Case of the Mondays is a weekly column on SCH that recaps the previous weekend and gives you your Jazz fix when you’ve been diagnosed with a case of the Mondays.
After the Jazz began the season 0-2 it seemed all was wrong in Jazz land. D-Will wasn’t happy, the Jazz’s offense was terrible, Al Jefferson was overrated, Bell was on his last legs, the bench looked awful, Hayward was catching passes from D-Will that had an extra zip to them, and the Bear almost fell from a ladder in the home opener (yes, this did in fact happen.)
Then something crazy happened. In case you weren’t able to see last week I condensed all of last week’s games into one clip. Watch that and then come back. To paraphrase, the Jazz bandwagon has room for one more if you still haven’t caught Jazz fever.
Okay, so maybe that wasn’t all what happened last week in one clip, but that’s about the gist of it. What the Jazz did last week was miraculous. Or at least highly improbable. If there is one person out there who predicted the Jazz were going to go 4-0 on their road trip and every win was going to be a comeback win, then I strongly encourage him or her to step forward and be my wingman on my next trip to Vegas. Really. Be my wingman. We could make bank.
More amazing: The Jazz have played a league-most 7 road games. They have won a league-most 5 road games. All of their road wins have come against 2009-2010 playoff teams: OKC, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, and Charlotte.
The teams they played had an average .550 win percentage (take away Charlotte and it’s.634). They played 4 games in 5 days. The Jazz have historically been bad on the road. They overcame halftime deficits of 19, 10, 3, and 16. Throw in the Clippers game at home and the ridiculous comeback streak is 5 games long.
You got to give it to Sloan. He wants to make it a fair fight so he allows teams to get a 20 point head start. That’s classy. All joking aside, theses second half comebacks have been nothing short of Sloan COY evangelism. The team makes some adjustments and simply executes, all the way to the victory.
Right now the Jazz are one of only two teams (the other being Atlanta) to have at least two players in the top 15 in efficiency. Those two players? Williams and Millsap. In fact, Millsap is 3rd in the league in efficiency and Williams is 14th. Just imagine how crazy their efficiency would be if Sloan allowed them to play in the 1st half of games (that’s a joke).
In a recent ESPN.com chat with Ric Bucher, he had some interesting insights about the Jazz point guard. When asked why D-Will’s name doesn’t come up in trade rumors he said this:
Deron has been smarter and more responsible about it. There are no rumors leaking out because he’s not telling friends he’s frustrated. Though he is. He’ll give Utah everything he has and make a decision when his option to leave is available. I respect that to the Nth degree.
This was said after the Jazz’s wins against Miami and Orlando. They had not yet beat Atlanta and Charlotte. But Deron Williams is frustrated? I have never liked the Miss Cleo method of reading a player’s mind. I can see why someone could think he was frustrated. He lost his friend Brewer, lost his low post presence Boozer, lost Wesley Matthews, lost Korver, lost Eric Maynor, threw a ball at a rookie, and is not living in Utah anymore. Here’s my problem: unless Deron Williams has told someone he’s frustrated, how would Ric Bucher, employee of ESPN and not in D-Will’s circle of friends, know he is? Would Deron Williams tell something like that to the media before his friends or family? I don’t think so.
Not to get all sensitive, but the subtext to Bucher’s comment seems to be “He isn’t outwardly demanding a trade, but you know he’s just DYING to get out of Utah. Who could stand it there?”
Deron’s team is 1st in the Northwest division, beat 4 out of the 5 teams in the Southeast Division, and they are still learning the offense. If this is what the Jazz are capable of when they only play a couple of good quarters a night imagine what happens when they play four good quarters of basketball. Who would want anything to do with a mess like that, right?.
As long as we’re here, let’s keep piling on our man Ric Bucher. In the same chat, he also said that New Orleans’ frontline was better than Utah’s. When someone asked Ric Bucher if he really believed that Bucher responded:
I don’t think it’s even close, especially when you factor in the psychological part: NO reloaded as best they could at CP3′s behest. Utah let a bunch of pieces walk for nothing. CP also is coming back to a front-line he’s played with before. Deron isn’t dialed into Al at all yet.
He also had this to say when someone pointed out that the Jazz didn’t let people walk away for nothing:
Al has been a big disappointment, Hayward isn’t close to the shooter Korver is, Bell’s best days are firmly behind him (Brewer is a better defender at this stage) and Elson is a journeyman.
I know the Hornets are 8-0 but I attributed that more to Chris Paul than his supporting cast. While I believe Ariza, Okafor, and West are playing solid I’m not sure they are at the level of Kirilenko, Millsap, and Jefferson. Here are their combined stats head to head:
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Bucher may be right on paper, but as Jerry Sloan is quick to remind everyone, that’s why we play the games. Looking at New Orleans’ front-line, they average 11.6 less points, 3.5 less rebounds, 2.6 less assists, .25 more steals, and .7 more blocks. While New Orleans’ front-line may create an extra turnover a game (if you combine the disparity of steals and blocks) it’s a wash when you look at the rebounding disparity.
Also, if you believe in the +/- rating, the Jazz have the 5th best five-person lineup in the league. The lineup of D-Will, Miles, Kirilenko, Millsap, and Jefferson has posted a +/- rating of +47 when they are on the court. The lineup of Paul, Belinelli, Ariza, West, Okafor is 7th in the league with a +/- rating of +41. Most importantly, the advanced stat community doesn’t yet have any measurement for the “psychological part.”
Paging Miss Cleo …