28 December 2009

In defense of Mehmet Okur

One of the most common complaints about recent Jazz teams is the lack of a shot-blocking center.

Fans want a big man who can make up for Williams, Brewer and Kirilenko's inability to guard anyone. They want Dwight Howard.

But they know that Boozer's buddy Superman isn't going to be coming to the SLC anytime soon. So, fans have accepted that all they need is longer center who can block shots and help the defense. Nothing special, just a player to make it more difficult for opponents to score.

Listen to that. They want Greg Ostertag.
Yes. You want a huge presence in the middle. Someone who can block shots. Or at least disrupt drives to the basket. The player doesn't even need to score that much.

Ostertag says: I did all of that. For 10 season. But you all wanted a center who could score from the outside. An offensive presence. Remember Todd Fuller?

The center position in the NBA today isn't very good. How many 5-men are, without any doubt, better than Okur? PFs who play a little bit of center don't count (Garnett, Duncan).
-Al Jefferson
-Brook Lopez
-Chris Kaman
-Andrew Bogut
-Marc Gasol

After that, there are a bunch of maybes. Shaquille O'Neal, Andris Biedrins,
Andrew Bynum, Emeka Okafor and Spencer Hawes.

These days it would be hard to find even a Greg Ostertag. And there aren't many options coming up in the draft. The best bet is Greg Monroe from Georgetown.

It would be really nice to have a shot-blocker, but the Jazz have a better chance of learning how to guard people with what they have.

26 December 2009

Dunk of the Year----->Sloan Hands

This is probably Williams' best dunk. He can now stop dunking. Please stop dunking, D-Will.

Also, big (er, huge) high five to my friend Kendo's blog, Sloan Hands, which got linked by Bill Simmons on Twitter yesterday.

19 December 2009

You're better than this, Gilbert Arenas

The nerds are mad at you, Agent Zero.

"Arenas is a friend of rapper The Game and was listed in the booklet for The Game's second album The Doctor's Advocate. He collects a synthetic basketball from each team played, as well as players' jerseys, of which he has more than 200, most of which are autographed.[24] Arenas is an avid Halo player—his Gamertag is Agent Arenas—and officially sponsors Team Final Boss, a professional Halo 3 team.[25][26] However, to the chagrin of many gamers, he exploits a glitch in Xbox Live to cheat, artificially boosting his Halo 3 rank through dummy accounts."

The Jazz need to find such a glitch for not being so weak on the road.

08 December 2009

Dunk o' the Year Contender

in which Deron Williams sends Tony Parker crying all the way back to Wisteria Lane.

23 November 2009

That Championship Season

I'd like to offer a congratulations to Real Salt Lake on winning the MSL championship cup, and bringing the state of Utah it's first professional sports title!

[sound of a record scratching]

Wrong! Though Real Salt Lake's victory was thrilling and extremely satisfying to this non-soccer fan, let us not forget the 1970-1971 Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association. A championship team led by ABA all-time points leader and current Utah Jazz color commentator Ron "The Ironman" Boone.

To learn more about the ABA, the Utah Stars, and Ron Boone I recommend visiting Remember the ABA (dot com)


You may have noticed, if you're any kind of Jazz fan at all, that the team got off to a bit of a rough start this season. Losing games at home, blowing leads in the fourth quarter, being smacked around by teams that have no business beating them. For the amount of talent and the (huge) amount of money wearing Jazz uniforms each night, it was hard to explain the losses. Like you, I'd imagine, I was quick to look for a scapegoat. "Who is responsible for this?!?!?" I'd scream to an empty room, flipping open the Deseret Morning News to the night prior's box score, expecting to see that Derron Williams played 43 minutes with one assist, or that Carlos Boozer played only three minutes due to injury, or that Andrei Kirilenko went 0-37 from the free throw line. But the box score didn't explain much. The stats looked okay. But do those stats really tell us everything? Well, instead of writing anything original, I'll copy/paste this bit from an excellent Bill Simmons interview from the Onion AV Club.

One of my favorite things about basketball is that you can’t break it down into some sort of science that makes total sense. And that’s why this current statistical revolution really bugs me. I think we’re figuring out ways now to use stats to try to isolate what players do, but you’re never going to be able to rate players against one another, because out of all the sports, basketball is the one that depends the most on the relationship somebody has with his teammates. And if you judged stuff by stats, you would think Wilt was better than Russell, and you’d make a kajillion mistakes that if you were making those same types of things in baseball, you probably would be right. Baseball is an individual sport that we can measure almost to a fault. In my opinion, it’s not even that fun to follow baseball anymore, because you’re not allowed to have any opinions. You have to look up every opinion you’re supposed to have. “Oh, is A-Rod clutch? Let me look that up. Yes, he’s hitting .356 in the clutch. So I guess that means he’s clutch.” What’s fun about it? It’s like algebra. And in basketball, I think so much of it depends on intuition and understanding the game, and understanding that just because somebody scored 43 points in a game doesn’t necessarily mean he had a good game. How guys affect their teammates is more important. For instance, it really would have bothered me if somebody 35 years from now thought [eight-time all-star forward] Vince Carter was a totally worthwhile player. Those are the kind of things that drive me crazy.

Go read the whole interview. It is worth your time.

13 November 2009

Deron Williams: Trade bait

The Eric Maynor era begins tonight. It is a little bit sooner than I expected, but don't forget where you heard it first.

(images all ripped from a google image search)

08 November 2009

looking at rear ends

Seems like the pre-season has been dragging on forever. Does anyone know when the 2009-2010 season is actually going to start?

29 October 2009

Fesenko craps on Carmelo

I predict this dunk from last night ends up being the best slam of the season for the Jazz.

We'll continue to monitor the 2009-10 Utah Jazz Slam Dunk Contest.

28 October 2009

Paul Millsap: Ladies Man

Two girls not even watching the game:

Girl 1: "Who's that guy? He's cute."
Girl 2: "Is he smiling?"
Girl 1: "I don't know, but he's cute. He looks like a frog."
Girl 2: "Yeah, he has great face features."


25 October 2009

This is not last year, yet

With all of the injuries the Jazz have accumulated in the preseason, the world has started to wonder if the injury curse that started last October has yet to wear off.

While it is too early to say it has not worn off, it is too early to even ask the question. Last year's injuries happened to the Jazz's best players. So far, the injuries have been limited to role players.

Role players are important. Crucial. Vital.

But injuries to them are not fatal, because role players are also expendable. Replaceable. A dime a dozen.

Over the years, the Jazz have surrounded their quality players -- Misters Williams, Boozer and Okur -- with fairly high-quality quantity. Whether by creation or picking them this way, the 'quantity' also boasts versatility. Many players can do time at more than one position. In a bind, a few of them could provide service at as many as three positions. Despite my efforts to forget him, I just remembered that Kirilenko can play four or maybe even five positions. (I should note: I would make a deal with a genie that took away his versatility if he could excel at one position [small forward]).

Here is a breakdown of the players who can play more than one position. Alphabetical order:

Boozer, PF: Can also play center, and probably should be unofficially considered the back-up. This isn't a stretch at all, as the center position has deteriorated throughout the league to where it has no identity.

Brewer, SG: Can play small forward with ease.

Kirilenko, SF: Should get a lot of time at power forward, especially against smaller line-ups. Based on match-ups, also able to play some bits at center and shooting guard.

