Thursday, April 9, 2009

What can we do???

It's came to the point of April I can't stand, baseball is just starting, and yet I still can't handle the Sox losing two of three to the Rays, March Madness has came to an uneventful finish, and the worst part, coming to grips with the fact that the Jazz look to be fading themselves right into the 8th seed to play the LA Lakers, don't get me wrong I had hope, On Sunday, I watched D Will and the rest of the crew absolutely hand it to the New Orleans Hornets and I was thinking that we might be able move up to the 5 or 6 seed, and play the Houston Rockets just like always. That was until last night of course, when the Jazz made J.J Barea look like, well, a John Stockton who can score, after watching open three after open three after open three, I finally turned it off, I couldn't handle it anymore. I finally understood why cruel and unusual punishment is illegal, but although losing 130-101 to the Dallas Mavericks( a team the Jazz beat by 27 in January at home) was definitely cruel, it's hasn't been near unusual on the road this year, where the Jazz are now(drum roll please) 15-24 this year, and 2-17 against teams with winning records, and have two more road games left in the all too critical last four games of the season against the San Antonio Spurs(where the Jazz have lost 22 straight games, you have to go back to the last year of Thurl Bailey's career, 1999, the lockout shortened season, for the last win at San Antonio, just to give you an idea of that team here's the roster: Shandon Anderson, Anthony Avent, Thurl Bailey, Howard Eisley, Greg Foster, Todd Fuller, Jeff Hornacek, Adam Keefe. Chris King, Karl Malone, Greg Ostertag, Bryan Russell, John Stockton, and Jacque Vaughn. I want everyone to raise their hand who actually knew that Anthony Avent played for the Jazz, or even better if they have actually ever heard of Anthony Avent, and as you can tell the only player still left with the Jazz organization is Thurl Bailey, and that's just because he's on the pregame show.) and the Los Angeles Lakers who have lost to the following teams at home this year, The Pistons???, The Hornets, The Magic, The Bobcats(who actually swept the Lakers this year), and The 76ers???, but as you can see they have beat every single western conference contender except the Hornets, the one thing that the Jazz might have going for them is that the Lakers might rest all of their starters except Derek Fisher and Sasha Vujacic since they'll have nothing to play for, but that still might not be enough for the Jazz to win if they play like they did last night. So unless the Jazz can win at least three of four of these last games we're looking at an eighth seed and a first round schlaching at the hand of Lamar Odom, Kobe, and Pau Gasol. So we are left to wonder what why they struggle so much on the road? What is going on in their heads? I heard a professional athlete once say that road woes such as these are caused what's going on the night before, if the guys are out partying all night they put themselves at an automatic disadvantage, is that the problem? Are there issues in the locker room? Personal lives? It's been well published that Carlos Boozer, who has been recenly accused of so many things, slacker, apathetic, a cancer, has been going through a recent divorce, and his performance reflects someone with a lot of issues that are weighing him down. Andrei Kirilenko has quite the interesting marriage set up for him, I don't have to add any details. Is the problem coaching, not to accuse Jerry Sloan of anything but as of late the Jazz have been outscored on three pointers by 20-30 points on a regular basis, which means 1.) The perimeter and penetration defense has been absoultely attrocious and 2.) They aren't shooting nearly as much as any other teams at the three point line, which means that they are allowing other teams to outscore them simply by shooting farther back, here's an interesting statistic, in Jerry Sloan's first year as the head coach of the Utah Jazz, the most three pointers made by a team in the NBA was 152 by the Dallas Mavericks, compare that to when the Jazz went to the Finals for the first time 678 by the Miami Heat, compared to last year when the Orlando Magic hit 801 three point field goals, that's almost 10 a game! the Jazz only hit 407, about half the amount of the Magic, which means they are automatically giving up 5 points a game to the Orlando Magic, which is about the difference in a lot of the key losses down the stretch. Coach Sloan has had his system in place for a long time, and that system has never involved shooting a lot of threes, but is the advantage worth the price. Just a thought. Whatever the reason, the Jazz obviously aren't living up to their potential, which potential was seen in a twelve game winning streak in February and March , We need to fix it, and what an offseason to do it too, with a likely 7 players available to the free agent market
Paul Millsap
Kyrylo Fesenko (T)

Morris Almond
Carlos Boozer (P)
Jarron Collins
Brevin Knight
Kyle Korver (ETO)
Mehmet Okur (ETO)
Ronnie Price
Okur and Korver will be on the Jazz still, but the Jazz have the opportunity to free up some cap space and sign some players to feel voids in an economy where teams are going to cut some extra salary, so we'll take a look at the glaring weaknesses of the Jazz and what the top free agents on the market to solve the problems
1. Power Forward
The best option here might be the draft(multiple mock drafts are saying possibly DeJuan Blair from Pittsburgh as a possiblity) but here are the top power forwards up for free agency this year
1. David Lee(restricted)
2. Leon Powe(restricted)
3. Chris Andersen
4. Rasheed Wallace
5. Lamar Odom
Honorable Mention: Drew Gooden
2. A space filling Big Man for a defensive post presense
I believe that Kosta Koufus will fill this roll eventually when Sloan gives the kid a chance, but in his limited action this year he performed well, Fesenko is only good at filling space, but for solving the problem for now here are some other choices
1. Louis Amundson
2. Chris Mihm
3. Rasho Nesterovic
4. Zaza Pachulia
3. A servicable veteran backup point guard
I know call me crazy, but one of the keys to the Jazz making it to the finals in the 90's was the fact that John Stockton had a servicable point guard backing him up in Howard Eisley, and the last glimpse of the Western Conference Finals, Derek Fisher was a key player(even if you hate his daughter for getting cancer, as was said one time, you heartless wenches.)
1. Jason Kidd
2. Mike Bibby(also addresses another major need, consistent 3 point shooting)
3. Ronald Murray
4. Bobby Jackson
5. Tyronn Lue


For now though, i'm stuck here wallowing in my own grief until tomorrow, because if they can somehow beat the Spurs tomorrow I take it all back, you know I'm looking out for you D Will.