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The Downbeat - 18 January 2011 - #406 - The Horses Edition

Does anyone have another dead horse I could borrow? The one I've been kicking for the last two months finally has nothing left to kick at.

I'm wondering if even a short-term change in the starting lineup would do enough to jolt the first-unit into getting off to better starts. Whether it's CJ for Bell (the best according to the numbers), Hayward for AK, or Memo/Fess for Al, a little change might just get a different mindset out there.

We know the first unit can actually start working the inside first, we've seen them do it. It seems to be a mental thing right now. It's been 41 games and we're still getting this November-type quote from Deron (Scotty G),

We don't run, don't execute, don't screen, don't know the plays

Update from this morning, from Genessy,

D-Will said team knows the plays, but players aren't executing them properly at times. Jefferson said the problem is communication at times.

What's next? Another chucked ball at Hayward?

If there is a change, my vote would be for CJ. Not only is that five-man unit the best unit on the floor statistically, he's been playing great as of late and could be the shot in the arm the first team needs. Of course that takes him from the second unit, but why does it have to? As part of SWARM, he would stay in for the first and into the second. Then Bell can come in to finish out the second when the other starters come back in. Having Memo back also alleviates a bit of the scoring pressure from that second unit.

His versatility at the 2 or the 3 also allows Sloan to try different rotations. He could bring Bell off the bench first for AK, and move CJ to the 3. If Millsap gets into foul trouble, both CJ an AK can slide down a notch.

Ok, I'll get off my (dead) horse.

Sports Illustrated takes a look at the remaining schedule for the contenders out West. "Highlights" for the Jazz:

  • Utah has 23 road games left, second only to Dallas' 24
  • Of those 23 road games, the Jazz face 10 opponents that have at least a 67% winning percentage at home. The Thunder have 12 while the Lakers have 14.
  • The Jazz have 9 back to backs remaining (along with the Thunder). The Mavs have 11 while the Lakers have just 6. The Mavs have almost as many remaining as the Lakers will have all year (15).

This would make a delicious looped gif:

Deron Williams make some fun hit with the ball Matt Harpring in pregame show Utah Jazz (via m0l0k0vell0cet)

Despite John Wall's struggles and injuries, Deron had high praise for him yesterday (from Truth About It),

I've been impressed with the kid since he was there in Kentucky. He's playing great this year. He's definitely one of the best point guards of the game already. He played well tonight, picked us apart with his passing, scored what he needed to and hit free throws down the stretch. He's one of the fastest, quickest guys. He's a smart point guard, he knows how to get others involved, and he's going to be in his league for a long time and be one of the tough point guards for a long time.

We're really in a golden era for point guards. Some are in the twilight of their careers, some are promising, some are still climbing, and some have peaked, but there's so many out there right now.

Tuesday poll,