Koufos, C: It is a stretch, but he could play power forward when Fesenko is at center.

Millsap, PF: Must be effective at small forward as well. Will probably be part of a 3-person PF-C rotation with Boozer and Okur. Said Sloan to the Deseret News: "We've got to keep him on the floor as much as possible."

Okur, C: Will see a lot of time at power forward.

Price, G: Able to play both guard spots, but is neither a point guard nor a shooting guard. Anyhow, I'm really looking forward to the one playoff game he makes a difference in.

Williams, PG: When you have a point guard as good as him, why even bother to put him at shooting guard? Have you ever sat in the passenger seat when your friend drives your car. If so, you've only done it once on account of massive awkwardness.

Left off list:
Miles, Korver, Harpring (injuries)
Maynor, Fesenko (can only play one position)
Matthews (too unknown)

Let's paint the injury problem gold:
People always say that Sloan doesn't trust rookies. It's not true. Rather, he makes rookies earn their playing time, just as he does with veterans. This meritocracy fails when nobody play deems them worthy of playing time. So, he is forced to play players that don't deserve to play. These injuries give him less options, which gives the remaining players more chances to gain his favor. This could solidify the core of the team to where he only has to use a 9-man rotation.

Until Williams, Boozer or Okur has a significant injury, though, the Jazz do not have an injury problem.

20 October 2009

I hope you are gonna love this season, Baby

With the baseball playoffs happening, I have no use for preseason basketball and haven't watched one second of any Jazz game so far. Only bad teams can glean anything from the meaningless games of October--and usually they don't. After last year, the only thing I care for is that Williams and Boozer make it through without getting hurt. Or do I care about Williams....

This rookie player Eric Maynor might be something special. Deron Williams might be his Ricky Green.

Williams and Green: Big-10 stars; Williams played at Illinois, Green was born in Illinois; Green helped the Jazz make it to their first playoff appearances, Williams helped usher in the era where the Jazz made it back to the playoffs. Green was a borderline All-star -- even went to one -- Williams is a borderline All-star. There is nothing wrong with Williams and there wasn't much wrong with Green. But with Green, a little-known player from a little-known college came along, unseated him, and ended up being great. Eric Maynor is also a "little-known player from a little-known college came along."

Okay, so I don't really believe that this will happen. Mostly, I just like saying, writing, text messaging the phrase "Deron Williams is Eric Maynor's Ricky Green." But, I will say, I don't completely believe it won't happen. Deron Williams isn't beyond being Ricky Green. He is more Ricky Green that he is Stockton.

I really like that Williams seems to have finally embraced being the leader of this team. Story goes that a few weeks ago when the Jazz were at a food bank (or something), his teammates were just chillin' until Mr. Williams came in and told them where to go help out. Lack of leadership is probably the biggest factor that has prevented the Jazz from playing good defense and winning road games.

If this leadership is real, and Williams is also less predictable with the ball, Eric Maynor might end up being Deron Williams' Eric Murdock.


CJ Miles' injury is a huge loss for the Jazz. With the Jazz making not moves this past off-season, Miles became--once again-- their only hope for critical and consistent scoring from a swing position. He is the only player capable of being both deadly from the perimeter and a force off the dribble

The relationship with Miles is a bit complicated isn't it? After 2007-08, you were positive that he needed more time. By January of last season, it was obvious that something important wasn't right with him.

Despite the disappointing 2008-09 season, Miles, according to the CIs, had a great off-season. (allegedly) He has finally figured out the NBA--the mentality, the work, the type of work, and all that Jazz. (There is no need for this blog to ever write 'etc.' or 'et cetera' when we have such an appropriate phrase fits so perfectly with what Sloan'd is all about in 'all that Jazz'.)

Cross your fingers that he gets back soon, and his new-found sense of self comes with him.


Did you see LeBron James on the season finale of Entourage a few weeks back?
Watch (caution: swears):

What a hardcore dork. Seriously. Why did geek chic become such a thing with younger NBA players?


We really need to discuss Boozer The Man sometime soon.

25 September 2009

All That Jazz

The start of the 2009-2010 NBA season means one thing: puns.

Jazz-related puns specifically. Throughout the year I'll be updating this post with Jazz-pun headlines. Looks like today we got our first, via ksl.com

Time to tune in the Jazz

The person to correctly guess the date of the season's first "Jazz Out of Rythm" headline wins a prize.

21 July 2009

Do you realize that nothing has really happened?

The other day, my dad left a voicemail on my cellular that said, "I need you to call me back and update me on everything that is happening with the Jazz." See, he had spent the previous week-plus in the mountains.

I called him back, and as the phone was ringing, I started to categorize the happenings in order of importance, so that in the case a tragedy happened to our phones or us, at least he would know the important stuff. I was really glad when he didn't answer because, by the time his voicemail answered, I had come to the realization that pretty much nothing had happened.

I finally did get a hold of him about 15 minutes later, and the conversation went something like this: "Hey, Dad. You need the update on the Jazz? Well, nothing really happened. Just a bunch of talking about stuff that could happen. Millsap re-signed, so there's that. There have been a lot of trade rumors about Boozer, but none of them make any sense. So, yeah, nothing happened."

"Oh, okay. Well, thanks for letting me know," he said.

He seemed as embarrassed that he had asked as I was with the answer that I had to give him. It was really awkward, kind of like this off-season has been for the Utah Jazz organization and its fans.

The organization seems to be a mess under the new leadership. I'm making promises to myself that I will give this Greg Miller a chance, despite his Livestrong Bracelet, slimy goatee and spiked 'do that still remembers the good not-so-old times when it was accentuated with frosted tips. And even though I once had an acquaintance who worked under him at a car dealership call him "the worst leader I have ever seen." And even though he has been begging to take over LHM's empire for years, according to an interview I heard with Larry last fall, which has to make one wonder if he respects the position he holds. A smart person might be more hesitant to jump into that fire, or at least approach it with a respectful fear.

I'm really keeping an open mind. But, it has to be asked: Would things be this chaotic if Larry H. Miller was still wearing the crown? Would LHM have let Boozer get away with being on radio shows in Chicago and Miami (and not in SLC), talking about how great those teams could be with him and how much he loves those cities? Would he let Boozer get away with announcing that the Jazz told him they were going to trade him -- whether it was true or not? Would he have allowed the situation to get so nuts that the Jazz now have no option BUT to trade their leading scorer? There's no way LHM would let his team lose their leverage or control of the scenario.

I trust Kevin O'Connor, and I have few doubts that he is doing his best to keep control of Utah's options. Everything else has gotten so crazy, though, that the fans seem to be in charge, leaving O'Connor with little power to make sure the Utah Jazz are still a playoff team. Boozer for Tyrus Thomas? Come on.

It's been awkward for fans too. I'm so sick and tired of having to have Twitter up all day, and refreshing it at least five time per hour, so I can know when a trade happens -- if one ever does happen. I'm now more connected than I need to be. Sure, ?uestlove's twits are respectable and there aren't too many, but I don't need to know anymore about Wale (though his new album will undoubtedly be awesone -- thanks to Twitter, I can tell you that it is called Attention Deficit and it comes out on Sept. 22). Did you know that Kevin Durrant and Dwight Howard, two of my favorite NBA players, do absolutely nothing all day every day? It's true, and they have no qualms about mentioning what they are not doing. And don't even get me started on CJ Miles. (I will mention this: He is joining or starting some kind of club that advocates wearing more socks or something like that. For real.)

