Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Making A Case For C.J.

What should the Jazz do with CJ Miles? He's really the only player on the Jazz roster that is currently in limbo. Everyone else seems to be accounted for and under contract for next season(14 players under contract, whereas the league limit is 15).

Recently, the Jazz tendered a $1.2 million qualifying offer to CJ. And undoubtedly, CJ will explore the free agent market (as a restricted free agent) to see if he can secure a better contract and opportunity elsewhere. The kicker here is that the Jazz have the right to match any outside offer that CJ receives, reeling him back into the Utah Jazz "fold", if they so desire. But, is that what the Jazz really want to do? How much will they pay for CJ?

In my estimation, CJ has the potential to be a valuable contributor to the Jazz and his talents shouldn't be wasted. For argument sake, let's compare him to the other shooting guards and small forwards on the team. Granted, it's difficult to compare the players because CJ doesn't get the same minutes as the others. But, at least we can see how he stacks up currently to the other Jazz wing players.

CJ Miles: 11 minutes played per game, 5 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.9 assist and 0.53 steals, he shot 48% from the floor and 39% from 3-point. When CJ played more than 10 minutes per game (on 30 different occasions), he averaged 8.1 ppg. The Jazz went 18-12 when CJ played extended minutes. Also, it must be noted that CJ has finished his 3rd year on the Jazz. He came directly from high school to the NBA and would be going into his senior year of college, if he had gone to school. He's only 21 years old.

Ronnie Brewer: 27 mpg, 12 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.7 spg, 55% FG, 22% 3pt. Brewer rates out as our top wing performer. His shooting percentage is tremendous, though CJ Miles is a much better 3-point shooter. Brewer is only in his 2nd year and will only get better. He's 23 years old (2 years older than CJ!).

Kyle Korver: 23 mpg, 10 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.56 spg, 44% FG, 37% 3pt. Korvs can shoot the ball, but his percentages are lower than CJ. You wouldn't realize it until you saw the numbers. Korver is a great team player and fit for the Jazz. He's a solid specialty ace coming off the ball and hitting shots. He's dangerous from 3 and stretches the D.

Andrei Kirilenko: 31 mpg, 11 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4 apg, 1.2 spg, 1.5 bpg, 50% FG, 38% 3pt. Andrei clearly brings the intangibles. His blocks are best on the team and his steals averages are good too. He's a terrific passer and very unselfish. His shooting percentages are solid. The problem isn't so much his production, as it is his contract (in relation to his production). For what he's being paid, he's KILLING us! I think if CJ were given Andrei's minutes, he'd perform even better offensively than AK. However, Kirilenko gives us quality defensive numbers. The Jazz went 6-3 this year when Kirilenko DIDN'T play.

Matt Harpring: 18 mpg, 8.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.1 apg, .57 spg, 50% FG, 20% 3pt. Harpring plays because he's tough as nails. He brings the ferocity. He's actually an undersized power forward. His 3pt % is atrocious. I don't understand why he plays over CJ Miles. The only logical explanation is that he roughs-up the opponent and Sloan loves it.

Morris Almond: Almond hasn't had enough exposure to really compare to the others (and so it's difficult to assess). From all accounts, he's a tremendous shooter and scorer. Through my experiences watching him, he can score from all angles of the floor, but not do much else. He's not a great athlete. He has terrible lateral quickness and agility (hindering his potential as a defender). And I have a feeling that he might become a one-trick pony as a shooter (ala Korver). CJ has better athleticism and length and has proven himself in NBA games that he can shoot admirably from the perimeter.

All in all, the Jazz must take value in CJ Miles' ability and potential. He already rates higher than most of our perimeter players in terms of shooting and scoring. The guy is only 21 years old, and possesses the ability to get better.

If anything, the Jazz need to assess who will be the better player in the future, perhaps not just for next season, but in years after that. In my opinion, CJ should be the starting shooting guard, next to Ronnie Brewer at the small forward. Kirilenko and Korver would come off the bench, while Harpring would gain minutes sparingly. If anything else, I think it spells time for the Jazz to consider moving the 'one' contract holding us down...the AK47. If they desire to move past the CJ experiment, the Jazz better obtain value for him, or else CJ will make us look bad in the near future.


The Golden Griff said...

Agreed. "Frequent Flier" Miles is the 3 of the future for the Jazz.

Orlando said...

Here's the problem with comparing stats - they only show offensive production (and rebounding). CJ is a nice offensive player, but from what I've seen he is a complete liability defensively. Unlike Korver, he has the ability to defend, but he has not shown me (or Sloan obviously) that he gets the defensive half of the game.

That also is the only reason Harpring plays. I can't stand that we give Harpring minutes (and 6 mill/yr) but he gets time because he actually competes defensively.

Draft Guru said...

Crotty... you bring up solid points. The problem is that NONE of our wings are good defenders. NONE OF THEM! Brewer has some potential there. Kirilenko provides excellent "help" defense. But nobody can play effective on-ball defense. Harpring "tries" (which is better than most), but unfortunately doesn't have the foot speed and then fouls. From an offensive standpoint though, CJ more than holds his own. Perhaps the Jazz need to scrap and pick up a defender (I don't know who that would be).

Tucker McCann said...


Pasty Gangsta said...

I want to clarify my feelings on Miles a bit. I don't hate him like I hate Collins; I just worry that, as Guru points out, we have too many players like him. When he skips the Revue year after year and only gets limited minutes during the season, it's hard to argue we should keep resigning him for more money.

I do in theory like the idea of getting him and Brewer more PT while bringing Korver and AK off the bench and cutting Harp's minutes. And, again in theory, I think that could potentially do AK some good. He could be the focus of the offense and go against the other team's second unit. However, with a psyche more fragile than Lindsay Lohan's, I fear a move to the bench would be the last blow to AK's productive years for the Jazz.

JC said...

when it comes right down to it, we need to move AT LEAST 1, if not 2 of them. I love Harpring's football mentality (*shudder* how many times have we heard that) but he's not the Harps from 5 years ago. Brewer can't shoot but he moves well and can jump out of the gym. I love the X-factor in AK, but it's so sporadic. As much as I love his game, his contract is a giant anvil around the neck of the Jazz. I say let Brewer and Miles play for the starting spot, loser is 6th man.

Orlando said...

I like Brewer - but see him more as the first guy off the bench who gets 20-25 minutes per game rather than the starting 2 guard for a contender. The fact that Harpring still gets minutes on this team drives my nuts.

JC said...

drives your nuts? How, exactly, does that work? ;)

Orlando said...

Whoops. Typo. But a good one, undoubtedly.

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