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Off-Day Overreactions

The sky is falling! The end is coming! Everyone head to your underground shelter cuz the apocalypse is coming! (It won't save you, but at least you can pretend it will.) Okay, its not that bad. More like... the Jazz suck! We're going to go 0-82 AND lose the lottery! We're going to miss the playoffs! Everyone is going to get traded! We messed up this offseason!

To which the simple reply is ... "Calm down!" We've played 2 games. Out of 82. That's just over 2% of the season. Sure, the team has looked pathetic at times (most of the time?) and been blown out in 2 games and never yet lead in the short season. But honestly... its been 2 games. We lost a huge part of our offense this offseason, and replacing them isn't very easy. Especially considering the 5 starters never once played together in the preseason (at least, I don't think they did).

But that's beside the point. I'm here to overreact. And overreact in style. In other words, ignore the last paragraph. I never said that and you never read that. Why? Simple. Because we're 0-2 and in danger of missing the playoffs. Our coach might quit midseason to go coach a group of tractors, our star player might demand a trade to Turkey to play with Allen Iverson and we might miss out on the playoffs because our team will be engulfed by the biggest black hole we've seen in a while (well, at least since Okur). And yes, I had to make some of these up on the spot... some I've seen/heard from others, some I haven't. But still.

Hopefully this doesn't have to become a repeating thing (like the Downbeat).

Overreaction #1: "They suck! They're going to miss the playoffs! They went undefeated in the preseason, what's wrong with our team?!"

Championed By: Fans who were too close to the cliff to start the season.

Reality: Its been 2 games. 2. Against 2 fairly good teams. We've got 6 new players; 3 of whom will be playing big minutes. In addition to the 6 guys we lost (3 of whom actually played), we're short another starter due to injury. The preseason is just that... the preseason. The starters didn't play together once. The shots aren't currently falling... as they start to fall, the Jazz will start to win. And as they start to win, the team will gain momentum and the wins will come in quick succession. Two games is too early to decide whether or not your team will make the playoffs or not, so don't even try. The team will gel and things will quickly get better. It might take a couple games, but they'll get there. And a note: we were never going to go 82-0. Just saying.

Overreaction #2: "Deron is upset! He hates the Jazz. Now he's going to demand a trade and we're going to suck forever!"

Championed By: Those who take the media too seriously.

Reality: Well, I have no way of knowing whether he hates Utah or not. So you may be right. Maybe we should just give up. ... Or, you know, realize that he's frustrated. You might disagree with the way he's handled things (yelling at Hayward, his comments to the media, whatever), but realize this. As frustrated as you are with his play, he is more so. Everyone knows he is better than his play so far, even him. His shots just aren't falling, and its frustrating him. He's not going to demand a trade because the Jazz started 0-2. He doesn't hate the Jazz, or Utah, or Jerry Sloan, or his teammates. Obviously he's frustrated with the seeming lack of chemistry (and understanding of the system) amongst other players, but that will pass as things get smoothed over. Stop listening to the media... they're the main push behind this idea.

Overreaction #3: "AK sucks! We should've traded him for Diaw when we had the chance; now the best we'll get is some random player like in the Eric Maynor trade. His hairstyle sucks!"

Championed By: The "AK is overpaid and needs to go NOW!" fans.

Reality: Okay, this is the last time I'm going to use the "its just 2 games" response in this post. But seriously. He's not going to stink all season. Yes its annoying to see him settle for jumpers (though that's been true for years) and refuse to dunk the ball. Yes he's shooting just 30% on the season and not yet averaging a block/game. Things will get better though. They always do. He needs to get into his comfort zone again and he'll be fine. He knows this is a contract-year for him; that should be enough motivation to play better. And when the Jazz start playing their offense again, he'll be able to do what he does best (cut to the hoop for dunks, etc). As for his hair... I have nothing to say.

Overreaction #4: "We should never have traded for Al Jefferson. He's just bad, and a black hole offensively, and sucks on defense, and..."

Championed By: The "We miss Carlos Boozer" fans.

Reality: Please. Give him time to gel with this team. Just cuz he and Deron are BFFs, doesn't mean he's automatically the best PF in the league (or center, I guess). Yes, he's an offensive black hole. Sloan and Deron need to work with him on that. When he's triple teamed, he needs to look for the open guys... something we're used to seeing from Boozer. There's enough talent around him that he can make teams pay for double/triple teaming him (most of the time). Defensively... well, he's been a disaster against the pick-and-roll. You have to hope that changes as he spends more time with this system. He's currently averaging 1.5 blocks/game, which is nice of course (he was touted as a shot-blocker when we got him)... but do the blocks make up for the lack of PnR defense (when compared to Boozer)? I don't know. He's had a couple of bad games, yes, but he's still getting acclimated to the team and the offense (it seems). He seemed to wake up at the end of the game last night (3-5 in the 4th quarter with a couple of nice moves inside)... as soon as he gets a better feeling for the offense and his teammates, he'll explode. Like a rocket. Except that he'll never be mistake for "fast" when trying to get back on defense.

