Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eric, we hardly knew thee...

Tonight it was announced that the Utah Jazz have sent Eric Maynor (and Matt Harpring's expiring contract) to the Oklahoma City Thunder in return for the rights to Peter Fehse of Germany, who incidentally has logged as many minutes in the NBA as your's truly. The Jazz have no interest in signing Fehse. It is merely a financial move that will save the Jazz around $10 million in luxury taxes.

I'm not surprised that the Jazz made a move to give them some tax relief, but I am surprised that the deal involved our backup PG. Maynor had been a steady contributor, and looks to have a bright future ahead of him in the NBA. In explaining the trade, Kevin O'Connor has said, "the fact is we've got Deron". While it is true that Maynor was never going to challenge Deron for the starting position, one only needs to mention names like Jordie McTavish or Delaney Rudd to understand the importance of a competent understudy at the point.

Tim Buckley also referenced the fact that Deron is averaging 38.5 minutes a game to show that Maynor's exit would not substantially affect the Jazz. This stat is a bit misleading, however, since Maynor and Deron have shared the back court often this season, and the combination has been pretty effective.

This deal may be most telling in terms of the Jazz's current financial situation. If we are willing to trade one of our best young players to an up-and-coming divisional rival for only financial relief in return, it tells me that the Jazz are 1) really hurting financially and/or 2) have it as their first priority to be a money-making organization first and a championship contender second.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rich Revenge

After getting blasted on Wednesday night in LA 101-77, the Jazz came back and showed a little revenge on the Lakers. The Jazz played a phenomenal game, outlasting the Lakers 102-94 at home in the ESA. Being in attendence, I'll share some highlights from the night...

Deron Williams was on his game. He took the LA PGs to the play-ground and absolutely abused them. He had a couple of sweet razzle-dazzle, end-to-end moves that put his defender on their backside while finishing strong at the rim over Laker bigs. The crowd erupted everytime he embarrassed his defender. He was brilliant last night. And it showed in his line of 21 points & 11 assists.

Brewer and Matthews were absolutely fabulous last night! Each player scored 19 points a piece. Considering the fact that each player outplayed Kobe Bryant, we can officially say that last night was definitely "our night" in the ESA. About Matthews... "Please... lets' get this guy on a long-term contract!" The guy is absolutely tough as nails on the floor and won't back down from anybody.

According to ESPN.com... "Utah's six points in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's road loss to the Lakers accounted for the worst fourth quarter in franchise history and the team's second worst quarter ever." The Jazz had a tremendous bounce back game against the Lakers, after performing so miserably the last time we played them. Kudos!

Korver, Kirilenko, Price & Fesenko didn't play last night. Kirilenko has back problems and Korver is still rehabbing from his knee ailment (though he did suite up). Our line-up was limited to Memo, Boozer, Millsap, Brewer, Matthews, CJ, Maynor & DWill. They got the job done! Korver may have lost his position for good due to the play of Matthews and CJ (22 against Orlando).

Carlos Boozer played a solid game last night. He recently was criticized by the Chuckster, Charles Barkley, for being the problem to the Jazz's lackluster play this year. While I tend to agree with Chuck, I have to give credit to Booz for raising his intensity and effort over the last few weeks. Boozer has played awesome for us. Chuck was right though. What are we going to do with the future of Carlos Boozer playing for the Jazz? It looks like he'll play the season out with us, and then leave...

The upper deck at the ESA was littered with Laker fans everywhere. Kobe jerseys were scattered throughout the crowd. Infact... Ronnie Brewer thought the crowd was "60-40" Jazz fans. In the upper deck, he was probably right. Interesting enough, I went to the game with friends (Laker fans) from So. California. It was great to put the beat down on the Lakers in front of so many of their fans! We definitely got the last laugh.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wes Matthews is no Deshawn Stevenson

Deshawn Stevenson prepares for tough defensive matchups by calling out the opposing player. For instance, when facing Lebron, he calls him overrated.

The Jazz' lone rookie in the starting lineup and lone defensive player, Wes Matthews, charts a different course. As Young Wes prepares to face the Lakers and their all-star shooting guard, he may just have referred to Kobe as "the greatest to ever play this game."

Wes might as well have spat in Booner's face.

Almost Bonner-ed

Meet the new Jazz killer... Matt Bonner. Bonner very nearly beat the Jazz single-handedly last night, taking the winning shot down the stretch, yet coming up short. Bonner beware.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Here We Go Again

The second game loss of a back-to-back, to a poor team, has become common place for the Jazz. It's the reason why I don't take the Jazz very seriously. It has happened alot in past seasons and continues to be a problem for us today. I enjoy being a Jazz fan... And will always cheer for the Jazz... However, I fully understand that we're not a contender (even when we're playing well for certain stretches). I suppose acceptance of this fact can be a good thing. It does beg the question of where this franchise needs to go in the future. Let's just hope for an opportunity to make the playoffs again this year. Unfortunately, my reality "bites" post after an exciting streak of winning ballgames came quicker than I expected.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

On A Roll

Look who's returned to dominant form with a vengence... Carlos Boozer. Roaring like a bear... The Booz has been on an absolute tear recently, scoring over 20 points in his last 6 games and racking up 35 points and 13 rebounds last night against the Pacers. Coach Sloan even commented that Boozer is playing the best basketball of his career... "the best he's ever seen" from him. That's high praise from the coach! It's great to see Boozer pull out of his early season slump and get back into a basketball-seasoned groove.

