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The Downbeat - 24 January 2011 - #410 - The Buckle Up Edition

   Sorry for the lack of recaps.  I shouldn't be a fair-weather poster (though I have missed winning recaps as well).  I literally didn't have anything to say about those losses that hasn't been said before.

I've said before that sometimes it feels like the Jazz might never score/win again and other times it's just the opposite.  There's just no consistency in their play right now and that's what has been the most frustrating.  We've seen that they can score and be dominate but we can also see how ugly it becomes when things stagnate.

There's really no one thing that will cure the team's ills.  It's hard because of the expectations we've placed on this team, but it's going to take patience while they figure things out.  The good news with that is that hopefully they will start peaking and getting things together in April-June and peak then instead of now.  Unfortunately, that means we're going to have more games like we've witnessed lately.  The goal is to have fewer and fewer as the season goes on.

If you're looking for a silver lining, almost all of the top teams (except for the freakish Spurs and Celtics) have struggled.  Dallas lost 6 games in a row (though they were without Dirk for most of those).  Miami lost 4 straight recently.  LA had had their issues.  The teams they played probably weren't a combined 500 games below .500, but it happens.  Look at Boston.  They creamed the Jazz one night and then lost to the Wizards the next.

It happens.  It doesn't excuse losses like those.  At the very least the Jazz should have gone 2-2 on that recent trip.  This 4-game losing streak could easily be 6 by Wednesday.  So to steal from Boler, buckle up, because it's going to be a bumpy ride from here on out.

  John Stockton still holds the record (tied with Kevin Garnett) for most consecutive double-doubles in the past 25 years.  From ESPN:

Player D-Ds Season(s)
Kevin Garnett 37 2005-07
John Stockton 37 1988-90
Kevin Love 29* 2010-11
Charles Barkley 28 1986-87
Blake Griffin 27** 2010-11

* Active; ** snapped Wednesday

Stockton is the only one on there for points and assists.  He also has a streak of 25 and 20 games as well in that time period.

  Could the new CBA ensure that the Jazz are able to keep Deron?  If an NFL-like franchise tag is implemented, then yes.  From Tom Ziller (commenting on Chad Ford's story),

The franchise tag would be a huge power-killer for the league's very best players and their agents. Superteams would again be organic. Free agency would be neutered. Teams would be unafraid to lose their young stars, and might be more likely to work on team-building than star-grooming.

There are compelling arguments for both sides of this issue.  For one, owners seem to be split on the ideas with a slight majority favoring it.  Those that want the franchise tag are the smaller-market teams that feel like they can't compete otherwise, losing their marquee players to the likes of Los Angeles and New York.  Those major market teams will lose a competitive edge with a franchise tag.

The players are going to be split as well as Ziller points out.  The mega-stars aren't going to like it because it will severely limit their ability to play where they would like to.  The majority of players though are going to want to play next season and since this doesn't impact the role players and bench guys, they're going to fight to concede this if it means getting back to work.

The argument I have for the owners is that most players aren't considered in their prime until about the time they've finished their rookie contract plus and extension.  That's right where Deron is now.  The Jazz will have had 7 good years from him and could potentially lose him right as he's hitting the best years of his career.

I've always felt it was weird to compare "real-world" jobs to professional basketball.  For the most part, everyone is free to leave their current place of employment and find another job anytime they would like.  If this were to go into effect for the NBA, it would almost ensure that a star player is stuck on the same team for their career.  They are compensated for it, but do you want a disgruntled player on your team?  If they're determined to go, the team will have to weigh the effects of slapping him with the franchise tag.

The upcoming labor dispute does give Jazz fans a bit of hope as far as Deron re-signing.  The Jazz likely wouldn't hesitate designating Deron with the franchise tag.  There's also the financial loss he could suffer under the terms of the new CBA.  Signing an extension with Utah would likely guarantee him more money.  One of those two restrictions are likely to happen and could be coming at the best time.

  Speaking of Deron, he stated after the loss against the Nets that he won't be holding any Decision-type specials.  From the NY Daily News,

At least it should be easier on Sloan and the Jazz with Williams, who is anything but a publicity hound.

"I don't have a posse and I don't have people outside of my agent who are going to be maneuvering behind the scenes for me," he said, in a reference to Anthony's camp.

"If I am going to talk to somebody, it will be to my management. I want to win and do what is best for myself and my family. Right now, I'm playing with the Jazz and when my contract is up, I will worry about where I will be."

Whether he stays or goes, "The Decision" will not be in his future.

"Nobody would care if I did a show like that," Williams said. "It would have the worst ratings in the world."

If he does go, he'll kill us swiftly and silently like a ninja should.

  Fantastic Fess video emulating the NBA's commercials showing stars before they enter the NBA,

Kyrylo Fesenko - Encouragement Promo (via zlbball)