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Thoughts on Stuff

May 5, 2009

A few thoughts on topics currently being rampantly discussed in the Jazz blogosphere:

–DWill said after the Game 5 loss:

“We’ve kind of regressed the last couple years,” Williams said. “We went to the Western Conference finals, then the second round and now the first round and really didn’t put up much of a fight. We’ve kind of taken a couple steps backwards, which is not good.” (source)

While the last month of this season was definitely, positively, conclusively, and in all other ways a mockery of Jazz/Sloanball, I wouldn’t say that the Jazz have regressed. It was simply a matter of when the Jazz ran into the Lakers/Spurs that determined how soon the season ended. Had they been able to avoid the Spurs in ’07 and the Lakers in ’08 and ’09 (all other factors like the injuries staying the same), they could have gone further.

–I’m not ready to give up on AK, and it would kill me to see him in another team’s uniform. I know that the Jazz system isn’t the best scenario for him to be all that he can be, but he’s only 28 (we forget that sometimes given how long he’s been around. I always think that Matty and Collins are 35+ since they, along with AK, have been around with since the S2M days) and I believe he still has a lot of amazing basketball left in him–though I’m not sure if we will get to see that given the confines of his current role on the team. Unlike many others, I have no complaint about his contract. It made sense when the Jazz gave it to him–when he was the future of the team–and no one can blame him for signing it. None of us would have turned it down and said “Hey, this might be too much.” It is what it is.

–Although AK is the most versatile player on the team and one of the most versatile players in the league, he’s being played out of position. He is better at the 4 than at the 3, period. Does anyone remember how much DWill hated being played at the 2 during his rookie year? Just because he can play SG, doesn’t mean he should be. It’s the same thing with AK, who, to his credit, has not complained about that. My ideal situation (apart from cloning a 25-year old Mark Eaton with a genetically-modified back of steel) would be Boozer opting out, the Jazz front office forgetting his existence and re-signing Sap, and playing AK at the backup 4. (Those that hate watching him take jump shots, which does include me at times, should like having him closer to the rim rather than out on the perimeter.)

–Continuing on with that train of thought, the Jazz definitely need to re-sign/extend Memo. It’s time for KK2 to get the backup C minutes, or at least 10-15 MPG, and Memo can even play some 4 if necessary (I like how his post game has improved). KK2 won’t spread the floor the way Memo does, but I think he has potential in becoming a post presence. At the very least, he takes up space and can block shots. So we’d have Memo and KK2 at the 5, Sap and AK at the 4, and too many players to name at the 2/3. (I don’t know what to do with Fes. I’m against letting him go, but that’s all I got right now.)

–As for Team Boozer vs. Team Millsap:

Numbers-wise, Boozer had the Playoffs that his fans expected from him (20.6 & 13 on 53% shooting and 3 TOs/game). If he opts out and the Jazz want to re-sign him, his games played record must be taken into consideration. Boozer has yet to play 82 games in his 7-year career, and he has an attendance rate of 67% in a Jazz uniform. (Say what you want about AK, but since their big contracts kicked in, Boozer has been paid almost $20,000 more per game than AK.) I think one of the main factors of his piss-poor Playoffs performance last year was that he played 81 games that season. It isn’t a stretch to say that the strength of his Playoffs performance is directly related to how many games he gets to sit out during the season. Therefore, if the Jazz decide to kill me go with Boozer, they really need to get a Matt Harpring clause into the contract (i.e. you miss games, you don’t get paid).

Consideration: Matadors and bulls are natural enemies. “The Original Bull,” a six-time All-NBA defensive player, cannot co-exist with the league’s top matador defender.

Sap, meanwhile, showed this season that he isn’t as durable as we’d thought/would like. However, in December and January (i.e. when Boozer was out) he was called on to play almost double the minutes he’d played the year before (20 MPG in ’07-’08 to 38 MPG in Dec. and 34 MPG in Jan.). I think he does have the capacity to play major minutes, but he perhaps needs to work up to them more gradually. The most obvious flaw in his game last season was that he couldn’t stay on the court due to foul trouble following him around like a sticky shadow. Encouragingly, this year he totaled just 19 more fouls than last year despite playing 600 more minutes. I doubt Sap will ever be a Karl-esque offensive focal point, but he is definitely a more-than-solid rotation player.

There are concerns, of course. Sap is all hustle and toughness, and being undersized, he has to and will have to work harder than bigger players to produce. Therefore, when his body goes, his game goes–maybe in a very similar fashion to what we have seen with Matty. And unfortunately, we saw a little bit of that this year when it seemed like he never really came back after he hurt his knee.

One thing I’d like to see Sap work on over the summer (besides shooting and free throw shooting) is his temper. He needs to unleash the beast. Sap seems to be a quiet guy, but I’d like to see him go postal (aka get nasty) once in a while when he’s getting abused in the post and the refs turn a blind eye. Sap plays tough physically, but I’d like to see more aggression and attitude (more Jerry, if you will) from him.

Considerations: 1) The greatest power forward of all time recommended Sap to the Jazz; 2) “Will2Mill” or “Willy to Milly” rolls off the tongue. “Williams to Boozer” does not.

–Is there any news on the two Euros we drafted last season? The first one, Ante Tomic, is 7’2″ and his best case scenario is a better looking Pau Gasol. Didn’t someone say something about us needing length? The other one, Tadija Dragicevic, sounds an awful lot like Boozer (while his eyebrows are an awful lot like Memo’s):

Athleticism is below average…feet [must be] much quicker defensively…Not very aggressive defensively…Offensively, Dragicevic must work on his inside game and find his go-to move in the post…His shooting ability is good but it has to become more consistent in games…Has a habit of fading-away while shooting even if smaller defenders are on him; makes his shot off-balance and missing many shots (source)

How come no one ever mentions them? Also, maybe we should start coming up with clever nicknames for them in case they ever arrive.

Two NBA notes:

–The Rockettes take Game 1 against LAL. Kobe took 31 shots. I bring this up because the Lakers have a habit of losing whenever Kobe decides that his teammates are crap and he’s the only one on the team that should get the ball. The Lakers only lost 17 games this year, but were 9-10 when Kobe took 25 or more shots. (In four of the remaining 7 losses, Kobe took 21, 22, 24, and 22 shots, respectively.) “Rocket science” it ain’t.

–David Stern–You can fine coaches and players all you want, but your officiating is crap, and you can’t keep the truth from coming out.

NEW YORK (AP)–The NBA fined three coaches Tuesday for publicly criticizing referees during the NBA playoffs.

Houston’s Rick Adelman, Portland’s Nate McMillan and Boston’s Doc Rivers all were penalized $25,000.

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