Check out which player has made a huge difference for the Jazz in a starting role... Wesley Matthews. My new favorite player to watch on the Jazz has developed his role as a slasher, defensive presence, and even a scorer from the wing position. You'd think that Ronnie Brewer would be providing that role (unfortunately, Ronnie had a tough night last night... 2 points). Also, with CJ Miles back in the lineup (which is nice to see), you'd expect CJ to pick up the slack. But, no, it's not CJ, Ronnie, AK or Kyle Korver getting the job done, it's Wes Matthews. Give the guy some credit... He's playing his tail off and providing the Jazz with some serious production. Matthews scored 18 points and grabbed 5 rebounds last night. He was also given the quote of the night...

"If you're not making baskets, you gotta make sure they don't... Your offense might not come to you every night, but you can definitely pack your D and your heart."
When has a Jazzman ever produced such a profound and succinct quote?

Lastly, look at which team is on a serious role... the mighty Utah Jazz! Four-in-a-row... clap, clap clap. Four-in-a-row... clap, clap,clap! Let's keep this thing going strong.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hello Jerry - Goodbye Little Jerry

Two and a half Jazz notes on this Thursday evening:

First, Jerry has signed on for one more year of steering the Good Ship Jazz. I, for one, am glad he's still here. I know that some of my blogeagues have been hoping for his retirement, but when I survey the coaches out there I realize the Jazz have one of the best in the business. And he can tell the players stories about the Great Depression.

Second, as has long been expected, Matt Harpring has called it quits for the year and may be done for good. Insurance will likely pay for his salary this year. I have been a vocal critic of Harpring the past few years, but I have to admit that the Jazz miss his toughness. Harpring has always been a warrior, if a mediocre basketball player. You'll be missed, Sr. Harpring.

Lastly, luckily, our team may not miss Harpring's toughness and strength. We're about to get CJ Miles back!


Tomorrow will be a grand day in Jazz fashion history. Not only are the mighty Pacers in town (who doesn't love Troy Murphy!), but the Jazz will be sporting their green throwbacks for the first of ten times this year. I can't wait. The green jerseys were the Jazz' road uniforms from 1981-1984. The next year they drafted the Basketball Holy Ghost and ditched the green in favor of the familiar purple. Dreamers like me can dream that this is the first step towards reuniting the team with their original color-scheme. Blue is blasphemy.

Regardless of the lasting impact of the change, I am sure that the old timers are loving the hat tip. Somewhere in this great land Rickey "Don't Lose that Number" Green and Danny Schayes are sharing a drink, a laugh, and a hug.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rare Michael Jordan Photo

Does this strike anyone as bizarre? Fruity? Please discuss . . .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Championship City

So… at work, I looked outside to notice a procession-line of cars rolling down State Street with a police escort, and for the life-of-me, I couldn’t tell what the purpose of it was. My co-workers mentioned… “Maybe it’s a Federal dignitary (they were rolling in Suburbans)… maybe it’s an important National figure… perhaps it’s a funeral procession of an important State official”. Nope. None of the above. It was the celebration parade for Real Salt Lake, winning the MLS Cup.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t on the street to celebrate. I wish I was, because nobody was out there. Truthfully, I didn’t know about it. I remember when the University of Utah won the Sugar Bowl… and it was a huge event to participate in the parade celebration downtown. There were thousands of people on the street wearing their red that day. This time, it was a quick venture down the road, without much fanfare. Hopefully, fans were awaiting the team’s arrival at Rio Tinto Stadium.

I’m happy for RSL. They’ve brought a championship to Salt Lake City. Not since the Utah Stars of 1971 have we ever won a championship (I’m not sure you can count those of the mighty Bees, Trappers, Grizzlies… Infact, I don’t even know if those & other Utah teams have even won championships in their respective professional leagues). That being said, nothing can compare to winning an NBA championship. There’s just no comparison between MLS & the NBA, in terms of the grandeur, prestige, importance & fanfare that a championship would bring to this city. SLC would be going absolutely crazy… bonkers… nuts… if we had won an NBA championship and were masquerading down State. I can’t even imagine what that experience would feel like! Anyway… I’m happy for RSL. I just wish it were the Utah Jazz.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Pick and Roll

As loyal Jazz fans, we all know that the pick and roll has been and always will be the staple of our offense.

Except for now it turns out that it's not and that the Jazz and Lakers run the fewest number of pick and rolls in the league. Shocking, but according to Synergy Sports Technology, true. Now, during my years in the business world I have come to radically distrust anyone who uses the word "synergy," let alone in the name of their company. However, these guys may be right. Deron Williams for one agrees: "Everybody just associates pick-and rolls with us because of John and Karl," Williams said. They ran it out a lot, but similar to us. We run it toward the end of the game when we need baskets, but we try to execute our offense first."