Then there's the Millsap deal. Some Jazz fans are devoted to him like he is a future Hall of Famer. Most Jazz fans thought he was the PF of the future until he got significant time last year and wore down, got hurt, played for a contract. No wait, that was Boozer...oh, uh, no, it was Millsap too. These people still like that he's a worker, so they were happy when it appeared the Jazz were going to get him for a little bit more than the mid-level, on account of nobody else making him an offer. Things were looking good. Then, Portland got shrewd and messed things up. They couldn't let a division rival avoid over-paying for a cherish role player. So, they signed him to an offer. This also freed up Boozer, in case Portland wanted to pursue him, which it seems they don't.

Jazz fans were left trying to pretend that paying him that much money isn't a horrible thing.

In the long run, though, Portland's brilliant move will have little impact. I strongly believe that a team should let a role player walk away before they should extremely over-pay him. Millsap is a role player. Millsap is not a $10MIL player. Millsap is about a $6MIL player, and that is about what he will be getting the last three years of the contract he just signed.

But, by signing Millsap to the offer, Portland forced the Utah's hand, and made the world a ton more messy place for the Jazz organization and little more awkward place for the fans. Now that it seems to be a given that the Jazz will be without their one big-time scorer next year, everyone is holding their breath until a trade actually does happen, killing brain cells and thereby making it more and more inevitable that the impending trade will be a terrible one. It isn't because the Jazz don't know any better, it's just that they've left themselves with no choice.

14 June 2009

Stop trying to make Hansbrough happen, it's not going to happen

Greg Ostertag plays hockey, makes cakes, and seems to want to hoop some more [azcentral.com]

Not only was Greg Ostertag a 28th pick in the draft, the Jazz got rid of a lot of dead weight when they brought him back for one more year.

Boozer was at Game 4 in Orlando. With CeCe. Divorce off, marriage on? [Salt Lake Tribune]

The Fesenko Question is answered -- he's coming back next year [Salt Lake Tribune]

A year ago, I would have wanted this and the Miles signing so bad. Both fellows are loaded with athleticism and talent, but neither seem like they aren't going to get it. With Williams, Okur (hopefully) and Boozer (please please) as the core, the Jazz need players who a) are going to work hard and b) know that they aren't going to be an NBA superstar.
What the Jazz need are hard-working, veteran role players. Players who are playing for championships, not contracts. (I know that is what Boozer's about, but he's too good, and I still have hope that he will change.)

The Jazz haven't given up the dream either (Hansbrough!) [Salt Lake Tribune]

But Siler doesn't quite get it yet.

I know Jazz fans hate white guys, but trust in me, this would work out.

Koufos honors his dad [Salt Lake Tribune]

Utah Jazz all-time draft history [Utah Jazz dot come]

Idiotic opinions about 2009-10 Utah Jazz starting line-up [Jazzbots or something]

How The Utah Jazz Should Spend Their Summer Cash [Bleacher Report]

By some dude who thinks that Boozer, Okur and Korver have already opted out and that Morris Almond is coming back next year.

Jazz Dunk Team auditions [Utah Jazz dot com]
Have you seen these dudes? They do some lame dunks and some awesome dunks. They celebrate like a flamboyant K-Rod after both.

Masha is releasing her English single this month [Salt Lake Tribune]

Not content with owning a store that is proud of providing Ed Hardy garb to Douchebag
Dads or once being the supposed Britney of Russia, MK-47 is trying to be a pop star in this country too. The best part is the article is titled "Stepping Out". The second best part is this accompanying photo:

If only she could hate Utah as much as Mrs. Booze allegedly does and CeCeBoo could like it as much as MK-47 does.

Here's MK-47's hit, "Sugary". I'd feel a lot more honest if I knew how to say 'hit' in Russian:

08 June 2009

8 June 2009

It looks like my hopes of the Jazz drafting Tyler Hansbrough are fading (Chad Ford - ESPN Insider)
In his latest mock, Chad Ford still has Hansbrough coming to Utah, but that came before the above column. It makes total sense -- he had one of the world's best college careers in history, and he's tall, tough and athletic. He's the next Matt Harpring, only playing the position might be better suited for someone with the (barf) football geneology Harpring has.

I'm still allowed to be bummed that the rest of the country is finding out that he can jump, despite his skin deficiency. I guess Luke Nevill can wear #50 when the Jazz pull off a huge coup and draft their leading shot blocker.

Free Darko calls current Jazz nbadraft.net mock pick Wayne Ellington the "Most Likely to be the Barack Obama of Utah"
Not the western frontiersman that Karl Malone was (or is, as he's likely shooting at something out the back of his 18-wheeler right now), Wayne is, instead, the sort of mainstream (UNC-bred) African-American made for Utah: articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. He's also the sort of system scorer who could thrive in Utah, where NBADraft.net is projecting he winds up.

Kind of racist, no?

ShamSports is doing an incredible Where Are They Now on every draft pick from 1994 to 2008.
1994 Jazz pick: Jaime Watson (#47)
Watson played 102 games in the league over three years, before exploring a few other countries, such as China, Portugal, Lebanon, Cyprus, Columbia, Domincan Republic, Chile, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia....you know, all the usual haunts. His last stop came in Jordan (giggidy), when he averaged 17.8 points per game for Al Riyadi in 2006. He later played for the Jordanian National Team, believing perhaps rightly that his chance of joining USA Basketball had passed.
1995 Jazz pick: Greg Ostertag (#28)
Ostertag retired in 2006, and with him disappeared any Greg Ostertag news. If I were to guess, I'd guess that he's doing a lot of fishing right about now.

Greg Ostertag was the 28th pick. The Jazz got sure did get a lot out of a 28th pick, eh? (Comparison: 1994s 28th pick -- some fellow named Deon Thomas by Dallas)

Kirk Snyder's incompetence is declared on yet another court (San Francisco Chronicle)

Boozer goes to Africa (Deseret News)
Deron Williams doesn't seem to care where Boozer heads next season (Deseret Morning News)

It's like the words were taken right out of my mouth (Daily Utah Chronicle)

Re-asking the Fesenko question (SL Trib)
The only tougher question for the Jazz is how to trade Kirilenko, methinks.

Bette Midler, who also goes by the unfortunate stage name The Divine Miss M (which isn't quite as bad as Beyonce's 'Sasha Fierce'), is hitting her monumental 100th Las Vegas show performance. The Associated Press marks their worst line ever written in the story about Miss M's milestone:
Bette Midler admits it takes a little work to keep her Las Vegas Strip show fresh.

A beautiful sports/father-son piece (UniWatch)

And music:

01 June 2009

Stern shouldn't worry about no LeBron-Kobe face-off

David Stern isn't worried about the cash he's missing out on due to the lack of a Kobe Bryant-LeBron James match-up in the NBA Finals. Not only is a Lakers-Magic Finals a better series, but Bryant v. Dwight Howard should be a better marketing situation.

Sure, Bryant and Howard won't guard each other like James and Bryant would have on a few possessions each game, but it doesn't really matter. In fact, Bryant doesn't really matter, because Dwight Howard is the NBA's most marketable player, whether the league knows it or not.

