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The Downbeat - 24 March 2010 - #192 - The What Might Have Been Edition

 1_medium  A team's magic number to clinch a playoff spot is probable mentioned more in baseball than it is with any other sport.  Utah's magic number, if my count it correct, is 3.  They're eight games ahead of the Grizzlies right now with 11 remaining.  Given that the Jazz won the uneven season series two games to one, three wins would clinch a playoff spot.

Of course we're not just shooting for a playoff spot.  At the very least we want home court advantage in the first round.  Getting out of the Kobe bracket with the two or three seed is the target now.  And as of this morning, thanks(?) to the Knicks, the Jazz are just a game behind both the Mavericks and Nuggets.  They could have been tied with the Mavs had the Clippers been able to close out a game. 

Still, with the way the season started and with where we're sitting now, I'll take it.

  CJ has been playing well lately and it's the CJ that we've hoped he would become.  The question is, just like this season has been, has he turned the so-called corner?  Are we going to see a lot more good games than bad?  I'm going with the former if only for the reason that once you seem to get it, you normally don't lose it.  If thing are finally clicking it's not likely that he's going to digress.  Sure, he might still have a 3-15 night or something along that line, but hopefully that's just going to be an off night.

The other question is how would he be playing if he had gone to OKC?  He definitely has the athleticism and range to play in any system.  I don't think he would have been a Shandon Andersen.  He would likely still be coming off the bench.  If we was playing as well as he is now but only with the Thunder, would we be complaining about another good player the team let go?  It was pretty close to happening.

Kenyon Martin's injury has probably been the biggest reason for Denver's struggles.  Remember when the Jazz were pursuing him before Boozer became available?  He hasn't been without his share of injuries.  Martin has played in 320 games since he signed with the Nuggets.  Boozer has played in 344 games in the same time span.  Martin has made roughly $5M more over those 5 years.  So did the Jazz get the better end of the deal?  In games played, it's a definite yes.  If you look at things like PER, PPG, and such, it's a yes.  You would have to say that KMart is better on the defensive end but I still think the Jazz got the better deal.  So sometimes there's a lot of luck involved in these things.

In addition, can you imagine if we had signed Morris Peterson and James Posey?  I'd like to think that they might be doing better in Sloan's system but they're having the worst years of their career right now.  I don't think I'd bring on either one even if they were free.

  I'm looking forward to some Korgasm action tonight as he's in a bit of a three-game slump.  What I'm mainly looking for though is no turnovers.

  Good news!  You don't have to be conflicted in your New York cheering any more.  After last night's win over the Nuggets, they don't play anyone above the Jazz in the standings for the rest of the season.  They do play PHX but right now, I would like them to close out the season 0-fer.

I don't think they can overtake the bottom four teams in GS, Washington, NJ, and Minny.  Detroit and Philly probably can't win enough games to move up.

So right now we're looking at the 10th pick if everything fell in order.  However, they could still pass the Clippers, Pacers, and Kings which would put us in position for the 6th or 7th pick.  Still not bad.  And you still have a chance, howbeit slight, at the top pick or even moving up a bit.  That's a chance that the other playoff teams don't have.