They say that hindsight is 20/20. Well, some people are special enough to look at something that just happened and still be wrong in understanding it. This off-season I think the Jazz, guided by then GM Kevin O'Connor, really went all out to attack our main offensive deficiency: three point shooting. The Jazz did not really do anything to combat our defensive problems though. But, the main point, is that we went from being horrible from downtown to this season being one of the best. That worked, and worked well. The other point most fans felt was that the moves the front office made were moves to maximize the type of players Al Jefferson would need to truly be better. The jury is still out on that, but let's take a look at each free agent move we made this year:
- made a qualifying offer, and then outright signed restricted free agent Jeremy Evans
- extended contract for DeMarre Carroll
- extended contract for Jamaal Tinsley
- signed unrestricted free agent Randy Foye
I would say that those free agent moves are listed in reverse importance. (With respect to our team this season)
Evans has not killed it this year, and has only seen 109 minutes this year. He's really the fifth big in a four big rotation and signing here he clearly knew what he was signing up for. The former Slam Dunk champ has had a few great highlights this year, but I think his major benefit to the team is that he provides exposure, insurance, is very cheap, doesn't complain about minutes, and is Gordon Hayward 's best friend. If I was going to give a grade for this move I'd give it a 5/5. Locking him up for 3 years, none of them for more than $1.79 million, was genius if he ever progresses. If I was supposed to give a grade for Evans' performance this year (compared to expectations) it would be less than perfect. His fg% is down this year (no longer approaching 70 fg%), but he's shown an ability to take and make a face up shot. He has become a magnet for getting to the line, but his FT% is no longer in it's 70% either. Offensively it's a mixed bag, defensively he's still better than expected. I'd give Evans a 4/5 for performance. (Not flat out performance, but again, performance based upon role and expectations)
Carroll was another no brainer after his great performance in the 4th quarter of the last game we played in the playoffs last year. He's cheap, and fighting for a contract. As a result, he's always going to want more and more opportunities on the floor. He's a limited player who works mainly on hustle. In a Jerry Sloan Jazz team he would find a home here. We were at our best last year with him starting and being that grit guy who doesn't need shots. This year off the bench he has to fight more for himself. He's in a tough spot. The signing (1 year, very cheap at $0.89 million) is very smart, a 4/5. I would have liked to get him at that level for a little longer, but we went out and got Marvin Williams this off-season as well, so that's fine. His performance this year has been a 3.5 / 5 I think. He's been great at times, but his style of play is hard to praise because on defense he's all about gambling. He fights, and we love that, but it can be used against him. Carroll is paid like a benchwarmer, and has a skill that our starters need (Energy). He wants a bigger role, but I don't think we have one for him right now. Still, he's averaging 16.7 mpg this year, and working his butt off for 5.1 ppg and 3.4 rpg in that span (with nearly 1 apg and 1 spg in that time).
Jamaal was so necessary because we had no clue what was going on with our PG spot, and the only PG on contract was Earl Watson and expected to miss maybe the first two months of the season. The Jazz gave Jamaal a chance and got him for a song, another low risk deal for 1 season. Jamaal has been so important this season with Earl out early, and now Mo out for 2 months. He's our starting point guard, and making only $1.35 million this year. That's rare in this NBA. While Tinsley isn't perfect, he's a great insurance man -- he's even resurrected his three point shot this year. For the deal I'd give the Jazz 5/5 there because of his age against the length of the contract (1 year). For his performance this year as a product of expectations of him as our 3rd string or 2nd string PG who is now starting and we're still winning . . . I'd have to give him a 4/5 for sure.
And so it comes to Foye . . . when we got Foye a lot of us were upset because it felt like "Raja Bell 2.0" while we still had Raja Bell still on the club. Specifically, it was bringing in a mercenary vet who will demand playing time while pushing our eventual youth revolution farther back. The bad news is that is kinda what happened as Gordon Hayward (a starter) is now coming off the bench while Randy plays 26.2 mpg. The good news is that Randy does something we needed desperately (he makes threes), and that this season he's been doing precisely that! Randy is making 40.4 3pt% this year, and making 2.1 threes a game. He's among the league leaders this year from downtown and has been playing well at that Kyle Korver role. That said, Korver didn't start, and Korver didn't play close to 30 mpg for our team. That's the problem many Jazz fans have, Foye would be great in a smaller role. He's less great in an expanded one. Particularly because this expanded role puts him out there to be predated upon on defense by all the super talented shooting guards out there in the NBA. (Foye was dismantled by everyone from DeMar DeRozan to Danny Green) I wasn't a fan of the signing, but for $2.5 million for only one year I can't be that mad at it. I'd give the signing a 3/5 -- but only because I felt like NOT having Foye around, and instead giving that 26.2 mpg to the rest of our wings instead would have better benefited the franchise, would have been better. For his production and role, I'd give him a 4/5 if he was in that Kyle Korver role. But as our starting shooting guard? I'd have to give him 2.5/5. That's average. That's a passing grade, but it's not good.
What are your grades halfway into the season, Jazzfans?