Last night's comeback win over Minnesota was slightly overshadowed by the news that broke just before the game, that Alec Burks would have season-ending surgery on his injured shoulder. (Thanks again, Aaron Afflalo!) It's a huge blow for both the Jazz, who invested so much and showed such confidence in Burks this offseason, and for Alec himself, who struggled in a starting role this year even when not injured (though he played through noticeable pain in several games).
Alec's young, of course, and the injury is to his non-shooting shoulder, so there's no reason to think he won't make a full recovery. The bigger question is how Burks' absence will affect the rest of the Jazz roster, and any moves going forward.
The good news is that the Jazz have a ready-made, if young and inexperienced, replacement for Burks in Rodney Hood. He has garnered most of the starting minutes in Burks' absence so far this season, and with his size and versatility, there's no reason to think he won't continue in that role. He doesn't need the ball in his hands to affect the game, so he's a good fit in a lineup with Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward. Hood certainly needs more polish and consistency, but I expect him to improve with more regular playing time.
The other beneficiaries would seem to be Dante Exum, who can play shooting guard alongside Trey Burke in some lineups (according to what we were told all summer, anyway), and Joe Ingles, who played 25 minutes on Tuesday night (well above his season average of 15.9 MPG, but similar to his court time during Hood's injury).
Dennis Lindsey has also indicated that he will use Burks' absence as an opportunity to "kick the tires" on the guards at the end of the Jazz bench: Ian Clark, Toure Murry, and Patrick Christopher, who saw 13 minutes of action on Tuesday.
As far as possible transactions as the trade deadline nears, I wouldn't hold my breath. Here's Lindsey on that prospect (quote via Andy Larsen at Salt City Hoops):
With under 2 months to go until the trade deadline, what's your mindset going into that period?
We're going to address moves that have the long-term interests of the Utah Jazz in mind. I think Quin, I really appreciate his mindset: he's been as mindful in what we're going to look like 2 years from now as what we'll look like 2 weeks from now. So Rudy or Dante could have some rough stretches, as you can see, and they're still out there. So I think, not that we wouldn't address a particular need on the short-term, I think we'll weight 12 months, 24 months heavier than we would addressing a need 2 weeks out.
No surprise there. Lindsey's eye has always been on the long term -- which is why the Jazz extended Alec Burks' contract in the first place. So don't expect any panic moves to address his injury. I think the front office will be quite happy to move forward with Hood as the starter, Exum and Ingles seeing increased roles, and the committee of Clark, Murry and Christopher mopping up.
In any case, the opportunities will be there for someone to step up. Let's hope someone wows us.
Here's another fantastic tidbit to add to your "Quin Snyder is a mad genius" file, again courtesy Andy Larsen:
Quin Snyder said, and the players confirmed, that for one full timeout, Quin just said nothing and stared at the players. It worked.— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) December 31, 2014
We can't give Coach
Patrick Bateman Snyder too much credit for this one, though. He clearly picked it up from somewhere.
On the other hand, while Pop's general mood settles somewhere between "perpetual annoyance" and "not one crap is given this day," Snyder's emotional variance includes "rage," "murderous rage," and "creepy stalker." This just adds a "silent" modifier to any of the above.
I'm okay with it.
Okay, I'm freaked out now. FANPOSTS!
Just a single post this week, actually. Take it away, parelkid:
...We are now 29 games into an 82 game season. We've seen some ups and downs, some flashes of brilliance and some boneheaded play, and we've seen some awesome coaching as well as some questionable play-calling and substitutions. While I think most of us can agree that the 2014-15 Jazz are a much funner team to watch than last year's squad, ultimately our record doesn't quite reflect much of an improvement. So I decided to investigate the following questions: Are we in fact better off than last year's Ty-Tanic? And if so, how much better are we?
Check out the full post. The end of the year is always a good time for reflection and looking back at the past.
Here's an interesting chart for you: ESPN's Bradford Doolitte has taken a look at the NBA's top "glue guys," players who have a big impact on team wins despite a relatively low usage rate. Guess who shows up for the Jazz:
Yup. It's Rudy.
If you're not keeping up with Jody Genessy's Vines, you're missing out. Here's his offering to LeBron James for the King's birthday yesterday. The choice of music is...inspired.
Bless you, Jody. Your Vines have been the best Christmas present any Jazz fan could ask for.