Howard not only defeated James on the court with his incredible Game 6 performance, but he dominates James off-the-court. Howard has more personality and more originality and is more fun than James. Howard also wasn't anointed as anything and has had to earn all the love he's gotten since he was drafted #1 over Emeka Okafor in 2004.

Howard has become one of the league's best interviews. He jokes around and has refreshing sense of humor. His cracks won't make him the last comic standing, but he isn't re-telling the same old same old NBA-player jokes.

Howard isn't afraid to be a little bit different than typical pro basketball players, either. Yes, the whole Superman bit was stolen from therealShaq, but Shaq can't even fly, and calling yourself Superman isn't exactly authentic.

It's not just Howard's words that are a bit different. Since the early 90s, dunk contest has been shunned by the big stars, except as an avenue to get some quality face-time by overreacting to a good-but-not-great dunk. Howard goes to perform, and after three years of watching Howard winning people over with his contest dunks, guess who wants in? King James, or at least he declared so in the heat of the most recent contest.

More than anything else, Howard seems like a higher-quality hang than probably any NBA player. A day with him would consist of more than talking about business deals and how he wants to be a billionaire. You might not eat good food, his body being as great as it is, but you'd still have enjoy your playdate.

Despite being silly, Dwight Howard is still respected as a basketball player. The skinny top draft pick with braces has worked his body into an unstoppable force. When he was drafted, scouts, coaches, reporters and analysts weren't making proclamations of deity, but were saying sentences that ended with question marks. We weren't "witnesses", we were non-believers.

The NBA seems bent on making James the next Jordan, it isn't even funny. Seriously, it isn't. It's boring. Howard is much more likable, so much more fun, so much more interesting than James. Not to mention more likely to win a title.

20 May 2009


Someone realizes that the Jazz would not pass on Tyler Hansbrough.

This would be such a great pick for the Jazz. Not only would he fill the gap left by Boozer or Millsap, but he might also be the next Matt Harpring.

14 May 2009

Williams: Be a lil' more like Billups

LINK: Billups: Best point guard in the league.

Two things from that article that struck me in relation to Deron:
1) Point guards should not be judged by the same standards as every other position on the court. They are like pitchers in baseball, in that the statistics for every other player aren't relevent (though, PGs don't do quite as far Ps do, because PGs do need some offensive stats), and wins should be their main barometer.
2) Deron needs somebody to teach him. I love D-will, but besides his cross-over and a more consistent jumper, what in his game has improved in the last two years? In his defense, he has never played with a true PG that could educate him -- there has been McLoud, Pilacio, Fisher, Hart and Knight. Besides Knight (who might have been able to teach him if he hadn't been so erratic himself), none of those fellows are true points. Oh that Gordy Chiesa were still around. Andre Miller might be able to. Then again, besides Miller and Billups, are their any PGs left who knows how to play the position? Maybe Williams just needs to ask the question to someone like Stockton, "How do you know when to pass and when to shoot?"

Side note: Point guards don't really matter anymore, do they? Look at the season assist leaders and which PGs are still playing. Jason Kidd is the only one, I believe. Here's my list of the best PGs in the league (in no order):
Kidd (maybe)

Of those 10, eight were on teams that made the postseason.
Three were on teams that made it to the second round.
BUT, point guards SHOULD matter. If they play the role of a traditional PG (distributing, controlling game, improving their teammates, etc.), they WILL matter. Evidence: Andre Miller. He goes to Denver and helps make them relevant. They trade him for Iverson. Philly becomes relevant.

01 May 2009

Jazz's biggest mistake has his big day

Former Jazz draftee Sasha Pavlovic, who did a one-year tour wearing an ugly no. 11 jersy with a mountain range across the front got married in-between the first and second round of the play-offs. He didn't cry.

More than Mo Williams*, and by a lot, Pavlovic is the worst let-go the Jazz have had. Not just because of his shooting, but also because he turned into a physical player who wasn't afraid to start a little fracas or two. (Unfortunately, Youtube doesn't have clips of all the crap he got into with the Nets in the playoffs a few years back).

Then again, he hardly plays for the Cavs anymore. Huh.

*= Mo Williams has turned into a nice player (his All-star selection this year was a joke, though), but not having him made the Jazz notice the necessity of moving up to draft Deron Williams (whose lack of a All-star nomination is an even bigger joke, though he didn't deserve it this year).

28 April 2009

24 April 2009

Williams' game-winner puts Jazz back in series

This blog is being fueled by a Bleu Bacon Burger from Training Table and was typed while watching the Blazers get handled by the Rockets. Two things:
1) I don't get the State Farm commercial with LeBron James where I think he is mocking his friend for listening to Kid 'N Play. I guess I do get it, I just don't get why anybody would think that was a good commercial to make. LeBron will never be the commercial success that Jordan was because he is in lame commercials and he is lame in those lame commercials. Jordan's advertisments weren't great because they were cool, they were great because they added to his mystique. 'I Wanna Be Like Mike' was just another tool that MJ used to get in the heads of the entire world.
2) Van Gundy makes Mark Jackson look silly. He beats him not only in interesting, relevant comments (the quality insight score at the end of the game is usually something like JVG: 21, Mark Jackson: 1), but also in humor. Jackson was better during his year in a Jazz uniform than he is at telling a joke. I'm saying a lot when I say that.

I'm going to throw in a third thing:
3) I hope that JVG enjoys this broadcasting gig enough to not leave it for a team, but not enough that he would turn down the Jazz when Jerry Sloan decides that he's had enough. I also hope that the Jazz would pursue him. If Larry was in charge, I feel confident that some serious consideration would at least be given to hiring JVG, but Greg Miller has a goatee and wears a Livestrong bracelet, which is not only uninspiring, but also worrisome. (Update: Mark Jackson just gave the Jazz nary a chance to win tomorrow night, JVG predicts they will win; see? JVG knows)

(Wow, the Blazers have cut it to four. Oh, Battier just hit a three-pointer to put it back to a 7-point difference)


Deron Williams' performance last night paralleled the performance of the entire Jazz team, as a whole: not at all their greatest game, but perhaps their greatest moment.

Williams had a tough time getting good looks, and the few times he did, he had a hard time putting the ball in the hoop. Even free-throws were a tough deal for him, with him missing four straight at one point. But, more than any other time that I can remember, he found other ways to help Utah win. Mainly, he controlled and maintained the tempo better than he ever has, and he did it up to the final buzzer. Unlike Tuesday night and the rest of the season, the Jazz's offense in the final 90 seconds was as well-run and organized has it had been the first 47 minutes and 30 seconds.

Then, disproving my theory that the Jazz can't hit a shot in the last 15 seconds of a tight game, Williams made Fisher look silly and drained a jumper with :2.2 left. I think D-Will finally knows how to finish games.

Another great Williams moment was when he got matched up with Kobe Bryant for a play in the third quarter. The mismatch was obvious, but without hesitation, Williams committed himself to playing good defense and not giving Bryant an easy shot. D-Will anchored himself and put his body on Bryant, forcing him to take a jumper that Brewer came over and blocked.

Speaking of Brewer, he seems to get more and more comfortable playing against Bryant at The Larry. He made Bryant work for every shot he took. When Kobe did get going a little bit in the 3rd quarter, Brewer stuck with it not only physically, but mentally too. A lot of times, Brewer seems to be playing defense with his body, but his mind somewhere else. Brewer's confidence in guarding Therapist at Staples is much slower in growing, though.

