Monday, November 25, 2013

Jazz fans....#2 is in the books. Jazz down Bulls!

The Utah Jazz played a full 48 plus some tonight, beating the Chicago Bulls 89-83 in over-time.  They really needed a game like this.  It shows this young team that if they work hard and put in the effort, they can be in games and give themselves a chance to win games.  This was a total team effort.  Love the way this team fought....
  • Only going to discuss the positives tonight...
  • Great ball movement on the pick and roll early with Hayward and Favors, ends with Favs getting an "and 1"
  • Trey Burke is going to be a good defender in the league.  
  • Favors played like a man tonight!
  • Great defense in the first quarter, Jazz were physical.
  • Jazz won the first quarter 23-18
  • Jazz cut hard and set some really good screens.
  • Rudy Gobert is a game changer. Length and energy.  He runs the floor hard for a big.
  • Evans and Gobert did a great job attacking the defensive glass.
  • Jazz executed the offense and stuck with it.
  • Balanced first half on offense for the Jazz.
  • Jazz lead at half 40-32 only the 4th game this year that has happened.
  • Jazz defense in the 3rd quarter was great.  Rotations were really good.
  • Jazz really fought down the stretch.
  • Trey Burke is not afraid of the big moment.  Hit a huge three.
  • Jefferson had enough left in the tank down the stretch.
  • Jeremy Evans played tough in the 4th and OT....did not let the bigger players push him around.  Was not intimidated and equal to the moment.
  • Richard Jeffersons defense on Deng was fantastic!  That was the difference in the game.

  This game showed a lot of different things from a number of different players.  Again, staying as positive as possible, the Jazz tried to give it away but stuck with it.  To be honest, its really nice to be able to stick it to a guy like Boozer.  Jazz did lose the battle of the boards but it was only by 4 boards.  They did really well at the foul line shooting 16-19 84.2%.  This is the kind of game that this young team can build from.  They had to grind and fight.  They never quit!  This is was JAZZ FANS WANT!  Well done Jazz, well done!

Jazz back home tonight, going to need a lift from the fans!

  The Jazz are on the second night of a back to back.  The Jazz got blown out last nigh in Oklahoma City.  This was an all around poor effort across the board.  No reason to "beat a dead horse" time to move on.
I want to look at tonight's game from a different perspective.  Let's look at some things to watch both from a team perspective and individually.

  1. Team rebounding.  This is a big deal.  Early in the season the Jazz were in the top 5 in rebounding.  Currently ranked 27th!  Getting 40.3 boards a game.  There is no reason this team should not be in the top 5.  The have size, length and athleticism to be a great rebounding team.  Simply put, rebounding is about effort and we can clearly see where the Jazz effort has been recently.
  2. Gordon Haywards aggressiveness.  I think its clear that Hayward may not be a #1 option, the unfortunate thing for him is, he has been thrust in to that role.  While he may not have all the intangibles to be that #1, he is slated as that option, he needs to be as efficient as possible.  Gordon has been turning the ball over 3.5 times a game.  When the team's offense slides, Gordon starts to force the issue, driving to the basket and the defense collapses and knocks the ball away.  Last 4 games look like this...6, 5, 1, 6.  The one game he had 1 turnover was versus the Pelicans.  He let the game come to him and finished with 11 assists.  Gordon needs to be aggressive, this is a given.  He needs to pick his spots and in my opinion, needs to start his offense with aggressive drives to the basket.
  3. Post/Paint presence.  The Jazz desperately need this on both ends of the court.  Favors and Kanter must be more physical and deter the opponent from getting easy buckets inside.  If they are going to foul, make it a hard foul.  Make sure the opponent feels it.  It will make the opponent think twice about driving to the basket.  On offense, the Jazz need to throw the ball in to these two more often.  Kanter has relied upon that mid-range jumper too much this year.  He needs to get back inside and bang, use those good post moves he has.  I think he is too worried about getting his shot blocked.  If he is concerned about that, he needs to be going into the body of the big every time, trying to draw as much contact as possible, putting the onus on the officials.  Favors post game has improved.  Most teams are double both Jazz big men as soon as the start to dribble.  This means that there is someone open.  Also, if the bigs go early (make a move as soon as they catch in the post) its going to take away the effectiveness of the double.  Teams will then be forced to foul Favors and Kanter.  I would also like to see more of Jeremy Evans and Rudy Gobert in the rotation.  Jeremy Evans starts fast and plays with a lot of energy.  Its hard to keep him off the court.  Gobert is constantly improving.  If you are not getting the defense at the rim like you would like, put this guy in.  He changes shots.
  4. Transition/Fast break.  The Jazz are getting next to nothing from this part of the game.  When they do run the floor, they don't do it with any sort of purpose.  Where the Jazz can not shoot right now, there is not a better fix that than fast break, transition basketball.  This is another area that is dictated by effort.  You either want to or you don't.  If the Jazz choose to play uptempo and be aggressive, Ty and the staff can not get upset or frustrated with a few bad shots in transition.  I would rather have bad shots in transition as is show an effort to get some easy buckets.
  5. Turnover and free-throws.  These to come down to concentration and execution.  The Jazz turnovers have come down some from the start of the season, where they were averaging 19 a game.  They have cut that down to 17 but that is still too many.  Again its not so much just the turnovers, but where they make those turnovers.  The majority of the turnovers are coming from the foul line extended, giving the defense a free run in transition for an easy basket.  This kills the Jazz, due to the fact that the only guys back are your guards.  No bigs there to protect the rim.  As for Free-throws, this is simply about reps.  The schedule has not been kind to the Jazz and has not given them much time to get in the gym and practice.  But that is no excuse.  There are plenty of stories of great players, great shooters having an off night from the the field or the line, being on the road and asking the arena to stay open or lights on for a while after the game so that player can get some reps in.  If the Jazz want to get out of the shooting slump they are in and want to reach their potential, these are the kinds of things that need to be done.

  Tonight the Chicago Bulls will be with out their MVP Derrick Rose.  He tore his meniscus in his right knee a couple of nights ago and under went surgery this morning.  His season is now over.  Sad to see such an incredible player have such bad luck.  Here's to a speedy recovery for the former MVP.  That being said, the Jazz will still need to give 48 minutes of effort.  As Jazz fans, that's all they want.  They don't expect them to win every game.  They just expect them to COMPETE EVERY GAME! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

New line up, same result...Jazz get clobbered in OKC.

  Personal disclosure: as a Jazz fan I can tolerate losses.  I can tolerate blowouts.  What I can't tolerate is a lack of effort across the board, from players and staff.  No one showed up tonight.  This is not acceptable.
  Now that's out of the way, Jazz really struggled tonight.  They looked tired and disinterested.  Let's take a look....

