The burning questions:
- Fact or Fiction: Dealing Deron Williams was the right move.
- Fact or Fiction: It’s time to say goodbye to Andrei Kirilenko.
- Who should start at SF, PF and C?
- Fact or Fiction: Alec Burks will be a better player than Jimmer Fredette.
- Fact or Fiction: Utah has the brightest future of any non-playoff team.
[Note: From the 2010-11 season.] Full list here.
1. Fiction. Jazz brass and fans will try and try to convince themselves that trading D-W was the right move. They will cite his impending free agency, the hard-headed (alleged) dispute with Coach Sloan, and the public disdain for the man that ran Jerry out of town. Fact is, Deron Williams is an all star caliber point guard that will continue to improve and compete for first-team all-NBA. Sure, Utah got some nice pieces in return (x-factors), but you simply shouldn’t trade a player of Deron’s caliber. Sure, Utah might have got 3 quarters to Deron’s dollar, but the change doesn’t add up.
2. Fiction. AK47 is well liked in the community, and without his exorbitant contract, he contributes to the team. Pay him in the right salary range (maybe a bit more than the previous “mid-level exception”) and he is a value. When he’s good, he’s great – his game is replete with ammo – rebounds, assists, steals, block, points. When he’s not, he can sulk around the court and chuck ill-advised shots that make even a casual observer cringe. AK will get a deal in the $6-9mil range, and for that price, he’s worth the gamble.
3. I like a front line of Memo (C), Big Al (PF), and ‘Sap (SF). Kanter, Favors, and AK working in off the bench gives Utah a potent second unit.
4. Faction. Travel 15 miles South of Salt Lake City, and most Utahns are convinced that Jimmer will be a star. Outsiders (aka, non-BYU realists) believe that he is a decent shooter that will have a hard time adjusting to the pro game, even if he can score from anywhere in the gym. His defensive liability cancels any potential benefit of having him on the floor at present. Fact or Fiction? Depends on where you went to school.
5. Fact. With a solid young core, coupled with some veteran leadership and a franchise that is committed to playing in May, you can bet that Utah will do the best with what they have – pushing each player to their potential. As a Sloan-er (aka Sloan-o-phile), I’m not sure that Coach Corbin has the same coaching chops as his mentor, but he is cast from the same mold. By mid-season, Utah will be fighting for second seed in the division and should contend for a playoff spot.
1. Fiction. Deron Williams liked it in Salt Lake, and the pieces we got in return for him have yet to show the kind of potential he had. After Sloan retired, it would’ve been the right move to keep him. They should’ve gotten rid of AK, freed up some cap room and offered Deron a crapton of money to keep him here for life.
2. Fact. In his prime, I loved him. He, statistically, is still performing about like he always has, but anyone can see that he’s lost a lot of fire and has suffered a few worrying injuries along the way. But his enormously oversized contract is too big a liability for the Jazz. If he’s willing to take an enormous pay cut and learn to play second fiddle to some of the other younger players on the team, it’s time to say dosvedonia to Andrei.
3. I loved the Hayward-Favors combination that we saw at the end of the season. They’re still a little too young for me to want to give them starter’s minutes right now, but they have great chemistry and, as far as I can tell, have been working all summer to better their game. But I’m unconvinced they’d be up to snuff against an absolutely stacked Western Conference, so I’d probably stick with Memo, Big Al and Millsap. But the future looks good with Hayward Favors, Kanter pending.
4. Fact. I hate Jimmer Fredette. But I have no idea how to answer this question.
5. Fact. Young blood, a great end to a terrible season, I think we’ve got good times ahead in Jazzland.
[Note: MyLo only answered the DWill question, and used some questionable math for his results.]
FACT…….if the Jazz land two more lottery picks next draft. The final piece in the DWill trade has a chance to come to fruition next year. I don’t see the Jazz being a playoff team next year so they will land in the lottery again in a LOADED Nba draft. Add in the Golden state pick and BOOM… 6 lottery picks in 3 years for Deron Williams? In 2 years we could be saying this was the most lopsided trade in the Jazz’s favor. If the Jazz are unable to land two lottery picks next year then yes it was an awful trade and a horrible move.
1. I go fact on the Deron trade as well. I don’t think anybody is disagreeing with the assessment that we got pennies on the dollar in terms of talent in that trade, but I also don’t know a single person that was confident that Deron was re-signing in Utah. Sure, I would prefer Deron for the next 5 years than the pieces we traded for him, but I would rather have Favors, Kanter, plus Golden State’s pick for 5-8 years than Deron for 1. In the NBA, once you fall to the bottom, it’s really hard to pull yourself back to the top. Look at how many teams have fallen to the bottom of this league and have not been able to get out for years. Utah just avoided that by making the hard/right decision.
2. Fiction, if the price is right. AK, when healthy, is one of the most dynamic players in the NBA. I’ve realized this as I’ve tried to watch other teams struggle to find guys big and athletic enough to guard players like Carmello Anthony, Kevin Durrant, Lamar Odom, Dirk Nowitzki, etc., when we’ve always just had AK to deal with it. The guy can defend four positions on the floor.
3. I do think Hayward is ready to start, but I would start him at the two, especially when you consider what the alternative is at SG. Having said that, I would start AK, Favors, and Al at the 3, 4, and 5. Favors may not be ready for a huge roll, but he needs to start logging minutes against some of the NBA’s best big men. I think this lineup would increase our defense dramatically as well.
4. Fiction. Trying to be as unbiased as possible, I think Fredette could be really good. The only thing that worries me for Fredette is the team he will be playing for and the knuckleheads they have on their roster. Fredette is a lethal shooter and scores at an NBA level. I have never seen a player carry more offensive responsibility for any team in my life as he did at BYU, and still no defensive scheme could slow him down. Although warming up to him some, I’m still not a huge fan of Alec Burks. Spencer, you failed to mention Ronnie Brewer in the list of over-achieving guards for Utah. Perhaps he didn’t over achieve… Whatever he did, I see Alec Burks being very similar.
5. Fact. No other teams that missed the playoffs have as many young pieces as the Jazz do. The Clippers are working on it, but besides Blake Griffin, there’s not a ton there to write home about.
Watch actual basketball
For your summer viewing pleasure, ESPN is broadcasting the FIBA regional qualifying tournaments for next year’s Olympic games. Live games and replays are available on the former ESPN3.com (newly re-branded as WatchESPN.com). Enes Kanter, Kyrylo Fesenko, and Andrei Kirilenko are all in action.
Check them out here: