Someone finally takes into account Chris Paul's injury when it comes to ranking the point guards. The Basketball Jones ranks #3, gasp, 3rd,
When healthy, he's pretty much unstoppable on offense and he's a disruptive ballhawk on defense. It remains to be seen how much his quickness will be affected by his February knee surgery, since he didn't look like himself in the seven post-surgery games he played last season.
And Deron takes the top spot over Rajon Rando,
He doesn't do any one thing better than anyone, but his all-around game is extremely solid and perfectly suited to the Jazz and Jerry Sloan's system. Whether or not he can hang on to the top spot will likely depend on Chris Paul's health and Williams' chemistry with Al Jefferson - his pick-and-roll replacement for Carlos Boozer.
While Deron does thrive in Sloan's system, he would thrive anywhere.
John Hollinger has his player rankings (insider) where he breaks down each player from each team. He also mentions how Chris Paul's injuries have re-opened the PG debate.
He brings up some good things though on AK,
When he plays, Kirilenko remains a major defensive disrupter with his Inspector Gadget arms. He ranked second among small forwards in blocks per minute and first in steals per minute. Even more impressive is the fact he accomplished these feats with one of the lowest rates of fouls at his position. The Jazz gave up 5.4 points per 100 possessions less with him on the court.
Among his other subtle skills, he ranked seventh among small forwards in pure point rating, seventh in free throw rate, and shot 65.3 percent in the basket area. If he had a jumper he'd be an All-Star.
As it is, he's a valuable player, and one wonders if he'll prove more valuable this season. Kirilenko enjoyed his best years playing power forward and may get extended duty at that position because of shortages in Utah's frontcourt.
I guess I need to take some of my own medicine about AK. If I'm going to say that 8>3 in part do to staying healthy, then the same needs to be said about Andrei. His injuries have deprived of us his play and game-changing ability. Hopefully after taking the summer easy he'll have a relatively injury-free season.
Pro Basketball Talk has their Jazz preview,
More likely the Jazz will: Be a little bit worse than they were last year but basically what they have been for a long time -- good but not quite good enough. Jefferson will be close to a wash for Boozer, but Bell and Hayward will be a step back from Korver and Mathews. The Jazz will be entertaining, play pretty basketball, but not be contenders. Williams will amaze, Jefferson will be a nice fit, Kirilenko will show flashes but disappoint, Millsap will hustle, the rookies will play like rookies, Bell will be solid but not fantastic.
They will hover around the 50-win mark, maybe win in the first round (depending on matchups) then be out by the second round.
Despite a couple of factual errors in the article, I'm fine with it. Like I said in my preview, there's just so much unknown about this team that you could argue their results either way. I think we could see a slow start but I think the pieces this year are a better fit than they've been in years past.
For those that want some top-notch analysis for the NBA and the Jazz this season, make sure to get a copy of Basketball Prospectus for 2010. You can download the .pdf or get a hard copy next week. The digital copy is about $10.
I contributed a little blurb that will be included in the Jazz section. They have some downloadable example chapters that will show you just how good this is. I don't get any portion of the sales (though I did get a free copy for contributing)
Finally, I'll be picking up NBA 2k11 later today and should be online tonight sometime if someone would like to kick my trash. I'm on XBOX Live as NinjaEight.
Though Jordan is the focal point, you can take this advice from Amar.