03 March 2010

RE: Williams----->Small changes, big pay-off

In the post before last, superstar reader Holdinator wrote:

"This summer will be a lot more interesting for the Jazz than last summer, and I'm not sure I think that's a good thing. It's so fascinating to me that the best thing the Jazz did this past summer was sign Wes Matthews. They don't have either of their draft picks, but they have this rookie free agent starting for them, and doing a decent job.

I'm looking for some consistency from Deron. Last night's game against the Clippers was awful. It was almost an identical performance to the Kings game, and that makes me nervous."

I respond to the second paragraph first, then the first, second:

When he went to the free throw line last night, I knew Defense Williams would miss one. I wasn't prepared for him to miss both.

I started paying close attention to his last-second(-ish) shooting last year. He never makes them, and they seem to miss the exactly same way every time: bounce off the right front of the rim, ricochet off the backboard, hit the rim somewhere and then go to a rebounder. A person would think that he would make finally make one, but his time has not yet come.

I know that he hit one against the Cavs a few years back, but I can't think of any others. He also hit a clutch shot in the last minute of the playoff win last year. Perhaps he was due. I was hoping that meant he had gotten over whatever mental block was affecting him, but alas, he has not. Karl Malone is known by even Jazz fans as a choker for missing two free throws.

Defense Williams is generally good at making passes in crunch-time, but has also made some terrible ones. Remember on New Year's Eve when he passed the ball to Ronnie Price? I'm not confident in Williams in the waning seconds, but Price is even worse.

Williams also had that flop on Kaman's perfectly fine screen. Sure, Baron Davis probably would have still scored, but you can't just let your man go free to the hoop like that when you are down by more than one possession.

Not Defense Williams' finest moments. Some of his worst, in fact.

A lot of Jazz fans seem to think the Jazz need to "blow up" the roster every time they have a terrible stretch. This is stupid. Well, I guess I need to know what they mean by "blow up". If they mean get different role players, then I guess I can get behind the "blow up". But that is like a pretty weak explosion. If they mean get rid of Boozer, Williams or Okur (if just for the heck of it), then it is a stupid idea. Getting players as good as Boozer and Williams isn't easy--especially a big man like Boozer. You might as well blow up the Delta Center if you are going to be that hardcore about making a change. It is way too drastic.

If you are a fan pyro, the best to hope for is holding on to Boozer and Williams, probably Okur too, and tweak things here and there. Because of how vital and awesome I think Matthews is, I think he should be held onto at all costs.

This speaks to your point about their best offseason move being the discovery and signing of Wesley Matthews. A little move can make a huge difference.

It also makes me excited to see what the next little move is. (see: the post before last)


How about another track that references a Jazz player?

At 2:07:

It’s like that [fellow] Jordan, I’m Scottie Pippen
It’s like Magic, Worthy
Parish, Bird be
Stockton, Malone ish


  1. My plea for the Jazz is for them to make Boozer an offer he can't refuse. When he's healthy, not only physically but mentally and emotionally, like he has been for most of this year, he is a force that cannot be stopped. My favorite part of the Clippers' game the other night (not that it's easy to have a favorite part of that game) was Boozer's triple "Hey!" after he went hard to the basket, got swiped on his forearm, and didn't get the call. The third "Hey!" was the best, right in the official's face, and the crowd wanted a tech, but didn't get it. Not only is he incredibly talented, he is wildly entertaining, and basketball is entertainment. There are some really talented guys that just don't offer much entertainment--Boozer's not one of them.

    Deron's still young, and I'm hopeful he develops into a clutch player. I thought it strange last year when NBA.com ranked the top clutch players in the league, and Deron was somewhere in the top ten. I think the list was made not long after the playoff win you mentioned. There would have been no other reason to put him on the list.

    Speaking of Malone's lack of clutch, that was one of the running themes through Bill Simmons' Book of Basketball. If someone knew nothing about Malone and read that book, they would come away thinking only that he choked in crunch time, and that he was gifted the '97 MVP when Jordan really deserved it.

    Whatever. I'm looking forward to tonight's game. I really like the Suns, like watching them play. It will hopefully be a fun game to watch. It's on TNT, which bodes well for the Jazz, Deron especially. In fact, he posted an announcement on facebook earlier today advertising that the game was on TNT.

  2. I'm only 80 pages into the Bill Simmons book. That dude watches a lot of basketball, except he only watches teams that play in Boston, Los Angeles and New York, and hyped players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Durant (who deserves it). He also will never like Dwight Howard because of the Orlando writer who singled him out for criticizing aspects of Howard's game. Simmons is kind of like that.

    That said, I like the book. Some of it is genius stuff that I agree with. Other parts are ridiculous. I like hearing his opinions, but I wish he were in the room with me so that I could hash out my problems with him.

    I haven't read Simmons regularly since March of 2005, but he is the most influential sports media person of the decade. Just read most sports blogs, and you'll see bad copycats. But, he has also changed it for the better. Unfortunately, he is 5.5 years past his prime.

    Oh, and I know I will be so pissed about the things he says about Malone and Stockton. I'm trying to not get all the details so as not to ruin the book up to that point. I will say this: The nice things he says about Larry Bird in The Prologue and Bill Russell in the Wilt vs. Russell chapter are exactly the way Stockton's career should be described.

    If only he had actually watched Stockton in more than just the Finals.

    Will Leitch is to right now what Bill Simmons was to 2002-2004. That is my prediction.

  3. Simmons' part about Stockton is lacking, no doubt. But the part about Malone, where he compares Malone and Barkley's careers, is worth reading if only for a couple of laugh-out-loud moments.

    This is the only independent sports blog that I read. I don't have a lot of time to read blogs, but I always make time for Sloan'd.