Posted by: Steven on February 22nd, 2013The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Oh where to begin?
It was pretty much a frustrating time for fans of teams throughout the NBA. Very few deals got done.
I have to admit that I wanted Al to move on to pastures new, partly just so that I could see how an upgraded role for Favors and Kanter might affect their play. I wanted Al moved on so that I could see Hayward back amongst the starting five. I wanted to see what sort of player Marvin could be in an offense that wasn’t so conducive to using the Big’s their time on the ball. The way certain players have stepped up in the absence of Mo and Gordon I could see progress in the team and a real chance that a team without the likes of Al, Tinsley and Watson could get at least the 8th seed that the team got last year with those same players.
I was surprised at the Bledsoe for Millsap trade proposal. I was initially saddened at the thought of losing Paul whose play and skillset I think compliments Favors and Kanter’s play and positions more than Al. However as I read about the trade initially it seemed like a decent deal. I really don’t think the Jazz needed either Butler or Jordan but to make the deal work it was worth the gamble that was Bledsoe. But lets get this straight Bledsoe is a gamble. The boy has a lot of hype, but its hype from limited minutes. I am yet to be convinced that Bledsoe is anything more than a SG/PG combo, but with him being an upgrade over Tinsley and Watson it was addressing a real need. When the trade started to hit problems with luxury tax issues for both teams it was clear the Clippers upped the ante and decided they wanted more than what was originally proposed. I can’t blame the Clippers, until Chris Paul is signed on to a nice fat extension why give up Eric for a player of Paul Millsap’s skillset when they already have Griffin. If the Clippers decided they wanted Paul Millsap and Burks as rumour’ suggested then that is a deal that the Jazz FO were right to walk away from.
I admitedly have had my doubts about Burks transition into the NBA. I love the kid, his athleticism and ability to make plays for himself have been a welcome addition to the team. I was one fan who wanted to see him get more minutes but I was also one who thought he struggled with his jump shot, and for his ability to get the line he seemed to get fouled too often without finishing his shot. However lately his play has elevated to a new level one that has shown that he can play the point, at least on a backup level. Playing the point also elevated his play at his more natural SG role too. He has also proven that he is able to work on his jump shot, even hitting the 3 on a regular basis which the scouts from his college days said he would struggle with his whole career. I’m sorry but to give up Burks, along with Paul was too much for the FO to agree with. For all Bledsoe’s hype this year, he is very much a work in progress, much like Burks, and in the few games without Chris Paul in the team and Bledsoe running the show the Clippers struggled to win.
Unfortunately for now the Jazz have been spoiled as a team with PG’s and the available PG’s out there are not going to magically reproduce the same effect on this Jazz team that the likes of Stockton or Dwill were able to do with previous Jazz teams. Let’s get this straight, Maynor hasn’t lived up to expectations. I for one don’t care that Portland apparently nabbed him for next to nothing. The boy just hasn’t made a career for himself since he left Jazzland.
The deals throughout the NBA during this trade deadline were quite frankly not that great.
I will say this though the Jazz did make one mistake this year. If one player could have helped this team to move onto a new level Houston got that man, when they took advantage of OKC needed to shred some contract at the beginning of the season. The Jazz could possibly have made that deal, but not by including Millsap or Jefferson. It would probably have been a deal that included at least one of the core four, if not two. Yes we would have improved our offense with Harden in the team, but if we lost both Favors and Hayward in the process the rebuild of the team would have taken a step back too.
As much as we like to think Millsap and Jefferson and all the other players on the roster aren’t the future of this team, they are too good to be moved on for crap deals but at the same time by themselves aren’t often going to be the piece that gets us a player that we really aspire to acquire.
Right now the Jazz have 3 draft picks this coming summer. Hopefully the team can use some of the players that we have, and don’t need, to upgrade at least one of those picks into a higher slot in the lottery. Whereas this team has reached its ceiling with Jefferson in the team, Jefferson could help a team such as Cleveland, Charlotte or Orlando to progress from where they currently are in the league. A sign and trade of Jefferson, or Millsap, or Marvin, and a first round draft pick to one of those teams may well help the team acquire a pick in the top four allowing the team to acquire a Marcus Smart or some other player the FO feels the team need to take a step forward in the right direction.
The Jazz could have made deals for the sake of moving Al, Tinsley and Watson on, getting something for them in the progress, but unless those deals actually improved us as a team it would just be a case of taking on contracts and the team would be taking a step backwards. There are no franchise type players that are available that the Jazz need. A deal could probably be made for Pau Gasol, and if he was offered a starting role away from the Lakers he would probably accept it but his $19m salary is ridiculously high considering his injuries and play of late. Teams such Houston and Dallas will be fighting over Dwight Howard if he decides to get out of LA, but with Favors here we don’t need Howard. Chris Paul would be ideal but with his freedom to go anywhere he ain’t coming here unless Lindsey possesses some giant powers of persuasion that we have yet to see. Those are probably the only franchise changing players available at this time and the Jazz with don’t need them or don’t have a chance of acquiring them.
The team needs an upgrade at PG, but we don’t need a Jennings type who hurts his team as much he helps. The PG’s out there available, are pretty much blah. Not much better than Mo, available to play yes. Which would be nice, but nonetheless still not that great.The Jazz need to move Tinsley and Watson on from backup at the very least. Burks has shown he is able to play the second backup when called upon. Without a willingness of Chris Paul, Rondo, or Irving to come here even if the teams were willing to make a trade, we might have to go down the route of the draft to groom our next good PG.
The Jazz also need to get down to at least 3 big’s to allow the likes of Favors and Kanter to grow into the roles that are theirs but do the Jazz really need to make a deal for Gortat just now to play as back up when both Favors and Kanter have had such limited minutes against first unit bigs? I think the chances are that Jefferson will be the one to move on to allow this team to put together a new structured offense in the summer and Millsap will be signed on for something similar to the $8M a season he turned down last summer. With the new CBA teams will be reluctant to offer him much more than $8m, at the very most he will get an offer for $10m a season, which the Jazz could match for a season or two, and then trade the rest of his contract at a later period.
Its been a frustrating time having to deal with no trades this deadline, but on the upside the players will not have to learn a new offense for the remainder of this season. The players have shown an ability in recent weeks to step up, and hopefully having a period of certainty they can continue to do so and the likes of Hayward, Burks, Favors and Kanter can continue to show a level of consistency in their play that they each have shown of late. Hopefully Corbin can also show the willingness to grow as a coach by experimenting with the starting five lineup at times. If Favors, Kanter and Hayward are truly untradeable they must be the future and if that is the case they need to learn to play against starting caliber players. Kanter has started one game in two season. Favors a few more, but all of which I think Jefferson was unavailable. Hayward has started a lot more than those two, but struggles to be as effective offensively when under an offense that is so Al focused. A couple of changes in the starting lineup between now and the end of the season could make their readiness for next season all that more greater.
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