Happy New Year, everybody! What a year it has been for the Utah Jazz. Last year the Utah Jazz started out the season with little expectations of making the playoffs and they did. This year expectations grew with a revamped and improved roster comprised of expiring contracts and rising young talent. WELP. Right now the Jazz are last in their division with ten teams ahead of them, and two games below .500. I've been of the mindset from the start that the Jazz were a better team than last year, but wouldn't make the playoffs because of an improved west. But there is some good news on the horizon that could ruin that prediction. (I hope I'm wrong.)
Trade Deadline!!!!! Who wants to make a deal? Oh I know a few teams. Sacramento, Boston, L.A., and other teams failing to meet expectations. Now do those teams really have anybody that the Jazz could possibly want? Most likely not, but the Jazz can hop onto the end of a two team trade and help build the assets of any one of those trades. If anything, this trade season will just be exciting because the Jazz will be brought up in numerous circles because they are failing to meet their own season's expectations and they have 2 veteran Power Forwards who are capable of averaging double double like numbers on any given night! Happy New Year, indeed. .
The Jazz are 9-4 at home and 6-13 on the road. Many have pointed out that the Jazz have played more games on the road than at home. Which is true. But so have Denver, Dallas, and San Antonio. Dallas may be failing expectations right now but they're getting healthier with Dirk on the way. Denver is already ahead of Utah in the division and soon they get some home cooking. Sam Antonio is already beating through the NBA and they even rest their players. So while the Jazz can count on some home cooking that by no means predicts the Jazz to make up ground in the division or in the conference. The Jazz are 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Jazz need a big January to flip the script on a disappointing start to the season.
The Core 4, otherwise known as the guys who do not have expiring contracts will take over sometime this year. Whether it's intended by trade this season or by default when veterans bolt for greener pastures next season, this is their year to rise. Lately we have seen glimpses of greatness by this bunch. In the past few games they have come off the bench (Insert Head Desk Here) and provided the Jazz with vital lifts to keep the Jazz in the game. In the games against the Clippers the Jazz's young core outplayed the best bench in the league. Maybe a bunch of high lottery picks are worth something after all. I have been on the bandwagon since the Deron Williams Trade that unless you're playing these young lottery picks big minutes you're squandering your investment. I know last year's playoff push was amazing but if we use last year's playoff push as an example of why the Jazz should keep veteran help we're missing the point. Last year's playoff push was due to certain veterans falling to injuries and certain young lottery picks stepping up their game and filling in when needs be. It is fair to say the Jazz don't make the playoffs without Big Al, but it is even more just to say they don't without Hayward's huge last couple months of the season and Favors' rise to the cream of the defensive crop. If anything last year should have shown the Jazz that they should be relying upon them more rather than cutting their minutes to pat the backs of contract hungry veterans. .
Last, but not least this is a year of change. Hopefully the final change. This next year the Jazz will have solidified their roster for the next 2-3 years. No more waiting for a date for when someone's contract is up. This is the year of the Lindsey. He has a roster brimming with potential and trade pieces to add to the core. In short, Kevin O'Connor built this team like a bunch of Legos. It can easily be torn apart and built back up using similar pieces. He can keep the core and build something new. In the next year Lindsey should show us a new future. While the current present does sting a little bit there is a very bright 2013 ahead. One in which we've been waiting for since the Deron Williams trade. This is the year when all of the trade assets from the Deron trade come full circle for the Jazz. This is the year when Dennis Lindsey picks HIS guys. This is the year he picks OUR team. Get ready everybody. 2013 is going to rock.