  • New starting lineup, Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, Richard Jefferson, Marvin Williams, Derrick Favors.
  • New lineup had major growing pains.  No consistency on offense, guys don't know where to be.
  • Early first quarter Richard Jefferson pump fakes Durant, gets landed on by Durant, no call, ball turned over.
  • Positive....Jeremy Evans play hard always.  
  • Kanter is mentally broken.  Has no confidence.
  • Offensive sets, Jazz don't cut hard.  That kills the offense.
  • Jazz did not attack the basket at all.
  • Jazz got no play in the post or in the paint.
  • I like Diante Garrett's effort.  Plays hard and tried to rebound from the guard position.
  • Team rebounding is killing this team.  They are just bad.
  • Down 17 in the first half....again.
  • Gordon missed 2 layups early, stopped being aggressive.
  • On offense there was no continuity whatsoever.
  • This was interesting, Coach Lowe in the halftime interview, seemed disinterested....not good.
  • Gordon Hayward as no leash whatsoever.  He can make mistakes and struggle, stays in the game.  Hard as a teammate to watch that and know that is not the case for you.
  • Jazz lack of aggressiveness showed, Ibaka gets first foul of the game with 1 minute left in the 3rd.  Jazz did not challenge the interior of the Thunder.
  • Jazz did get decent looks out of offense, just can't make anything.
  • I'm ready to trade for Jimmer.  Atleast he can knock down an open shot....
  • Maybe Jeremy Evans is a guy that needs to start.  He starts fast may be that spark they need.
  • Lastly, this really bothered me.  Kanter went hard and challenged a shot, came down awkwardly, twisted ankle pretty bad.  Gutted it out got down on offense, the Jazz got fouled and he came out of the game.  Not one member of the staff came to check on him.  I bet it took them 2 minutes before they noticed him with his head between his legs, grimacing in pain.  That's not ok.

  I am not an NBA coach, not a college coach, I don't do this professionally but there are a few things off  right now.  The unfortunate thing, Ty is losing the locker room.  That can't happen.  Players will start to turn on each other and the staff.  The players have to take some onus on themselves, to get in the gym, practice where they are lacking.  They have to be the ones that put forth the effort to get better and become great.  Right now I am not sure where they are going to get that fire from.  Always easier said than done, but this is Trey Burke's chance to make this team his.  Make these guys respect him and lead this team.  Its becoming evident that this may not be something that Hayward can do.  He will be a great #2 or second fiddle, but he clearly can not be your "lead dog".  Tough, hard to be this negative....

Lets hope the snow can cool the Thunder tonight!

  Are we sure we are not in Salt Lake City tonight?  Snow covered Oklahoma City and the Utah Jazz take on the Thunder.  Lets hope the snow cools down the Thunder a bit tonight.   Jazz played the Thunder tight on opening night.  They will need the same kind of effort if they want to steal a win.  Granted that first game the Thunder were without their All-star point guard Russel Westbrook who is averaging 24.7 pts and shooting nearly 55% from the field.  Jazz will have their hands full tonight.

Defensively-The Jazz must contain OKC's starters.  The pair of Durant and Westbrook are arguably the most explosive duo in the league.  There is no way to stop them.  They are going to get theirs.  The key is to make "getting theirs" difficult.  With Durant, you can't give him any air space.  Give him any and he will hit the jumper or blow by you.  One thing Durant does not like is physical play.  Mike Harris did a great job of this on opening night.  He got up in Durant and made things difficult.  Russel Westbrook is a much improve shooter, but I still feel like you want to make him a shooter early.  If he gets going then they Jazz will need to go over the top on the screen.  Westbrook also loves to pull up off the pick and roll for a 15ft jumper.  He elevates very high on this shot making it almost impossible to block.  Jazz need to be careful not to pick up a cheap foul or two on this play.  I feel like the key to a Jazz win tonight, is to limit everyone else on the court. Jazz need to make Ibaka uncomfortable and keep him off the boards.  He is also shooting the corner 3 this year.  The Thunder will run Steven Adams, Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb off the bench.  Jackson is really Westbrook 2.0, can be very explosive.  Lamb is in his 2nd year and has been inconsistent at best.  Steven Adams is a rookie and worked out for the Jazz prior to the draft.  Adams is a banger, loves to play inside, likes contact and is not intimidated by anyone.  If the Jazz can limit the effectiveness of the rest of the team, they can give themselves a shot.

Offensively-Not sure if it will happen tonight, but I sense a shake-up in the starting lineup coming shortly.  The Jazz have started slow in every game this season.  The Jazz have trailed at halftime in every game except 3.  You are not going to win many games blowing 24 minutes like that.  If there is a change tonight, I would expect it to be Trey Burke starting at the point.  He has looked good the first two games and the finger does not seem to be bothering him.  If the Jazz start Trey look for pick and roll and more pick and roll!  Trey has great command out of the pick and roll.  The Jazz will need to make a conscious effort to attack the basket, putting pressure on Perkins and Ibaka.  Hayward is still struggling a bit. He had only 2 shots in the first half versus Dallas.  He will need to be more aggressive early, yet pace himself so that he has the legs to finish.  One thing that I think is really effecting the Jazz in the second half, is Richard Jefferson legs.  He struggles shooting the ball in the second half.  This may be due to the heavy amount of minutes he has be playing.  Ty and the staff may need to keep a closer eye on this so they don't completely wear down Jefferson.  The Jazz rotation seems to be cut down the last few games also.  We have not seen Gobert or Clark. Mike Harris is getting very limited minutes and we have not seen Brandon Rush for almost 2 weeks.  I can understand the rookies not playing, but Ty has a tendency to panic if they don't start fast.  He starts making subs that don't seem to work.  Let's see if that can be cleaned up tonight.

  Tonight is the start of a back to back for the Jazz.  This will be a tough one for the Jazz.  I think we really need to watch effectiveness on offense, good defensive rotations and simply put, development.  One thing that has me really concerned so far this season is the team rebounding.  Last game the Jazz were out rebounded by 10.  If the Jazz want to give themselves a shot at winning some games they have to improve in that area specifically.  I have liked the active hands the Jazz have had recently.  They just need to turn these deflections in to turnovers and points on those turnovers.  Let's hope the Jazz come out with a strong effort and continue to work.....GO JAZZ!

Friday, November 22, 2013

24 minutes too late....Jazz fall....

  The Utah Jazz waited for the second half to start playing tonight in Dallas.  The Mavericks get the win 103-93.  Jazz record now sits at 1-13.  The second half was a completely different game for the Jazz as they actually battled and looked like they thought they could get back in the game and get a win.  Let's take a look....

