The Utah Jazz are 26-26 and there are a lot of road games coming up. But before we get there we have to decompress all of what we saw over the weekend. And yes, All-Star Weekend has come and gone, but we still have a lot to talk about. How did the entire weekend turn out, who were the biggest losers and winners? How did our Utah Jazz players perform in the Rising Stars game? Historically, who has been the best dunker? All this and more!
Sooooo, the Utah Jazz are 26-26 right now. That's .500, and good enough for 7th / 8th in the West. (Both the Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers are .500, but they have played two more games this season) There are 30 more games left in the regular season for our boys, and 16 (more than half) are on the road. There are two extended road trips on the schedule: @ Celtics, @ Raptors, @ Grizzlies, @ Pelicans this month with the last game being the second of a back to back, and the third game in four nights; and @ Bulls, @ Bucks, @ Rockets, @ Thunder, @ Timberwolves late in March. That one is a back-to-back, two days off, a back-to-back, one day off, and the last game.
Overall the Jazz need to take care of business at home and on the road if they want to make the playoffs this year. The road is still a challenge for our players; but there are some really good home games coming up. The Jazz host the Nets, Wizards, Suns, Lakers, and Timberwolves. Those are five gimmies and "must wins" for our guys. It's not enough to off-set any schedule losses (like the Pelicans game at the end of the first road trip above) but it should be enough to keep the team from falling down in the standings.
The next 10 games will not be a barometer for the team, but will probably see the Jazz bench get healthier as time goes on. If the Jazz are going to make the playoffs it's fair to assume that they should at least break even against: @ Wizards, vs. Celtics, @ Trail Blazers, vs. Rockets, vs. Spurs, vs. Nets, @ Celtics, @ Raptors, @ Grizzlies, @ Pelicans. It's almost too late in the season to still be figuring things out. But I can't help but think that Alec Burks ' eventual return is going to make this team a lot harder to defend.
The NBA's Trade Deadline is in three days. There are parts of this team that are good, parts that are growing, and parts that can really be upgraded. If you look at the rumors, it seems like some teams (the Wizards) are interested in the expiring contract and extended range of power forward Trevor Booker. If the Jazz do lose Booker it would not be the worst thing in the world, but it would be a funny sequence of events. Effectively, Booker pushed Enes Kanter out of the rotation last year. And if the Jazz were to trade Booker at the deadline it would be like a revolving door leaving Trey Lyles as the last man standing. (Or flexing, as is his persuasion.) Does a #12 pick Lyles succeed a #3 pick in Kanter? If Utah moves Booker that could be the case.
Personally, I don't see a knock-out deal on the table right now. Booker has an expiring deal and our head coach Quin Snyder is completely enamored with his efforts. It's not like trading someone who is unhappy here (Kanter). This would be trading someone who may or may not be better than the guy behind him -- but there's no real reason to pull the trigger right now.
If fact, if you looked it up (and I have), an upgrade at back-up power forward is a nice idea. However, there are few bench power forwards out producing him on the floor right now. And few of those players who are doing more for their teams come as cheaply as Booker does at $5 million.
Wow, I guess I'm now leaning towards the idea that the team is not going to make a trade. Getting healthy makes a huge difference, it seems!
Best Jazz slam dunker?
Darrell Griffith (1984, 1985):
David Benoit (1993):
Jamie Watson (1995):
DeShawn Stevenson (2001):
Jeremy Evans (2012, 2013):
We love Jody! You should too! Check out his write-up of All-Star Weekend here!
I missed all of the events of All-Star weekend save for a big of the Celebrity game. It was fun to see Team Canada beat Team USA, but that's not really what the All-Star Weekend is about. For the longest time it really was about the Dunk Contest, but then years of bad dunkers screwed that up. And I don't think there's been an actually good All-Star Game where the players tried for more than just 20 mins than what we had in the 90s when egos and rivalries still existed. But I didn't watch the game, so I probably should not talk about it. Apparently I missed some interesting stuff this All-Star Weekend. Jimmer Fredette did his thing and torched the rest of the D-Leaguers in their game. Zach LaVine had himself a great game against the World Team, and then took it to Aaron Gordon for the dunk crown.
2017 dunk contest:— Adi Joseph (@AdiJoseph) February 15, 2016
John Jordan, 5'10" winner of D-League contest
Jordan Kilganon — this guy https://t.co/b9n8QoaGR6
But this guy tho!
And it was all Golden State for the three point shoot out. Thankfully I missed the hours long love-fest for Kobe Bryant before the All-Star Game. Maybe I'll pay more attention to it if the Jazz actually ever get to send someone to it.
We only got Jazz rep in the Rising Stars Challenge, and Raul Neto racked up nine assists. Rodney Hood wasn't used for his talents, and Trey Lyles didn't make anyone think he's the next Tom Chambers or anything. It seems like Trey Burke, Dante Exum, and Rudy Gobert all looked better in recent years in that competition.
It's only an exhibition, but the players who show themselves off are on a faster track to stardom than the rest. And at the end of the day, this weekend was basically a marketing version of the NBA Finals for the league. Between now an the playoffs they will use the data to better market the players and teams the fans want to see. And I think that's something that will always hurt a small market team going forward. There's just that much more money to be made if a big market team is succeeding. Anyway, that's a rant for another time.
Did you watch the All-Star weekend? Did you like it? Did you hate it?