We're barely into preseason and the injuries are already piling up around the league. Besides Trey Burke's broken finger, here's some other injuries:
Rodney Stuckey- Broken thumb
Epke Udoh- Knee surgery
Brendan Wright- Fractured shoulder
Al Jefferson- Sprained ankle
Deron Williams- Sprained ankle
CJ McCollum- Broken foot
Michael Beasley- Hurt his own head
John Schuhmann of NBA.com has a nice article about how the Jazz defense is bound to improve this year, simply because of the increased playing time for Favors and Kanter.
While this is true, there are going to be some major growing pains as the young bigs play big minutes against starting caliber players. A perfect example of this is this play (at the 1:12 mark of the video). Kanter starts by playing the pick and roll well as Griffin sets the pick on Burks, Kanter instantly bodies up Chris Paul and pushes him to the baseline. The problems come when 1. He doesn't have his arms out to defend a pass if Griffin dives to the basket, and 2. instead of closing off the lane to the basket and forcing CP back into the defense of the recovering Burks, he backs off (likely in fear of a foul) and gives Paul a clear lane to the basket, for an easy layup.
There was a stoppage in play directly after, when Corbin (rightly) gave Kanter quite an earful. Kanter was certainly not the only perpetrator of defensive lapses, but doing it right in front of the Coach isn't going to work out well for any player.
As for Favors, it seems that foul trouble might be a continuing issue. Its not completely bad, as many of his fouls have come from overzealous help defense, as he attempts to protect the rim. He's going to have to learn to pick and choose his battles, and the perimeter defense is going to have to improve to help him stay in the game.
As Amar noted in the last Downbeat, its only the preseason. Having said that, what conclusions should we draw and when are they valid? Should we worry that in two preseason games we have seen the Jazz starters get dominated by the Blazers and Clippers starters, and relatively effortlessly?
The answer is that we shouldn't get our basketball shorts in tissy because this should be expected. The Jazz are going to have a rough year, plain and simple. The best way to deal with it? Lets look at each possession in a microcosm. We're going to experience a lot of blowout losses, but they should begin to be less frequent as the season progresses and the young players progress in conjunction. In the meantime, for the sake of our collective sanity, lets look at each individual play and try to note the good things that happened in them.
Can we talk about how its 2013 and we still don't get all the preseason games televised? The Rockets game in Taipei was televised. The Clippers televised the last game that was IN UTAH. I can understand not showing the game in Boise, but there's really no excuse for the Clippers having a broadcast for last game, but there not being one for us home fans. Has anyone seen an explanation for this? Is it to encourage people to buy tickets?
Just a brief disclaimer: I saw some back and forth on Twitter on Saturday that were very unfair toward SLC Dunk. We need to set one thing straight- What we say on our individual Twitter accounts are our own opinion and it is completely unfair to take such opinions as the collective dogma of "the blog". We all have our own opinions here. Diana and I had conversation about Ty's reaction to the aforementioned defensive lapse by Kanter. She took exception, I thought Enes deserved every bit of that tongue lashing. There are differences across the board. What you read on the blog are generally things that we all agree on or at least generally accept. To pigeonhole us, as contributors, simply because of our association with SLC Dunk is simply unfair. We are allowed to have our individual voices. So, when I read things like "I don't even read SLC Dunk anymore" based on the things we say, as fans, often in the heat of a moment, is beyond frustrating. Diana and John are allowed to think Ty Corbin is not a high caliber NBA head coach. Peter is allowed to have an unwavering love affair with Derrick Favors. Amar is allowed to have a baffling attachment to Myck Kabongo. We're allowed to have our own opinions, separate from "the blog".