  • Getting this stuff out of the way early.....
  • This was the worst officiated game so far this year.
  • Mav's got "Vet calls" early and often.
  • 8:40 mark in the 4th quarter, Dirk drove to the basket, whistle was blown before there was any contact....laughable.
  • 3 minute mark in the 4th, Dirk posting, whistle blown on Alec before contact again and got the continuation.  Game over....
  • This team does not start well at all.
  • Jazz start struggling and Ty starts making subs searching for a spark with no rhyme or reason.
  • Jazz opponents are playing 5 on 4 when it comes to defense.  No one guards John Lucas.
  • The Mavericks ball movement is unreal!  
  • The difference in the game tonight was youth versus experience.
  • Jeremy Evans is playing with a lot of energy and shooting the ball really well.
  • Marvin Williams continues to play strong.  May be the Jazz mid-level exception this summer.
  • Derrick Favors total defense is improving.  Broke up a number of passes finished with 3 steals.
  • 6'3" Monta Ellis was guarding 6'8" Gordon Hayward....Jazz did not take advantage.
  • Not even the officials respect Ty.  Watched them more or less laugh off Ty's argument more than once.  This is Ty's own fault.
  • Trey Burke hates to lose!  I think he is going to be a really good point guard.
  • Jazz bench was really good tonight.
  • Jazz do not take advantage of mismatches. They don't seem to look for them or exploit them.
  • 7 minute mark in the 3rd, Jazz finally take advantage of mismatch, Jefferson in the post, scores on Ellis.
  • Jazz cut the lead to 10 with a lineup of Garret, Burks, Evans, Kanter and Williams.
  • This may have been the last game that John Lucas starts.  Got a feeling Trey is the guy Sunday night.
  • Shawn Marion has the ugliest shot in the game!  I have no idea how he makes a single jumper.
  • Ty is willing to try all of these different lineups 6 minutes in to the game and the Jazz already down 12.  Time to look at shaking up the starting lineup.  
  • It shouldn't take getting your butt whipped for a team to show a little fight.
  • Jazz had cut the lead to 5, Mav's scored the next 8 points.  Game over.
If the games were played just in the second half the Utah Jazz would be a plus .500 team.  Radio voice of the Utah Jazz, David Locke, made a good point this morning on his Tipoff Podcast.  He mentioned if this is the "season of discovery" that we need to do some "radical" things.  Try some new stuff.  Unheard of stuff.  Maybe you stumble on to something that is very good or effective, changes or revolutionizes the game.  It something that this team needs to look at can't hurt.....right?

Jazz take on the Mav's in "BIG D" tonight!

  I want to start this post off by saying that I appreciate Ty and the staff taking these kids to JFK Memorial.  I think all to often, we forget that our hero's on the basketball court are just kids.  For Ty and the staff to take these guys and interact with them and TEACH them the history of our great country is something that I can appreciate beyond basketball and being a fan.  These are the experiences that are going to stick with these players the most this season as they struggle.  So thanks to Ty and the staff, well done!

  Now lets get to hoops talk!  The 1-12 Utah Jazz take on the surprise 8-4 Dallas Mavericks.  The Mav's had two options (like the Jazz) this summer, one reload with vets or two rebuild.  The Mav's chose to do what the Jazz had done the previous 3-4 years and reload.  In the off-season the Mav's signed Jose Calderon to a pricey contract, Monta Ellis, Gal Mekel (who worked out for the Jazz last season) Dejuan Blair and Samuel Dalembert.  The Mav's also add rookies Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo.  Larkin was worked out by the Jazz prior to the draft and was thought the Jazz may select him with one of their picks.  He has just returned to the line-up and plays a JJ Barea type role for the Mav's.  Lets take a look at tonight's match-up

Defensively-Dallas has shooters.  No big has ever shot the ball as well as Dirk does.  This will be a tough match-up for Favors.  The Mav's will also run the pick and roll with Monta Ellis and Dirk.  They don't run as much pick and roll with Calderon and Dirk, as Calderon is a much better spot up shooter than pick and roll player.  Dallas also has "energy guy" Jae Crowder.  Little known fact, he is the son of former Jazz man Corey Crowder.  Crowder has a solid mid range game and has been shooting the 3 well.  Dallas is not an uptempo team, but they do move the ball well and get open shots.  The key will be staying connected to shooters all night.  The Jazz have been really good the last few games with deflections and getting in the passing lanes.  The next step, is to turn the deflections into steals and turnovers.

Offensively-Gordon Hayward is questionable tonight with a bruised shin and knee issues.  Radio voice David Locke tweeted that Hayward is having precautionary x-rays on his knee today.  It does not appear that Trey Burke will start tonight but Ty said that he should play in every quarter and likely will finish each quarter.  The Jazz will really need to push the ball and take the opportunity to get easy buckets.  They have really struggled running "with purpose".  They have been pushing in transition and not looking to score.  The Jazz must look to score on the opportunities.  I think we need to watch Alec closely tonight.  Keep an eye on his body language and how he reacts when he makes a mistake.  Also watch how Ty and the staff react to the mistakes the team makes as a whole.  If Hayward is ruled out, look for the Jazz to get Kanter and Favors a lot of touches tonight.  I think the Jazz bigs have an advantage there in the paint.  Dalembert is a good shot blocker but he is foul prone.  The wings and bigs will need to attack the basket and put pressure on Dalembert.  The Jazz were very effective in the pick and roll with Trey and Favors.  Look for the Jazz to give Dallas a heavy dose of this and spread the Mav's out.

  I think this is the first night of a 2 week period in which Ty and the staff will be evaluated.  The organization will need to see improvement on the offensive end specifically.  They will want to see how the offense is run with its key pieces now back and getting healthy.  If Hayward is out for an extend period of time, this will delay the evaluation of the team and the staff.  I understand injuries happen throughout the season and that teams have to deal with them, but I am excited to see where they are at.  Here is to a healthy Jazz squad!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Building A Championship....

  NBA fans across the board, year after year, season after season, hope and believe that their front office is building a championship team or contender. What does it take to get there? I wanted to look at this scenario from a position to position basis.  Looking at the importance of each position and adding a hypothetical value to each position.  I also wanted to look at intangibles and the importance of those.  So let's take a look....

  • Point Guard- Since the 06-07 season the point guards on the NBA championship winning teams have been, Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs 06-07, Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics 07-08, Derrick Fisher,Los Angles Lakers 08-09, Derrick Fisher, Los Angles Lakers 09-10, Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks 10-11, Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat 11-12, Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat 12-13.  So looking at this list we can see other than Tony Parker or Rajon Rondo, the point guard for a championship team has been a solid point guard, nothing special.  Jason Kidd was in the twilight of his career and was solid but not great.  I find this very interesting considering the number of unbelievable point guards in the league currently.  I personally believe the point guard is the most important position on the floor.  But this information makes me believe that the point guard has higher value in the regular season and piling up wins than in the playoffs and making a deep run.
  • Shooting Guard- This is one of two positions that I feel are the most valuable when building a championship team.  Since 06 the players at this position have been, Manu Ginobli, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant twice, Jason Terry, Dwayne Wade twice.  The names on this list show the importance of the wing.  Ray Allen was the best pure shooter in the game when the Celtics won.  Kobe Bryant for his 2, was the best player in the league at the time, hands down.  Dwayne Wade did have the help of Lebron James, but Wade was an integral part of the Miami Heats success.  In my opinion, this may be the most important position on the floor for a playoff championship run.  This player is generally responsible for guarding the other teams best player.  This position is also a main cog in any offense.  With the names on this list there is not one average or mediocre player.  
  • Small Forward- While this position is not always relied upon offensively as much as the Shooting Guard maybe, there is still a lot of explosive offense that must be provided from this position.  I feel this position is a defensive anchor.  06-07 Spurs had Bruce Bowen.  Boston Celtics had arguably the best player throughout the playoffs in Paul Pierce. The Lakers had Trevor Ariza, another strong defender.  Dallas had Shawn Marion.  The Miami Heat had the best player in the game in Lebron.  Again if you look at the names on this list barring Paul Pierce, all the others are arguably their teams best one on one defender.  I think this position is really under valued.
  • Power Forward- If this shooting guard is the most valuable piece on a championship team, #2 looks to be the power forward.  Take a look at these names, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Bosh.  The last two years down the stretch Miami actually played Lebron at the power forward position,  This player is a glass cleaner, defensive stalwart and offensively savvy.  These players anchor an offense and grind out points when the team maybe struggling.  The names on this list are all likely hall of famers.  Not much has to be said about the players at this position.  They speak for themselves.
  • Center- There was a time when this would have been the most valuable position on the floor.  That time has come and gone.  Since 06 the names on this list include Francisco Elson/Matt Bonner, Kendrick Perkins, Andrew Bynum, Tyson Chandler, Joel Anthony. Clearly the names on this list were responsible for one thing only.....Defense.  Not much else is or was expected out of this position.  So how should it be valued?  If defense wins championships then this has to be a top 2 valued position right?  In my opinion of today's game I can not put it that high.  While still a necessary and valuable piece this position may be at the bottom of the ladder.  Now if Indiana wins the championship this year I may have to rethink this a bit....Roy Hibbert....
   So lets rank them, in my opinion of value and building a championship team the break down looks like this...
  1. Shooting Guard
  2. Power Forward
  3. Point Guard
  4. Small Forward
  5. Center
  This is just the break down of positions and perception of value.  But what about the intangibles?  I think you have to look at a couple key pieces.  Each team has had these 2 piece, a good to great 6th man and a "hustle guy".  Here are some examples, Chris Anderson, Jason Terry, JJ Barea, Joel Anthony, Lamar Odom.  These players are good players, rotation players.  But contribute more that just statistics.  Its their effort, their energy, how their teammates feed off the spark that they provide.  Unfortunately you can not equate a value to the intangibles, but if your team is going to compete for an NBA championship you have to have them.  This is really just a basic "eye test" but I think we can look at this as a good baseline for building a contender.  I am going to put together another piece to coincide with this, discussing the number of great players at each position and the difficulty of getting those types of players.  So STAY TUNED!!!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Big Easy" not so easy for Burke and the Jazz.

