Leftover Pre-season Odds and Ends
First, a note: I’m going to be tracking three stats in the sidebar this season. The first is one that many Jazz blogs and sites will no doubt track: the Knicks record (Why?). The second is one you’ll hear/see mentioned in every single nationally-televised Jazz game: the number of coaching changes since Layden–>Sloan. The third, just for kicks and because numbers don’t lie: Deron’s all-time record against CP3. For no reason at all, I’ll also be ending each game recap with a graphic depicting the Jazz’s record based on uniform worn.
1. Does Jerry know something that we don’t/do but haven’t been able to confirm?
“In the last few years, we lost [Derek] Fisher and Matt [Harpring] and that hurt us. They were dirty-work guys. We need more of that with the guys we’ve got. It’s tough to win if you don’t have some of that.” (sltrib)
2. Jerry on AK’s hair:
“I don’t get into that,” Sloan said, smiling. “I’m not going to marry him.” (desnews)
3. Deron on Jerry:
“He is a great defensive coach,” said Deron Williams. “But he can only do so much for us. It’s got to be us — out there — wanting to play good defense. You have to want to get stops and that’s how we have to attack it this year.” (sltrib)
Given what we saw from the Jazzmen in Game 1, this just confirms my belief that the players are the problem, not the coach or the system.
4. Winner of Empty the Bench‘s “Least Likely to Have Great Stats, But You’d Want Him in Your Starting Lineup” Award:
Andrei Kirilenko, Utah Jazz
In 2003-04, then-23-year-old Kirilenko looked to be on the verge of a statistical breakout the likes of which basketball fans have rarely seen. He averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds, but he really took the NBA by storm by becoming the only player other than David Robinson to ever rank in the league’s top-5 in steals (1.9) and blocks (2.8) in a season. Well, the breakout never happened, and last year he posted a modest 11.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.2 spg, and 1.2 bpg. Lucky for the Jazz, AK-47’s stats are only a small piece of what he does.
The 6-9 Russian is a defensive maestro, swooping in from the weak side to disrupt a huge percentage of passes and shots. Utah’s defense is significantly better with him on the floor, both observationally and statistically, and the numbers he does accrue usually seem to come at very crucial times in a game.
Offensively, Kirilenko does a little of everything (posting up, driving, passing, shooting threes) without being poor at anything, and his skills are versatile enough that he’s played shooting guard through power forward. Watch his intensity and knack for big plays, and there should be no question why he is one of Jerry Sloan’s captains.
5. I totally thought this was Dirk at first glance:
7. I really, really, really, really, really want to read the rest of the Donaghy book.