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Five Changes I Would Like To See With The Jazz - The Downbeat - #651

Let Favors play. This was the second game in a row where Favors saw no action until the third quarter after getting into foul trouble early. If you want to take him out after he picks up two quick fouls, that's fine. He's got to learn though and this isn't something that can be achieved readily in practice and he certainly can't learn riding the bench. He has to be in real-game situations against real opponents and learn how to defend without fouling.

There's no reason why he shouldn't have been out there to begin the second quarter. I don't know if Corbin is punishing Favors or what his MO is behind benching him for that long but it's not going to help with his development.

He's your starter for crying out loud. Get him back on the floor.

What's perplexing is this quote from Corbin in the Deseret News,

Giving up lobs, drives, backdoor cuts and transition baskets disgusted Corbin.

"That's unacceptable," he said. "That's just effort. That's disappointing."

I guess it's not the quote that's perplexing so much as his decision to not sit the man that was the victim of all of those backdoor cuts. Namely Raja Bell. If Corbin is going to sit Favors for a couple of fouls then Raja should be seeing the bench for his porous D. The whole team is to blame for the poor defense but Bell is getting beat routinely. You can say it's just a couple of games but in reality it's a continuation of last season.

Bell can still fit in with this team and fill a role but that role is no longer a starter going up against elite shooting guards. And with two years left on his deal and his poor play, he has exactly zero trade value. The Jazz would have to pay someone to take him at this point. Wouldn't it be much easier, and much cheaper, to regulate him to the bench? His role was gone as soon the Jazz started faltering last season and Deron Williams was traded. He was brought on to help a veteran team and provide defense. We're neither a veteran team anymore and he's not playing defense.

I love Raja and what he's done for this franchise, but there needs to be a change here. He's not giving us the best chance to win.

What direction is this team going? I think one of the reasons why so many people are saying that this team has no identity is that there's no clear goal. Kevin O'Connor won't use the term rebuilding. So if we're not rebuilding and we're not contending, what are we doing? We're certainly not "competing" as O'Connor would say. Competing isn't a team goal. What exactly are we competing for? The number 5 pick?

Give this team and its players a clear cut goal. They'll be fine so long as they have expectations. This hodgepodge we have now is just prolonging the inevitable and puts the team's rebuilding goal back a season.

Those that have read me for a while know that I don't normally overreact. True, this is only two games. And the Jazz have played two playoff teams on the road on a back to back. And if that were the case, then you wouldn't be reading this right now. It certainly plays a part, but again, this is a continuation from last season's play. I don't think playing the youngsters could result in anything worse right now.

There are a lot of other teams that are 0-2 or 0-3 right now namely the Celtics, the Mavs, and the Grizzlies. The difference is that they will pull out of their funk because they have the talent to do so.

The lockout affected the Jazz a little more than every other team given their youth and player turnover. It takes years for teams to come together and the shortened pre-season and training camp along with no summer league all contributed to that.

That's why the first part of the season is still a training camp of sorts. I know these are regular season games that actually count for something, but a big part of training camp is for evaluation. If that's the case, we need to see the younger players evaluated in some other way that garbage time. It doesn't have to be with starter's minutes but they do need to be minutes of significance. Yes, my primary objective here is to plead for more minutes for Alec Burks. If Bell, or CJ, or whoever is playing the two plays poorly on a defensive play, sit him and bring in Burks. If anything it could serve as a wake-up call. At this point, it seems Corbin is afraid to confront his veterans or do anything that could be perceived as a slight.

Finally, the last change I would like to see is with the fans. Developing and advancing this team would be a tall order for any coach, even if Sloan were still at the helm. This season can be categorized as a work in progress. There are going to be many more frustrating nights. The highlights are going to be fewer than the lowlights, but they will come. We want a contender and a team that we can be proud of but we don't want to pay the price.

This is not to say you can't continue to vent your frustrations with the team, the coach, or the players. We all look back at the 2004 team of scrappers that nearly went to the playoffs when they were projected to break the single-season record for losses. That team had a direction and a leader. The team then lucked into Carlos Boozer after what went down there. He wasn't even supposed to be available. Then an injury filled season landed the team an All-star point guard. We were spoiled a bit by a quick team turnaround. Most haven't had to go through a full rebuilding process.

As much as we want to turn the team over to the young players, it's not going to happen this season. Raja Bell isn't going anywhere. Al Jefferson isn't going anywhere. I don't think we see anyone going anywhere. Before you know it, this season will be over and we'll be looking forward to the draft and the hopes of a new season. So enjoy the high points, but expect a lot of frustration. That will make things all the more enjoyable when this team becomes good.