We've talked a lot about expectations as this season has begun to unfold. Right now the Jazz are on an 8 game losing streak. That ties the Knicks for the longest losing streak in the league (The Sixers are on a one game winning streak after their inspiring victory over the Pistons). Where does this fit into your expectations?
Maybe it's due to their 5-7 start, but the vibe at ESA has changed. Fans are discouraged. Coach Q has praised their effort level in post game comments posted by Aaron Falk (SL Trib)(Four things after a 98-93 loss to the Magic)
"It’s hard to be too critical of a group that’s average age is 23, a starting lineup that’s playing hard and trying to get better," Snyder said at shootaround Friday morning. "Obviously we want to see that translate. The reality is, I’m not sure when. I’m not sure anyone knows exactly when. But I feel good about the energy and the commitment that our guys have to try to do what they need to do to get better."
But this seems to be in direct opposition to the fans, from my observations at the games. There has been some booing after the first halves against Denver and Orlando. Fans aren't seeing things as rosy as Coach Q. If the fans are listless, it's not a stretch to imagine the team feels the same way. The encouraging words are most likely just as much for the team as for the fans.
The Alec Burks saga continues, but for now, it looks like he'll be back sooner than later. From Tony Jones (SL Trib) Utah Jazz: Burks practices, could return against Kings:
Over the weekend, the Jazz received a bit of surprising, and welcome news. Burks has been cleared to practice, and is considered questionable for Monday’s game at Sacramento with shoulder inflammation.
This is good news for the Jazz, as they've looked extremely thin on the wings with Burks sidelined. The biggest revelation from Jones's article (to me at least) was this information:
Burks’ shoulder, which has been an issue since his days at Colorado, will still likely require surgery, The Tribune has learned. But the hope is that he can avoid it until the offseason.
Apparently it is an ongoing issue. Let's just hope that waiting is the right decision. Don't be surprised if, come March, the Jazz don't suddenly decide that Burks should do the surgery during the season. That's called a tankscuse.
A bit of sad news to counteract the good news, ahead of the Jazz/Kings matchup tonight. From Jody Genessy (Deseret News) Jazz-Kings: Bad news for Coach Corbin, but some good news for Alec Burks:
Corbin recently injured his Achilles tendon and has missed the Kings’ past two games, the Sacramento Bee reported.
That is such a debilitating injury (we've seen it ravage a lot of payers recently). Best wishes to Coach Corbin on a successful recovery.
A very interesting article from Patrick Minton (@nbageek) on this year's highly touted rookie class, and how they are performing in the NBA: An Early Look at the 2014 Rookie Class
Despite some early self-agrandizing (he mentions his prediction that one of the top picks will be a bust. Duh. This is as big of a prophecy as saying it will snow this winter), Patrick looks at some of the advanced metrics to measure the impact of players thus far.
Only 16 have played 200 minutes. Some of that is due to injury; Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh, and of course, Joel Embiid would all certainly have heavy minutes if they were healthy. But it is clearly true league-wide that most rookies are finding it tough to crack their team's rotation.
Of these 16, only one lottery pick (Parker) is playing above-average basketball, who perhaps should have been the #1 overall pick. It's early, and I expect things to change.
Patrick (Whom I believe is a Timberwolves fan) has a lot to say about Andrew Wiggins, and it's not flattering. He offers only a short blurb about Exum, but that seems to be all anyone can do, as he has played a total of 359 minutes (6 less than Jingles, bee tee dubs)
As down as anyone may be about the state of the Jazz's season, the bottom line is that it will take time. There has been enough information presented to show that there are improvements being made, it's just a matter of time before it starts to manifest in wins. The funk may continue for a bit, but eventually the schedule will ease, and we will see a run of good play, much like Jan./Feb. of last year.
Check back with SLC Dunk throughout the day for the game preview of Utah Jazz at Sacramento Kings, and much more.