Overreaction #5: "I told you Hayward was a mistake. Deron hates him!"

Championed By: The "We wait for years and Hayward is what we get out of the pick?!" part of the fan base.

Reality: It. Was. One. Freaking. Play!! And the timeout after that, they talked like normal teammates. Quite simply, Deron was overly frustrated (at himself? at the team? at the booing fans?) and took his frustration out on Hayward. Smart? No, probably not. But it happened. Its over. They're both over it. Hayward handled it like a pro. No one hates anyone. Hayward has impressed with his hustle, and will keep getting minutes. He's played 2 NBA games in his career... as he gets more experience, he'll learn these things. No worries.

Overreaction #6: "Raja Bell blows. I miss Wesley Matthews."

Championed By: The "Wesley Matthews is God and we're suffering karma for letting him go" group.

Reality: We all miss Wesley Matthews. But the Jazz weren't going to pay that price-tag. Accept that. Please. As for Bell... I'm not quite sure why he looks lost on offense. Its the same as it was last time he was on the Jazz. But he'll remember it soon enough. As for his shots... well, they're just not falling right now (true for most of the team). He is one of our few outside threats... and he needs his shots to start falling. For that, he'll probably have to keep shooting until he's in a rhythm. You'll hate him until then; you'll love him after it.

Overreaction #7: "We were wrong all along. Boozer was the team leader, not Deron."

Championed By: Um... no idea. Deron haters? Boozer lovers?

Reality: Who knows? Maybe Boozer's yelling on the court helped off-set the many games he missed? Maybe he was the true leader of the Jazz and letting him go was the biggest mistake ever? Maybe we were wrong... maybe Boozer was the leader and Deron the follower and not vice versa? Maybe the Jazz need Boozer to come back and play leader (even when injured) because Deron can't do it? Or maybe I'm just overreacting after seeing Deron struggle for 2 games? We'll see how good of a leader Deron is (and how much control Sloan has on this team) in the coming games as the Jazz try to bounce back from this disastrous start (in terms of seeming effort, not record).

Overreaction #8: "CJ Miles should not be in the league."

Championed By: CJ Miles haters... aka, a high percentage of the fan base

Reality: CJ, more than anyone I can recall, is truly impacted by both the fans and whether he starts or not. Fans seem to easily get into his head... the booing and the hate totally seems to throw his game off. Which is unfortunate, because he's one of those hot/cold players, and when he's hot, he can be an amazing talent for the team. (Unfortunately, fans only seem to look for the negatives in his game.) He was hot during the preseason and has cooled down to start the season. It happens. As his shots start falling, he'll pick it up. It wasn't all bad in that regard yesterday... yes, he airballed a trey, but he also did try to drive in after that (unfortunately, the Suns bigs rejected both attempts he took around the hoop). The other thing is this... he plays better when he's starting. Why? I have no idea. None at all. But it is something that really seems to affect his game. I don't know if its because of the players around him, or his mindset, or what. Sloan should, if nothing else, give him a couple of starts and see how he performs.

Overreactions #9: "The KOOF is better than Elson."

Championed By: Who else... The KOOF.

Reality: Maybe, maybe not. Elson drained a jumper yesterday, in Boozer style. Something this offense needs. Koufos might miss today's T-Wolves game with food poisoning. But honestly, both guys are behind Fesenko. And Fesenko played like 6 minutes yesterday (match-ups?). And after Okur comes back, Elson will be a 4th string center (unless Fesenko ends up in the doghouse before then). So, in the long run... this is irrelevant. Neither guy is going to help us win. ... That said, I do miss Koufosenko. So much easier to type than "Pallo Jeffersapenko (& Elson too)".

Overreactions #10: "Sloan hates rookies. Still."

Championed By: The Jeremy Evans fan club.

Reality: I have no idea why Evans didn't play yesterday. But lets be honest... Sloan is looking for anything that works. And the biggest problem happened to be the starters missing their jumpers. Evans is not going to fix that. And playing the top-8 guys gives them more chances to gel, which is very important. Evans will get his time, yes. Yesterday just didn't happen to be one of those games. And as long as Hayward is playing minutes, this overreaction has no merit.

In other words... I know its been a pain to watch and sit through. I know the apparent lack of effort is frustrating and the blowouts are enraging and whatever else. But give it a couple of games... they'll get things figured out. We have (arguably) the best coach in the league (all things considered... for example, how he does with regards to the talent he has) and one of the better PGs in the league as a team leader, they'll get things under control soon enough.

Until then though, I have to ask you to "please step away from the ledge and to calm down."