Thursday, January 2, 2014
Jazz take on the Bucks tonight...who really wants to win?
The 10-24 Utah Jazz take on the 7-24 Milwaukee Bucks. The Jazz are coming of an 83-80 victory over the Charlotte Hornets Monday night at the ESA. The Jazz got good performances from Trey Burke 21 pts, 5 rebs, Alec Burks 14 pts, 6 rebs 2 stl and Derrick Favors 13 pts, 4 rebs, 2 stl, 3 blks. Derrick Favors was instrumental in holding Al Jefferson to a 8-23 from the field. Favors always made it difficult for Big Al and limited him to getting to his spots. Great individual defensive effort from Favors.
Tonight the Jazz take on a Milwaukee team that is in the same position as the Jazz. Both teams are developing young players with the hopes of a bright future. Tonight's game may not be about who wins but more about who loses.
There was a great discussion over the holiday about the Utah Jazz and the direction of the season. The "meat" of the discussion is whether the Jazz should continue to play veterans Marvin Williams and Richard Jefferson or start playing the "youth". With the strides the Jazz seem to be making of late, playing the vets could be a costly decision for the franchise long-term.
The Jazz have been just better than .500 the last 15 games or so. That record was through a very difficult stretch in the Jazz schedule. The Jazz have now hit a stretch in their schedule that is pretty soft and forgiving. Through January the Jazz have only 4 road games, 9 games versus teams that are .500 or worse! Looking at this month the Jazz very easily could go 7-5 or better.
Now here is where the dilemma comes in. Do you want the Jazz to be 2 games better than .500 through this stretch? There is a number of Jazz fans that are happy with playing the vets and continuing on the path that the team and franchise is currently on. If the Jazz finish the season with 30+ wins this season they are looking at no better than a #10 pick in this summers "Super draft".
While this summers draft is consider to be the deepest draft since 2003 the 10 pick or worse may not provide the Jazz a "franchise changer". Is it possible that that player could be? Yes, but chance would be slim. So moving forward, the Jazz can continue to play .500 or slightly better ball, play the vets, Kanter Gobert and Evans continue to get limited minutes, the team beats the sub .500 teams in the league (which thanks to the eastern conference is a lot) and end up with a #10 pick, a pick in the 20's and the one of the first few picks in the 2nd round.
The Jazz can start now! Develop Kanter, Evans and Gobert. See what 5-man units are effective with the young players and which are not. Look at the opportunities to improve in the areas that those units and players individually can develop and start building now. The Jazz need to find out what these pieces they currently have can help them going forward. The Jazz know what Marvin and Richard bring to the table, "They are who we thought they were". If the Jazz still win with the young guys they have double their reward in all honesty. They have had the chance to develop those pieces, they have an idea of what they can do and regardless of where the pick in the draft they have a better understand of the piece or pieces that they will need to bring this franchise back to relevance.
Now I have my opinion and I have shared it in the past. I am not a fence sitter, I believe that option 2 is the best option for this team to get back to relevance as quickly as possible. Now that is not to say that the Jazz don't possibly have pieces now that can do that as well. Derrick Favors improvement this is has been remarkable. We all knew he could defend, but there was a lot of question about his offensive game and the lack of a so call "go to" move. From what I have seen, I'm not worried about his offense. The Jazz also have a point guard in Trey Burke that I feel is a budding star. He has elite quickness, does not turn the ball over, has the long forgotten mid-range game and is not afraid of the big stage or big moment. I also think the Jazz have one of the top 6th men in Alec Burks. He fills a roll very similar to Jamal Crawford and Lou Williams. The kid is a flat out scorer.
I love this team, and have enjoyed watching them this season. In a dream sequence I wish the draft was now and that the Jazz had secured a top 5 pick and then acquired Marvin and Jefferson. Only in a perfect world right? GO JAZZ!