Quick Off-Day Odds and Ends
One. Memo on starting vs. coming off the bench: “I wouldn’t mind coming off the bench, but it’s not up to me; it’s up to Coach. So whatever he says, I’m ok with that.” (ABC4)
Even if this is what every player should say, it still makes me smile to hear a player actually say that, and know that there are no more “I AM a starter, hands down, period” declarations tainting our locker room.
Two. Raja, on how Jerry’s changed from when he was here the first time around:
He’s definitely changed. He’s a lot more laid-back than he was my first time around. What I took for granted the first time I was here was that it was a tough time for Jerry and I remember him being tough and ornery and he was mad a lot, but quite frankly he went through a tragic personal loss and he was professionally going through a change from John Stockton and Karl Malone to a team that was full of young guys that were all trying to find their way.
Now, he’s a lot more laid-back. He’s still tough, he still expects you to come in here and work and give it your all, but I’ve also seen him change a bit in his ability to evolve with the game. He obviously gives Deron some freedom; we all actually have a lot of rope that we’re allowed to go out there and play with. … Jerry’s as cool as they come. (KFAN mp3)
Three. Millsap on the Jazz’s defense this year: “We’ve made a conscious effort to help each other. I think everybody has taken it as a personal challenge to go out and guard their guy. That’s the big difference [from] past years. Everybody’s taking it on as a challenge.” (sltrib)
Paul doesn’t name names, but I bet I know what he’s thinking and not saying, and I bet I know what you’re thinking, and you know what I’m thinking.
Four. I’m sure I’m not the only one bemoaning AK’s dunk phobia this season. Unfortunately, that phobia is also affecting Millsap and Jefferson.
Per CBS Sports, AK is our dunk leader through 21 games with 15. Sap is second with 13. Next come Al, CJ, Evans, and Ronnie P with 7, 7, 6, and 6 respectively. So yeah, through 21 games, we have just two guys that are dunking it more often than .6 times per game. And yeah, Jeremy Evans has 6 dunks in 42 minutes of playing time, while Big Al has 7 in 748 minutes. We knew that Al doesn’t like alley-oop passes because he told Deron so at training camp, but I didn’t know he doesn’t like to dunk at all.
I can’t find dunk stats for last season, but per 82games.com:
A disturbing trend, if you ask me. This little commentary is not about the excitement of seeing dunks. It’s about dunks being more likely to go in than layups. I’m so sick of seeing and hearing “…ball falls off the rim.” Bleh.
Five. Coaching Record Update: Jerry needs 6 more WINS to pass Pat Riley for 3rd all-time coaching wins, and 9 more GAMES for his 2,000th game as a head coach. He is currently 5th all-time in games coached, and Larry Brown is two games ahead. By the end of the season, Brown and Jerry will have passed Bill Fitch and be 3th and 4th, respectively, on that list.