Bryant was probably having an off-day, but Brewer kept with him and made sure his shot was never found. It was, by far, Brewer's best defensive performance since he was drafted. He affected Bryant's shots. With Kobe, defenders have to add even the slightest degree of difficulty to his attempts. It isn't easy, because Bryant can score in so many ways, but he can be affected, and continuous pestering can decrease his confidence. Just look at Bryant's heave with two seconds left. Kobe let it go about two dribbles before he needed to. It seemed like a conscious decision too. He took one dribble and realized, based on how Brewer had defended him all game, that the 30-footer was the most open he was going to get.

On offense, Brewer hit enough jumpers and his forays into the paint led to a sufficient amount of points and quality passes to force Bryant to keep tabs on him.

Korver and Harpring both hit gigantic shots during that crucial 4th quarter run that got Utah back in the game. Before the final quarter, both players had struggled. Korver couldn't hit anything and Harpring couldn't stay on the court enough to even get shots on account of foul trouble (he had four fouls in his first three minutes of game action). Both players played through their struggles, and ended up impacting the game in a positive way. The Jazz were +9 when Korver was on the court and +7 when Harpring was playing.

Kirilenko had a typical comeback game for him, which is to say, he was pretty great. He was penetrating the Laker defense for points that he set up or scored for himself. His defense was disruptive at important parts of the game, especially in the first half.

If Jerry Sloan was a New Age Geek Coach, he would give AK the cold shoulder or put him in the doghouse somehow before game four, then forgive him and put him back in the starting line-up in game five. Kirilenko would play amazing, like he does whenever he comes back from injury or is put back in the starting line-up. He never maintains the great play, though. It's funny that Kirilenko is such a numbers-watcher, because he played great last night but only finished with 8 points, 0 rebounds, 3 assits and one block. His impact on the game has absolutely nothing to to with statistics, but he presses on in evaluating his happiness based on the numbers he achieves. One number he should watch is rebounds, but Kirilenko's dearth of rebounds on Thursday can probably be chalked up to Boozer and Millsap grabbing EVERY SINGLE BOARD.

Millsap played awesome, but nobody noticed because of what Boozer did. Millsap pulled down 14 rebounds and finished his lay-ups. Pretty good for someone who probably realized he was seeing his chance of being the Jazz's starting PF next year be eliminated.

Despite Millsap's great game, Sloan probably made a mistake starting him over Collins to start the second half. He set the tone with his physical play and messed with Bynum so bad that Bynum only got in seven minutes of playing time. With Millsap, the defense wasn't quite as stout and a physical precedent for the final 24 minutes wasn't set.

Not only was Thursday night Boozer's greatest moment, it is also in the running for his best game so far. Yes, there were the 23 points and the 22 boards, but he also figured out a way to play defense. Also, his minutes were limited due to foul trouble. (I hope to talk more about Boozer's huge game 3 tomorrow.)

The Jazz offense wasn't as effective as it was in either game 1 or game 2, but the overall game was more productive, and the defense kept the Lakers in check.

(Houston ended up winning. Why are the Jazz the only team that can beat them? If Utah does advance onto the second round, I would want to face Portland, though, because they will be just about spent. Houston is the worst play-off match-up. They play so different from everyone else, and it isn't easy to re-adjust. It takes at least a game. Plus, it is almost impossible for a team to come out of series with them without being at least a little bit beat up and exhausted.)

Boozer takes a dump on Gasol

17 April 2009

Jazz lose, will play L.A. again

The Utah Jazz’s 125-112 loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday night was an all-too-fitting end to their 2008-09 regular season.

Once again, the team was not at full-strength, with injuries keeping starters Mehmet Okur and C.J. Miles out of the game with a strained right hamstring and a dislocated left index finger, respectively. Sometimes it hurts to be so true to form.

Equally befitting was yet another road loss. With a 15-26 record, Utah once again ended a season with a losing mark in games away from Energy Solutions Arena.

Playing two nights in a row again proved detrimental to the team. One of the surest bets in the NBA this season was against the Jazz in the second game of a back-to-back set. Since the season's tip off in October, Utah struggled without at least one day of rest, going 3-18 in such situations, which was among the absolute worst in the NBA.

More than anything else, in-game lapses were the biggest culprits in Utah's most recent loss, and maybe their disappointing season. They kept pinning themselves in corners that eventually proved too difficult to fight out of.

On Tuesday, when they needed 48 minutes of good basketball to have a chance to increase their playoff standing and perhaps ease their troubles, the Jazz only provided about 30 minutes.

The game started well for Utah. With Matt Harpring starting for Miles and Jarron Collins replacing Okur, the Jazz seemed to have an added amount of toughness. They not only stayed in the game, they led for a good portion of the first half.

Inconsistency made a visit during the second quarter, though, and the Jazz fell behind by nine points. They cut the deficit to 56-55 by halftime, but they were already in a defensive mode, more focused on blocking punches than throwing them.

After the intermission, L.A. again built up a 9-point lead, and the Utah again erased it. The next round of blows, though, was too much for the Jazz to handle.

Behind three-point plays by Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom and a Bryant-assisted three-point basket by Shannon Brown, the Lakers increased a one-point lead to an eight-point margin at the close of the third quarter.

Leading 91-83, the Lakers began the final quarter with a quick 10-0 run that put the Jazz down for the count. Trailing by 18, Utah seemed resigned to their fate as the Western Conference's 8-seed, never mounting any sort of a comeback.

Much like last season, when the Jazz and Lakers faced off in the second round of the playoffs, Utah struggled to defend the Lakers' big men. With Bryant watching from the bench with foul trouble, center Andrew Bynum carried the Lakers' scoring load in a first half. He finished with 20 points and combined with fellow front-line players Odom and Pau Gasol to score 58 points.

Though Lakers leading scorer Bryant had relatively low-key game due to prolonged stays on the bench, he still managed to play an integral part in putting Utah away, scoring and setting up crucial baskets. Bryant finished with 16 points on only 5-11 shooting.

For the Jazz, Deron Williams led all players with 25 points and 13 assists. Forward Andrei Kirilenko scored 20, but countered that output with six turnovers and zero blocked shots.

Despite their incomplete effort and the historic lack of success by No. 8 seeds against No. 1 seeds in the playoffs -- the bottom seed has only beat the top seed three out of 50 times -- the Jazz did provide at least one indicator of not being willing to just lay down and let L.A. roll over them in the playoffs.

In the second half, Williams took exception to Bynum running into him following a dunk by the Lakers' big man. Two plays after the collision, Williams set a pick on the much bigger Bynum that resembled a football hit by a free safety, and picked up a foul. When Bryant came to the defense of his teammate, a discussion between he and Williams ensued and both were assessed technical fouls.

Though it could have been merely frustration for the Jazz's late-season slide or legitimate retaliation, Williams' play can set the tone for the upcoming playoff series between the two teams, and served as a reminder that the Lakers will have to work hard to beat the Jazz four more times before the Utah's season is over.

Utah has until the weekend to regroup from their 2-7 finish to the season. They'll need toughness and pride similar to what Williams displayed if they are going to have any chance of defeating the Lakers in the best-of-7 series.

