Monday, May 19, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Much post-mortem talk on the Jazz season has already happened, both in the Utah media and on this blog. But I couldn't resist adding my two cents. Based on the quotes I read in the papers this weekend, I agree most with Deron Williams' assessment (and not Sloan's surprisingly sunny take or Harpring's "We're actually better than the Lakers" BS). To paraphrase, this is a good team with a young nucleus that made some strides over the last year. True, they went out earlier in the playoffs this time around, but they competed with possibly the best team in the league instead of getting trounced by them like in the '07 Spurs series. The future is relatively bright, with some clouds here and there.

The Good
  • D Will coming into his own. As one friend put it, this was the year Williams realized he was better than the rest of his teammates. He's the alpha dog now. Jazz fans should recognize that this team is not going to follow the Stockton-Malone paradigm. Rather it's a hybrid late-90s Jazz/early 2000's Pistons team, without the defense. Lots of good players but only one great one, not two.
  • The young nucleus. Our young players are incredibly promising. And not just Williams and Boozer. Millsap, Brewer, Miles, and even Fes are talented and if developed, could help the Jazz achieve greatness.
The Bad
  • AK's contract. Simply pretending the Jazz aren't in serious trouble because of the millions we owe Andrei does not make the problem go away. Williams is going to ask for and get max money and we can't afford to pay the two of those guys. Especially when one of them is at best the fourth biggest contributor on the team at this point.
  • Our size. For too long Boozer and Okur have been able to hide in this league. No more. They are an undersized power forward and center combo and it has the ability to kill the Jazz in the playoffs, especially on the defensive end. Eventually we're going to need someone to compete with the Gasol's and Tyson Chandler's of the world.
  • The Western Conference. It is deep and it is good. The Lakers and Hornets are going to be great for years and we need to deal with that fact somehow. We're close to where they are but based on this year's playoffs, both are better teams.
The Ugly
  • Boozer. I actually believe the media has not paid enough attention to this. Boozer killed the Jazz in the playoffs this year. He had one good game out of twelve and in the other eleven he hurt us immensely by taking terrible shots and not playing defense. I fear that the "undersized" knock on him may be coming true. He will always be a good player -- especially in the regular season when no one Ds up -- but unless something changes I question his ability to become a great one.


Orlando said...

I didn't hear the Harpring quotes. The Jazz core is nice, but I think we are a serious piece away from being a championship contender.

Boozer's contract (as well as Okur's) is soon to expire. Both Jazzmen are locked up through next year with player options for the 2009-2010 season. Larry H. better start selling a lot of tickets to non-gay themed movies.

Ryan said...

It's tough to know what to make of Boozer. He carried us on his back through last year's series with Houston and was very strong during the last two regular seasons, but I don't see him ever becoming even an average defender and his lack of size was a real issue in the Lakers series.

Boozer defensive weakness become more glaring when he is paried with Okur who doesn't have the desire or athletic ability to guard the paint.

Pasty Gangsta said...

I don't remember Harp's exact quote but it was something along the lines of "I believe in my heart that we're a better team than the Lakers." Wishful thinking at this point, Matt.

Crotty, in the next week or two I would STRONGLY support a post from you on the Jazz's current salary cap situation.

theexilesclan said...

So, I do not really suppose this is likely to work.