Hard to believe that it was just a week ago that the Sloan news broke. The past 7 days have pretty much been a blur Jazz-wise. I think I'm still in the denial phase. This one is going to take a while.
For those that are looking to place blame, from the bits I've gathered, it sounds like it's pretty much everyone is at fault. This was a franchise fail. I never thought I'd hear/write/say that.
So is the All-star break the worst or the best timing for the team? I'll tell you, for the fans, it's probably great timing. We need a break from this and a little memory loss so that we'll come back next Wednesday.
For the team, I'm not sure. On one hand you'd like to see them work through the issues they're having and the only way to do that is in practice and in games. However, getting away a bit gives everyone time to get healthy. Not to sound all front-officey, but not having AK and Bell the past three games would have helped and possibly could have resulted in a win given the final scores of those games.
It is also possible that someone on the team has played their last game as a Jazz man. The trade deadline is next Thursday
Deron and Paul are always going to be linked; we know that. What I hadn't realized is that they would both slump together. The Jazz are 3-7 over their last 10 and the Hornets are 2-8. Check out their numbers:
Player, Jan FG/3P%, Feb FG/3P%
Paul, .458/.447, .426/.333
Deron, .457/.352, .400/.206
It should be no surprise that as they go, their teams go. Interesting to note though that Paul is still dishing out 9 assists a game while Deron has actually increased his total to 11.4 this month.
Deron of course has likely been affected shooting-wise because of his wrist. I'm not sure what Paul's issue is though.
The Indy Star debates whether or not Hayward should have turned pro last season. Both sides make compelling arguments. But what it comes down to for me is that his stock wasn't going to be much higher than it was last season. This year's class is considerably thinner so he may have stuck out a bit more, but I don't think Butler makes the run that it did last season. I think that would have hurt. With the pending labor dispute coming up, he got in at the right time.
If you look at his development this season, he's leaps and bounds from where he started. I don't think he would have improved that much had he stayed in college. Each month his offensive stats have been getting better. He's shooting 60% this month and has been getting more PT because of injuries.
I think he made the right choice.
And have you looked at Jeremy Evans' stats? Other-worldly. He's putting up 17 & 8 per 36 minutes and is shooting 73%.
He's going to get knocked for most of his shots being dunks, but isn't that a good thing to have most of your shot attempts close to the rim? Even with that, he's shown that he can knock down jumpers. As he has played more non-garbage minutes the past month, his number are even better.
He's not going to be a starter right now but haven't we all been clamoring for that tall, athletic big man that can block shots? This is your man. Maybe I'm preaching to the choir here. He's going to put on weight and keep working. Even if he never sniffs the starting lineup, he's going to be a fantastic player.
If you're expecting him to come back down, you might be waiting a while. Just like one of his dunks.