14 April 2009

Jazz shouldn't wait for other teams to determine their future

It seems like the Jazz almost always play their first-round playoff opponent in the last game of the season. On it's own, a season's last game always brings an onslaught of questions: Should the team give players a rest? Should it play its stars the entire game? How much effort should the team extend to grab an extra win? Should ailing players leave their uniforms in their locker, and instead wear a suit and sit on the second row?

When two eventual upcoming 1st-round opponents meet in the last game, even more questions arise. For instance, the Jazz and Lakers seem on track to meet for a session starting this weekend. Would it be better for the Jazz to lose, so as not to motivate the Lakers, thus hoping Utah can catch LA off-guard in game one? Would a win be better, because it could anger Kobe Bryant, and an angry Kobe is a selfish Kobe? Would a close win by Utah even anger the Lakers?

What about a blow-out loss by the Jazz? That might get the LA feeling casual and increase give the Jazz's motivation a much-needed jump-start. Could a blow-out actually be better?

Even more questions can be raised when you take into account that the Lakers possibly have control over which team they will see in the first round. If they would rather not play the Jazz in the first round, they could ease up and increase Utah's chances of winning tonight, then hope that either Dallas or New Orleans lose, averting an opening-round series with the Jazz.

All these questions can have more than one plausible answer before the final game, and the truthfulness of the answers are rarely known, even over time. It is impossible to say whether the way the final game of the season played out had any impact on the what eventually happened in the playoffs. It is all speculation. Which is why the best thing for a team to do, trite as it sounds, is to expend the capacity of their energy every single game of the season, whether the game is in November, April, or one of the four months in between.

Winning comes down to some combination of three things: being better, being smarter, or working harder. If both teams play fairly even in those three capacities, then a game be decided by which team did the three things best at the end of a game or which team got a fortunate bounce at a fortunate time (over-simplified, it is called luck).

In John Stockton's last or second-to-last season, the Jazz were about to be matched up with the Sacramento Kings, one of the Western Conference's best teams that year, in the first round. The Kings had some injury problems that might be detrimental, which would increase Utah's chances of prevailing. When Jerry Sloan was asked about this, he said something along the lines of, "We want each team's best effort every single game."

He's absolutely correct. Rather than trying to wrap their heads around which scenario could potentially provide a team with it's best chance to advance a round, that team is better served to instead just take care of matters themselves and win, because the time will come when they will need to beat a team on their own. A squad that relies on others for their own playoff successes can only go so far (see: Utah Jazz, 2007 Playoffs). Within the bounds of the rules, it is physically and scientifically impossible for one team to win a championship for another team. Winners have their own merits.


The thing to watch for tonight is how Ronnie Brewer plays on offense. He has started to play confident when the Jazz face the Lakers at The Larry, but he is more-than-tentative whenever Utah matches up with Bryant at Staples. A confident Brewer makes more plays on defense.

Harpring brings guts to the starting five

Tom Nissalke, before tonight's game, discusses why he likes the idea of Harpring starting:

"You know you're going to get effort. When Deron sees someone getting after it, he'll do it too, then someone else, then someone else, then someone else...."

Kind of a jab at Deron, but probably deserved. Deron's on- and off-court leadership is sometimes as non-existent as his sideburns.


It's difficult to glean anything from a win like last night's over the Clippers. The Jazz played like they don't against good teams in the first half: aggressive and attacking the hoop without reservation. Even Millsap was finishing around the hoop. They played in the second half like they usually do when they build a big lead, which is best described as uninterested.

Pehaps the two most important characteristics Harpring brings to the Jazz starting lineup is physcical play and the ability to set a tone for the game. No other Jazz player seems to be able to affect the nature of the game and Harpring's physical approach on the floor could/should serve as a good example to the rest of the team in the playoffs, so long as his body can hold up.


Have you noticed that Deron has been absorbing some hard fouls lately? Have you also noticed that it never happens when Harpring is on the floor? There's a good chance that it is total coincidence since Harpring hardly plays (only 15 minutes tonight, but they were so big that it seemed like more), but it could also be that opposing teams know they would have to answer for putting Deron on the ground if Harpring were in the game. Boozer, Okur, Brewer or Millsap needs to at least step up to the hard-fouler and call him an effer or something.

There were two incidents in tonight's game where a Jazz teammate should done more:

1) Early in the first quarter, Chris Kaman threw the ball pretty hard at Williams. It wasn't as horrible a play has the crowd at The Larry made it out to be, but someone else on the team could have walked up to Kaman and said something.

2) After Harpring got into it with Baron Davis, Kaman did the basketball equivolent of baseball's throwing at a player who is of equal importance as the player the other team who was initially hit with a pitch. Except Kaman's hit on Williams was much more blatant and violent than Harpring's elbow on Davis. Sure, Deron can stick up for himself, but the opposing team needs to know they are going to receive some pain in return if they don't ease up on Williams.

Teams aren't going to ease up on Williams until his teammates start asking them un-nicely to lay off him.

04 April 2009

don't be jealous...

...but I went to the KJZZ studio yesterday.

30 March 2009

yours truly

[LDS church President Thomas S. Monson was in attendance at Monday's game]

Boone: "Well I want you to know, Thomas Monson's favorite player ever, your truly."
Boler: "RON BOONE!? Oh Ron Ron Ron Ron what are we going to do with you?"

the continuing adventures of Boler and Booner

Boone: "Is that uh... how long has he been here, four years? I think this is the first technical Deron Williams has ever received."
Boler: "He averages one or two a year."



Boler: "Bernie just told me this is Deron's sixth technical this season."

24 March 2009

Rested, the Jazz begin a telling stretch of games

This story that B. shared with me helped me finally get over the horrible El Heat loss, and I am going to give the Jazz another chance to prove to the world that they are worth something.

The team has had a lot of rest since the road trip failures (two games in eight days) and only have three games this week. Three winnable games. Three should-be wins. They play Houston at home tonight, at Phoenix on Wednesday, and after two full days rest, Phoenix back at The Larry. Anything other than 3-0 would point to this year's team not having much of a playoff future. If they go 2-1, with the loss likely coming tomorrow, when the Jazz face both of their usual stumbling blocks (a road and back-to-back games) in one night, then this team is as it always has been. If they go 1-2, then, barring a late-season about-face, the team might as well be in the lottery, because they don't have what it takes to win a playoff series.

By the way, as a look at the standings will show, the #2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs is up for grabs. Houston just passed San Antonio, and the Rockets have only one less loss than Utah does (four more wins, though). The Spurs have two more wins and two less losses, for a two-game lead over the Jazz. Denver has two more wins and equal losses and New Orleans is one better than Utah in both the win and the loss columns. Portland is also in the hunt, being tied with the Jazz with one more win and one more loss. The Jazz have more games left than all of the contenders, giving them a lot of control over where they finish out.

20 March 2009

don't mess

We make fun of Boler and Booner a lot, but it turns out they're made guys. They have friends in high places. Maybe we should lay off.

17 March 2009

Bolerjack's St. Patrick's Day Special

"It's been one of those nights, Mr. O'Boone."

breaking news

Ronnie Brewer will not be starting tonight because he missed this morning's practice. Chocolate milk hangover?

15 March 2009

Utah@Orlando Live Game Blog

Lee is right. Millsap and AK owe us a big game. Let's hope Korver can keep up his hot streak. Let's hope that riding segways through Epcot Center (assuming that the team did that) cleared their minds of yesterday's brutal defeat.

Boozer introduces the starting lineup: "D-Will. Watch out he's got all these moves. Be careful."

