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The Utah Jazz's Long December: The Downbeat #1806

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The Jazz won a game, but things in Utah are sad. So very, very sad.

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Yes, I'm making a mid-'90s Counting Crows reference in the headline. I don't care. Watching last night's near-debacle against the Sixers has erased any shame I might have felt. The Jazz are hurt, the fans are sad, and I'm going full Emo Kylo Ren. Deal with it.

I am here to confirm to you that last night's game was, in fact, between two NBA teams. It was really bad. I kind of don't want to talk about it. I almost would have preferred it if the Jazz lost, because that at least would have been funny. (And not to steal Moni's thunder, but the Sixers fans seemed to really want this one, and they were VERY angry at the referees. Maybe everyone would have been happier if the result went the other way.)

Not that I don't want the Jazz to win, of course. Wins have been hard to come by this December. At least, it feels that way...but the Jazz are actually only 5-8 this month, and they have two "winnable" games to end 2015.

I mean, I'd have called them winnable before watching last night's performance. Without Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors and Alec Burks (and Dante Exum, of course), the current Jazz team is a shell of the version we fell in love with over the second half of last season.

It won't stay that way forever -- as the Counting Crows guy said, maybe the new year will be better than the last, once the team heals up and comes back together. On the other hand, we could just as easily end up in that one Death Cab song.

Speaking of Alec Burks, we do have a bit of news on his status:

From the article:

The procedure, which will include the insertion of a plate and screws on Tuesday in Salt Lake City, will allow Burks to begin weight-bearing activities quicker than simply letting the bone heal on its own. The surgery could expedite his return to the court.

There remains hope that Burks could make his way back to the lineup after the NBA All-Star break in mid-February, league sources said.

From Andy Larsen:

I certainly don't know any more than these folks. Burks wasn't completely lighting the world on fire, anyway -- obviously the Jazz are weaker without him, but he can't save this season single-handedly. (I'm afraid nothing can do that now. (Sorry, I'm getting emo again.))

Here's a FanPost with another sad prospect, as oregonjazzfan asks if it's time to trade Gordon Hayward:

Why would the Jazz trade Hayward? Well his contract is up in a year and a half (ala Deron Williams when he was traded.) Now he is not a locker room problem who as likely to leave as Deron was. But is he worth the max contract extension a player with 7 years qualifies to receive? The percentage of the cap is much higher than the max contract after a rookie contract, though I don't have exact figures. If we made a good trade and then got lucky enough to sign Batum or Harrison Barnes during the offseason I think we come out way ahead. The contracts for Batum or Barnes will be lower because the cap is skyrocketing each of the next two summers.

More sadness: Over at the SB Nation mothership, Tom Ziller reports on the sad state of the Western Conference playoff race:

First: Is there really only one spot available? Yes. Golden State, San Antonio and Oklahoma City are flying way out in front. The Clippers and Mavericks (against all odds) are comfortably above .500 at this point. Memphis is flitting around .500, but has seemed to find some level of groove with a revamped starting five. Houston is at .500, but trending upward. The Rockets are only up two games on No. 9 Utah, but I expect that gap to grow. Dallas or Memphis could slide down into the muck, but don't count on it.

And now, the seven teams in the sad, exhilarating race for No. 8, ranked in order of the likelihood they'll claim that final playoff spot.

Ziller ranks the Jazz as the most likely to claim that No. 8 spot, based on the strength of the team's roster when healthy. But if they're not healthy? Things will get sadder.

Okay, Shums. Think of one not-sad thing to end this Downbeat. You can do it.

Um.

Okay.

Uh.

...socks?

Those are pretty cool! And you can buy exactly the same ones the Jazz wear on the court!

...yeah, I got nothing.