Take it the Court is a new weekly column on SCH featuring the arguments, opinions, and random musing of a Utah Jazz fanatic.
Last Christmas, in one of its most generous presents of all time, Utah gift wrapped a promising young rookie – Eric Maynor – and sent him to a division rival, the Oklahoma City Thunder. In return, the Jazz received the rights to Peter Fehse (he of New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig fame). Fehse was drafted by the late-Seattle Supersonics in 2002, but he never played a minute of NBA ball (never will). In that same transaction, OKC agreed to foot the insurance bill for Matt Harpring’s injured contract. Such deals are not uncommon in the NBA – the bottom line is that the bottom line motivates many such moves each year.
In Utah’s Monday night loss, Eric Maynor was not incredible. Compared to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Maynor looked downright pedestrian. Still, in only 16 minutes on the court, E-May put up 8 points, 3 assists, and 3 rebounds (though D-Will and company did bait him into 4 quick personal fouls).
I couldn’t help but wonder what might have been had Maynor stayed in a Jazz jersey. Sure, Earl Watson and Ronnie Price are adequate back-ups for Deron, but I couldn’t help but wonder if Utah gave up too much in their dispatch of Maynor… would that trade come back to haunt the Jazz at some point in the future?
For better or worse, Eric Maynor is only the latest in a long line of former-Jazzmen who have gone on to successful careers after their time in SLC:
- Who can forget undrafted rookie sensation Wesley Matthews? Just last night, he showed Portland that he was worth every penny of his new contract – he put up 30 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. Talk about stuffing a stat sheet. B-Roy was watching as his understudy went off. As I’ve said before, I hope the kid has a long and successful career – as long as he’s off when he plays the Jazz.
- Much to D-Will’s chagrin, Utah shipped off Ronnie Brewer for peanuts last year. Now, he’s teamed up with Boozer and Korver in Chicago. The Bulls are off to a 6-3 start, though Korver and Ronnie B. have seen only limited minutes off the bench, and Boozer has yet to get out of his business suit.
- Carlos Arroyo played 145 games for the Jazz from 2002-2004. During that time, he averaged 8.9 points and just shy of 5 assists. In his “break-out” 2003-04 season in Utah, he averaged better than 12 points and 5 assists per outing. A bit of a journeyman, he had stints in Detroit, Orlando, TAU Cerámica (Spanish ACB), and is now running the point for LeBron and Friends in Miami. Arroyo’s greatest successes on the court came in international play. He was the flag-bearer for the Puerto Rican National Basketball Team, as well as named to 2004 All-Olympic Team – the same Puerto Rico squad that beat up on USA’s Nightmare Team. In PR’s victory over USA, Arroyo contributed 25 points, 7 assists and 4 steals. [Note: USA basketball went on to win the Bronze medal, prompting the reorganization of the team – leading to the current "Redeem Team"]
- Mo Williams was slated to become one of Utah’s many second round draft steals – selected 47th overall in 2003. Instead, he played in only season with Utah – averaged 5 points and 1.3 assists in limited minutes. After a few successful years in Milwaukee, Mo was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and played alongside ‘Bron – even earned an All-Star nod last year (as an injury replacement for Bosh). Now he’s left to pick up the pieces after the James gang bolted for sunnier weather.
- Long before DeShawn Stevenson tattooed a backwards “P” on his cheek for his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates(?), he tortured Jazz fans with his amazing talent and lackluster effort. From 2000-2004, Stevenson played in over 200 games as a Jazzman. He too became a journeyman, and has since spent time in Orlando, Washington, and is currently with the Dallas Mavericks. Though still plagued with common energy and uncommon ability, DeShawn has had a successful run in the NBA since leaving the Wasatch Front. Who would have thought that sheer talent (without the accompanying drive) would see this guy last a decade in the league?
- How many people recall a little fella named Dell Curry sporting a Jazz uniform? The Jazz drafted the 6’5″ Curry with the 15th overall pick in 1986. Playing in only 67 games in the ’86-’87 season, Dell Curry went went on to spend 14 more years in the league. In the 1993-94 season, Curry’s outstanding bench effort earned him a trophy for the Sixth Man of the Year with the late-Charlotte Hornets. Dell Curry ranks 28th all-time in 3-point field goals made. Perhaps his greatest basketball achievement? Siring Golden State phenomenon Stephen Curry.
- With the third overall pick of the 1982 NBA draft, the Utah Jazz selected Dominique Wilkins from the University of Georgia. Unfortunately for Jazz fans, cash problems kept them from ever seeing the Human Highlight Film in a Jazz uni. Several months after the draft, Utah shipped the promising young forward to Atlanta for John Drew, Freeman Williams and cash – the rest is history. It actually worked out okay for the Jazz – they picked up Karl Malone in the draft 3 years later.
- If you’ll indulge me, lets go all the way back to the Crescent City in 1974. Better known for his career pacing the sideline, Rick Adelman played 28 games for the New Orleans Jazz – averaged 6.3 points. Now the guy makes his living as a Head Coach – having spent time at the helm of the Trail Blazers, Warriors, Kings, and now the Houston Rockets. Next time he comes to SLC, be sure to show some respect to the former Jazzman.
Only time will tell if recent personnel decisions will come back to haunt the Jazz. Eric Maynor looked every bit the part of a solid NBA back-up PG in Monday’s loss. We’ll get our chance to see Wesley Matthews in action this Saturday as the Jazz travel to Portland. I can’t wait to see the Chicago Jazz take the court at ESA, though we’ll have to wait until February for that match up (long enough for Boozer to be injured a few more times).
It’s a revolving door league – some great players go and some poor players stay. You can bet, though, like Eric Maynor showed on Monday night – the great players that leave will come ready to play and show their former team that it was a mistake to let them move on.
Contact Jefferson W. Boswell at jeffersonboz [AT] gmail [DOT] com.