Nice job giving away our secrets before the game, Carlos.

First play of the game, Deron demonstrates the devastating "stand around" defense.

And now the whole team follows suit allowing rookie Courtney Lee to slam it down.

Jazz not looking energetic. I'll try to not be so negative. The Jazz are looking loose and relaxed.

Jerry tossed less than two-and-half minutes into the game. He's right to be irritated, these refs are not playing well together so far. I'm not saying that because I disagree with the calls, but we've already had a call reversed and foul credit re-assigned. Get it together, guys.

I bet when Vlade Divac, Hedo Turkoglu, and Peja Stojakavic played together the air on the Kings' charter plane was filled with really nasty burps.

First time out. Jazz not looking good.


Collins is in. That's good news.

Millsap looking sluggish. Ronnie Brewer is exhibiting some heads-up play.

I typed that before he missed a free throw and then immediately sent Orlando to the line.

I was Phil Johnson, this is what I would coach the Jazz to do: MAKE SHOTS!

Commercials. Styx is playing Wendover, but I don't think it's the real Styx.

Kyle Korver's mouthguard has entered the game, with Korver following right behind.

Boler and Booner have a disagreement over whether Deron's slamdunk was a Frustration Slam or an Opportunity Slam.

Collins has a couple of nice fumbles in a three second period. Brevin Knight should never take a shot, ever. Now Collins stands in admiration of Dwight Howard's shoulders while Howard rises for an easy slam.

Korver drops three. Apparently his mouthguard is bothering him.

End of first guarter. Dwight Howard has a double-double. I'm going on break.


I love the Ronnie Brewer chocolate milk commercial. So awkward.

That's all I got. I haven't the energy to continue this.

That game was twice in the bag

Used to be that I would expect a huge win after a loss like yesterday, maybe even a blowout win. With these Jazz, though, I expect a four-game losing streak.

Millsap and Kirilenko owe us a big game or two after what they did at the end of regulation yesterday afternoon. As bad as AK picking up that charging foul (which was questionable) instead of backing the ball out, Millsap trying to dunk over whoever that was was even worse. The lead was only four, and since when does he dunk over people? He isn't even good at finishing a lay-up over another player. Also, did you notice how mopey he looked the exact minute he entered the game. I have never seen a player look so affected by the party they went to or the beverages they downed the night before. Or he was sad that his woman broke up with him. Either way, he did not come to play yesterday, which isn't common for him.

AK wasn't much better. He got called for traveling within a few minutes of checking in, and it affected him until he fouled out (which was like a blessing to Jazz fans). He whined about every call that went against him and seemed disconnected from the game. Maybe he was bummed that he was the fourth player off the bench, and didn't enter the game until the beginning of the second quarter. If he made as many plays as Korver has been lately, maybe he'd play more.

Anyway, AK and Millsap owe us.

11 March 2009

Boler, Booner

CB: "Turnaround jumper... sweeeet."
RB: "Did you just say sweet?"
CB: "Sweeeeet."
RB: "Sweet. You got that from your son didn't you? Sweet?"
CB: "It's big these days isn't it? Sweet."
RB: "Sweet."

08 March 2009

random photo

two of america's finest.

20 games left

The Jazz finished February with a 10-1 record, putting them back in the thickness of the Western Conference playoff standings. With April being considered a great month if they finish better than 3-5, March is the pivotal month in determining their playoff seeding.

So far, Utah is off to a 3-0 start with twelve games left before deadly April. Though they are on a somewhat impressive 10-game winning streak, most people who talk about these sorts of things think this is where the Jazz come back to earth, crashing, but still surviving (Apollo 13) and earning a playoff berth. These people figure that, although they are now as close as a team can be from the #3 seed without actually being the 3rd seed, they will soon start climbing down the ladder. It isn't unrealistic to feel this way, as eight of the 12 remaining March games are on the road (besides two games, the rest of the current win streak came at The Larry) and four being the rear end of back-to-back games.

Those two things cannot be excuses, though, for a team with the talent that the Jazz have, which is a lot. There's three recent All-stars among their top six players and another who will be a multiple-time All-star and one of the NBA's deepest squads. There's plenty of height, more than enough shooters, and a point guard who runs an effective, efficient offense. Also, they have proven to be good enough to beat any team at The Larry.

Road and back-to-back games are more difficult than games in SLC, obviously, but they are not reason enough that the Jazz should lose to teams like Miami or Atlanta when playing under either of those conditions. If they do continue to consistently drop such games, then the only appropriate reasoning is that this team's toughness does not equal its skill.

I just saw that the Jazz beat the Raptors, so that pushes the winning streak to 11 games and the March record to 4-0. Nice. Getting the road trip off to a winning start has to be perfect for the team's away-from-home confidence.

Here's the rest of the schedule and how they should do. Thanks to utahjazz.com for making this schedule so easy to copy and paste. The rules of the schedule is that the Jazz are not allowed, barrying serios injury, to lose to a team that they are unquestionably better than, no matter the circumstances. Losing to better or near equal teams on the road is okay, but losing to them at home is not. Losing back-to-backs to such teams is less acceptable, but in some cases I might look the other way (but not until it happens -- as of now, it should not occur). Also, sometimes a game is lost that shouldn't be lost; maybe the opponent was on fire, or maybe a team just can't catch a break. Because these games are unpredictable, they will not be predicted, on account of me refusing to take the prefix 'un' lightly. Besides, there are always games that go the other way where a team gets one they maybe shouldn't have. It usually evens out.
*=back-to-back games

Tue 10 @ Indiana---Win
*Wed 11 @ Atlanta---Win
Sat 14 @ Miami---Win
*Sun 15 @ Orlando---Loss
Tue 17 vs Washington---Win
Fri 20 @ Oklahoma City---Win
Tue 24 vs Houston---Win
*Wed 25 @ Phoenix---Loss (This game could go either way)
Sat 28 vs Phoenix---Win
Mon 30 vs New York---Win
*Tue 31 @ Portland---Loss
Thu 02 @ Denver---Loss
*Fri 03 vs Minnesota---Win
Sun 05 @ New Orleans---Loss (again, could go either way here)
Wed 08 @ Dallas---Win (Dallas, along with San Antonio, is one of the cities that they Jazz can never win in, for whatever reason. Maybe LA, but this history doesn't quite seem to be there. So, even though I don't think the Jazz will win this game, hence the 3-5 prediction given earlier, they should)
Fri 10 @ San Antonio---Loss
*Sat 11 vs Golden State---Win
Mon 13 vs LA Clippers---Win
*Tue 14 @ LA Lakers---Loss

In the 19 remaining games, the Jazz should go 12-7, putting their record at 52-30. Not too shabby. It could go even better if the team can get over their road insecurities. If they can, they could possibly go 14-5 and really set themselves apart from New Orleans, Houston, and Portland, and put themselves in the class of the Lakers and the Spurs -- not only this year, but in the future. The way they finish this season not only improves their playoff seeding, but can be an indicator of the type of team they are going to be next season (assuming they don't lose Boozer or Okur to free agency).

It's all up to March.

04 March 2009

the league trembles in fear

Looks like the other teams in the Northwest Division have taken notice of the Jazz's recent string of success. Denver knows that the Jazz are nipping at their heals and they are obviously panicking, as evidenced by this move. Scary news for those hoping the Jazz could take the division. Let's just hope that Portland doesn't find out about this.

