Start the sad violins. START THEM! Do you hear that sound? It is the sound of Deron Williams looking into his soul and reminiscing about his time spent in Utah. No. Really. He is. I HAVE PROOF.
"I was injured the first year (and needed season-ending right wrist surgery)," Williams said Monday, a day before the Nets host the Jazz at Barclays Center. "I've really had injuries while I've been with (the Nets) the whole time. And didn't have the talent around me that I did (with the Jazz).
"And that system (in Utah) was a great system for my style of play. I'm a system player, and I loved Coach (Jerry) Sloan's system. I loved the offense there. We could've been a really good team. We just weren't that good defensively as a group."
Via Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com
Many times it has been theorized that Williams was a system player and that he looked out of his element over there in New Jersey. Many times has it been pointed that numerous players just were not the same since leaving
Jerry Sloan Utah. Many players under Sloan have thrived. He knew how to use his talents (no, not you Fesenko) and how to get the best out of them. He put them in situations where they could succeed. The offense was a work of art with Deron Williams, AK, Boozer, and Okur at their prime. IT. WAS. AN. OPUS.
But if I'm Deron Williams, why am I saying this now? *cue dramatic dun, dun, dun*
Yesterday on the Downbeat Clark broke it down defensively.
[Author's Note: Honestly, I had prepared some defensive notes for today then I read his downbeat, looked at my notes, then threw mine away. I'll be suing you for copyright infringement, Clark. Right after I find out how you broke into my house, took my computer, interpreted my chicken scratch notes, and ate a slice of pizza. THAT PIZZA WAS FOR WORK! I had to eat peanut butter and jelly. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY TIMES I HAD TO EAT PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY?]
And boy was it pretty. I'm just going to post a link to it. I'm honestly not trying to scapegoat on #2, I swear. It was just that good. Seriously go there now. NOW!
The Jazz dropped in Marc Stein's power rankings. Odd to think about right? They beat the Spurs in dramatic fashion then they go out and lose to the Suns (because as we all know the Suns are a powerhouse now) and Grizzlies. One of those losses is acceptable. I'll let you guess which one. Marc Stein had this to say:
A stat that can't be ignored now that Trade Season is fully under way: Utah ranks No. 23 in defensive efficiency and allows 106 points per 100 possessions when Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap anchor the frontcourt. When it's anchored by Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter? Just 95.3 points.
No one tell him that their offense is less to be desired. But it still brings up an interesting point. Most would agree that Paul Millsap meshes with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter the best. If the Jazz's long-term plan is to keep those two together for the future Paul Millsap is who to keep. But what if the Jazz are not planning on keeping those two together? Then it gets interesting. Paul Millsap will garner the most trade talk. His contract is inexpensive and he's tailor made for a stretch playoff run with any team. A team does not have to mold their offense around him. He can fit right in and do just about a little of everything. It should be an interesting couple of months until the trade deadline. CAN'T. WAIT.
I know it's Bleacher Report but I respect Ethan Strauss. In his Power Rankings he had this to say about Utah:
I don't understand what Utah's doing. It has collected so many high draft picks but won't let them play. Rather than starting, Gordon Hayward comes off the bench for Marvin Williams for reasons that elude me. Derrick Favors backs up Al Jefferson, and while I get the depth chart order here, it's not one that takes defense into account.
Enes Kanter lost a lot of weight in the offseason, but I'd almost expect him to gain it back this year. He's burning calories for only 15 minutes per game. Granted, Alec Burks hasn't been great in his time on the court, but he's also played fewer than 100 minutes this season.
The youth in Utah is languishing, backing up a merely average team of veterans. It might be the best short-term strategy for squeezing out some wins, but I can't help but feel that the Jazz are sacrificing long-term development.
I have felt now since the Deron Williams trade that the Jazz were doing the right moves. By gaining flexibility. Drafting young talent. Preparing for next year which I fully believe is a big year for the Jazz. I believe it to be the culmination of the Deron Williams trade. But what Utah is doing with that talent is throwing it to the side.
As most of you know I'm a huge Dave Ramsey fan. He tells a story of a young man who had been saving most of his money and got a promotion and had the assets to finally buy the car of his dreams, a mercedes benz. He walked to the car lot fully ready to buy the car. As he looked at the sticker price he was proud to know that he could easily afford the car. But then he thought to himself, "Is this the wisest investment?" He thanked the salesman for his time and left the car lot. He then put the money that he would have spent on that mercedes into a high yield bank account. That $40,000 years later became a couple million dollars. That 1986 Mercedes? Worth a couple hundred.
Why do I bring this up?
Like Ethan Strauss I wonder what is Utah doing? I understand we all want to win. But at what cost? Is the extra playoff money and butts in the seats going to be worth it when Favors, Kanter, Burks, and Hayward have all suffered the developmental costs? I feel like we're driving our Mercedes now because we can easily afford it but it pales in comparison to the developmental millions the Jazz could be giving the young draft picks. Something just doesn't add up.
As most of you know I work in a retail store, more specifically in a jersey related retail store. I know a lot of retail people get all bah-humbug during the holidays but I actually enjoy it. There's one huge reason. My dad would take me into FANZZ stores when I was little and ask me which jersey I would wear. We would talk to the associates about the NBA. It was this awesome experience that would culminate in me pointing at the jersey I would someday want. I remember my dad buying me my first jersey. It was a Shaquille O'Neal magic jersey. (Confession: I didn't start out as a Jazz fan) I was so elated. I wore it everywhere. Until he went to L.A. Luckily that coincided by my one and only growth spurt and I never wore it again.
Every Christmas I see tons of kids coming into my store with their parents pointing at the jerseys they want and how much they love a certain player. It gets me nostalgic. I can't help but get giddy like I did with my very first jersey. So I present it to you. When did you get your first jersey and who was it?