Maybe this isn't a huge deal, but there are three interesting points worth considering. First, our offense has been pretty stagnant this year. You can see why the Lakers don't need to run the pick and roll: Kobe is a great creator and if he can't get anything it's not hard to dump the ball off to their huge front line. We're not exactly blessed with that kind of talent. Second, it turns out the rest of the NBA is using the pick and roll a lot more than they used to. Some teams use it 25% of the time; we do 11%. The game is more up-tempo than it was ten years ago when defense and a good post game ruled the day. Third, the players who get the most points out of the pick and roll are Steve Nash, Chris Paul, and Tony Parker. Wait a second. . . we have a guy just like them named Deron Williams!

Should the Jazz use the pick and roll more often than they do? Is this another sign that Jerry is just a tad out of his element these days? When we score three points during the first eight minutes of a quarter again might it make some sense to clear everyone out and have Williams and Boozer/Millsap run the bread and butter? Discuss.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Party Like It's 1999

We did it! The streak is over... Time to celebrate! You know it! We beat the Spurs in San Antonio! Hurray!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our Lineup

It looks like Jerry is going to continue to start Wes Matthews after his two-game tryout. That likely means AK will move to the bench and Ronnie will start at the three. Neither of those guys have exactly staked a claim to a starting position this year, so it must have been a bit of a tossup. AK has a fragile ego but he also benefits from going against other teams' second unit. Let's be honest -- you'd rather try an ill-advised three or behind the back pass on a fast break against them than the starters.

This begs the question though: who was the last rookie to claim a starting spot this early in the year under Jerry Sloan? Emphasis on "claim" not "start a few games because everyone else at the position was out with an injury." I don't actually know the answer. It certainly wasn't Deron Williams or Ronnie Brewer or any of our other high draft picks. You gotta hand it to Wes.

Speaking of our lineup, next year's is looking better as the Knicks are considering signing Allen Iverson. Could their dysfunctional disaster of a year get any worse? With that type of move, you bet.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Who needs Deron?

The Jazz' forgotten rookie (the one we drafted), got his first two NBA starts this past week due to Deron's unfortunate absence. And they were auspicious debuts.

Against the 76ers, Maynor had 13 points, 11 assists, and only two turnovers. The following night against the Cavs, he had 24 points on 9-16 shooting, to go along with 4 assists. And most importantly, Maynor possesses that essential non-box score trait: Moxie. Needing a hoop late in the game against the Cavs, the young rookie took it upon himself to get us a huge bucket. In the end, Lebron took the game into his own hands, so Maynor will have to wait to have his first game as hero.

But I think we have a keeper.

What the Jazz lack...

I was thinking this weekend that perhaps what the Jazz are lacking the most this season is their fiery old owner. Many of you may have witnessed how another fiery old owner carried his team to victory this weekend by pointing double birdies at Bills fans, not once, but twice during his Titans recent game against Buffalo. My hat is off to fierce competitors like Bud Adams and the late Larry Miller, who many times have willed their teams to victory through brave acts and symbolic gestures.

Power Forward Reign

I love the way our rookies are playing! Eric Maynor stepped up nicely for DWill against the Cavs and almost led us to victory. Matthews has been stellar for us as an undrafted rookie. I feel like the rookies in many ways have performed better than their veteran teammates. In this regard, I suppose that smaller expectations can proceed to greater surprises. Our rookies have proved that to be true. Let's give an update for next year...

Looking onward, (news flash… the Knicks are 1-9) we can hope for another potential “impact” rookie playing in a Utah Jazz uniform and providing similar, if not better, results next year. As last year’s crop of talent was well-known for being strong on point guards, this year’s crop of NBA prospects is loaded with power forwards. The college basketball season ought to be extra exciting (now that it’s here) because so many quality players decided to stay in the college ranks. And for this reason alone, next year’s draft should be that much deeper and imressive. Jazz fans have plenty of reason to follow the upcoming college basketball season, because we’ll be able to witness the progress of a future star Jazzman. Let the college season begin!

Who are the players to watch? And who can you picture playing for the Jazz?
1. Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas
7-foot center, plays for Kansas, even sports a military-like crew-cut… Remind you of anyone? ... The next coming of Mr. Double-0 Ostertag! To be fair, Aldrich is much better, more talented and skilled. Could be a staple on the frontline for years.
2. Donatas Motiejunas, F, Lithuania
Foreign, caucasian, skilled 7-footer, compared to Dirk & Toni Kukoc… he’ll fit right in with the rest of our foreign frontline. While he doesn’t play college ball, hoops observers will most certainly be following his every move.
3. Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech
Will probably be either the #1 or #2 pick taken in the draft. Explosive, athletic and extremely talented… Is he more like Amare Stoudamire or Stromile Swift? I guess we’ll find out.
4. Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina
I watched a UNC game the other night. Davis is more potential than product. Will he be more like Chris Bosh or Channing Frye? Stay tuned.
5. Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown
Monroe had a solid outing for the Hoyas, scoring 18 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks in his 1st game. The 6-11 lefty could have a huge year.
6. Larry Sanders, PF, VCU
Here’s the newcomer on the block… a shotblocker extraordinaire. Was Eric Maynor’s teammate at VCU.
7. Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State
If you like a replacement for Boozer’s scoring, this is your guy. Brackins can score from anywhere on the floor.