  Mark the day, November 20th, 2013 the first NBA game for Jazz point guard Trey Burke.  Unfortunately for the Jazz they were unable to come away with a win.  Jazz 98 Pelicans 105.  Jazz fought hard the full 48, and barring a few mental lapses, had a chance to steal this one.  Lets take a look....

  • Early in the game, Jazz rotations on defense were good.  Getting hands in the passing lanes, getting deflections.
  • The officials clearly do not understand the "verticality" rule.  Missing on this call more than any other.
  • Trey Burke checks in at the 4 minute mark in the first quarter.  Drives to the hoop on first play and gets the bucket.
  • Jeremy Evans was a pleasant surprise.  Knocked down jumpers 4-4. Played solid defense
  • The Jazz had 5 blocks in the first quarter.  Finished the game with 7 total...
  • I think Alec Burks may be the most excited of the Jazz players to have Trey back.
  • The bigs were not aggressive enough in the 2nd quarter.
  • The Jazz have a hard time stringing plays together.  They can get one stop, but not multiple stops.  Or they will get a good defensive stop, but will give up the offensive rebound.
  • No run of Ian Clarke tonight?
  • Richard Jefferson played 41+ minutes again.  I understand that this is due to the struggles of Alec tonight, but you are burning Jefferson and his effectiveness.
  • Kanter was killing the jumper tonight.
  • Who was that Jazz team in the 3rd quarter?  Knocking down 3 after 3.  Lucas scored 11 in the quarter.
  • New Orleans Al-Farouq Aminu plays hard, but has bad hair.
  • Kanter ripped down a defensive rebound right out of the hands of Anthony Davis.
  • When Lucas got hot it was in the context of the offense.  The Jazz continued to try to get him the ball, but started to force the opportunities.  Killed the offensive flow.
  • Tyreke still going right....always right....
  • Jazz were right were they wanted to be going in to the 4th quarter.  Still learning how to close out games.
  • Trey started the 4th quarter out with a nice rip from Morrow, scored on the other end.
  • Trey's command of the pick and roll was fantastic.  He runs it and resets it if he does not get anything out of it.
  • Trey hit a great 3 out of the pick and roll.  He is going to make a huge improvement to the Jazz offense.
  • Trey was rolling early in the 4th and, sure enough, was pulled.  I understand minute restrictions, but....
  • I have a concern with the inequality between the players and the staff.  Kanter and Burks miss on any rotation or turn the ball over, they get reamed.  Hayward missed on a close out on Evans on a 3 and the reaction is different.  Then misses on back to back defensive assignments resulting in 2 fouls.  No reaction from Ty.  
  • I understand that Hayward is supposed to be the man, but Sloan expected the same thing from Stockton and Malone as his did from Greg Foster.  Greg Popovich expects the same thing from Duncan and Parker as he does from Patty Mills.  Ty needs to do the same....

  There were some really costly struggles tonight for the Jazz.  Hayward shoots 1-17 and looks dejected the entire time.  Alec Burks turned the ball over 4 times and was -15 on the +/-.  The Jazz really hurt themselves not getting to the line tonight, shot 20 free-throws to the Pel's 33.  On a positive side, the Jazz were 8-24 from 3, shooting 33%.  The majority of those shots came in the context of the offense again, a major plus.
Trey Burke had 11pts 1 reb, 1 ast, 1stl.  Not a bad first night for Trey.  I love what he brings to this team.  He wants to win, has toughness, and knows what he can do.  I hate the "comparison game", but Trey reminds me of Allen Iverson a bit.  He seems to have the same bounce and swagger that Iverson had.  Trey is going to be really good for this team, and I think over the next couple of weeks we will see the kind of development that we want from this young squad.

Welcome back #3...Tonight's your night!!!

  The day that Jazz fans have been waiting all summer and fall has finally arrived!  TREY BURKE IS BACK!!!  Tonight the Jazz take on the the New Orleans Pelicans for the second time in this young season.  The Jazz got their only win of the season versus the Pelicans.  So look for the Pel's to be motivated to avenge that loss.  But the talk of the night for Jazz fans will be the return of Trey.  So instead of previewing the match-up we will preview the return of Trey Burke and the effect he has on the team and game....

  • Ty will use Trey in short stints tonight.  
  • Trey only shot 33% in the couple of preseason games he played.  So don't expect him to light it up offensively.
  • This will be the first opportunity to see what the Jazz offense is supposed to be.
  • It will be interesting to see if they keep the ball in Trey's hands a lot.
  • Trey is a very good pick and roll point guard.  It will be interesting to see if the Jazz run P&R as primary set.
  • Defensively Trey will have his hands full with Jrue Holiday.  
  • The Pel's will put Trey in the pick and roll a lot tonight.  He is going to struggle with conditioning and fighting through the pick.
  • Watch Trey's handle and shot.  Watch to see how much he covers or protects that finger.
  • Trey really wants to play.  The night he was cleared he wanted to get on the court, they told him no.
  • Watch how his return helps the likes of Alec, Gordon and Derrick specifically.  These three players will be much better with their point guard.
  • Trey will have nerves.  Being on the road may help curb that some.
  • It will be interesting to see how Ty splits the minutes at the PG position.
  • I had been questioning that Jazz toughness some, Trey will bring some of the toughness that is lacking.  He does not have a problem showing his emotion and how bad he wants to win.
  These are just a few things to watch for tonight from Trey and the Jazz.  The Pels did get a nice win the other night in Philly, but they still are struggling.  Ryan Anderson is back in the line-up for New Orleans and hit 6 three's the other night.  The Jazz bigs will be tested on the pick and pop.  The Jazz also get the services of Jeremy Evans back tonight, but lose Marvin Williams for tonight's game.  Marvin is having a procedure done on his broken nose but should be back with the team Friday in Dallas  Jeremy will be a nice addition, as he is a "hustle guy".  Every team really needs a "hustle guy" and that is something that Jeremy can bring to the team.  Glad to see the team getting healthy again.  Should help the players out, as they are able to slip into the roles that they are supposed to be in.  Now its really going to be on Ty and the staff to develop this young team and see improvement.  2 weeks and we will see where everyone is at......GO JAZZ!

