Posted by: Landon J on January 2nd, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Last November, I thought up the idea of ranking the players by how much they are currently benefiting the team. It’s time for a new list! Remember, this is not based on statistics. It is a list of how much of an affect the players have on the team, fans, and themselves. (If that makes any sense…) Like Paul Millsap said, “When it rains, it pours.” When a player’s hot, they’re hot, and the impact they make can determine whether a winning streak is built or a shooting slump drags out longer. I will do my best to update this list frequently. So without further explanation of what I’m getting at, here are my Jazz Player Power Rankings as of January, 2, 2011:
1. Deron Williams
Deron will likely be topping this list for the entire season. Now that Boozer’s gone, he is the star of this team. If the Utah Jazz are going to win a championship any time soon, it will be because of his leadership, combined with the coaching of Jerry Sloan, the team management, the team’s gelling chemistry, and the team’s desire to win. Utah has always been a “winning” team, but I think we all know that it’s coming really close to time that the Jazz become more than just that. And it needs to happen sooner than later. Deron needs to be, and for the most part has been and continues to be, the one that needs to help that happen. But is it just me or has he kind of been acting funny these past few games against Portland and Memphis. I mean, he’s still playing great, but not as great as he has been playing. He said he’s expecting more out of the team, but is that all? I have faith and trust in D-Will, but is he really happy with playing in Utah? Hopefully so…
2. Al Jefferson
While we all know that he needs to become more aggressive defensively, it seems like he has done just that since I last wrote my rankings. He has had a ton of blocks, and really just needs to work on boxing out to get rebounds, and continuing to learn the Jazz offense. Rebounding has been a major issue this season, but on the other side of the court, Al has really been delivering points in the paint. And it’s hard to believe how quick he is for being so big and tall.
3. Paul Millsap
His numbers have dropped since the infamous Miami-victory road trip. But he’s still one of our top players and has been playing very well. I’m glad to see him dunking more and making his presence realized in games. And the mix-up he had with Blake Griffin during the Clippers game? I enjoyed seeing that. Millsap gets his job done, and when somebody gives him crap, he won’t allow it at all. I’d hate to run into him in a dark alley! haha…
4. Gordon Hayward
I hate to act like a know-it-all, but when everybody was saying how bad Gordon Hayward was playing, I was one of those people who sat back and gave him some time. We knew how good he could be by watching him in college, and it was just a matter of time before he started coming out of his shell. And when he gets going, he really gets the team and crowd excited. Hopefully he’ll stay hot, because he brings the energy that the Jazz often desperately need.
5. Raja Bell
This guy seems to just go about his business and get the job done. And I really like that. He usually makes his shots and can really “ring the bell” from behind the arc when it needs to be rung. And you can tell how much of an impact he’s making by being an experienced veteran.
6. CJ Miles
CJ, in my opinion, is one of the most inconsistent players in the league. We’ve seen him put on a show, shoot lights out, and slam it down crazy. But then he comes and takes questionable shots and sometimes really messes up offensively. He seems like a great guy and is usually a pretty good player, but if he could just be consistent. It kind of seems like he wants to be the “hero” and make a big time shot just to be the one who made the big time shot. But when he comes back from having the flu, we should still notice the amount of help he gives us. Hopefully, though, this won’t take away from Hayward playing so well.
7. Earl Watson
Watson is one of my favorite players. Not just on the Jazz, but in the league. I know he’s not a big-name athlete, but I really like him. He is extremely experienced and extremely good when he needs to be. His basketball IQ is off the charts. He rarely messes up, keeps pushing the ball up the court, and knows how to throw a great ‘oop to Evans when he wants to. Watson has also played great at the Point Guard spot when Deron plays at the 2.
8. Ronnie Price
Ronnie has brought energy off the bench consistently, every game. He plays great defense and when playing alongside Watson, he makes great shots and unbelievable dunks. This guy know’s how to please a crowd! And his toughness is just what the Jazz need in games like the Memphis one.
9. Kyrylo Fesenko & 9. Fransisco Elson
These two centers have made a very big impact down low. Especially when Okur has been out. Fesenko is continuing to improve, and if he can get his free-throw’s to go through the net (or even touch the rim, haha), he can really be a great backup for Jefferson and Okur. As for Elson, I love his quickness. This guy may not be the big wall that Fes is down low, but he replaces his lack of size with a great agility level that allows him to play zone defense very well. And his shooting isn’t bad either.
11. Andrei Kirilenko
Andrei has been struggling of late. It’s obvious that injuries have something to do with that. But we’re talking about the guy that always seems to get injured during the season. People are always saying “trade him” when he plays bad, and then when he plays good people act like lifelong fans. He always goes through his ups and downs, but there’s usually more of the former. He’s good to have on the team, especially for his defense. But, I do believe it’s true that he’s being payed more than he should be.
12. Mehmet Okur
Memo’s back. sort of… Hopefully he doesn’t end up like Yao Ming and has his career end because of injuries. This guy is still a very good player and I think everybody needs to cut him some slack for not playing lately like he did last spring. If he can stay healthy and keep working on getting back to his old style, Okur will still be a major part of our offense. But Achilles problems aren’t easily fixed.
13. Jeremy Evans
The rookie has made some great alley-oop’s of late. He continues to impress and I think he will only get better. He brings great energy and I love watching him play. However, until he gets more minutes to work with, I think he’ll probably continue to stay low in these rankings. But I really do like this guy!
So what are your thoughts on breaking down the team? Try to keep away from listing players in order of “favorites” and think about the impact that the player is making as of lately…
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