Other Positions:
1. Evan Turner, SG, Ohio State
Ohio State plays him at point guard. In two games, Turner is averaging 19 points, 17 rebounds, & 7 assists. He’s compared to Brandon Roy.
2. Devin Ebanks, SF, West Virginia
Ready to explode for his sophomore season, Ebanks is one of the most athletic players in the college game.
3. Al Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest
Aminu has started the season off strong, averaging 24 points & 11 rebounds in two games. He’ll have a huge season.
4. Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas
In his opening debut as a Kansas Jayhawk, Henry scored 27 points and hit 6 threes. Consider him a one-and-doner. Some compare him to Paul Pierce.
5. Jon Henson, SF, North Carolina
6-10, skinny and skilled… he has all the talent to dominate. Let’s wait until the end of the year.

It might be a good year to have two picks.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Props to the Jazz

Props to the Jazz tonight for beating the 76ers. Despite losing DWill for the road trip and receiving heavy criticism from us fans (yes... me) for not giving great effort, the Jazz came out and got the job done. That's what I'm most proud of... the team faced adversity and then responded. We only had one point guard on the roster who was healthy and yet Maynor managed to lead the team. Boozer played a strong game, scoring 24 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. We had balanced scoring from the rest of the starting five. And our boy, the rookie, Wes Matthews continues to shine. He was a starting force tonight. Matthews finished with 16 points on 5-11 shooting and 3-4 from 3-point range. Excellent game! Again. This game doesn't speak too well to the condition of the 76ers. They must be in bad shape, since we went into their place and blasted them off the floor... (A Jazz squad suffering from its own internal disarray). Hopefully, we can continue tonight's effort into the next game. I'm not necessarily planning on it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tweet Tweet

Here's what Deron said last night on Twitter:

"We got to change something bc what we doing ain't working right now! Don't know what but something?????"

Now, of course, he's trying to clarify what he meant, which usually happens when you've spoken the dead truth just a little too loudly.

Some more truth from D Will:

"A couple of us were talking," Williams said, "we were looking at Boston and . . .Paul Pierce has 10 points, K.G. [Kevin Garnett] has 10 points, Ray Allen has 10 points, [Rajon] Rondo has 14 points, somebody else had 12 points and they're on the bench happy. And they don't care who the hell gets the glory, they just want to win. Until we figure that out, we're not going to be a good team."

And the harshest but truest statement of all:

"We haven't put much of an effort up."

2 Rebounds in 27 minutes!

Well, I hate to keep bagging on Boozer, but we have a problem, and it doesn't appear that he is attempting to remedy the situation. Let's be honest, 2 boards in 27 minutes of play at the power forward position does not cut it. 2 BOARDS! Rebounding, like defense, is more effort than skill. And it's plain as day that Boozer does not play with any effort. It is sad to watch. Sloan said "I wouldn't mind [him] rebounding . . . there isn't any rule against [him] rebounding. I mean, if you're just going to stay out there and shoot shots and not defend and not rebound . . . I thought, well, that we'd try somebody else." Well said.

Hell, Deron Williams collected 7 boards from the point guard spot, and Milsap came off the bench and grabbed 13 boards. Where is BOOZER?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jazz Win! Jazz Win!

To dispel the notion that TCG only reports bad news, I am here to report that the Jazz exorcised our Madison Square demons and emerged victorious in New York for the first time since 2004. Now, that's not to say that the Jazz dominated, or that they put away the game against the 1-6 Knicks easily; quite the contrary. However, we here at TCG recognize progress when we see it.

Boozer had a nice game (as he should against a team that features David Lee/Wilson Chandler) and Kirilenko's 3-point shooting carried us in the second half (let that sentence sink in). So those are good things. Hopefully they continue.

The negative development, from the Jazz' viewpoint, is the massive amount of zone that the Knicks threw at them. It took a basketball genius like Paul Westphal to realize that it makes sense to zone a team with no shooters, but now that the Kings' coach has let the cat out of the bag, the Jazz can expect to see a LOT of zone until we prove that we can beat it. Can we?

Sunday, November 8, 2009


After the Thursday night win over San Antonio, I was ready to deliver a complimentary post on TCG regarding the Jazz and thier win. I never found time to post on Friday, due to work and other obligations. So... I decided to wait and see how we performed at home against bottom-feeder Sacramento (believing that this would be an automatic win)... and all the sudden... this happened! Wow!

