Gordon Hayward steals the ball from Jason Terry (Photo from Rick Egan SL Tribune)

Jazz Drop 5th Straight to Mavericks


New night, same old story for the Utah Jazz. 15 turnovers, terrible 3 point shooting, and only 10 of 18 from the free-throw line. Add it all up and you get a measly 77 points, which will never be enough to beat a quality team like the Mavericks.

A similar tune was sung by the Jazz to the dismay of their fans and certianly the writers on this blog. The love affair that new coach Tyrone Corbin has with an aging and unproductive veteran Raja Bell. For the second consecutive game Bell led the Jazz in minutes played. Meanwhile, 2 top 10 picks from last years NBA draft, Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward sat on the bench for the majority of the game playing 20 and 21 minutes combined, deplorable.

The Jazz battled and stayed close for 3 quarters, with Hayward hitting a couple nice jump shots in the 3rd quarter, and Favors grabbing key rebounds and blocking 2 shots. Yet, like the script of a bad movie the 4th quarter rolls around, Favors and Hayward go to the bench and the Mavericks immediately go on a 13-0 run. The Jazz were down 2 when Favors left the game, down 4 when Hayward exited, and within a minute and a half they were down 11.

I realize there were many other reasons why the Jazz lost this game, and let’s not forget to give credit to the Mavericks who did what the Jazz have been unable to do for months, execute on offense and play solid defense. But this predictable and ineffective storyline that has become the Jazz season since their franchise was turned upside down, with the resignation of Jerry Sloan and the trade of Deron Williams, has to change. 

They cannot continue to stunt the growth of young players who have upside, in an effort to win now. They are not mathmetically eliminated from the playoffs but c’mon they are now almost 5 games out of the playoffs with only 8 games left. It’s time to start Hayward over Bell and it’s time to get Favors on the floor, 20 minutes per game for the young talent is the equivalent of a slap in the face to Jazz fans.

At one point tonight the Mavericks had 7 footer Brendan Haywood, 6 ft 11 Dirk Nowitzki and 6 ft 8 Brian Cardinal on the floor. The Jazz could have matched that height and given Paul Millsap a huge advantage down low had Corbin put Jefferson, Favors and Millsap on the floor together, but no he had Millsap guarding the much bigger Nowtizki, while Favors sat and watched.

I realize I’m not a player personnel expert, but if my wife who barely knows anything about basketball, can sit on the couch and say “why does Raja Bell play so much…and why don’t Hayward and the new kid [Favors] play more?” All I can do is turn to her and say, “honey I have no idea.” Then she asks why don’t you start tweeting about it and write about it on your blog, surely someone will read it and the Jazz will realize they are making a big mistake, yeah right.

All I can do is shake my head.  You would think if fans like us can watch the games and see the potential of this team by simply mixing up lineups, it’s not like the rotations they are using right now are working anyway, then the people who get paid to make these decisions would at some point try to change something.

Unfortunately I think Jazz Nation will remember the final games of the 2010-2011 season as the maddening frustration of watching Raja Bell play an absurd amount of minutes, while the young future of this team sits on the bench and watches. In doing so the Jazz have missed a golden opportunity to give 2 young talented players valuable experience by actually learning on the court. They have also failed to give a long, athletic, defensive and offensive powerhouse front court the potential to gel on the court by mixing up their rotations and putting their 3 best forwards on the floor at the same time.

But for Jazz fans there is some hope, we only have to endure this painful display for 8 more games, then it’s time to turn our attention to the draft. But I fear the Jazz will draft 2 more talented young players and they too will sit on the bench so aging veterans who are clearly on the downside of their career can play the majority of minutes. I can only hope a full training camp will change the maddening rotations and complete unwillingness to mix-up lineups on the floor that simply are not working right now.

Tags: Al Jefferson Dallas Mavericks Derrick Favors Gordon Hayward Paul Millsap Raja Bell Tyrone Corbin Utah Jazz

  • CRob

    I couldn’t agree more with you about your article. These last games are essentially the playoff games for our young players. Give them minutes and let them gain confidence and a better understanding of what they need to improve on in the off season. A quality team like the Mav’s is exactly the team our young players should be playing against. With our core of young players we should have the expectation of two years down the road. Let them play.