Posted by: Ben S. on March 18th, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
I’ve gone through some drastic changes the last 5 months. Some for better, some for worse. I started brushing my teeth. I quit napping during church. I share the toys I get out of cereal boxes with my kids. I’ve switched to boxer briefs. I try not to say “dude” and “man” so much. I drink from the milk carton. I’ll use a tee in the middle of the fairway. I conserve water by only flushing the toilet once at the end of each day. I watched an American Idol episode. I quit drinking soda (dude-it was an awful 2 days). Who am I and what have I become? I’ve also changed my approach to how I follow the Jazz. It’s likely you have too. When I watch a game, no longer is a win the most important thing to me. Sure, it’s nice to get one, but my expectations for the Jazz have been shifted from making a post-season run to playing hard, showing improvement, and seeing players develop their skills. I also look for things that make the game more fun to watch even if the Jazz are down by 20. I still get excited about each game but because I’m so optimistic and curious about the future of this team, I find myself already looking forward to next year. Here’s a few things I do and look for during games:
-Identity. I’ve heard Coach Corbin say how he wants to make the Jazz an up-tempo team with a tough, defensive mentality. Easier said than done. The best example of a team that successfully pulled that off was the Showtime Lakers from back in the 80’s which had multiple hall-of-famers. I know other teams have tried, but usually they end up being up-tempo or defensive minded. Not both.
-Derrick Favors. I’m trying to not get my hopes up too high for this kid but man, it’s tough not to. He’s freakishly gifted. If he has any kind of work ethic at all, we’re in for a treat. I like to mentally chart the different ways he scores. Is it off a set play? Does he turn and face? Does he prefer one side of the key over the other? How is he on pick-n-rolls? Does he show signs of developing a consistent jumper? Does he run the floor? I find myself watching his every move. It’s borderline creepy. By next season he will be the best defensive big man on the team.
-Gordon Hayward. I can’t believe how many people have already given up on him. I’ll admit I didn’t like the draft pick but I’ve seen enough promise in limited minutes from GH that I’m confident he will be a solid starter and key contributor. He doesn’t have the crazy upside like I see in Favors, and he looks like the dude working the drive-thru at Taco Bell, but I expect him to be pretty good.
-Al Jefferson. He’s had all these fantastic games lately but usually in a losing cause. I think it’s been wearing on him. That’s a good thing. Him showing determination answers some of the questions I had about him when he came over in the trade. He’s scoring and rebounding and man, it’s nice to have a shot-blocking center. Making the right pass out of the post is what I’m looking for the most from Big Al.
-Ty Corbin. I love his energy on the sideline. How cool was that to see him get his first “T” the other night? It looks like he is living and dying with each possession. I imagine he’ll settle down a bit next season because there is no way he could keep that pace for all 82 games. One thing I would like to see him change is his expression when he’s upset with the refs. Instead of using the “Are you kidding me?” grimace that he currently uses, He should adopt the “I’m gonna kill you” scowl of Jerry Sloan or Frank Martin or Jimmer. I’m confident Coach Corbin will eventually develop a good “mean mug”.
….Watching CJ drop 40 on the 76ers the other night was awesome. I love watching scorers heat up. But my favorite moment of the game was when AK stole a jump ball (like only he would do).He then tipped it out to Raja who turned back the clock and finished with a sweet jam; a 2 hand leaner full of all sorts of attitude, frustration, and nastiness. The only thing that could have made it better is if there happened to be a Hundai parked in the paint for him to jump over.
….I don’t know how you could do this to the guy but I think I’d like to see Milsap come off the bench again. It would be morally wrong but starting Favors and having Paul back up him and Al would work well.
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