Monday, November 18, 2013

No Toughness, No Win....Jazz need more of it....

Needs to play if he is going to develop.

  This one was hard to watch.  Jazz fall 98-87.  The first quarter looked good from the Jazz, then they ran into shooting woes in the 2nd.  It was all up hill from there.  The Jazz did make a couple of pushes to get back in the game but fell short.  Lets take a look......

  • Jazz shooting jumpers early.
  • Team rebounding is not very good.  The wings expect Kanter and Favors to get all the boards.
  • Jazz get good shots in the first quarter with post play and the draw and kick.
  • Jazz shoot 33% in the first quarter.
  • Jazz show very little toughness.  No hard fouls, nobody getting after anyone.
  • Call me "Old School" but if a team is filling it up and rubbing it in with hand gestures and what not, I am laying a high hard one on someone.
  • Favors is the catalyst for this teams heart.  \
  • Jazz made a run in the 3rd, cut lead to 13 at one point then the officials saddled Hayward and Favors with their 4th fouls respectively.  Both questionable calls....
  • Marvin Williams is playing really good basketball right now.  Aggressive and hitting the 3.
  • Diante Garrett gave the team a nice spark the last 4 minutes of the 3rd.
  • Garrett gets to the basket, drawing the defense in, causing rotation and havoc.  Sets up the Jazz for good looks and offensive rebounds.
  • End of the 2nd and starting of the 3rd looked like the Jazz were done. 
  • First possession of the 4th Warriors get 2 offensive rebounds. On the 3rd attempt, Warriors score.
  • Heavy minutes for Jefferson taking its toll, no legs in the 4th, coming up short on jumpers.
  • I  am a firm believer in the Jazz and the pick and roll.  With that being said it has to be done with the right personnel.  Not having Trey makes that offense difficult. Jazz may be better off working the post play with Favors and Kanter.
  • Gordon would be well served to work on his post game.  Generally has a size advantage on whoever is guarding him
  • Mark Jackson is far too smug for my taste.  Also don't care for the things he said after leaving the Jazz.
  • Bogut understands how to give a hard foul.  Hammered Gordon on a semi-break.
  • Kanter let Thompson split a trap and get an easy bucket.
  • Curry goes out of the game in the 4th and the Jazz effort falls of at that point.
  • Klay Thompson could show Gordon how to post up.
  • Kanter had the opportunity to lay the same kind of foul on Barnes that Bogut did on Hayward, didn't happen.
  • Jazz still don't run the break to score....missing too many opportunities in transition.
  • Jazz shot better from the 3 then they did from the field.
  • Jefferson shoots 2-9 and plays 31+ minutes, Burks goes 0-5 and plays only 23 minutes.
  • Ty clearly still somewhat vet loyal.  If you are trying to develop young players, Burks, Clark, and Garrett are players that need to be playing.

  I guess the theme of this game for me tonight, is the Jazz just need to show some toughness and fight.  I can live with the Jazz going 1-81 on the season if they put up a fight.  These 2 games against the Warriors, there was very little of that.  I remember all the buzz about Kanter when he was drafted, that he had a nasty side to him.  Where is it?  People can blame Alec Burks for not being able to shoot, the entire starting lineup shot poorly,  I believe Alec can develop int to a capable shooter.  Tony Parker could not shoot his first 4-5 seasons in the league.  Derrick Rose could not shoot his first 2 seasons.  This is something that can be improved across the board for the team.  Its just a matter of spending time in the gym and getting up shots.  Ian Clark played 4 minutes at the end of the game and was hot.  Made Golden State put their starters back in since the Jazz closed the lead to 11.  These games are hard to watch when the effort is just not there.  Gotta be better Jazz.

Tonight's game on our terms....

  The Utah Jazz fell to the Golden State Warriors 88-102.  The Jazz had no answer for Steph Curry or Klay Thompson.  The Jazz's Derrick Favors had another really nice game.  The Jazz as a team, were killed on the boards, out rebounded 42-32.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get a recap out for the game so this will be a bit of a hybrid post.....look at a few of the things from Saturday's game and somethings to build on for tonight's match-up....

  • Love the way Favors has been starting games.  Very aggressive and getting shots within the context of the offense.  
  • I hate the sleeved jerseys.  That is not a good look....PERIOD.
  • Ty had a really short leash, specifically on Burks and Kanter.  
  • If you can't stop penetration, you will not beat anyone, let alone the Warriors.
  • Jazz need to be more physical.  If they are going to take fouls, make sure the other team feels it.
  • Gordon's 5-23 effort really affected him early in Golden State.
  • Diante Garrett is learning what its like to play in the NBA every night....nerves got the best of him the last 2 games.
  • Warriors are the epitome of tanking....ruined it for the rest of us....
  • Kanter relies on his jumper too much....needs to get back in the post and use those post moves....
  • Gordon Hayward has been over dribbling.  I understand a "search dribble"  but his is without a purpose.
  • Tonight the Jazz need to "hedge" better on the pick and roll.  Can't just let Curry get to where he wants to every time.
  • The Jazz must TEAM REBOUND tonight.  Gordon Hayward MUST get more than 2 rebounds.
  • Ty needs to stick to his rotations.  He can't have such a short leash on two of the main cogs, in Burks and Kanter.  This really rattles this young team and they need to battle through it early in the season.
  • Jazz did get to the line 16 times....need that effort plus some.
  • DRAW and KICK.....This will help the Jazz get better shots....they have to be aggressive and attack.
  • I would like to see more plays in the post from both Favors and Kanter.

  Really could have been a "copy and paste" job for tonight's game as far as a preview goes.  This one boils down to effort.  Being at home, not a back to back and the crowd behind this team gives the Jazz a shot.  GO JAZZ!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Back to back roadie for the Jazz tonight.

  The Utah Jazz gave one a way last night versus the San Antonio Spurs.  It was a rough night shooting, particularly for Gordon Hayward who went 5-23 from the field and 1-7 from 3.  The Jazz will be taking on the leagues 3rd  most efficient offense and 5th highest scoring team in the Golden State Warriors.  This will be a tough test for the offensively challenged Jazz.  The good news, the Jazz defense the last 2 games has been solid.  Lets take a look at tonight's match-up....

