I have been writing a few pieces on the Utah Jazz and their relationship with the three point line. It was proposed in the comments section of one of the pieces to show how the Utah Jazz's philosophies were affected when they had great three point shooters. In 2009-2010, Kyle Korver shot a blistering 54% from beyond the arc. The year before that, Mehmet Okur shot 45% from three. They both shot better from different areas on the court depending on the year. I can't prove it, but I don't remember the Jazz running specific plays for either of them to get three pointers. Deron made it happen for both of them. But what I can prove is that they both shot less 3 pointers while with the Jazz, especially Korver:
As you can see, the two full seasons at Utah, Korver shot the fewest and 3rd fewest three point shots per 36 minutes. However you feel about Kyle Korver, I think we can all agree that he was underutilized while in Utah. Even though Korver got gunshy at the end, possibly to preserve his shooting record, he shot a career low attempts while shooting 56% from three.
Be sure to check out slcdunk supporter Peter J Novak in his article on potential trades with all 29 other NBA teams. This particular post is part one and mentions possible trades with the 14 lottery teams. The thing I like about this piece is that each of the trades, you have to consider before you say yes or no to them. That means they are realistic. Of course every Jazz fan would trade "player x for a more superior player y and a draft pick" but the other team wouldn't do that or else Kevin O' Connor would have done it by now. Most trades make you say, "hmm, I don't know if I love it, but it might work. I really will miss the pieces we gave up." Other than the Kyle Korver trade, and to some extent, the Jeff Hornacek trade, every Jazz trade has been sort of a "well I hope that works out for us" trade.
[Ed. Note: This was a cool picture of Ben Gordon shooting]
Just think of all the cool nicknames. A backcourt named Ben Gordon Hayward?
In Novak's piece, I am especially fond of the proposed Houston trade, The Nets trade, and Washington trade. I would make any of those trades. I'd probably make the one with Milwaukee as well. Here is another one to add to the list. Al Jefferson for Ben Gordon and the 9th pick in this draft. It is similar to the Jefferson for Omeka Okafor deal and the 11th pick, but this trade would balance the team a bit more. We would be doing the cash strapped Pistons a huge favor by taking Gordon and his 2 years, $25 million, but he could make a nice scoring punch off the bench. Gordon can still hit an open 3 pointer. Anyways, we will hear a lot more about proposed trades over the next several weeks, I am sure.
Other than trade offers and proposals, I have heard and read about a lot of possible free agent signings the Jazz could do with their non existant, monopoly money they are allowed to use on free agents. I think the most "meh" proposal I have heard is from Deseret News' Brad Rock.
Rock suggests that the Jazz bring back Mo Williams. I think that is a great idea, other than the fact that Williams isn't an upgrade to any position and he basically fills almost no needs that the Jazz have. He's a pretty good three point shooter, I will give him that. Maybe I'm crazy, but I have no interest in Mo Williams coming back to the Jazz. Especially not for the money he will be looking for if he opts out of $8.5 million next year. Here is Rock's argument:
"As it is, he shoots better, plays the point better, passes better, gets to the free throw line better and competes better than Fredette. Last week he came off the bench to score 20 points in 33 minutes."
Look, if your best argument for bringing someone to the Jazz is that they are better than Jimmer Fredette, well...
I honestly think Rock wrote this piece on Mo Williams so that he could just use this line in his article:
"Who knew the 47th pick of the 2003 draft would be all that and mo'?"
Well done, Mr Rock.
Brad Rock also mentions that of all of Kevin O' Connor's mistakes, KOC puts letting Mo Williams go as one of the biggest. Really? Again, Mo Williams is a good player, who even made the All-Star game once, but I wouldn't consider letting him go to be a big snafu by O'Connor. What is Kevin O'Connor's dumbest move? I know that many of you will say the max contract for Andrei Kirilenko, but I think bringing in Carlos Boozer after Kirilenko had such a promising season was sillier than signing AK to the big deal.
You have heard me say it time and time again, but I think the Al Jefferson acquisition was one of O'Connor's worst moves. He panicked and brought in a low efficiency offensive player with poor defensive habits, who absolutely didn't fit the Jazz's offensive system. The worst part, O'Connor couldn't have known, but the Jazz could have had a superior Tyson Chandler at a much cheaper price just a few weeks later. Instead, Jefferson's contract immediately became untradeable. I'm mostly just sad that we can't realistically pursue Ersan Ilyasova, Nicolas Batum, or Eric Gordon this offseason. On one hand, I understood the trade because the Jazz needed to stay competitive to placate Deron, but Kevin O' Connor has admitted that trading Deron was a consideration before the season, so any move justified to stay competitive for Deron is an excuse. But enough about my hurt feelings. I want to hear from you.
What move/ non move should Kevin O'Connor consider his biggest mistake?
The other thing the whole regret of Mo Williams makes me think is that Kevin O'Connor (and by extension, the Jazz front office) love mediocre players. This is Mo Williams we are talking about, not passing on Michael Jordan to draft Sam Bowie, or passing on Tony Parker to draft Raul Lopez. It's not like he passed up on Josh Smith, Kevin Martin, and Anderson Varajao to draft Kris Humphries.
The problem is that being content with good players, or even very good players, makes you miss an opportunity to have great players. Imagine if the Jazz did hang onto Mo Williams. I don't think their 2004-05 record would've been much better, so they would have still had the #8 pick. Would the Jazz have traded up to take Deron WIlliams, if they had Mo Williams manning the point? It can be debated, but I don't think so. They would have filled the weakest position, the one they filled the next year with Brewer. That would have left the Jazz taking the best wing available, like, Martell Webster, or Gerald Green, or Danny Granger. You know this is true. Would you trade having Mo Williams and Danny Granger for not having the 6, sometimes magical years of Deron? When you hold onto good players and overvalue them, it can sometimes keep you from finding great players. Right now the Jazz have one, maybe two players that can be great. But what will really tell you if the Jazz want to be a great team, or are content with being good to very good, is what they do with their good players.