Tag Archives: utah jazz

On Second Thought, The Jazz Got The Better Of The Deron Williams Trade

When I first saw the news, I said “wow, the Jazz just did the unthinkable and traded their star-player without getting a new star player in return.” It doesn’t always work out for the team who acquires the star, but it never works out for the team who gives him up. Unfortunately, due to the increasingly complex financial aspect of the league, it’s becoming more and more common. Gone are the days of good player for good player trades. Now it’s just an unhappy superstar with a bruised ego for an expiring contract, a failed young project worth giving a fresh start, and a draft pick. The Jazz and Nets stuck pretty close to the script in their deal centered around Deron Williams. I still think this was essentially Utah needing to get rid of a cancerous superstar, but they managed to come away with a pretty impressive haul.

What makes it appear underwhelming is that the primary component is Devin Harris, which doesn’t exactly jump out at anybody. But this is a guy who was an all-star just two years ago with the Nets when he put up 21 pts and 7 ast for the season. Injuries have been a problem, limiting Harris to under 70 games in each of the last four seasons. I’d be willing to bet, though, that he’ll find a way to stay healthy for a while now that he gets to run the point with Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson flashing in and out of the lane. It could go either way, but the upside of Devin Harris on this Jazz team is pretty amazing.

Add to that they’ve added Derrick Favors, who hasn’t exactly been getting a lot of rookie of the year hype, averaging 6 pts and 5 reb in 20 minutes a night. But honestly, when was the last time a 3rd overall pick was traded halfway into his rookie season? He’s not exactly the “failed young project” I mentioned earlier. Favors is a kid who played one year of college ball and was drafted purely on physical potential. I don’t think he was really supposed to be NBA ready. There’s still no question that he’ll be a solid player in the league – it’s just not going to happen right away. The opportunity is there for him in Utah though. Fans in Salt Lake are growing bored of Andrei Kirilenko and are quietly rooting for him to get replaced. With Millsap and Jefferson looking poised to anchor the frontcourt for years to come, Favors could be just what coach Tyrone Corbin needs to round out a giant front line. And if Corbin was able to average double figures in his first season with the Jazz back in 92-93, surely he can get Favors to.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE….. the Jazz ALSO get a first round pick this year AND a first round pick year. This year’s draft class isn’t exactly the greatest – the Clippers hate it, in fact. But Utah will likely be looking at a top ten pick this year. Then in 2012 they’ll get the Warriors’ first round pick, and I still have no idea why. It’s somewhat protected, but since the W’s are rarely in the top six, I’m sure the Jazz will get it. That’s two more chances in the next two years that they’ll have to draft their next Deron Williams, minus the driving out your legendary longest-tenured coach in all of professional sports. Just getting rid of that is a win for Utah.


What No One Else Will Say About Jerry Sloan

Call Jerry Sloan the anti-Favre. It’s never been a will-he-or-won’t-he situation with Coach in Utah. The man’s been at the helm of the Jazz for the majority of the time they’ve been there, literally. I knew the clock was ticking, but I never expected Sloan to step down midseason. The more I learned what the reasons were, the more I felt upset for him. Word quickly spread that he’s had a tumultuous relationship with Deron Williams that came to a head the other night, leading Sloan to proclaim that he’s “done.” I would’ve thought Phil Johnson would be the natural successor, but he quit too. I know Deron Williams is the best player and all, but if you’re the Jazz ownership, how can you let him drive out your coach of 23 years? Larry Miller wouldn’t have stood for this. But you won’t really hear many sour grapes over this – from Sloan or from anybody. Because that’s how his coaching career went. He didn’t make a big deal out of his himself, and neither did the media. There’s no shortage of ridiculous numbers detailing Sloan’s unparalleled tenure, so I won’t regurgitate too many of those, but the guy had ONE losing season in his entire career. He also took the Jazz to the NBA Finals twice. The knock on him, of course, will always be that he never won a championship, but c’mon, can we honestly say he ever had championship caliber talent? They were pretty much at that level in 97-98, but they ran into Jordan and the Bulls. You know what else Jerry Sloan never won? A Coach of the Year award. Frank Layden won it in 1984 when he had Adrian Dantley and Darrell Griffith combining for 50 points a night en route to a 45-37 record. Sloan topped that record 18 times. Sure he had Stockton and Malone, but didn’t anybody wonder why they stayed in Utah their whole careers? Yet somehow, in Williams’ 6th season, he’s decided he’d rather play for Tyrone Corbin. This really just feels like the beginning of the demise of the Utah Jazz, unfortunately. But you won’t see or read much about it. The world ignored Jerry Sloan for 23 years, so don’t expect anything to change (other than the Jazz’s fortunes). Next weekend I’ll be making my annual trip out to Utah, which is like my second home, and I’m pretty confident it’ll be the first time I’ve ever been there when Jerry Sloan was not the coach. It’s gonna be a weird vibe…….


