Can you believe the season is half way over? I won't give you another mid-season report card type story. There are plenty of those already. This year has been different anyway because the number of injuries we've had it really unprecedented with one team, especially for the Jazz.
Think back to your college days (which some are living right now), if you missed as many school days due to medical issues as the Jazz players have, you'd be applying for an incomplete in all of your classes. That would be my overall grade so far, incomplete.
So I thought I'd do something a bit different. In either my high school english class or in a college course, we had an assignment to write an article newspaper style. That was back in the day when newspapers' existences hadn't been threatened by the Internet.
The only thing that I remember from that was to write your article with all of the important stuff first because it was likely that your article would get chopped to save space in the paper. So you wanted your best stuff up front and trivial details at the end that didn't matter as much. Newspapers still have word limits but online it doesn't matter. That's why blogs like Siler's are good because there's a ton of information that you would never have been able to read in the paper.
Where I'm going with this is that I'm going to apply the same principle to the current Jazz roster. If you were an editor (GM) and had to start chopping off players, who would be the first ones to go?
We all know the players that are at the top and bottom of this list. The interesting thing will be to see when the axe falls for everyone inbetween.
There aren't really any rules set in stone that I'll go by. But I'll take into account things such as stats, salaries, chemistry, team need, and whatever else I come up with. For the sake of this column, we'll assume that everyone in the league has 15 players on their roster and that they're having to make the same cuts.
If rosters were suddenly cut to 7, who would you want? If rosters were 5, who would you want? And so on. 3. We'll also assume that everyone's healthy.
I'll also start running polls to see who you all think should be the first cut, the second, and so on.
So, let's start with the first 5 that get cut...
15 - Jarron Collins
No shocker here. You can't have good players 1-15. His one role seems to be just being a body Sloan can put out on the floor against a big man. I'm not sure if he's expected to do more than to just follow his guy around. He knows the Jazz system, he's cheap, and he's a good chaperone. And now that it appears that Fess & Koufos have jumped him in the depth chart, we're not losing anything here. Great guy but it will be interesting to see if he's on an NBA roster next year. Oh, and his +/- this year is -17.8.
14 - Morris Almond
This isn't because I don't think he's a good player. He just isn't going to fit in with the Jazz for whatever reason. He's had a few shots this year because of injuries and has failed to impress. He's shooting just 39% from the field and a woeful 25% from the arc. He's lit it up with the Flash in the D-League. They run the same offensive system in Orem that they do in the SLC, so I don't know why his game hasn't translated better to the NBA. No one expected him to put up 50+, but maybe the talent just isn't there. Not having his option picked up by the Jazz could have been a bit of a morale killer as well. He's not going to be back next year and could be moved at the deadline should the Jazz make a deal.
13 - Matt Harpring
His good play this month almost made me question putting him here. There are times when he makes some plays that get me to say, "Okay, no matter how bad he plays from here on out, I'll bite my tongue." And then he goes on to do something so poorly, I reneg on anything good that I've ever said about him. His defensive play is offensive. He'll hit jumpers from his two sweet spots and make a few more layups that he misses. In Sloan's system though if you're tough, then you'll be on the floor. No one questions Matt's work ethic or ability to bang in the post, I just question his knees and the rest of his body. They're not going to get any better. It's too bad he never took up football in his life because that would really suit his style. He becomes Matt Hapring's expiring contract starting in July.
12 - Brevin Knight
We knew he couldn't shoot. We knew we were getting a veteran backup that wouldn't turn the ball over. He had a decent November splitting time with Ronnie P while Deron was out. He shot 45% and 4.5 assists per game. He should now be banned from shooting ever again. He still has a 3:1 turnover ratio, but the past two months have seen him torch the nets for 24% shooting. I'd feel more comfortable with Fess jacking shots up from 30 feet. Knight will play out the rest of the year as Deron's backup and then ride off into the sunset. And as long as he doesn't even look at the hoop, I'm fine with that.
11 - Kyrylo Fesenko
It's hard not to love the guy. His recent play in the D-League and his play since he's got called back up has been encouraging. He still looks raw in a lot of ways though. Although he's improved since last year, I think Kosta Koufos has leapfrogged him. But check out Fesenko's per 36 this year, 12 PPG, 4.1 blocks, 66% FGP, & 10 rebounds. Plus, his turnovers and fouls are down. I'd like to see a little bit more of a sample size, but that's what I call progress. He's poised to make big leap for next year's list.
Up next, #10-#6. This was probably the hardest section.