Utah Jazz Playoff To-Do List
What MUST happen for the Jazz to have a chance against the Nuggets in Round 1:
1) Deron Williams: Regrow magic beard
2) Andrei Kirilenko: Regain health and/or get some bionic limbs
3) Brian Zettler (equipment manager): Throw away/burn the baby blue road uniforms
4) Team: Grow hearts and balls. Jump-shot happy players, grow brains as well.
5) Team: Learn to foul hard. Make fouls count. If you’re going to foul, ensure that the other guy can’t and won’t get a shot up. Don’t foul like a p***y.
Are my expectations getting the best of me again?
We are crawling into the Playoffs again, having played four bad games in a row and eight bad, wishy-washy games out of the last ten. [So not coincidentally, ten games ago is when AK re-injured his calf.] We have forgotten how to play defense again. We are missing starter(s) again: last year, Memo; this year, AK and Boozer.
As a team and individually, the Jazz are struggling.
–Memo, Boozer, and AK are all dealing with nagging injuries. Not exactly confidence-inspiring, as their bigs routinely kill us and Memo and Boozer aren’t exactly athletic or defensive-minded (though I do have to give it up to Memo for his improved effort. Averaging 1.5 blocks per game since January against a career average of 0.7 bpg is something to write home about).
–Deron has just been off. OKC game aside, we have not seen much consistency from him lately. I can’t help but hold him at least partially responsible for our slow starts; it’s his job to set the pace and get the team going when it’s time for tip-off. For whatever reason, he just hasn’t been getting it done and spends much too much time complaining to the refs. From March to April, his APG is down by 3 and he averaged 4.2 TO/G for April (ouch). We know how ninja he can be; hopefully he can bring that and sustain that against Denver.
–Kyle, OMSW, and CJ are suffering from crises of shooting confidence [in chart form here].
**KK in particular has looked hesitant when shooting lately. Some think that the whole all-time 3P% record thing got into his head, but for whatever reason his FG% and 3P% fell by 22% and 14% from March to April.
**OMSW’s FG% and 3P%, meanwhile, fell by 9% and 4.4% from March to April.
**CJ…well, I can’t really say that his confidence has been shaken since he keeps shooting and his overall FG% actually went up by 3.4% from March to April. However, his 3P% fell by 8.5% and his FT% fell by 24%. Over the same period, his TOs have more than doubled and his SPG has fallen by 50%.
–And then there’s Sap. In 6+ more minutes of playing time per game in April, his rebounds (+4), assists (+1), steals (+1), and blocks (+1) per game all went up significantly. However, his FT% fell by 11% and he got blocked twice as often (.88 BA/g to 1.7 BA/g).
It doesn’t bode well that the 8 players I’ve listed are the top 8 players of our rotation; Price, Fes, KK, Yatta and OJ haven’t played enough minutes for me to conclude anything about them.
Here’s to…well, here’s to the Jazz having pride, and choosing to compete.