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The Downbeat - 13 April 2011 - #467 - The Sad Fess Face Edition

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The season for the Jazz sadly (or mercifully) comes to an end tonight.  It's something that probably won't hit you until after the final buzzer sounds but it will hit you.

I just can't believe where this team has been over the past 10 months.  From Boozer and Korver leaving to the Al trade to "I'm going to make you an All-star to the fantastic start and wild finishes to fry sauce mania to the sudden and complete collapse to the resignations to the "You know the Jazz, they won't make any moves" to The Trade to the future and everything in between.

So take it all in tonight as we enjoy the last game of what will be a very long off-season.  Set your DVRs.

I'll have a post-season (not that kind unfortunately) thread up after the game for everyone to let out their thoughts and memories for the reason.

  The next reality punch of the lockout comes today when the New York Daily News reported that the Vegas Summer League will be cancelled.  No word on the Orlando Summer league but there's little doubt that it won't be cancelled as well.

I don't remember where all the outrage was though from everyone else when the Rocky Mountain Revue was cancelled.

  Ross Siler wished Jazz fans last night a Happy Andrei Kirilenko Contract Expiration Day.   I would like to propose an alternate title: "Happy We Never Have To Hear Complaints About AK Being Overpaid Day." 

Defending AK probably warrants a much longer post, but it comes down to these things:

  • At the time that AK got his deal, he was the future of the franchise.  Does anyone remember how hard it was/is to get quality free agents to come to Utah?  They didn't know that they would fall ass-backwards into Carlos Boozer (max deal) the following season nor did they know that Boozer would be hurt and that they would land a point guard like Deron Williams (max deal).  He suddenly went from being the man to being third or fourth on the team.

    The reason he was given a max deal was to make sure he stayed.
  • If you're going to blame anyone for AK being overpaid, blame O'Connor.  If you're AK, you're not going to accept that?
  • AK put up huge numbers when he was the focal point of the team.  Looks at his PER numbers the first two seasons after the statues left: 22.6 and 24.4.  That's who you give max money to.  He also led the Russian team to a Euro championship when he was far and away their best player.  After Boozer et. al were brought in, his usage dropped.

    And has anyone realized that his offensive numbers from this season are similar to those that earned him his contract?  Oh, and his defensive PER (opponents PER) was 5th-best in the league this season.
  • The Jazz have had opportunities to get rid of his contract.  There are at least three times that we know about.  Several years ago, there was the Marion for AK swap that could have happened.  Marion was getting paid about the same at the time but his contract would have been off the books earlier.  He almost got sent to Charlotte to begin the season for Boris Freaking Diaw as part of the Melo trade.  His name also came up with the Nets before The Trade went down.  There's no doubt his name came up numerous times over the years.  If the Jazz had wanted to get rid of his contract, they could have.

His contract was of no fault of his own.  The team was going with him at the cornerstone of the franchise and then changed direction only year later.  Because of those circumstances we won't know if he would have ever lived up to such high expectations.

I'll be glad though when he's making far less next season, playing the same great game that he has been playing, and not hearing a peep about his deal.  I just hope that it's with the Jazz, otherwise we'll hear complaints when he excels with another team on how cheap the Jazz were.

  Interesting tweet from @tribjazz this morning,

Jazz's Corbin does not envision Millsap being starting small forward next season. He could play the spot, but likely not permanent.

If that's the case, then it's got to be a move back to the 6th man for him unless there's a trade done.  Favors has shown in limited play what he can do and he's got to start doing it and learning and progressing as a starter.

I would like the Jazz to keep all three though.  Maybe they could still get Favors 36 minutes with Millsap splitting time between the 3 and 4?  Who knows?

  Wednesday open poll...  Your best and worst moment of the season?