Posted by: Jason Crannell on June 25th, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
I think media, and the fans get too caught up in trying to categorize players by attaching a certain “position” to their abilities. The game has changed a great deal over the years. Players have become more athletic. It’s very common for most players in the NBA to play more then one position on the floor. Some can even switch rather seamlessly between as many as three different spots. Versatility has become the name of the game. You see point guards who haul down rebounds, and centers who handle the ball like guards on the fast break. The terms “tweener” or “combo” have become common place.
I look at the current roster for the Jazz, and it’s quick to arrive at the conclusion that the team has a loaded frontcourt, and is in need of help at the small forward spot. But I disagree. I think the Jazz have numerous players who can spend a few minutes here or there at the three spot. Hayward can swing between the shooting guard, and small forward, as well as play a little point guard in a pinch. Burks is equally versatile. Millsap, Evans, and Miles can also log minutes at small forward. And this is assuming that Kirilenko leaves for greener pastures, which may or may not be the case.
I hear other fans complain that Harris isn’t a true point guard, and that we shouldn’t draft Brandon Knight for the same reason. Folks…the days of a player who only plays one position are pretty much gone. Most big guys swing between the four and the five. Most players who spend time at shooting guard, also spend time at small forward. Most point guards (the majority of which look to score for themselves first) swing over and play a little shooting guard. The lines have begun to blur. I chuckle when fans argue about the “true” position of a particular player, when it’s painfully obvious, that the player is fully capable of being efficient at more then one spot. This labeling of players is really inadequate. I’m fully convinced that a team of very gifted players between the height of 6′6 and 6′8 could win a championship without a true center, or a true point guard.
Sometimes I think you can make a bad trade or draft pick when you get to caught up in this “position” mentality. You never trade a better player for a lesser player, just to clear up a supposed “logjam” at one position, and fill a need at another spot where your supposedly weaker. I’ve heard a number of fans on this site suggesting we should consider trading Paul Millsap. Paul Millsap is the type of player you need to achieve a championship. When I look at a list of the 400 and something players that suited up for NBA teams last season, there are very few I would trade Paul Millsap for. Maybe only 25-35 players in the whole league. I believe if your just patient, and you build through the draft, and sign an occasional free agent, you can plug up holes, without giving up a terrific player. It might not be able to happen in just one offseason, but good teams rarely trade their best players. They take the time to build around those players. Unfortunately, many organizations get impatient.
There are several reasons the Jazz almost always make the playoffs every season. Among those are culture, and stability (which tend to go hand in hand). The situation with Deron Williams was unique, and I’m sure the Jazz wish that things could have worked out differently, but for the most part, the Jazz have been very loyal about keeping the most significant contributors on the floor in the fold. I’m hoping the Jazz don’t make many, if any, offseason moves. I like what we have. Were going in the right direction. We have a good blend of veterans just entering, or in their prime, and a whole host of young talent that can learn the ropes from them, and not be forced to be the “man” before they are really ready. I just don’t want to see us pull some knee jerk trade, and mess the whole thing up. If I’m trading Paul Millsap, Devin Harris, or Al Jefferson, I better be getting something darn good in return.
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