Take it the Court is a new weekly column on SCH featuring the arguments, opinions, and random musing of a Utah Jazz fanatic.
Over the past several years, the Utah Jazz have teamed up with the Salt Lake Mission to provide Thanksgiving to thousands of underprivileged Utahns. Thus, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is a sampling of the Utah Jazz as your traditional holiday meal:
- Turkey: I know you’re thinking Deron Williams as the main course, right? Guess again…how about Jerry Sloan? Don’t sleep on Sloan for Coach of the Year, tryptophan notwithstanding. Surrounded by change (during his tenure, he’s seen different players, management, different uniforms, even a different arena, and later a new arena name), Sloan is as constant as the Thanksgiving turkey tradition. This Coach won’t let his players nap on defense (or they’ll find themselves camping on the bench). Turkey is Thanksgiving and Jerry Sloan is the Utah Jazz.
- Mashed Potatoes: Half Millsap + half Jefferson = one tasty serving of “Jeffersap.” Night in and night out, these two take turns filling the plates of opposing teams with tasty points and rebounds. Together, they are the glue that holds the meal together – It would nice to see them both on the table at the same time, but at least we can always count on one or the other. Thru 15 games, the duo is averaging a combined 36 points and nearly 18 rebounds per outing.
- Gravy train? Here’s where D-Will comes in. You know that the key to turkey and mashed potatoes is a sweet tasting gravy to tie it all together. Likewise, Deron is the link between Sloan and his two-headed Jeffersap. When Williams is hot, he makes Sloan, Millsap, and Jefferson ALL look better. You can bet that opposing teams wish they could go easy on Williams – just like passing by the gravy at your family feast, overlooking D-Will is a recipe for destruction.
- Sweet potatoes: How come we only eat sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving? It must be some holdover from a long forgotten era – but it still makes the menu every November. Raja Bell is the sweet potato in our analogy – a little old school, but the meal just isn’t complete without him. With Raja on the bench, the defensive difference in Utah’s home loss to OKC was palatable. Raja hasn’t had a defining game yet, but he makes his teammates better defenders.
- Homemade rolls: Unless your willpower is stronger than mine (sweet, sweet carbs), you really can’t stop after one serving…just like Andrei Kirilenko. When AK is playing well, the team wins – plain and simple. Recall that is was AK’s inspired play that initiated the streak of comebacks. Pair him up with some Gravy or Mashed Potatoes, even cranberry sauce – and you’ve got a winning combination.
- Green Beans: Not everyone likes CJ Miles. I have several FB friends who insist that he is the problem with the Jazz and needs to be shipped away as soon as possible. And then he knocks down HUGE buckets to keep the Jazz from dropping a close one to division rival Portland, followed by a great showing against the Kings. I, for one, am a fan of green beans AND CJ Miles. My only qualm? I don’t want my green beans thinking that it is my gravy. CJ, I love ya, but this is Deron’s team – you don’t have to be the hero every time you get the ball. Be content to be a green bean, for crying out loud!
- Cranberry Sauce: Like it or not, a little bit goes a long way; enter the Utah bench – Fes, Elson, Price, Hayward, Watson [reserve "white meat" jokes about Fes and Hayward for another time]. The Jazz don’t need huge minutes OR huge numbers from their bench players. Instead, they need small doses of energy to keep things together.
- Pumpkin Pie: If you don’t finish your meal with a slice of pie with some fresh whipped cream, you’re missing out. There’s just something about Mehmet Okur [shouldn't HE be the Turkey?] that can put the finishing touches on the Utah season. Sure, you may think there is no room for pie, but come on, you can always make room for a nice slice of pie – and a silky smooth jumpshot. Word is, Memo is getting close.
My wish is that each and every reader out there has a happy and healthy Thanksgiving with more food than you can eat and plenty of friends and family to share it with. From the staff writers of SCH, we’re grateful for you stopping by for the finest news and opinions on the Utah Jazz.
Contact Jefferson W. Boswell at jeffersonboz [AT] gmail [DOT] com.