other quarter of the game. The second was +0, the third was -1, and the fourth was -4.
First quarter scoring has been a problem all season long, I even had to do a post about it. Last night, at home, against a much more inferior team we finished the first quarter -7. I've gone beyond being mad about this. I just expect it. The question is -- why does it happen? Is it because our starters are worse than the other teams' starters? Or is it something else? If it's a talent issue, shouldn't we try to get better? If it's a motivation issue, what can we do? Bear is pretty awesome and hyped up. He's doing his all.
There are very few things I know about Scot Pollard, the former Detroit Piston, Sacramento King, Indiana Pacer, Cleveland Cavalier, and Boston Celtic bigman. I know that he looks kinda creepy. I know that he had a very rough and tumble, non-finesse game. And I know that he was born and raised in Utah. (But according to his wiki, he didn't do his high school there and despite being from a devout Mormon family, he's appears to be an apostate) He appears to have mixed a lot of this together as he now plays an (apparent) bad guy in a horror movie called "Axeman at Cutter's Creek". He plays the titular role of the axeman. You can watch the trailer here (NSFW because there is the F-word in it at the end, but there's no nudity or overt violence in the trailer):
I got this story from TBJ's Trey Kerby who, like me, isn't going to watch this movie.
My question is . . . which former or current Jazz player can you see as a character in movies. (Trick question, Karl Malone has acted quite a bit -- so someone beyond him) (Or Ostertag, who was in "Eddie" playing a scrub center. I know. What a stretch.)
Brittney Griner. Women. Sports. Women in sports. Gender Equality. Workplace equality. We all have our own opinions about this stuff. Mine may be a little different from yours. That doesn't make mine correct. It just makes it mine. I think that logic dictates a few things in this discussion, and really this is two discussions. The first should address Griner herself and the feasibility of her as a potential NBA player. The second, the issue that's larger than Brittney herself, would be about that gender equality. I think we mess up when trying to immediately link the two issues.
Griner would have the size of a small forward in the NBA, and have the length to be a good defender. Her major talent in the Woman's game is her length that leads to getting blocks. Instead of being able to block everyone, she'll only be able to block other forwards and guards at the NBA level. I don't have any opinion based upon fact about her face up game, her dribbling ability, her shooting, or any other perimeter skills. And I don't know anything about her tenacity or heart. But are there incomplete players in the NBA? Yes. Do some only have immediate worth on one side of the ball? Yes. Would Griner be an incomplete player at the NBA level? Absolutely.
In the Women's game she's a big, she plays inside, and she is physically just so dominant. That would be gone at the NBA level.
She does seem like she could be a banger at the NBA level. This doesn't mean that it's impossible to have women players be tough and capable of banging. On the Turkish women's team there's this lady who was absolutely ferocious. She had wide shoulders, she was very physical, she had old world strength, and was very heavy. I wouldn't call her a world class athlete, and I don't remember her being very tall, but she could move Jeremy Evans in the post all day long. There are physical banging women out there, but Griner isn't. She relies upon her combination of size and athleticism to be dominant. Both of those advantages would be limited in the NBA, not eliminated. But limited.
I don't think she would excel here. Could she make it through training camp? I'm sure she could. But it would have to be the right team for her, one that has no wings and is willing to go 15 deep on their roster. But she'd still be one of the last picks and would have to play really well, better than most of us think she could play, just to make the team. I think she's a very interesting prospect and I do not necessarily think that the first or all potential Women's players at the NBA level will have to be guards. It's more likely. However, that hulking Turkish woman tells me that exceptions will invariably exist.
What about gender issue? What about equality? If you are good enough to do the job, and meet all the qualifications, you shouldn't be explicitly barred from performing that job unless there's a specific situation that makes it so. If there was a woman who had Rajon Rondo 's game and wasn't under 5'10, I'd want her on the team. I don't care if she's a woman. I do care that she may help us get wins. We lived through racial segregation. Now the President of the United States is a black man. I don't have the time to list every breakthrough we've seen, I'm not a civil rights historian; but now we have Para-Olympians who also compete in the Olympics because they are that good. If you are good enough to compete with the big boys, eventually, you or people after you will be allowed to compete with the big boys. It would be foolish to bet against progress. Progress always seems to win, especially in sports.
Heck, our franchise even drafted a female player years ago. No, I'm not talking about Raul Lopez.
Last night Alec Burks sustained an ankle injury. (Jamaal Tinsley also had a back injury) I don't know how bad either injuries were, but they could be worse than I anticipate. After all, Enes Kanter 's injury appears to be worse than I though -- and he's done for the season. Kanter and Burks are 2 of the 6 players who are currently on the books to even be on the team next year. One of those players, Marvin Williams, could leave in the off-season and we have no clue which way he's leaning. If he terminates his contract we're down to 5 players "for sure" to be on the team next year: Kanter, Burks, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, and Jeremy Evans. Evan's isn't even playing now, so really it's just Favors and Hayward right now who are playing on our team in the rotation who are locks to be on the team next year.
No, this isn't just the young guys. This is the entire team. We have 15 guys on the roster right now. And only 2 of them are a) active, b) healthy, c) are part of the rotation, and d) have contracts that say they're for sure going to be on the team next year. (Unless there's a trade) That's 2 of 15 players.
Funnier still if you look at the benefit of 'playoff experience.'
Last night MyLo tweeted this:
If Burks & Kanter are hurt for a potential playoff run that means only 3 players for sure on payroll next season would get "playoff" exp.— Mychal Lowman (@My_Lo) April 6, 2013
Those three would be Favors, Hayward, and Evans -- and we already established that Jeremy isn't even in the rotation with Kanter hurt. MyLo went on to have a good discussion about it and you should just read his tweets (not just today, but every day).
While I will agree that a playoff push that has us fighting for the 8th seed, and we have no hope of playing in 6 games -- how much actual benefit will we get? Well, 2 guys isn't much. It could be more if we bring back guys like Al Jefferson, Mo Williams, and Randy Foye. I think the Jazz will try to bring them each back; but we'll see how right or wrong I am.
I think that the 'win now' mode is the mode we're in. We're not really developing our players despite whatever lies some people will tell you. If we were, they wouldn't get pulled out of games where they're on track for a 20/20 game, and they're not in foul trouble. (And it's a game that goes to overtime) And while we're in win now, we're not really winning, now. We need to win 1-2 games this playoffs for me to classify this season as not as wasted season.
Otherwise, I think it will be seen as one in the long run.