The reactionary and impressionable Jazz fan in me is about ready to explode inside! This loss is inexcusable. Unpardonable. Sacramento is arguably the worst team in the NBA. They were playing without their star player Kevin Martin. There was no reason in the world to lose at home to the Kings.

This inevitably has led me to think about what's wrong with this team... the Jazz. If there was ever a sign that something was wrong in Jazzland (which we've all been presuming), it was most definitely THIS moment... a loss at home to the Kings. I know the season is young (just started in fact)... there are still plenty of games to play... But, we've started a trend that is downright unhealthy, undisciplined, and unspeakable. Here are some potential reasons as to why it's happening:

1. Lack of Leadership
Harpring is gone. Perhaps the only reason Harpring was on the team was because he was a stalwart leader and example of discipline/hard work. We don't have any leaders. I believe Deron is trying, but Boozer, Memo and AK are NOT leaders. These guys aren't stars either.

2. No Defense
We knew we were bad defensively but... boy... we're really bad. Our bigs are flat-footed and slow. We're completely unmotivated to play defense.

3. Terrible Personnel Mix
On paper, Kevin O'Connor has put together a lethal combination of talent for the Jazz. However, on the floor, I believe we have a dreadful combination of non-melding talent. We have too many "me-first" players. We need more hustlers like the Rockets. We have no shooters. Memo, our center, is the best shooter on the team... which says a lot. To make matters worse, our top paid performers aren't motivated and consistent enough to carry the team (Boozer, AK, Millsap & Memo). Deron can't seem to bring them all together (not his fault... tough task), nor do it by himself... which he tried to do (29 & 15 last night, despite losing).

4. Jerry Sloan
He's lost his edge. It comes with the territory of getting older. I don't think he's able to motivate these players like he used to. It's a different generation... a different animal. Only Deron Williams seems to be able to motivate himself for every game like Stockton and Malone used to do. The others struggle to get going. The coach's job in the NBA is to manage egos and motivate players. I don't think it's happening with this bunch.

5. The Loss of Larry Miller
Larry was a fiery and interactive owner. He showed his passion towards the team, often going into the locker room and berating the team if they didn't play up to their potential. I think we miss his presence and his passion.

I suppose there are a few silver linings to this lousy season start...
- Wes Matthews is an absolute revelation. Talk about draft day steal... Wait a second, we wasn't even drafted! And yet, he's putting up some impressive performances. Kudos to Wes.
- Fesenko is playing some meaningful minutes for us. It's good to see him play to his size & strength while helping the team on defense and in the post.
- Brewer and Memo seem to be giving good effort and quality contributions. Despite injuries, Memo still provides us with shooting.
- I suppose if we kept losing, the lottery might not be a bad place to reside afterall... We could possess two lottery picks next summer when all is said and done. And hopefully... blow this thing up & start over!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

AK's Added Bulk

When I heard all the rumors of Andre's "new and improved body," and his "additional muscle" and his "bigger upper body," I dismissed them as unrealistic optimisim. But look at this photo from the Mavs game on Tuesday!? Is Andre actually bigger, or is the placebo effect invading my mind (i.e. too much 'hearing about it' makes me 'notice it')?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Again? Seriously?

The Jazz held a 15 point lead at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Then they let Dallas score 44 points in the 4th! What's that you say? 44 points in the 4th quarter? Correct good sir. 44 points in the 4th quarter. Now, to be fair, Dirk is a good player, but 44 points in the 4th quarter?!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


The Jazz got outworked, out-hustled and outplayed last night against the Rockets. Back in the day, we used to pride ourselves on being the blue-collar, tenacious, hard-working team. Not anymore. The Rockets have officially stolen that moniker from us. And truth be told… we haven’t been that sort of team for some time now. The Rockets were the unheralded, underappreciated, hardworking blue-collar team last night. Evidence of this truth was through the play of the Rocket power forwards (the lethal triumvirate of Luis Scola, Chuck Hayes and Carl Landry) who utterly outplayed our studs, Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap. Combined, Millsap and Boozer went for 9 points and 16 rebounds. The Rocket trio scored 36 points, recovered 30 rebounds and blocked 3 shots combined. Sometimes I wish we had more players like those on the Rockets. They just play hard, play together and don’t care who scores the ball. Seven players scored in double figures for the Rockets. Our best performance on the Jazz came from Memo, who despite injury and slow maneuvering still found the bucket for 21 points. Ronnie Brewer continues to play well also with 19 points. The 4th quarter was just ugly last night. We got blitzed!... And it was on our home floor, no less. Now we have to play the 2nd half of a back-to-back against Dallas tonight… on the road. Scary!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Knicks' Pick Watch

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of periodic posts about the state of the New York Knicks this season, which of course affects the Jazz greatly as we own their first-round pick in June.

