If you're like me, this is the first you've ventured out since the Jazz loss Friday night. I"ve finally got around to reading up on post-season stories and even reading about the rest of the playoffs.
As if the Jazz couldn't rip your heart out by just losing to the Lakers, they had to come back from double digits and have two shots in the final second to tie the game. A lot of discussion has gone into whether KK should have taken the open three. He probably should have. That's what we got him for, right? But he did have Memo open and that's not a bad shot either. After we got the fortunate rebound, Deron had another shot. Once again, KK was open again, but Deron had a good luck and he's been deadly in the series.
But after everyone was coming to grips with the loss late in the fourth, the Jazz took heartbreak to another level when they gave us another hope and then stomped on them again. Instead of having your hopes dashed by dropping them off the Empire State Building, they took our hopes to one of those freakishly high Dubai space scrapers and dropped them twice.
And I wasn't prepared for either. I fully expected the Jazz to pull out another one at home, setting up a showdown for tonight in LA. It hadn't even crossed my mind that we could be out of the playoffs until I wrote the game thread. And when the game was over, it still hadn't hit me. And like a lot of Jazz fans, I couldn't read ESPN, watch the local news, or anything that might talk about the Jazz bombing. It sucked over the weekend knowing that I wouldn't be able to write more about the series or the playoffs this year.
I hate to put the series loss on one player, but Booze disappeared. I've stated before that it might not be entirely his fault because Brewer can't shoot from the outside consistently, but he played like crap. He couldn't hit shots and missed a ton of his little baby hooks when he should have been taking it to the rim. He says that he and Williams are the leaders of the team. But to me, leaders inherit that mantle by the way they play, not just because you are the biggest name on the team. And that includes the playoffs. But the entire team shot like crap. All of the losses came with the Jazz getting down big, coming back, and then falling short.
A lot of people will say, ":Why didn't they play the whole series like they did in the final minutes of game 5?" You can't play like that for an entire game. They got big breaks, some excellent shooting, and big plays. But you can't keep that pace up for an entire game. It usually comes in spurts. This one just so happened to occur at the end of the game. And they came out with no heart and no intensity. It's hard to get that back once it's been ripped out of you by a double-digit deficit on your home court.
And yes, the refs sucked. But the Jazz still played like crap mostly. From turnovers to poor shots to bad defense to not blocking out, it all added up. We got away with some of those against the Rockets, but you just can't do that against the Lakers and expect to have a good chance to win. They're going to get the calls. That's why the Jazz had to play close to perfect and they couldn't even play at a better than average clip.
So now the big question is, "Now what?" Like the previous 30+ years of Jazz existence, it's retooling and rebuilding for next year which seems like an eternity away. If there's anything that's a bigger pet peave for me, it's getting so far into a project, a book, etc. and then having to start over. The Jazz just played 82 games, plus the playoffs, and what is there to show for it? Does a NW Division title really give anyone satisfaction? It was a great year, but unless you win it all, you go home disappointed.
As far as the offseason goes, there's a lot coming up. There's the summer league (maybe its last year?), contracts, the Olympics, the draft, trades, etc. Here are some big things that will dominate the headlines:
- Deron Williams. Resigning him to the max is the biggest no brainer in the history of the earth (as if you're not tired enough of hearing that commercial). And the good news for Jazz fans is that in his head, Deron's already signed
That's the plan. I definitely love it here. I think we have a great team, a great coaching staff and have a chance to win. That's the thing that's most important to me."
I don't think he goes the 3-year route that Wade and LeBron went though. I think theirs had to do mainly with the CBA expiring in a couple of years.
- Who, if anybody, gets traded? The obvious target is AK. Let's face it, the Jazz will want to keep Deron, Boozer, Memo, Millsap, Brewer, and CJ. Although Kirilenko fits in with the Jazz player-wise, there's no way they can afford to keep him. Of course, they have to convince someone to take on his huge contract. I'd like to see the Jazz get a defensive big man in return, but who's that going to be? They'd also likely have to take back a bad contract. So that's a 2 for 1 and the Jazz already have enough roster spots filled if they keep everyone else.
- What's the future of Collins, Harpring, and Hart? Unfortunately, I don't think they're going anywhere. Hart will be an expiring contract. He can also opt-out this summer. He might be tempted because he's not getting any PT here. But where else is he going to get signed? And no one is takin on Harp.
- The Jazz have a first-round pick. I would assume they'd select an overseas guy and let him play overseas for a couple years. Could also be packaged in a trade.
- What's going to be the fate of the Rocky Mountain Revue? From what I understand, it was hard to get it together for last year. With the Vegas league now, it's hard to attract NBA teams. This might be the last year you can head to the SLCC for some summer league action.
- Who's going to be in the Olympics? Boozer, AK, and WIlliams might all be representing. Haven't heard anything on Memo or Fesenko.
So in a short recap of the season, the only complaint I have is that crappy stretch in December. A .500 showing probably gets the Jazz a #1 seed. How that would have changed everything. But it was what it was and I don't see how there can be much complaining for a team that had the most efficient offsense in the league, won the NW, advanced to the 2nd round in a brutal West, gave us an amazing run in January, and a lot more. Once again, the Jazz have one of the quickest turnarounds from just a few years ago when they looked like they were going to be one of the worst teams of all time. They've managed to get back to an elite status pretty quick.
And remember, this is still one of the youngest teams in the league. I think they're just behind Portland in that regard. They are only going to get better. If we can just somehow hypnotize Booze into thinking that he's
Coming up, a more detailed season review. Summer league action. Draft party. Live from Beijing (I wish. Any sponsors out there?). And a ton more.
And if you have anything you want to discuss, remember to make a FanPost and get things going.