Four Game Fours, Four Series at 3-1

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Sunday featured a full docket of NBA Playoff games to keep fans busy. I’m a little over 7/8 of the way through the quadruple header, and I’m going out on a limb to assume the Jazz will hold on to their 20 point lead at the time of posting. First, Miami was able to stay alive thanks to the heroic effort of Dwyane Wade. I got a sense of overexposure dating back to the Heat’s last Championship run – Wade was everywhere and got all the calls. But now that his team is a lower seed again, I’ve come to appreciate, once again, the will and ability of one of the game’s great players. D-Wade single-handedly took over the fourth quarter with a barrage of clutch baskets. He finished with 46 to make sure the Heat held on to this one to send the series back to Boston for at least one more game.

In Chicago, the Cavs ran away from the Bulls despite a monstrous effort from Joakim Noah. I had all the doubts in the world about this kid coming out of Florida. I didn’t see him ever becoming anything more than a role player, but today, he was the Bulls best player on the floor. Noah put up 21 points to go with 20 rebounds, and repeatedly came up with big buckets when other Bulls couldn’t. Problem is, too often were the times no one else could come through. On the other side of the ball, Lebron James was dominant once again, posting his fifth career postseason triple-double with 37 pts, 12 reb, and 11 ast. Mo Williams chipped in a couple huge three pointers and finished with 19.

In San Antonio, the 7th seed Spurs took a stronghold on their series with the Mavs, notching a 92-89 win to send the series back to Dallas with the home team in a 3-1 deficit. George Hill had a breakout game with 29 points to lead the way for the Spurs. The Mavs meanwhile looked like the same familiar disappointing team that continually fails to show up in the postseason. Jason Terry led a respectful comeback attempt, but the Spurs showed that they’re still the better team when the games mean something.

There’s still a lot of basketball left to be played in Utah, but barring a miraculous fourth quarter, the Jazz look poised to take a 3-1 lead back to Denver with three chances to close out the series. Deron Williams is building upon his legacy, further cementing his status as one of the top point guards in the league. Also, Carlos Boozer is showing that he can still be a dominating force in the post, something that teams with cap space will certainly be looking to add to their roster in the upcoming offseason.


Melo and Nike Confused Everyone

While watching game two of the Nuggets-Utah series the commercial above came on, and I had an immediate WTF moment. I rewound the commercial two or three times just to see if I’d heard it right, and found that my ears weren’t deceiving me. I couldn’t figure out why the people of Utah would support the future champion Carmelo Anthony. It made no sense at all, especially since he was playing against Utah’s beloved Jazz in round one. We debated in an e-mail chain what the motive behind this ad was. We found no ties to Melo in Utah. He went to Syracuse, and was born a New Yorker, so not connection there. The only thing we really came up with was that they shared a state border. Dyslecix claimed it was a Nike covert commercial operation, and low and behold, he was right!

Today it was let on that Melo teamed up with Nike’s Jordan brand to create this confusing, but creative commercial. When first approached about the ad Melo asked “You like it, think it’s funny?” I fully fell for it, I thought it was a serious PSA from the state of Utah, and the fans of Melo! Turns out it was geared towards riling up the Utah fans. I’m not sure why Denver wants Energy Solutions Arena any louder than it already is, those Mormons are pretty wild. Melo had this to say about the ad, “To make it seem like all the fans in Utah are rooting for me. It’s just stirring some stuff up. If we had played Phoenix, it would be the same thing.”

Good stuff Melo, I’m sure the Mormons hate you and your tatoos a little more now. He was also asked how he thinks the fans will react to him in Game 3, Melo said: “Of course, they’ll boo me. . . . It’s the playoffs.” Good to see we’re on the same page with this one Melo… All in all I liked the ad, and it made me think way more than I should’ve had to for any ad. I guess Nike got their wish, because even I felt it was postworthy material…


Doin NBA Power Rankings

Thank you Fanhouse! You’ve given me the inspiration to do some power rankings. I couldn’t believe what their power rankings looked like, I mean really!?! I’m as big of a Laker hater there is out there, but putting the Mavs at numero uno over the Cavs and the Lake show is a little bold!! I’m not sure what Brett over at Fanhouse is smoking, but I need to get some! Anyways, here’s how I see the top 16 teams in the league at this point in the season.