Knicks' Record This Week: 0-3

Knicks' Record This Season: 0-3

Knicks' Overall Standing in the NBA: Tied for dead last

Quote that Sums Up Knicks' Recent Performance: "We lost this game before it even started. A lot of us weren't serious, joking around, not really preparing for the game, and it showed. It just seems like we're always taking a team's first punch. We're not that good. We can't come in here and joke around and take the game lightly. . . It shows in our layup line, it shows before the game. That's why we come out and we're not ready to play." Chris Duhon, after a 21-point loss at Charlotte.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

During the holiday season, we’re used to hearing Christmas carols describe “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” as being Christmas. As a sports fan, the end of October and beginning of November provide the true fan “The Best Time of the Year”. This time of year, we get to enjoy the overlap of a multitude of the finest athletic events.

The World Series has commenced. And while I'm admittedly not a huge baseball fan, the casual observer (like myself) will take in the excitement of the series. Unfortunately, Yankees and Phillies doesn’t muster much enthusiasm for me (I’m a total westcoast bias) but, the fact that it’s happening… and the Evil Empire is participating… provides us with some intriguing, exciting baseball.

College football is in full-swing. Every Saturday is full of games. It’s always exciting to follow the alma mater(s), the chase for a championship, and the build-up to rivalry weekend, as well as the bowl season. As a season ticket holder, I revel in the opportunity to attend the football games.

The NFL season is in midstream. Personally, I don’t get fully invested into the NFL until the playoffs are about to hit us, but nonetheless, teams are jockeying for playoff positioning about this time of year.

And finally, we can cheer loudly for our Jazz because the NBA season has at last descended upon us. Ronnie, Memo, AK47 and the boys can now enter into my life again. Thank goodness for late-October! Mr. October!… Halloween!… Falling leafs!… the Grid Iron!… and Deron Williams! High-fives & butt-slaps to all... Go Jazz!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Last Night

Unfortunately, after last night's game you really have to start with the worst.

  • The entire 4th quarter, when we played no defense and looked totally confused on offense. Can we afford to rest D Will at that point in the game on the road against a good team? We seem to totally lose focus when we do.
  • Our defense in general. Yet again, it is not going to be one of our strong suits.
  • Boozer's play. Woof. Poor defense (two minutes into the game his man was blowing by him and he got called for a reaching foul) and terrible offense. It's not rocket science. . . get down on the post and go hard to the rim. D Will is the only one on the team who should be taking pull-up free throw line jumpers with a man in his face.
  • AK's new haircut. Double woof. My fiancee suspects he's had it professionally highlighted.
  • Our intensity through the first three quarters. Yes, we fell apart in the 4th. But we got on the floor for the rest of the game, which we don't always do. Four jump balls in the 3rd quarter alone! Props to Price, Brewer, D Will, and Millsap for actually caring.
  • D Will. He's an All-Star -- it's that simple.
  • Brewer. With Miles, Harpring, and Korver out, it's time for him to step it up. 16 and 6 is a solid performance. . . now let's try to string that together for three or four games in a row.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Jazz Dreams

The off season has finally passed us by and it’s great to have the 2009-10 season upon us. Let’s get ready to talk some serious Jazz! In the wake of our first regular season game on Wednesday, I’d like to share my hopes, dreams, wishes and aspirations for our beloved Jazz this season.

Who I hope will improve the most: Ronnie Brewer
Ronnie is a jump shot away from becoming an amazing player in this league. I feel like he’s the main guy that needs to improve the most for our team to move forward. Our offense is in dire need of a scorer on the wing. I believe that Ronnie can make that jump from solid role player to third option scorer and prime defender.

Who I wish will discover his role: Carlos Boozer
There’s no hiding the fact that Boozer and Millsap will be sharing the power forward spot this year. It’s also clear that Paul will be the future of this franchise, while Carlos will not (just look at our salary position and where our $$ will be shelled out). However, that doesn’t mean that the Booz won’t have a role to play on this team. With the way that the Jazz offense highlights the PF, Boozer will be set up to have a monster season if he stays healthy. I believe Boozer and Millsap will play a lot of minutes together on the floor, providing each ample opportunity to star. It’ll be intriguing to see how Boozer fits into the scheme and whether he’ll take advantage of his contract-ending season with the Jazz. There’s plenty of motivation to play well.

Who I dream will have a career-changing season: Andrei Kirilenko
Once upon a time, AK47 was an All-Star. While true, that now seems like an old, funny, make-believe fairy tale. Andrei’s game has gradually sunk since that miraculous season when he showed us glimpses of stardom. Andrei still possesses the necessary athleticism, size, and length to be a very productive and disruptive player for the Jazz. For some reason, he hasn’t fully put together his immense gifts and talents. In my dreams, I can envision AK achieving that glorious season of multiple triple doubles, suffocating defense and clutch time scoring. Just maybe he’ll have the season we believe he’s capable of having.

Who I expect to be an All-Star: Deron Williams
It’s about time this guy got some credit. Mr. Franchise needs to get his due praise and respect. He should have a phenomenal year.

Where I believe we finish: 6th in the West
We’re not starting off too well with all the injuries… Harpring, Korver, CJ Miles, Brewer and Price are all suffering.