Defensively-The Warriors primarily run the pick and roll (as does most of the league) with Curry and Thompson both handling the ball.  They will also run both players off a lot of baseline screening action.  Klay Thompson is shooting the 3 at an unbelievable 50% clip!  Steph Curry at 46%  That is unreal shooting!  The Jazz will have to run both these players off their spots.  An idea that I feel could be effective on the pick and roll for the Jazz defense is something the Chicago Bulls do a lot on pick and roll defense.  The defender of the ball handler trails off the pick while the screeners man funnels the ball handler to the sideline or the base line.  This could be very effective against the Warriors with the length of Favors and Kanter.  It causes the ball handler to keep the ball and continue to the basket as the defender continues to trail, making it extremely difficult to pass for the pick and pop, or the roll.  If the Jazz run something like this, rotations must be quick and there must be a "help the helper" mentality.  The Warriors also have Andrew Bogut and David Lee.  Although they are not the focal point of the offense both players can be very good down low.  Both are prolific rebounders, thus making it a must for the Jazz to TEAM REBOUND!  Golden State does not shoot a lot of free-throws so the Jazz should be able to stay out of foul trouble.

Offensively-Four words...attack & pick and roll.  The Jazz MUST do these two things ad nauseum tonight.  The Jazz have been very efficient running the pick and roll lately.  They are getting great ball movement out of this action and getting whatever shot they want.  Just not making 'em. Favors is showing that the pick and roll game is a perfect fit for him and his offensive style.  I have noticed some great development in that facet of his game.  The best thing about this set, is the way the Jazz have moved the ball out of it.  They get in trouble when the rest of the team just watches the pick and roll happen.  No one flashing, everyone just spotting up.  This hurts the Jazz on two fronts.  They are forced in to tough contested shots and they have no one on the offensive boards.  The Jazz will need to move the ball, and swing it "weakside/strongside" to be efficient.  The Jazz have been pretty good in transition the last two games as well.  They will need to continue that against the Warriors.  The Warriors bigs are not particularly good in transition, a place that Kanter and Favors can take advantage of and get some easy ones.  I would also like to see the Jazz throw it inside to Favors and Kanter a bit more.  They are really developing in the post, and teams are having to double them.  This will help Gordon and Alec out, giving them more open jumpers.

  I loved the way the Jazz have played the last 2 games.  One win, one loss.  Not going to complain about that, considering the development we are seeing from this young team.  It will be interesting to watch Gordon and newcomer Diante Garrett tonight.  Both players coming off difficult games.  I had a feeling that Garrett may struggle in his second game with the Jazz, considering the first game he had no time to get nerves.  He will need to bounce back tonight as the Jazz will need him to produce and spell Alec.  I imagine that Ty will start Alec again at the point tonight.  Alec's length could make things difficult for Curry.  I would also like to see the Jazz be very physical with both Curry and Thompson as this seems to take them out of their game.  This game will be a very fast pace and up-tempo game.  Should be a lot of fun to watch for Jazz Fans!  GO JAZZ
Hate sleeved jerseys, glad hes not a Jazz Fan!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Y's Senior Squad closes out the youth Jazz in the 4th.

  "Old Men" Duncan and Ginobili were carried tonight by there younger counter part Tony Parker, as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Utah Jazz 91-82.  The final score is not indicative of how the game really went.  The Jazz led this game and were the aggressor through 3 quarters.  Tony Parker took over in the fourth, and the Spurs benefited from a few "vet calls" tonight.  Lets take a look...

  • Alec Burks did a good job starting as a point guard.
  • The hardest thing for Alec is trying to switch from PG to SG.  Getting Trey back and the addition of Garrett will really help Alec play his natural position.
  • The first quarter as a whole was fantastic.  Great offense and defense.  Jazz scored 29 to Spurs 16.
  • End of the first brought some questionable substitutions.  JL3, Garrett, Harris all on the court at the same time?
  • Early in the 2nd that Jazz shooting to many jumpers.  They were great in the post, not sure why they went away from it.
  • Effort on the boards was good.  Specifically from Favors and Kanter
  • Jazz had very active hands on defense.  A number of deflections, finished with 9 steals as a team.
  • Foul trouble hurt the bigs and Alec down the stretch.
  • Jazz played 3 quarters....
  • Hayward finished with 9 rebs but missed a few of assignments on the defensive glass.  His man secured a handful of offensive rebounds.
  • Gordon shoots 5-23 from the field, 1-7 from 3.  Missed a lot of wide open shots.
  • Late 3rd Kanter drove hard twice, got shot blocked that appeared to be fouled, no calls.
  • Jazz gave this one away, shot 38.2% from the field.
  • Favors was a MONSTER 20 pts 18 rebs 3 blocks 3 steals 2 assists.
  • 18 turnovers again.....
  • VET CALLS Spurs shoot 22 free-throws to the Jazz 11.  Jazz appeared to be the aggressor the entire night, so not sure about the discrepancy.
  • Tony Parker NEVER tries to land on his feet.  He hits the ground on almost every drive to tries to get the foul calls.  This was the case tonight.
  • Kanter was solid again on the defensive glass.
  • Richard Jefferson play 43+ minutes....this is not good, as it will take a toll on RJ as the season goes on.
  • Gobert in just of 3 minutes had 5 boards!
  The Jazz just gave this one away with the lack of shooting.  I thought Alec was solid at the PG as a starter.  To be honest he has been the best PG we have had all season.  That being said, its hard for him to transition when substitutions are made and Ty moves him to the 2.  His mindset has to change completely.  Hayward clearly frustrated tonight knowing that he missed way too many shots he normally makes.  The Kanter Favors duo continues to improve and seem to be gelling..  Disappointing to lose but can't say that we expected the Jazz to win this one.  This was definitely a glass half full game tonight even with the loss.

2 in a row...maybe...please. Jazz take on Spurs

  Just a quick analogy to start, if you have ever played and league basketball or even pick up games at the Y or Rec centers, everyone knows about "Old Man Game"  No matter how much younger, or how much better you think or know you are than the "Old Man" on the court, there is nothing you can do to stop him.  He makes all his jumpers, even if you only give him an inch of airspace!  He is the guy you like to have on your team for a sub, but hate to play an entire game against.  Well the San Antonio Spurs have plenty of old man game and are still extremely difficult match-up.  Lets take a look at tonight's game....

Defensively-The Spurs are the epitome of execution.  They do not break plays or offense.  They will run their sets all the way through and if nothing there its possible the may run it again.  If the do not run the set again, it will surely be a high pick and roll with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, with a player in each corner.  Setting up the drive and kick, pick and pop or Parker all the way to the basket.  The Jazz defense will need to be active in the passing lanes when Parker looks to kick it out for the corner 3's.  Also the bigs are going to need to cover the paint on the pick and roll, stick with the ball handler Parker.  I think we would rather have Duncan shooting 17-20 ft jumpers all night, than let Parker have a straight run down the lane.  The Jazz will need another TEAM EFFORT on the defensive glass.  The Spurs do like to push the ball in transition as well, but their transition attack is more of a one man fast break with Parker, the rest of the team acts as trailers and runs to the 3 pt line.