#1 Los Angeles Lakers – They don’t have the best record in the league, but having Kobe sit out for a little will help them. Not missing a beat in the win column keeps them atop these rankings. They will most likely cruise to the Western Conference finals before they are truly tested. John Canzano at the Oregonian might have convinced me that they could be tested by the Blazers in the first round, but I won’t get my hopes up at this point of an early Lake Show exit.

#2 Cleveland Cavaliers – Best record in the league, and a very close 2nd to the champs. Is it a big deal that Shaq is out? No, but in case anyone forgot, they have Lebron. You could put him on the Bucks right now, and get through the first couple playoff rounds, so I’m not buying that the loss of the Diesel is that big of a deal at this point. If he ends up missing more time than expected, that might be another story. Lebron is playing in a different league than everyone else, he doesn’t need Shaq.

#3 Orlando Magic – Vince looks like he finally is fitting in, and the Magic are playing their best basketball of the year. If they keep playing like they have, they could be just as scary as Cleveland in the Eastern Conference. Stan Van Gundy reminds me of Rex Ryan in the NFL. He’s a little unpredictable and unstable, but if you were caught in a fight you would gladly take them on your side.

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Doin NBA Power Rankings

Surprisingly we haven’t done any power rankings for hoops this year, so we were about due for this post! We’re approaching the halfway point in the season, and this is how we think the top 16 looks as of today.

1. Los Angeles Lakers – As negative as we are about the Lakers on Doin Work, we respect them. Aside from losing to their freeway rivals Wednesday, the Lake Show still have the best record in the league, and only have 7 losses on the season. I watch them more than I want to, and they’ve had a few injuries, but if Kobe is in the lineup they seem to find a way to win. Their defense might be a concern going forward, but when Ron and Pau are both healthy and back in the lineup they should be solid in the defensive department again. Bynum has been stepping up in a major way.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers – I’m not really sure how the Cavs lost to Charlotte, but other than that mini-speed bump they’ve been very consistent since destroying the Lakers on Christmas. I have a feeling that Nike could get their lame MVPuppet match up this year. It’s sad that I think beginning to be less of a Lebron fan because of those commercials!

3. Boston Celtics – No contending team outside of Portland has more injuries to key guys than the Celtics. Even without Rondo, KG, and Pierce they somehow beat a Toronto team that is playing surprisingly well lately. I guess it’s not a surprise for the leagues oldest team is having injury problems. I’m sure they’re just hoping that they are healthy at the right time.

4. Dallas Mavericks – If the playoffs started today, the Mavs would have the #2 seed. I was actually surprised to see this, but it’s true! Cuban has reigned over the Mavs for a decade now, and seems like he’s pushing the right buttons with his squad this year. They may have stunk up the court against the Lakers, but they beat all the teams they are supposed to and are deeper than I imagined they would be.

5. Orlando Magic – Matt Barnes has been playing some great ball since being put in the starting rotation. Unfortunately for the Magic, he has been their best player as of late and they don’t look like a very deep team anymore. Coach Van Gundy thinks they are in a rut, and it seems like he’s right as they’ve lost three straight. If guys don’t know their roles on the team, it always leads to unhappy players…

6. Denver Nuggets – I’m not sure how the Nuggets are hanging onto their division lead, but they are without Chauncey and Melo. The refs gave them a gift of a foul against the Warriors. They better watch out though, because the Blazers are closing in fast, and have overcome many more injuries than these Nuggets.

7. Portland Trailblazers – Can you say enough good things about Brandon Roy. He’s the ultimate team player. He didn’t have huge stats in the beginning of the year because the team didn’t need him as much. Now that 80% of the team is on the IR he’s playing with D-Leaguers and still has this Blazers team hunting down Denver for the division lead. Roy put up a stinker against the Clips, but if Kobe gets a pass, so does he!

8. Phoenix Suns – This might be too high for the Suns, but screw it. They have beat the best in the league and seem to lose to the worst. I really don’t know what to make of them, since they are so inconsistent, but as long as Nash is running the show they will win. If Richardson can get a little bit more consistent, I like where this team is going.

