More on AK
Some fans seem to think that AK doesn’t deserve more PT because of his sub-par play in recent games. I would argue that you can’t expect him to produce big numbers (if, in fact, that is what you’re basing your perception of his production on; AK does a heck of a lot of things to help the Jazz that don’t show up in the box score) when you’re playing him out of position.
It would be like playing DWill at SG and then complaining that he’s not as effective. We all know that DWill can play shooting guard if that’s what his coach mandates, but his strength as a basketball player is at PG. During the Olympics, DWill had to play SG because of CP’s
diminutiveness presence. Of course he didn’t look as good in Beijing as he does for the Jazz (but that’s not to say that he looked bad in any way).
Now, that’s not a perfect analogy because CP is widely regarded as [one of] the best PGs in the league, and AK isn’t exactly being played at the 3 because Karl Malone or Tim Duncan is at the 4. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have a case. However, our [current starting] PF hangs out around the elbow launching jumpers all night long like Malone did–when he was 40.
AK’s had a good attitude about coming off the bench, and said recently that he doesn’t have any problems with his reduced minutes–despite the fact that he is something like the Jazz’s ninth man right now. He’s now playing KK ’07-’08 minutes–2nd and 4th quarters, and sometimes less. In December (when Boozer was out and before he was injured), AK was averaging 6.3 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.7 SPG, and 1.6 BPG. He got injured and underwent surgery in January, but in the games he played during the month, his shooting and APG actually went up while his TOs went down. Coming back from surgery, AK played monitored minutes but it was clear that he had a spark that had been missing for some time. And then Boozer came back, and AK’s [box score] performance started sliding.
If the Jazz are to go far in the Playoffs, DWill is the one player that has to be at the top of his game. I’d put AK second on that list. And if you want a player to be at the top of his game, your best bet is to take advantage of his strengths and slot him in where he is at his best.