02 March 2009

I know they lost every time they wore them, but....

On utahjazzdotcom today, there is a poll question that asks "Should the Jazz have a throw back jersey night?" with the following response options:
-YES! I miss the old note!
-The new jersey is where it's at.
-As long as they don't wear the short shorts...

I don't know how long they keep their polls up over there, but this is a cause a fellow like me can get behind.

Don't choose the third option, unless you like throwing your vote away on a bad joke.

or, they should go the distance and do these:

27 February 2009

I swear I stumbled across this innocently

Me: "Shania Twain in a Jazz jersey."

B: "ak-47 no less."
Knth: "<3 <3 <3 <3"
Nathaniel: "i wonder if it is for PR or if she really likes them. i figure like 70% of her fans live in/around utah."

26 February 2009

jazz players that i have seen at the cottonwood mall

- Mike Brown, on a payphone.
- Jay Humphries, buying a corn dog.
- Olden Polynice, hugging an attractive mail carrier.
- Jeff Hornacek, pushing a stroller.
- Darrel Griffith, walking swiftly.
- Shawn Bradley, in the bathroom. I know he's not a Jazz player but seeing a giant standing at a urinal is kind of funny.

Gabe Muoneke

Remember Gabe Muoneke? He spent some time on a few Jazz Rocky Mountain Revue teams and this offseason attended Jazz training camp.

Anyway, at HoopsHype.com, he has been writing a blog for about 15 months. It is infrequently updated and sometimes is a little bit too much like Paul Shirley, but it contains some special moments. He also throws some respect to Jerry Sloan and the Jazz players. There may have even been a time where he declared his love for Sloan.

Here's his Jazz praise:
Unfortunately for me, my plan of signing early in Europe didn’t work out and after NBA cuts all Euro jobs are filled. Sorry, I wasn’t passing up a vet camp with Jerry Sloan for anything. So if I had to do it again, I would. Yes, I knew they had 15 contracts before I went and didn’t care. I went there for longer-lasting reasons. The Chinese say the journey is the reward. I say, that’s if you survive the journey.
and this from a blog titled, Obama in 2008, Sloan in 2012:
Let’s see, I went from France, to San Antonio where the Spurs were working out, to vet camp with the Jazz. OK. It’s official. I love Jerry Sloan. Other than losing more weight than Jimmy Hoffa (Get it?…weight. Waaaayyyyeeet-tuh! Forget it), that was the second funniest camp I’ve been to. Smelled like Detroit 2002. Which leads me to predict the Jazz in the Western Conference Finals this year.

That was the first NBA team I’ve been on in which every player was (in my view) earning his check. What does that mean? Sorry. Wasn’t meant to be. Maybe better put… The Utah Jazz’s hierarchy or players and pay is almost perfect (I think we’d all agree Paul Milsap is tad bit underpaid… for now). And every player on that team is just flat out good. It’s always good when your highest paid players are the best respectively in every basketball (team) category.

Deron Williams is their best defender. And he shows it everyday.

Carlos Boozer is the hardest worker, which in turn equals most efficient player and best rebounder. Check his FG%. I have never checked nor do I know how I’d begin to, but I’m willing to bet he’s top five in the league in points/shot attempts. Even though he made me miss for the first time in a year being 260, he’s the Wolverine of that team. The best there is at what he does. I’m still spitting out chips of teeth… I am very serious.

Most professional had to be Memo. Same thing everyday. When everyone was tired after a hard day’s practice the day before, he was in the gym early lifting and starting practice drills off sprinting. Everyday.

And the last catergory… Best basketball pimp (I made that up; it means you’re just good at everything without really looking like you’re trying) AK 47. Hard to explain if you haven’t been to a game to see him in person. Just really good at everything. I think he may have nephthalim blood in him.

And last but definitely not least, most country. Oh you didn’t know being country is an intergral part of winning in basketball? It is. Cuz country folks are laid back. And them’re attritbutes keeps yuh cool when everyone else is hootin’ n’ hollerin’. Jerry Sloan. He was the same as he was three years ago when I was in summer league. He said, “Morning Gabe.” He laughed at my ramblings and even asked, “You alright,” every time anyone, not just his stars, got hurt. He’s either a great actor or a good man. Both of which only us country folk can really be. Without going into too much further detail, it was a pleasure being around good guys who just so happen to be good at basketball.

I experienced Jerry Sloan and thought, this is probably the same practice John Stockton and Karl Malone did and I’m doing it. The same ol’ same, ol’ and he keeps winning (even with Williams out). And I wonder: How the hell does he do it? Yes, great players. But it can’t just be the coincidence of great players. Sloan keeps winning and has even done it with less. Other NBA teams have great players and lose (very well, I might add). He doesn’t change no matter what firestorm is going on around him and still manages to be human. So the next ref that T’s him, I don’t care how nice he talks to you, you’re mine. Even though I never want to coach or ever be in politics, I still want to learn the attribute I have seen in the past two months. I want to be a chameleon. Just like Jerry. And so far just like Obama.
I feel like I missed out on an opportunity to cheer loud for Muoneke. I won't make two mistakes, so I'm adding his blog to the links.

25 February 2009

Live blog: @ Minnesota (2/25/09)

- Jason Collins cut his hair. Now you can't tell the difference between he and Jarron. Except that Jason sometimes plays.
- Why do I hate Mike Miller so much? His game seems kind of cool. Is it the hair?
- It's nice to have Kyle Korver join in.
- Does Deron Williams sometimes disappear on the road?
- Minnesota might be one respectable point guard away from being kind of good.
- Which made you more sick, the way the Jazz started the first half or how the way they finished it?
- Nothing like a back-and-forth game in the 3rd quarter with the Timberwolves to remind me why the Jazz are only the 8th seed in the West.
- Not only is Kevin Love related to a Beach Boy, but a Beastie Boy made a documentary where Kevin Love was one of the main subjects.
- Better post All-star break tan: Okur or Korver? (or is it just my TV?)
- D-will has a bald spot on the top of his head and two more where his sideburns are supposed to be.
- Maybe white men can jump, but they can't conceal their bruises. I'm looking at your arm, Brian Cardinal.
- After three quarters, the Timberwolves are out-scoring the Jazz in the paint, 45-32. I know they're pesky, but COME ON.
- If you saw Boozer and Millsap walking down a scary street at night, who would you be more scared of? I think Millsap.
- If you were a girl, who would you be more attracted to, Boozer or Millsap? Yeah, totally Millsap.
- But, Boozer is the All-star.
- This will make 10 road wins for the Jazz.
- Name the three teams with the longest current winning streaks(coming into today). Jazz, Cavs and Rockets with five. Only the Jazz played tonight, which puts them in the lead on a 6-game roll. Remember when the Rockets won like 22 straight last year. If the Jazz went on a 22-game streak right now, they would be 51-23 by the time they next lost. Huh.

Ron Boone Quote #2

Boler: "It's the Ron Boone Fan Club."
Booner: "Scotty Tahatti (sp?). Did you know he asked Britney Spears out? She didn't say no, but she didn't say yes."

Ron Boone Quote #1

Boler talking about the Tyson Chandler trade getting rescinded
Booner: "You like pizza? Pizza and Diet Coke?"
Boler: "I looove pizza. Bring me some at half!"
Boler: "Back to the trade...."