9. San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs started off the year slow, but as is the case every year, they’re right in the thick of things now. Winners of 12 of their last 15, the Spurs haven’t been flashy, but rank second in the league in FG% and third in 3PT%. Tim Duncan is averaging nearly 20 and 10.

10. Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks have stumbled as of late, dropping 5 of their last 7, but they have plenty of talent to carry them into the playoffs. With Josh Smith continuing to mature with each game, and Jamal Crawford finding his stride as a bench player, they simply need to keep pace in the top half of the Eastern Conference standings and they can be a dangerous playoff team once again.

11. Utah Jazz – It’d be easy to chalk up the Jazz’ early struggles to injuries, but they haven’t really had many. Carlos Boozer has played all 35 games, while Deron Williams and Mehmet Okur have missed a combined 7 games. As long as Williams’ wrist injury doesn’t linger all season long, Utah should find themselves right in the thick of the playoff race.

12. Houston Rockets – The Rockets have been proving doubters wrong all season so far, and despite their current three game losing streak, they’re sitting pretty at 20-16. Those three losses have come at the hands of the Hornets, Lakers, and Suns, all on the road. They’ve been beating the teams they’re supposed to. In this league, if you do that, you’ll find yourself in playing in the postseason. Houston currently sits in the 7th spot, but only by a half a game. In fact, only 3 games separate them from the 12th spot right now.

13. Oklahoma City Thunder – A trendy preseason pick to make the playoffs, the Sonics have not disappointed. Kevin Durant has carried the load, leading the team in scoring, rebounding, steals, and blocks. Their 19-16 record is impressive enough, but what really stands out is their 10-8 record on the road. The only teams in the West with worse home records are Minnesota and Golden State. It’s too bad they’re in OKC, as I’m sure the Seattle fans would provide them a much better home court advantage.

14. Miami Heat – The Heat were hot, no pun intended, to start the season but have since cooled off. Nonetheless, they’re still lingering around the .500 mark, which historically would get you in the playoffs in the East. Dwyane Wade should also garner some MVP attention should Miami finish in the top half of the standings. He’s averaging 27 pts, 5 reb, and 6 ast per game.

15. New Orleans Hornets – Riding a four game win streak, the Hornets are now over .500 for the first time this season at 17-16. That’s not good enough for the playoffs in the Western Conference, but with Chris Paul back healthy, they’ve got to like their chances to pass up Houston and/or Oklahoma City before the season ends.

16. Toronto Raptors – Let’s face it, this could be any team here at #16. The Raptors haven’t exactly impressed this season, but they’re still right in the thick of things. The Chris Bosh farewell tour is going strong. Now, if only Jose Calderon could regain his form, Toronto could have a good shot at knocking off a higher seed in the first round of the playoffs. I wouldn’t count on it though.


Baron Dunks on AK47 back in 2007.

Every few months, I go back and revisit this memory. Baron Davis throwing it down on Andrei Kirilenko during the Western Conference Semifinals. It never gets old. The Warriors didn’t put up much of a fight during that series, but this play was easily one of the greatest in recent Warriors’ history. Also worthwhile is Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown’s call.  Hubie’s talking his normal basketball strategy when Tirico interjects with “OOOOHHHHHHH MAANNNNNN!!!” to which Hubie simply replies, “HELLO!”.  One of the top 10 dunks of my lifetime….


Thanksgiving Games of the Day

Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions, 9:30am PST

Sentiment for dropping the Lions from the annual Thursday docket has reached an all-time high this year, but personally, I think the Lions are a Thanksgiving Day tradition. They are the tryptophan to my NFL turkey. It’s just too bad they always play the FIRST game. At any rate, today’s game should be somewhat interesting, as Matthew Stafford will take to a national stage against a division rival. Today we’ll see if the Lions are headed in the right direction, or simply mired in another aimless so-called rebuilding phase. If only they had Mel Gray!

Oakland Raiders @ Dallas Cowboys, 1:15pm PST

Many are predicting this game to be an equally bad trouncing as the first game. However, the Raiders placed a little bit of hope in NFL fans’ minds with last weekend’s upset over the Bengals. Oakland is out to prove they are a new team with Bruce Gradkowski at the helm. Meanwhile, Dallas is out to prove, yet again, that they are a legitimate contender this season. Either way, today we’ll find out exactly who these two teams are.

