Jazz Odds and Ends
1. How do I know no one is watching Jazz games? I’ve been hearing opposing coach after opposing player after opposing coach after opposing player talk about how well-executing, tough, and physical the Jazz (which in reality has the softest frontcourt in the league) are. So either scouts aren’t doing their jobs, or money is too tight to have scouts, and these teams are using old scouting reports from the 90s.
2. According to Masha’s blog and what I’m able to make of it, AK plans to play for five more years. Per Google Translate: “So, then, plans Andrei such. 5 more years in the NBA, team always, and then continued work on the specialty.” “The specialty” seems to involve going to grad school for finance, taking certification exams, and a summer internship at Morgan Stanley. I wish I knew a Russian speaker.
3. Phil Johnson and David Locke recently had a conversation (mp3) about the kind of player Raja Bell is–i.e. the kind of guy that gets after his teammates when they’re not getting the job done–and whether players can evolve into that. Phil’s position was that you can’t change personalities and you either have it in you or you don’t. And if you ask me, that is exactly what’s missing from and wrong with this team. [Note: as you can probably tell, this bit was written in early November.]
I mean, how sad is it that New Matty (Matthews) could very well be the toughest guy on the team right now?
4. Speaking of New Matty, the Jazz are handing out individual defensive grades this season (I so could not approve of anything more, especially since the system “evidently has created some actual interest in defense among Jazz veterans.” (desnews)) and Matthews has been leading the pack all season with a score of 90%. Coming in second and third, respectively, are Deron and Ronnie P.
“I don’t want to give it up,” Matthews said of his first-place standing. “There’s a lot of pride that comes with it. Everybody on this team is a competitor. I’m going to try to stay on top as long as I can.” (sltrib)
+100 for Wesley. Also, WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT OUR TEAM THAT OUR BEST DEFENDER IS AN UNDRAFTED ROOKIE?!
A few nights later:
“That’s part of me. That’s part of who I am. I did that in high school. I did that in grade school,” Matthews said of lunging for loose balls. “My Marquette coaches would’ve went crazy if I didn’t dive on the floor, so nothing’s changed.”
I recommend spending more time scouting Marquette players.
5. Said Deron recently:
“I’m surprised because he’s such a great player, but I’m not surprised because of how he’s going about things. You can’t demand to start on every team. It’s not going to happen. But that’s how he feels.”
OK, so Deron was talking about AI, but his words definitely apply to and could very well be about certain members of the Jazz as well.
6. Said Jerry about AK’s shooting (before the back strain):
“I think the biggest thing is he seems to be playing with a lot more confidence shooting the ball than he has in a long time, maybe even [since] his first year.”
That bodes well, no jinx no jinx.
7. There’s an unwritten code in the NBA/sports that when you’re asked about a player, whether he be a teammate or opponent, you always say something to the effect of, “he’s a great player” even if that’s not how you really feel. When AK was asked about the crapass way Boozer started the season, he said, “I don’t think he starts slow. I think he starts great and is getting better and better.”
That’s the kind of thing a good teammate says. Boozer, however, did not get the memo and/or it’s not in his makeup to not crap on his teammates/pee around what he perceives as his territory. He already reiterated at the beginning of the season that he’s “the starter.” To add to that, Boozer says this about Sap:
“He’s so good. We have a diamond in the rough in Paul. … He does such a great job. We have a great luxury having Paul come off the bench for us.”
Boozer couldn’t just leave it at “he’s so good.” He had to emphasize that Sap is a bench player and not yet ready for prime time. You think Sap was happy when he heard that? I can only shake my head.
NBA Odds and Ends
1. I predicted the demise of Mike Brown as Cavs head coach a few weeks ago. Has the beginning of the end already arrived? After he gave Ilgauskas (who has a warm place in my heart for always being a class act and making Boozer the rookie fetch him Lithuanian papers every morning back in the day in Cleveland) the first DNP of his career on the night when he was supposed to break the franchise record for most games played and had flown in family and friends for the occasion, even LBJ spoke out against Brown and his dick move.
2. TMZ reports:
During the phone conversation on Friday, Tiger told his friend, “I have to run to Zales to get a ‘Kobe Special.’” The person on the other end of the phone asked Tiger what a “Kobe Special” was. The reply — “A house on a finger.”
Random Fantasy Rant
When you draft bigs, what are you hoping for? High FG%, boards, and a block or two right? Yesterday, I needed rebounds more than anything in one my H2H leagues, and I felt pretty good going in because I had three bigs known to board playing in my matchup against a team that has been dubbed “the Nets” of our league. However, my super Wonder Trio of Brook Lopez, Al Jefferson, and Old Man Wallace decided to stink it up, totalling (between the 3 of them) 28 points on 6-23 shooting, 22 boards, and 1 block. Stellar.