Where I'd like us to finish: 1st Place. Winners over LA and Boston. Perhaps if all the chips fall into place… well, probably not… but at least one can dream.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jazz Tats: Offseason Update

If you're a young, dominant point guard in the NBA, the offseason is the time to relax, golf, and work on your game. But if you're a twittering point guard, the possibilities are endless. Deron's twitter page indicates that he had lunch with Baron Davis and Cash Warren (Jessica Alba's husband for those that don't subscribe to US), made the rookies use pink backpacks, took a sick snake to the veterinarian, and played video games against Chocolate Thunder. It's a busy time.

But not so busy that you can't cover up some of your horrendous body art. That's right, my original post on Deron's tats is already out of date because he's freshly drawn.

Remember that puny panther he had on his arm? Well, now it's a ferocious love beast.
And who could forget his classic NO GUTS, NO GLORY matching triceps tattoos? The NO GUTS has been replaced by that same snake that had to be taken to the vet.
To be honest, I'm not well-versed in the world of tattoo replacement. But these look pretty good. I can't seem to find the smaller panther or the NO GUTS hidden under these new images. Can you just get bad tattoos replaced these days? What an awesome time to be in the NBA.

No word on whether he's covered up the NO GLORY.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Frontrunner for Mr. 14

Preseason basketball in the NBA offers tryout opportunities for potential signees. On the Jazz roster, only two spots remain available for potential free agent additions. Several candidates are working hard to win over one of those two spots (the Jazz vow to only fill one spot). The primary contestants for the last roster spot are Jazz 2009 2nd Round draft pick from Michigan State Goran Suton, free agent veteran forward Ronald Dupree from LSU, and rookie undrafted free agent guard Wes Matthews. These guys are battling for the chance to be Mr. 14 on the Jazz roster… a chance to land a coveted NBA roster spot.

If there’s any indication of who’s winning the race for a roster spot… it would certainly have to be Wesley Matthews, based upon his playing time, production and ability to fill a needed position. Matthews has taken advantage of his opportunity, averaging 21 minutes, 7.1 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1 assist and .8 steals per game in 6 games. While those numbers don’t seem overly stupendous, he’s made quite an impression on his teammates and coaches as an undrafted rookie through his ability to shoot, score, and defend athletic players. In looking towards the future, I could see Wes Matthews making the team and contributing to the squad (especially with Harpring likely finished and CJ Miles out with a wrist injury). When I’ve seen him play, he’s reminded me of Shandon Anderson, the former Jazzman… physical enough to post-up, drive to the hoop and shoot a bit from outside, while defending with aggression on the other end. It’ll be exciting to see if the Jazz decide to keep him around.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Sight for Sore Eyes

To quote from the greatest film of our generation, Rudy, when Rudy's father walks into the stadium at Notre Dame for the first time, "this is the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen." This is how I feel when I look at the photo above; Jarron Collins in a jersey which is not the jersey of the Utah Jazz.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The NBA & Europe Don't Mix!

This is my favorite story on the NBA in a long time. As if David Stern didn't have enough evidence that the NBA and Europe is a bad marriage, the Greek team Olympiakos came across the pond last week to play the Spurs and the Cavs, and they didn't go home to Greece until they had made a few death threats. That's right, a few DEATH THREATS.

Evidently, current U.S. court judgments mandate that Olymiakos pay $1,100,000 to none other than former Jazz-man Chris Morris, who played for the club in 1999.
So Morris' agent, Gary Ebert, calls some team representative named Angelopolous while the Greeks are in town, and ends up talking to some other Greek (I will assume it is Angelopolous' hairy bodyguard) who basically says, 'you'll never get the money we owe to Chris Morris,' and 'you better leave Angelopolous (expletive) alone or I will kill you."

Lesson learned: If the NBA ever expands to Europe, I can see the headlines now: "UTAH JAZZ PLAYER CARLOS BOOZER KIDNAPPED FOR RANSOM IN ATHENS." Then Jerry Sloan will be stomping around saying, "Damn it, where is Jarron Collins when we need him? Can anyone else negotiate us out of this f$%#ing situation?"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

NBA London

"Look kids, Big Ben... Parliament." As the Jazz take on the Bulls in London, I wonder what the NBA would look like in Europe. I can't imagine it would ever go there... too much travel across the Pond. Now, thinking of Carlos Boozer playing for the Bulls might be a little more plausible since he requested for such a trade last summer. The Booz takes on questions about his summer inquiries to join the Chicago Bulls.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Miles Hurts Thumb

CJ Miles has ruptured a ligament and tendon in his thumb and won't be playing for the Utah Jazz for the next little while, the Deseret News is reporting. The injury apparently happened during a practice at the O2 Arena in London where the Jazz are scheduled to play a pre-season game versus the Bulls.