New York Giants @ Denver Broncos, 5:20pm PST

About a month ago, it looked like we’d have a rare big game on Thanksgiving Day. Thanks to the Broncos, losers of four straight, this is no longer true. Instead, the Giants and Broncos will play with a large part of their season on the line. The winner will remain in the playoff hunt, while the loser, presumably Denver, will suffer a devastating loss that would likely kill any hopes for momentum down the stretch run of the season.

Orlando Magic @ Atlanta Hawks, 5pm PST

Atlanta owns the best record in the East, thanks to the spectacular play of Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford, and Jamal Crawford. Orlando has had an equally impressive start while adjusting to the reinsertion of Rashard Lewis into the lineup. Three of the five best teams in the East reside in this Southeast Division, so tonight’s game will be a key step forward for the winner of this game in controlling the division – for the time being.

Chicago Bulls @ Utah Jazz, 7:30pm PST

Chicago and Utah are two teams sort of teetering on the balance between good teams and contenders. They both feature superstar point guards in Derrick Rose and Deron Williams, along with rising stars down low in Joakim Noah and Paul Millsap. With the Bulls sitting at 6-7 and the Jazz an even .500 at 7-7, both teams will be fighting hard to pull this win out and stay above the .500 mark.

Portland University @ UCLA, 7:30pm PST

There’s plenty of college hoops action today, but given our West Coast bias, this is the game of the day. Portland has become an unlikely threat to challenge Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference. On the other side, UCLA is unranked, due in part to a season opening loss to Cal State Fullerton. They rebounded with wins over Cal State Bakersfield and Pepperdine. Tonight will be UCLA’s final tuneup before a showdown with #1 Kansas two Sundays from now.


Trick or Treat in the NBA Tonight

I know, Halloween’s passed, but the picture just made me think about what’s going on tonight. ESPN has a great doubleheader on: Atlanta @ Boston and Los Angeles @ Denver. Sounds like a great night right? Nope, those are the only treats. The rest of the lineup is one big trick. Here are the games, ranked in order of least bad to worst.

Portland @ New Orleans – Our panel was in agreement that this is at least one of the two next best games.  Taking away some of the appeal is New Orleans’ disappointing start, capped by the firing of Byron Scott this week. Nonetheless, Chris Paul battling it out with Brandon Roy is still plenty reason to watch this one.

New Jersey @ Orlando – I must be on my own here, because everyone else ranked this game in the top three, but I couldn’t feel more different. Yes, Orlando is the defending conference champion. Yes, Vince Carter will be going up against his old team, but his old team is 0-8 and Devin Harris isn’t playing. Lopez vs. Howard should provide some highlights though.

Utah @ Philadelphia – This game actually had the same average ranking as the Warriors – Knicks, but I’ll list it first since one of us had it as their #1 game. I’m not sure who it was, or why they chose it, but it surely won’t be for the Carlos Boozer – Elton Brand fall from grace Duke matchup.

Golden State @ New York – East meets West in this matchup of teams that play in Top 5 basketball markets, but continue to make more headlines for disasters than winning ballgames. The only silver lining to this game will be the stat sheet after the game. Both sides will take turns letting each other score, so there’ll be plenty of points, but expect to see a healthy dose of turnovers and three point attempts as well!

Houston @ Sacramento – I ranked this game the highest, and I’m not being a homer. Believe it or not, this is the only other game where both teams are .500 or better. Many expected Houston to struggle without anyone good playing, but they’re off to a 5-3 start. Meanwhile, the Kings were the hands down favorite to be the worst team in the NBA this year, but since losing Kevin Martin, have rattled off three straight and sit at 4-4. Now, I’ll admit the action on the court isn’t the most enticing, but watching Tyreke Evans is a treat. He’s just now starting to realize that without K-Mart, this is his team. It’s a good thing Houston has guys like Ariza and Battier to throw at him after Brooks and Lowery give up.

Dallas @ Minnesota – The Mavericks look they might have one last good run in them this year. They’ve got plenty of weapons, but it’s unclear whether they have the depth to make a postseason run. We won’t find out tonight, as the Mavs’ reserves are sure to get plenty of garbage time minutes in the second half.

Toronto @ LA Clippers – It’s amazing how the Clippers can turn anybody off. It doesn’t matter who they’re playing, they’d still end up here at the bottom. Celtics – Clippers? Nah, blowout. Grizzlies – Clippers? Nah, garbage teams. It’s really a lose-lose. Even with Chris Bosh coming to town, and the Raptors figuring to be in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture this year, watching anyone play the Clippers sounds undesirable.