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1. Utah Is 17-17, good enough for 10th in the West. What's gone right so far this season and what could go better?
The Jazz are clearly an okay team by their record. They're not necessarily bad, and they're not necessarily contending right now. The bottom line result on our record just echoes all of the smaller parts to our team. We're not good or bad, we just are. What are we? We're a team that's much better at shooting and making three pointers. This is a product of getting Mo Williams, Randy Foye, and Marvin Williams in the off-season. The idea that better three point shooting was supposed to make life easier in the paint remains to be seen. Our bigs aren't scoring like they should, or did, last season. There are less double teams, so the floor spacing concept is retained. But over all, I don't know if we are a better offensive team. Similarly on defense we have some guys who want to play defense, but we're not getting the stops we need, or getting the defensive rebounds that cap off good defensive series. We're still good and bad on any given heartbeat. But I don't think we've improved.
The main problem for fans right now is that they are upset with Tyrone Corbin as a head coach -- some calling for his head. I don't think Jerry Sloan would have this current Jazz team much better than it currently is though. But I will agree that Corbin's rotations could be a lot better.
2. The last time we talked, you said there weren't enough minutes to go round in the front court. Has anything changed? What sort of front court rotation would you most like to see?
The minute crunch persists. A problem that we have is that the starters aren't vastly better than the bench guys, and this means that the bench guys have legit gripes about playing time. If a bench player, like DeMarre Carroll, has a private conversation with the coaches it does not fall on deaf ears; and in the next few games he gets more playing time. Having a player complain about his role, then give them more playing time . . . well . . . that's just not the best way to dole out minutes I believe.
Minutes should be given based upon talent and whatever program you are trying to run (win now vs. develop youth). The Jazz are doing neither right now, with the illusion of doing both. If I could I'd jettison Al Jefferson to some contender that doesn't have inside scoring. He'd be a great 2nd option on a good team.
He's the key here, and as a first option on a mediocre team, Jefferson is only capable of being an anchor that prevents real movement. Failing that with the 96 minutes we have at PF and C I'd go with: 31 Jefferson, 30 Favors, 20 Millsap, 15 Kanter. I'd sneak some minutes in at the 3 for Millsap as well to boost his minutes.
But the problem is not just minutes, Corbin has seen stubborn in who he puts on the floor at the same time. Very rarely did we see Millsap and Favors on the court at the same time, and I don't think we've ever seen Kanter and Jefferson. The tandems we usually see have been Millsap / Jefferson (one guy too short to defend, and one guy too slow), and then Favors / Kanter (two inexperienced guys without go-to moves).
3. Is there any trade talk on the horizon? What would you most like to see happen?
I haven't heard of any specific talk or chatter, but with Mo Williams ' injury, and the idea that we're a win now team, I would not be surprised to see the Jazz make a move for either another over the hill PG (Jamaal Tinsley, Earl Watson), or short shooting guard who can't pass (Randy Foye). Mo is out for a while, and it would just be absolutely ridiculous to run our team with the ball in the hands of Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks -- relegating the PG spot to a spot up shooter like so many other clubs have previous done (Eddie House in Boston or Miami, Derek Fisher in LA, John Paxon with Chicago, etc).
It seems pretty fair that the Jazz front office doesn't like to put in the hours to do actual work. As a result, they're rather let free agency take care of any log jams for them, instead of trading away one of their four bigs right now.
4. What are the keys to a Utah win against Dallas? What does Dallas need to do to beat the Jazz?
The Jazz only seem to win if they can do two of the three following things: shoot well from three, get to the line, or get a lot of offensive rebounds. If the Mavs take two of those three away it'll be very hard for our inefficient offense to get us a win. The Jazz have completely collapsed like a kids Popsicle stick bridge any time we've faced a good defensive team.
The Mavs are a better defensive team than people give them credit for, and you are led by the best Coach in the game not named Gregg. Pro tip: the Jazz are a very solid rebounding club -- but atrocious on their own defensive glass. If the Mavs crash the boards they'll give extra possessions to be hard. I'd expect Rick to exploit this tonight.
Thanks Amar! Everyone visit SLC Dunk and be sure to join us tonight for the game thread!