Posted by: Adam Mason on October 20th, 2010The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
We’ve heard all these predictions about the Jazz season and how it’s all going to come down. Most believe bottom five and 2nd or 3rd in division. A recent blog on slcdunk.com from clarkpojo goes over in detail a lot about some predictions:
John Hollinger is a statistical guru for ESPN who uses a statistical model he invented after studying the statistics of basketball for 6 straight months at Harvard University. Okay, I don’t know where or why he developed it, but his projections are made up solely of statistics and statistical tendencies. He has the Jazz finishing this season at
47-35, 3rd in the Northwest Division and 6th in the Western Conference
It seems like a low win total for a Jazz team, but you have to remind yourself that Hollinger takes all of the bias out of his projections.
Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus also uses statistics and his stats don’t smile down upon the Jazz at all. Pelton and his cohort Bradford Doolittle have also put together advanced statistical projections and have determined that the Jazz will play 500 ball this year.
41-41, 4th in the NW division and 10th in the Western Conference. Again, no bias, only statistics.
And then there are your NBA experts who have just considered probably a hodgepodge of everything from numbers to watching films, to “following their hearts,” I don’t know their methods.
A group of ESPN NBA experts averaged their projections and got:
47-35, 4th in the NW division and 7th in the Western Conference
48-34, and the 7th or 8th seed in the West
50-32, 3rd in NW, 5th in the West. For what it’s worth, they also have the Jazz losing to the Lakers in the 2nd round
Now I know that it’s easy for me to believe contrary to what the experts believe because I love the Jazz. I also know that there is just a lot of question marks and we don’t know how this team will come together and gel. With a lot of new faces there is bound to be some question marks.
That being said, however, I believe the NBA is jumping on the OKC bandwagon too quickly. Kevin Durant is the next MVP and this team is the only team in the West that can challenge the Lakers. I’m sick of hearing this because I believe they are not taking things into account with some of the question marks on that team. I think Marc Spears from Yahoo! Sports agrees with me a bit in the latest Yahoo! video where he stated that he thinks the Thunder are not quite there yet and that the Jazz and Deron Williams are a darkhorse team.
Having said that, Kevin Durant is special and is receiving MVP type treatment. He very well could be the MVP of the season. There’s no doubt that he’ll be right up there with Lebron for the best NBA player in the game after Kobe is done. I also have a great deal of respect for him and the way he just handles himself.
My question marks are simply youth and lack of depth. I was listening to a podcast with David Locke talking with OKC’s radio reporters of some kind. Locke pointed out that the same starting five started the first 76 games last year. The injury bug did not hit that team at all. They enjoyed an extremely successful team as a season because they all stayed healthy. That is not going to be the same thing every year. The way Westbrook plays driving the lane and contesting with the big men, he can’t stay healthy forever. I guess he can, but it’s really not likely.
Also going along with that is if any of their starting five do go down, they don’t have a lot of depth that will keep their team at No. 2 seed competitiveness all year long. Westbrook goes down they got a solid backup in Maynor, but then what. Jeff Green goes down, then you turn to Nick Collison to start. Solid role player, but definitely not a starter. Kristic goes down, you only got an unproven Cole Aldrich. Serge Ibaka is awesome and I think he provides some depth, but not enough.
I don’t know, this is just my take. OKC is very young and may be a bit naieve so they just believe in themselves which paid dividends for them last year. I just don’t know that they can keep it up like they have year in and year out until they all get a bit older and a bit more experience. That’s just my take and I believe they’ll be right up there in the thick of things again, but they’re not the favorite. It should be interesting with the Jazz, a more healthy Trailblazer team, a Denver Nugget team that still has Billups and Melo, and a great team in OKC. I personally believe that the division is up for grabs and won’t be decided until the very end of the season. What’s your take Jazz fans?
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