The injury couldn't come at a worse time. The Jazz are already thin at the wing positions, with Matt Harpring planning to retire, and Andrei Kirilenko & Kyle Korver ailing from pre-season injuries. CJ's injury could also be a doozy because tendons on the hand take time to heal. I would expect CJ to be out for at least 3-4 months, especially if he's scheduled to have surgery, which it looks to be the diagnosis. As Jazz fans, we better get used to the sight of having guys like Ronald Dupree and Wesley Matthews in the Jazz line-up. Perhaps we should make a trade for a significant wing prospect. Another item of business for the Jazz to do will be to extend Ronnie Brewer's contract. While that situation has little to do with the Jazz's current circumstance (CJ's injury), I believe renewing Ronnie's contract is something we need to take care of in order to establish our future at the guard/wing position (a position that's been somewhat shaky and troublesome in the past). CJ and Ronnie are expected to be our future at SG and SF. In the meantime, we can only hope CJ gets better sooner rather than later.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Good Start

The Jazz started the preseason out on a high note with an impressive win over the Nuggets.

Among the encouraging signs for the Jazz were CJ Miles's 16 points in 17 minutes and Okur's Kareemesque baby hook. Miles reported to camp in great shape and showed signs that he may be ready to play up to the potential the Jazz have talked about for the past few seasons. Improved play from Miles and Brewer would go a long way toward making us more competitive with the elite teams in the West.

The report out of camp is that Okur has been working hard on his post moves, and he showed one of them off when he hit a baby hook over the Bird Man. Okur's ability to play out of the post could be critical when Boozer is gone. Although it was only the first preseason game, the Jazz played well and showed signs of good things to come.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Preseason Game 1: Jazz - Nuggets

It’s hard to get too excited about the preseason, but this year there are several interesting position battles that should make tonight’s tipoff with the Nuggets and the rest of the preseason interesting.

1. Who will start at power forward? Millsap and Boozer both have starter talent and are being paid starter money. Millsap signed a contract that makes him an essential part of the future of the team, and Boozer will likely be playing for another team by the time the trade deadline rolls around. But Boozer’s offensive game is more developed, and Paul has shown the ability to contribute off the bench. I’m not sure how Boozer and his me-first attitude would adjust to being a 6th man, and my guess is that Carlos will get the start.

2. Who will fill the HUGE gap left by Jarron Collins? The battle for playing time at the back up center spot between Fes and Kosta begins tonight and could possibly last well into the season. Fes has been around longer, has a bigger body, and has a new girl friend, but he has never shown the focus or grasp of the offense that Jerry demands. Kosta seems to be a quick learner, is active on defense, and has an underrated shot. My guess is that Kosta will win the spot, and I would love to see him give the Jazz a solid ten to fifteen minutes a night.

3. Who will back up DWill? Although DWill plays a lot of minutes, the Jazz need a capable backup point guard to keep the momentum going during the last two minutes of the first quarter and when DWill is in foul trouble. Price has shown flashes of being an effective change of pace PG, but, for the last two season, he has endured long stretches when he couldn’t seem to get off the bench. Enter Eric Maynor. The Jazz passed on several promising players to take Maynor in the first round of the draft and are obviously very high on him. Judging from the summer league, he seems to know how to get a team into the offense and is good at getting to the basket. Price has the edge going into the season, but Maynor will be given opportunities to prove himself, especially during the preseason. I could see this going either way but would bet on Price seeing the lion’s share of the backup PG minutes.

And finally, according to Ross Siler at the Salt Lake Tribune, the Jazz will break the huddle this year with "1-2-3 Defense." Whether that means that they will actually play solid defense remains to be seen. Sloan has really emphasized defense during the teams early practices, and it will be interesting to see how that translates on the court.

Expensive Jazz

Is our team elite enough to warrant spending so much money? Ross Siler from the Salt Lake Tribune put together a nice piece about the expensive payroll we'll be having for this season. $94 Million is boatload of dough. Is it worth it?

"I want the Millers to make the best decision they can," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "I'm kind of caught in no-man's land with that. I want the players here to play. I appreciate [the Millers'] support in trying to keep players.

"I've always felt like it's important to keep players together, give them a chance to know each other. Your young guys get better as you go along. That's how you have a chance to build a team that's competitive."

"What I want to do is have a very good basketball team and be an elite team," O'Connor said. "I can't go past that."
"We control our own fate next year, we didn't this year."

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Summer Love

The offseason has mercifully come to a close. As the players trickle back into practice, it is apparent that basketball has not been an all-consuming mistress. In fact, a lot of formerly "available" players are now spoken for.

Most notorious, of course, is Lamar Odom's recent fake marriage to reality TV she-man, Khloe Kardashian. If you didn't already hate the Lakers (anyone?), the fact that the new additions to Laker's practices this year will be Ron Artest, Ryan Seacrest, and Brody Jenner should awaken you to the following reality: LAKERS FANS SUBSCRIBE TO PEOPLE.

Closer to home, love has bitten our slower, less-talented, Ukranian version of Lamar Odom: The Fez! That's right, the second most attractive center on the Jazz has stopped his wild, non-stop skirt chasing and has settled down with an anonymous lucky lady. Her identity won't be a secret for long, though: L.A. may have TMZ, but Salt Lake has Hope Woodside.