It has been well noted that Gordon Hayward has been on a tear this year. (IT'S AN ODD NUMBERED YEAR.) He also is one of the league leaders in respect ratings. From ESPN.com, Tom Haberstroh writes:
What's interesting is Hayward is getting really close the category of a star that needs help. Favors has had brilliant stretches but he isn't a player that takes the load off of Gordon Hayward. Gordon Hayward doesn't have a point guard that makes his life easier. Alec Burks is inconsistent and the bench unit is inexperienced. Gordon is one of the league leaders in minutes per game. Sooner or later there's going to be an injury with that many minutes played. He's going to need some help either from the development of the Jazz's young core or externally through trade this offseason.
It's crazy to see the fall of Deron Williams. His best days are found a mile high above sea level and 4 years in the past. Take a look at this tidbit from Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:
Considering how this relationship began, the fall of Deron Williams has been a stunning and debilitating change of course for the Nets.
It didn't seem that long ago that they were eagerly handing him the keys to the franchise, basing each move on whether it would improve their chances of retaining the point guard. It wasn't a question of whether they should offer Williams the biggest deal in the organization's history, it was whether he'd sign it.
Williams did, of course, sealing his future on an iPad. It was trumped up as the seminal moment of the move to Brooklyn, a reason to believe the Nets had fully left behind those woebegone days in Jersey. Now they're trying to get rid of him after just two seasons, reaching a conclusion that Williams comes up way short as a franchise player, even when healthy.
It has reached the point of coach Lionel Hollins putting Williams on the bench, warning Saturday that the 30-year-old needs to play better to earn more than the 20 minutes he logged in the loss to the Pacers.
Imagine that a couple years ago: Williams, the $100 million man, getting benched to clear up time for Jarrett Jack.
"(Hollins) is definitely right, we do need to play better," Williams said, referencing himself and his high-paid partner on the bench, Brook Lopez. "We're two of the highest-paid players on the team, so that's our responsibility to play better.
"Hopefully we can accept that challenge - I think I do, and Brook does."
At this point I look at Deron Williams as a tragic hero. His life looks like that of a greek tragedy. A man who rose up to the highest of points in the NBA who let big market-wanting consume him. Now he has everything that he thought he wanted, but can't find success there.
Rudy Gobert got some props from Zach Lowe today. RUDY CAN PASS. SOMETIMES. maybe.
From The Triangle:
Gobert has 23 assists this season. That doesn't sound like much, but Gobert only bumbled his way into seven assists last season, in just 120 fewer minutes than he's logged in 2014-15. Baby steps, people.
Gobert in recent games has flashed a surprising ability to map the floor in an instant on the pick-and-roll. He's caught the ball on the move in the paint, read the help defense, and dropped off slick little interior dishes to his big-man partner waiting in the dunk zone along the baseline.
That kind of spacing isn't optimal; ideally, you'd want a shooting power forward around Gobert's basket cuts, and the Jazz have devoted a lot of minutes to seeing how Trevor Booker and Enes Kanter might fit that role. But if Gobert can develop just enough as a passer, it might convince Snyder to let the Gobert/Derrick Favors duo breathe a bit.
Rudy's upside is super intriguing. He's having a very Millsap-ian improvement. He's learning to do things that he was never expected to do. If he continues this he's going to be one very valuable center prospect.
Joe Ingles also got some love from Zach Lowe today. He was selected in the Fourth Annual Luke Walton Awards. The criteria?
This is a celebration! Not everyone can be a superstar. It takes dedication for players to expand their games midcareer, survive under a heavier burden of minutes, and blend into different rosters as the NBA's transaction wheel flings them around the league. A Walton is a hardened chameleon, and the league is filled with them this season; competition for a Walton spot has never been tougher.
The Trianglehad this to saw about Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles:
A drinking game guaranteed to leave you sober: Drink every time Joe Ingles takes a shot! Ingles, a longtime Aussie pro who somehow always looks as if he hasn't showered in days, is producing one of the most bizarro seasons ever for a wing player.
Ingles takes just six shots per 36 minutes. He has attempted eight free throws all season. His usage rate is about to dip below 10 percent. Only a handful of players have bundled those kinds of numbers over a full season, and almost all of them are either dunks-only big men or 3-and-D specialists like Shane Battier and Bruce Bowen.
Ingles is neither of those things. He's shooting only 25 percent from deep, and he needs to be Grand Canyon levels of wide open to even think about shooting.
THAT'S OUR JOEY!
Our condolences to Sacramento and Kings' fans everywhere.
Sacramento Kings sign Tyrone Corbin through end of season http://t.co/koLBhSLyiZ— Sactown Royalty (@sactownroyalty) December 30, 2014