Wow. A week passes by in a flurry. It’s been a while since I updated, mainly due to family vacations, job issues and whatnot, and so I thought I’d throw down some smack tonight for old time’s sake.
The Jazz are in a really unique situation right now. They picked up Mo Williams from the Clippers, Marvin Williams from the Hawks, more or less waived CJ, dropped Bell, and have yet to release any of their four BIGs. I keep reading about how the Heat, Lakers and New York are adding to their rosters by making HUGE moves and have begun to get that pissed off feeling every fan of a small market team eventually feels. As Brad Pitt stated in Moneyball (albeit regarding baseball): “It’s an unfair game.”
So now I ask: what the hell was the point of the lockout last season? Because I thought the point was to balance out the league and keep teams from buying their championships … and yet, here we are some three months from the start of the NBA season and rumors of Dwight Howard joining Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant in LA continue to circulate the web. That’s all fine and good, but then I read that the Jazz re-signed rarely used Jeremy Evans and my brain hurts.
I feel like Utah is forever stuck in a one-step-behind growth spurt. Sure we got better this off season with the addition of the two Williams, but other teams got, um, more better. The Lakers signed Nash, who still continues to dominate his position, and are in the running to pick up Howard. The Heat signed both Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis – neither dominating players, but capable enough to fulfill pivotal supporting roles. New York picked up Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby … making a capable Knicks team all the more deadly.
In the meantime, teams such as Minnesota, Utah, and Denver sit briskly waiting for some sort of deal to fall their way. I get that Kevin O’Connor put us in a terrific position next off season salary wise, but does it really matter? You can offer all the money in the world to the Kobes and LeBrons, but they will not play in a small market situation. And so, next season the Jazz will end up overpaying for some second tier player, ala Carlos Boozer, in order to stay “competitive,” while the Big Boys continue to tip the scales largely in their favor.
Utah looks good, though. Damn good. I know Mo Williams carries the same numbers as Devin Harris, but it’s their leadership dynamic that sets them apart. Harris, while a capable guard, didn’t really understand his role. Williams, on the other hand, can hit the big shots down the stretch and isn’t afraid to pass the ball. Plus I’ve always felt he was a smart player … Marvin Williams may not be the answer to all of our problems, but it’s a nice step in the right direction. The Williams boys give us length, defense, speed, and some optimal perimeter shooting. I kind of wish we could re-sign Josh Howard, as he proved last year that, when he’s on he can greatly impact the game on both sides of the court.
I’m still not sure what to do about our BIGs. Jefferson is a capable scorer and, when not pitted against a physical defender, able to take over in late game situations. But his defense, as we all know, stinks. And he lacks toughness. Milsap is undersized, and kinda streaky, but hustles and plays with a lot of heart. If he could get that outside shot to fall more consistently I’d probably have more faith in him. Favors looks like a stud, while Kanter could go either way. Do we trade one of these guys? Two of them? Or do we keep this core intact? It’s hard to tell at this point, though I’d wager the Jazz brass will likely not want to pay too much moola to keep Big Al in town … same for Sap.
I still think the Jazz’s wing situation looks a bit jarring. But maybe that’s because none of our guys are proven players yet. Sure Gordy showed flashes of brilliance last season, but he also shied away in big game situations. I know he’s young, but we really need his outside shooting to be more consistent. Same with Burks and DeMarre Carroll.
Ah heck. The Jazz’s roster will probably look very similar to the way it did last year. The big question is: when the time comes, can we afford to keep our core from fleeing to Miami or LA?