Okay, this is a recap that happened a few nights ago -- so in the 24 hour news cycle this is ancient stuff. But after having watched this game twice I still don't get how the Utah Jazz, comfortably ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers by double digits for most of the game, ended up having to rely on three defensive stops in a row to even get this to overtime. You had a turn over by Philly. A weakside block by . And then there was the great steal by Jack Cooley one on one against Jahlil Okafor. Then the Jazz called a time out with seconds left, and nano-heartbeats before Christapher hit a halfcourt three that would have won the game. After the time out the Jazz ran a play -- and executed it to perfection -- that got an open corner three with no one close to him. He missed, which is ironic, because that was pretty much the only time he did.
Brock Motum started this game, and got devastated by a dunk by Horace Grant 's nephew, Harvey Grant's son, . (Pronounced "Jeremy" because the English language isn't hard enough for non-native speakers already.) He did hit a nice three, and got a classic "three point range upfake" and drive game as a result. He actually hit two floaters, which is kinda unfair for a 6'10 guy.
is really close to supplanting on my depth chart for the team next season. He doesn't make all of his open shots (misses about 50% of the open jumpers Olivier Hanlan creates for him), but his defense and hustle is a game changer. I guess he's somewhat motivated by how much money just earned. I would be too, if I had the tools to make that much!
is an NBA player. He knows what he's doing when he's on the floor. Fundamentally years ahead of a lot of the rookie bigmen he was up against.
still shows flashes of his 1st round talent, but I don't know if it's going to come together for him. He would have made the Jazz a few seasons ago. Maybe not this season.
Olivier, has gotten better. He's obviously someone the Jazz want to get going. He has started the last two games in place of, and they've gone to him early. They put the ball in his hands and want to see what he can do. Honestly, this is the crazy part but I can speak from personal experience. I was great in drills. I killed it in practice. I was someone the coaches trusted. But when I got in games in high school (not in college, I was just all awful there) my coaches would lose their minds because I wouldn't show up there. I'd miss shots they'd seen me make 10 in a row in the gym by myself. It was frustrating for me, and frustrating for them too. How do you game plan for someone who doesn't play well in the games?
This could be the problem with Hanlan. He could be really distinguishing himself in practice, and deserve to start, or deserve these big minutes (while guys like Nick Wiggins and others don't get off the bench). But he's just in some sort of funk. I wish him the best. In the open court he made good decisions, and in the last two games his defense has improved. I know (from watching about an hour of his NCAA stuff) that he can make the shots he's been missing. But I'm certain that the NBA is a results based organization. The results so far for this 2nd rounder haven't been great.
And I'm sorry for using an anecdote from my basketball playing days. It is just where I must retreat to when we look at all of the data that we (non-team members) have to evaluate why someone gets playing time over someone else. We really only go by the games, which seem like the most important thing. But the games -- lets say four games in a week -- is only 3.2 hours spread out over four nights. Does three hours a week of below average to average work performance define everything else you do at work for the other 50+ hours?
I don't know. I am making excuses for his poor play. I think he's better than what we've seen. Hopefully we see better in Las Vegas.
Trey Lyles did make a huge impact in his first game. His hesitation / setting himself up robs PGs of assists. But it allows for him to see the floor, and is an example of his face-up ability. He's not just there to shoot it (though he did know he was on the floor to be a scorer), but to also see the floor and pass as a part of an offensive system. He proved to me that he is that. He's so far an offensive player, he understands "team offense". We hear about guys out there on the floor who understand their role in "team defense", they shift over accordingly, they know when the switch, they have good discipline to stay on shooters, and so forth. Lyles shows that he understands "team offense". He sets screens when they are necessary. He has one on one moves, but is more likely to hold off on that to see where a play is developing first. He's not a pure finisher (either a pick and pop guy, or a driver), but he's feeling things out.
He did a fine job drawing some fouls, and had a great pass to Cooley for the jam.
And really, it was the Cooley and Cotton show. Cooley did it with put backs, rebounds, steals (3!), and hit some key free throws when the team needed it most. Cotton wasn't really a point guard out there, but he was a playmaker. He got his own shot down the stretch when the team was looking for someone to step up. He had a NCAA Trey Burke type of game. Of course, it would be wrong of me not to put in my own pov here and suggest that the NCAA (or NBA) Trey would have hit that open baseline jumper to win the game. He's kinda made a habit of at least doing that at this level.
Solid win, Jazz went 3-0 in Utah. They start off another (at least) four games in Las Vegas today. Game tips off in a few hours. More posts to do stuff before then, though.