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The Downbeat - 15 February 2011 - #426 - The Gotta Win Edition

My motif over the past few weeks has been let's see how the team improves and recovers from their struggles. Even though the losses have hurt, I've been trying to see signs of improvement. Sometimes they manifest themselves only to go back into hiding a game, a quarter, or a minute later.

It's time to start to push the panic button though. The Jazz overachieved the first month or two of the season and have severely underachieved since then. With the talent on this team, they should not be missing the playoffs yet that's where they're headed.

As Locke pointed out yesterday on his show, the injury to Andrei couldn't have happened at a worse time. We finally got the lineup that we wanted to see and now AK will be shelved for a few games it appears. The team needs to get rolling as they fend of the Blazers, Denver, Phoenix, and Memphis.

Bell stated that their latest practice had the feel of training camp,

We had a really good practice (Saturday)," Bell said. "It was intense. Guys were going after each other. It reminded me of a preseason practice with the level of excitement and energy that we had and I think that's a good sign.

We're still going to be without AK but they're going to have to win regardless.

Congrats to Horny for becoming an assistant officially. He does a lot of things for the team. Obviously his knowledge of the team and work with shooters is a benefit. He of course was on the finals teams and can bring that experience. Now that he travels again, will he wipe the side of his face from the bench?

Corbin also stated that he hasn't decided about bringing on another assistant yet.

Perhaps the biggest question concerning the coaches is who takes Layden's role for corralling the players when there's even the slightest chance that they might run onto the floor? That's a skill you can't teach.

The trade deadline is just 10 days away and is often the case, there's nary a hint of anything happening with the Jazz. One things that I found interesting though is this nugget (no pun intended) from the Melo saga,

Under the owners' proposal, Anthony would only be eligible for a four-year, $47 million deal with New York as an unrestricted free agent. Few executives believe the actual agreement will be that punitive, but Anthony will have to make his decision before learning what the consequences are.

Like the article states, new contracts likely aren't going to be that restrictive; the owners are going to start low. However, that new CBA is going to have a huge impact on the Jazz and could even define the team. It starts of course with Deron. With the threats of non-guaranteed contracts, shorter terms, back-dating contracts, and even a franchise tag all discussed as possibilities, there will be financial incentive to keep Deron with the team. Even if Deron doesn't stay, it's likely that the new CBA will allow smaller market teams to compete with large markets.

So while Deron's story will be big news, the bigger news should be how the CBA affects the franchise.

Missed this yesterday. Here's Hot Rod talking about Sloan's retirement. I love how he talks like he's breaking news to the host about it. (download):

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