Things have certainly changed for the Utah Jazz ever since they selected Gordon Hayward with the 9th overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft. I remember watching the selection and having so many questions, yet still trying to keep my faith up that the head men of the Jazz knew what they were doing.
Shortly thereafter, Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver packed up their stuff and headed to the Windy City to play with the new-look Bulls, and the Jazz looked like they would be in big trouble if they didn’t make a drastic move soon. So, of course, that’s what they did, as they acquired the 25 year old PF/C Al Jefferson from the Minnesota Timberwolves and 9-year veteran Raja Bell from the Golden State Warriors. (Oh, and with the acquisition of Bell, the Jazz released a fan-favorite in Wesley Matthews after just one season with the team)
At this point, the production that both of the acquisitions can provide is still in question, as they are both coming off of injuries, and Bell is going to be turning 34 this season. But despite the question marks, the potential that these two guys have is well worth the uncertainty in my opinion. At his best, Al Jefferson can be one of the most dominating offensive big men in the game, and Raja Bell can provide the Jazz with some top-notch perimeter defense and a solid 3-point stroke.
Wait a minute… If you ask me, those two descriptions sound a lot like Carlos Boozer and Wesley Matthews. Throw in a comparison of two, good white shooters with Gordon Hayward and Kyle Korver and you basically have an even 3-for-3 trade. So the question is, “Which team would win in a 3-on-3 game?” Would it be the team of Boozer, Matthews, and Korver, or would it be the team of Jefferson, Bell, and Hayward?
Because I was so curious, I decided to simulate the game to find out for sure (at least according to the simulation). Fortunately for all you Jazz Rowdies out there, the new Jazzmen came away with the victory 21-17 (game was by 1’s and 2’s). In the game, Al Jefferson and Carlos Boozer led their respective teams in points, as Jefferson had 12 and Boozer had 9. Although you can credit each big man for superb offensive performances, each guy showed the inability to stop his counterpart effectively. On the bright side for Jefferson, he did finish the game with 3 blocks, which all came on Boozer attempts. Jazz rookie Gordon Hayward scored a cool 6 points and Raja Bell rounded out the newbies with 3. Korver and Matthews scored 4 points each for the X-men.
If this computer simulation is any indication of an improvement with the Jazz for this upcoming season, that would be fantastic. Is it enough to finally get them past the Lakers? Let’s just put it this way: I am not going to simulate to find out.