Offensively-ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK!  The Jazz must take advantage of their youth and run at every opportunity.  Spurs have Duncan and Splitter in the middle but I feel that the Jazz can attack both of these players in either the pick and roll or in the post.  Neither player is quick laterally and the Jazz will need to attack that.  Tonight the Jazz need the same kind of effort from the bench and the vets.  Marvin Williams and Richard Jefferson were key in the Jazz victory over the Pelicans.  Jefferson was and will need to continue to be aggressive attacking that basket.  I think Jefferson may feel he has something to prove, as the Spurs kind of dumped him as dead weight to the Warriors.  Marvin was fantastic at spreading the floor and opening space for the pick and roll to work late.  Hopefully he can continue his hot shooting.  It will also be very interesting to see how Diante Garrett handles his second game with the Jazz.  I don't think he had the chance to get or have nerves.  Tonight may be a different story.  I really like the way Garrett played.  He was good in the pick and roll (which the Jazz have run primarily the last 2 games) he did not force plays or passes and he made the right pass.

  I have to say that the game against the Pelicans was great!  Fun to watch and the guys played with heart.  As I have been critical of coach Corbin, feel the need to credit him for some changes I did notice against the Pels.  He was not stomping up and down the sidelines chewing out the players as they came back to the bench.  I even saw him discussing and developing young players, specifically Garrett.  He also handled the flow of the game very well.  Made appropriate timeout calls when it appeared the game may get out of hand or that momentum was shifting.  This is what I want to see from Ty.  He may do this a lot more than we are aware of, in practice and what not.  But we only see the negative at the games and broadcasts, so it was nice to see some development from Ty.  Tonight's game won't be an easy one but we are on a winning streak right?  GO JAZZ!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Finally!!! Jazz beat the Pelicans!!!

  Hell Yeah Jazz Fans!  The Utah Jazz get the best of the New Orleans Pelicans 105-111!  That is what Jazz Fans believe this young team is capable of and have seen in small stints early in the season.  Tonight was a different story, the TEAM put together a FULL 48!  That was the key to the entire game.  48 minutes of all out effort.  Lets recap....

  • Early in the game the Jazz seemed to miss some opportunities in transition.  This is something that Ron Boone has been pointing out the last few games, that the Jazz don't look to score in transition.
  • John Lucas was shooting like Jamaal Tinsley.  Missed wide open shots, defense does not even guard him.
  • The post game was very effective early.  Late in the first quarter the Jazz went away from it.
  • I am going to continue to say it till it happens, someone needs to put the officials on notice.  Whether that is a player or the staff.  Jazz get abused and get no calls.
  • Anthony Davis is a great player.  I can't give him all the credit for the boards that he gets since there is no one else on the Pelicans even rebounds.
  • Diante Garrett is really long! Did a great job breaking the Pels down on the pick and roll.  Plays with excellent pace.
  • It was so evident how bad the Jazz have missed a REAL POINT GUARD!
  • Kanter does a great job staying vertical down low.  He may not block a lot of shots, but he is still 6'11" and will effect shots.
  • Trey Burke will really help Alec Burks and his game out when he returns.
  • Kanter did a good job on the defensive boards.
  • Davis gets star treatment already
  • Gordon Hayward really paced himself tonight.  He had the legs needed to close.
  • Tyreke Evans is overrated.  Always goes right.  Paying that guy 11 million a year.  No thanks!
  • Tyreke is a player that does the least with as much as his has been given,  Not sure there is another player like that in the league, maybe DeMarcus Cousins.
  • The theme of the night....ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK
  • Loved the emotion of the Jazz tonight!
  • Vets were huge tonight Marvin and Jefferson really stepped up and played big rolls tonight.
  Not sure that I am going to be able to sleep tonight.  Jazz played a great all around game tonight.  Were there some flaws?  Yes of course.  But I am not going to be to concerned about that tonight.  Going to savor this win!  GREAT WIN YOUNG JAZZ TEAM!

Utah Jazz versus Who?...oh the Pelicans???

  Tonight the 0-8 Utah Jazz take on the 3-5 new look New Orleans Pelicans at ESA.  Sticking with the glass half full theme, this will be the 2nd of a back to back for the Pelicans, who got throttled and dunked on by the Los Angles Lakers.  The Jazz need to come out with energy and jump all over these guys.  Get their first win!  Let's take a look at the game....

Defensively-This is a new look team all around.  The Pelicans added Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday in the off-season to go along with Eric Gordon and a vastly improved Anthony Davis.  The Jazz will have their hands full protecting the paint, as all of the Pelicans wings will attack the basket.  The bigs will be tested not only with their paint protection, but also the stretch defense as New Orleans has arguably the best stretch 4 in the game, Ryan Anderson.  For the Jazz to have success tonight, they will need a total team effort on the defensive end.  They will need to have active hands  and continue to get the deflections they have been getting the last 2 games.  I believe you will see Derrick Favors matched up against Anthony Davis.  Davis should not be able to back Favors down, but he does have excellent touch and ball handling.  Look for him to attack Favors that way.  That leaves Kanter matched up against Jason Smith or Greg Steimsma.  Both players are rebounders or hustle guys.  Kanter MUST work hard on the defensive glass.

Offensively-The Jazz need Gordon Hayward to attack offensively more than the first half.  I have been really impressed with Gordon and his ability to create his own shot as well as for his teammates.  Hayward did struggle turning the ball over against the Nuggets where he had 7.  He will need to protect the ball and continue to be as efficient scorer.  It will be interesting to see if Ty starts Richard Jefferson again tonight.  He has really struggled from the field, but has made up for that by attacking the basket.  I would not be surprised if Ty started Alec Burks.  There has been rumblings of this the past 2 games.  Look for Favors to continue to work in the post.  I'm not sure Davis can guard him on the block.  If Davis is switched to Kanter, look for the Jazz to use Kanter in the post.  Enes will need to maximize his pump and ball fakes against Davis if he wants to be successful.  The Jazz ran primarily pick and roll, screen and re-screen against the Nuggets.  They were very effective with that offense in the first half.  Guys seem to move more and are more active all around out of this offense.

  The game versus Nuggets I came out of there feeling there were more positives then negatives.  Favors offense is developing, Gobert is a bright spot as far as the bench guys go.  He as progressed so much since I watched him at the draft combine.  Kanter has been steady, Burks has been a nice spark and Hayward is doing what we all hoped he would.  Again its one of those its the best thing for the Jazz to be in the situation they are in right now.  Trey is on his way back and if you missed any of the college hoops last night, Parker, Wiggins or Randle will really help this team!  Go Jazz!

Chicago Classic gave us some CLASSICS!

  College hoops fans that tuned in for some early season match-ups last night were not disappointed!  It kicked off with #1 Kentucky Wildcats vs #2 Michigan state Spartans.  Followed by #5 Kansas Jayhawks  vs #4 Duke Blue Devils.  Michigan State pulled of the so called upset 78-74.  Kansas beat Duke 94-83.

  The Michigan State/Kentucky game was a veteran squad in Michigan State vs one of the best if not the best recruiting classes ever for John Calipari.  Kentucky starts 4 freshman and a sophomore.  Opposed to Michigan States 2 seniors, 2 sophomores and a junior.  The experience of the Spartans was the difference in the first half and really down the stretch.  Senior PG Keith Appling had 22 pts 8 reb and 8 assists.  Super sophomore Garry Harris had 20 point and a key steal late in the second half.  The story of the game was freshman phenom Julius Randle from Kentucky.  The first half for Randle was a feeling out process.  He was defended by senior Adreian Payne who had the size and length to battle with Randle.  Payne is no slouch himself, as his is thought to be a first round pick.  The second half was a completely different game for Randle.  He came out and put his team on his back, getting them back in the game and making it a tight one.  Randle on the boards is almost impossible to box out.  If he gets inside position, it over.  I have never seen a player so dominant on the boards and get the kind of position he did.  Offensively, Randle has a very good back to the basket game for such a young player.  He has great foot work and gets position that he wants.  He reminds me of a more athletic version of Zach Randolph.  He was dominant in the second half, Sparty had no answer.  Randle finished with 27 pts 13 rbs and a tough loss.  This game was a great game to watch with so many highly touted players but it was the vets that stole the show.

  The marquee game of the night had to be Duke vs Kansas.  People were tuning in to watch the 2 top freshman in the country Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.  They did not disappoint.  For the eye test, Wiggins is extremely thin, really long limbed but quick.  Parker is big, strong wide shoulders, very smooth.  The first half was the Jabari Parker show.  He was getting his jumper off early and often.  He had 19 pts in the first half, knocking down 4-5 3 point shots.  The first half for Wiggins was plagued with foul trouble.  He was unable to get in to a rhythm and get into the game.  At times, he looked aloof and not engaged.  The second half was a different story for Wiggins and especially down the stretch.  Wiggins wanted the ball and wanted to help his team get a victory however he could.  The same can be said for Parker as he defended Wiggins down the stretch.  As size goes, Wiggins was clearly out matched, although he does have the upper hand in athleticism.  I was surprised at how athletic Parker really is.  He had a couple of nice shot blocks and would rebound the ball and start the early transition for Duke.  That is not something you see from too many freshman, kid has a natural feel for the game.  In the end, Parker finished with 27 pts, 9 rbs, 2 stl.  Wiggins finished with 22 pts  8 rbs and a block.

  After watching these 2 games I can't say there is a clear cut #1 of Parker, Randle and Wiggins.  They appear to be 1A, 1B or 1C.  I guess its going to come down to whoever has the #1 pick and what that teams needs really are.  Glad that these match-ups happened early in the season, there will be so much more to come from the special young players. Its going to be a great season in college basketball!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Must Watch College Hoops Tonight!

OK folks, if you are a huge college hoops fan as I am or if your NBA team is a bit of a "cellar dweller" that is all the more reason to tune in tonight and catch some college hoops.  There are some huge match-ups tonight in Champions Classic in Chicago.  #1 University of Kentucky taking on #2 Michigan State.  Kentucky has super freshman Julius Randle thought to be one of the top 3 picks in this summers NBA draft.  Michigan State has Gary Harris and Adreian Payne both players thought to be first round picks.  But what may be the marquee match-up of the night, The Duke Blue Devils and Jabari Parker take on the Kansas Jayhawks and Andrew Wiggins!  This is must see TV!

  Parker and Wiggins very well could be the top two picks in this summers draft.  Parker seems to have an NBA ready body and game.  Very polished, with the size to play inside and the touch to shoot it from deep.  Parker is also more athletic than he is give credit for.  Many compare him to Carmelo Anthony.  I would say that is a very fair comparison.

  Andrew Wiggins is a supreme athlete.  They just don't make them like this kid very often.  The last player with the kind of athleticism that Wiggins possess was Lebron James.  Now Wiggins and James games are vastly different at this stage in their careers.  Lebron was more polished, had a great handle and unbelievable vision.  Wiggins has a good handle but is still extremely raw.  He realize upon his athleticism, which is something he can't do as much in college.  Wiggins does have good form on his jumper but just needs time in the gym shooting jumper after jumper.  What makes Wiggins really specially is his ability to play defense.  He is long, explosive and quick.  Qualities that can make a top flight defender in both college and the NBA.

   Utah Jazz radio voice David Locke spoke with NBA types, last night and was told that tonight's games could have as many as 16+ first round picks.  Here are a few more names to watch tonight.....Joel Embiid Kansas, Arron and Andrew Harrison Kentucky, Alex Poythress Kentucky, Rasheed Sulaimon Duke, Willey Cauley-Stein Kentucky, Wayne Selden Kansas.

  If all these players declare for this summers draft as well as the many other super talented prospects, this could very well be the best draft in NBA history.  Not just from a super star stand point, but from a late first round early second round player being very good, very successful NBA players.  Its going to be a great season for college basketball!

Monday, November 11, 2013

No gold for Jazz versus the Nuggets.....Jazz still O-fer...

  The Utah Jazz started the first half looking like they were going to get their first win of the season versus the Denver Nuggets.  Then there was a disappearing act....Gordon Hayward had 18 points in the first half, just 4 points in the second half.  Jazz fall 100-81.  If Gordon wants to be paid like a franchise player he must play a full 48.  Lets recap.....

  • Gordon was extremely aggressive early.  First 2 attempts he attacked the basket.
  • Team defensive was great early on.  Guys talking, "helping the helper" great rotations.
  • Hayward wants to win, there is no question about that.  First quarter diving for loose balls.
  • Favors offensive game was solid tonight.  Hit consecutive baseline jumpers in the first quarter.
  • Marvin Williams helped spread the floor.  Knocked down 2-3 from deep.
  • Jazz moved the ball really well in the first half.
  • Jazz ran mainly pick and roll, screen and re-screen.  Really good movement out of that offense.
  • Andre Miller still getting the crafty vet calls....
  • Jazz get complacent the final 3 minutes of half, stopped attacking the basket.
  • Rebounding is about effort.  The Jazz need better TEAM EFFORT on the defensive boards.
  • Second half Jazz shooting struggles continue.
  • Jazz passing accuracy was not good.  Slowed down the offensive efficiency with bad passes out of the post or while swinging the ball.
  • Positive, Rudy Gobert is really progressing.  Guy plays hard whenever he is on the court.  Is a  positive on the development side of things.
  • Alec Burks is so much better when he does not have to be the primary ball handler.
  • Jazz down 2 in the 4th, 72-70 but momentum had clearly shifted.  Ty waited till the Jazz were down 6 to call time out.  Game was over at that point.  Young fragile players need the coach to coach them through those tough spots.
  • Richard Jefferson continues to struggle with his jumper.  Makes a concerted effort to get to the basket because of it.
  • Team effort on the boards all night long was not there.  Rebounders need to be more than Kanter, Favors and Gobert.
  • Jazz got killed on the board 52-35 that alone may be the difference in the game.
  • Favors with 13 rebounds next was Alec Burks with 5.  Not good enough.
  • Jazz shoot 69% from the free-throw line.
  • Jazz had 11 assist as a team.  Tinsley leads the way with 3 assists.
  • Gordon had 7 turnovers to 2 assists.  He like Burks can not be relied upon as primary ball handler.
  • Trey Burke has been cleared to resume solo basketball activity.  Will be reevaluated November 25th.
Oh so close....
  While it is tough to watch them continue to lose, I think there were more positives than negatives tonight.  I still need to see the staff get after the officials and help these young guys get some respect.  They are doing everything they can to get the calls by attacking and playing hard but are not getting the calls.  Need the staff's help just to push that over the edge a bit.  If the Jazz can get a full 48 minutes out of the "core 4" they will get their first win.