Posted by: Landon J on January 8th, 2012The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve been on good ol’ UJ360. It’s a shame this website doesn’t have its own iPhone App, or it may not have been such a long break. Nonetheless, I have returned and want my first post of the season to be my traditional Jazz Player “Power Rankings.” In case you don’t remember, last season, I thought up the idea of ranking the players by how much they are currently benefiting the team. Now, it’s a new season, a new roster, and time for a new list! This list 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…) 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. So without further explanation of what I’m getting at, here are my Jazz Player Power Rankings as of January, 8, 2012:
1. Al Jefferson
This season, Al Jefferson had a rough start. But then again, so did the entire team. The Jazz only won one game out of their first four, and that was the game Jefferson didn’t play in. I’m not implying that Jefferson alone was the reason we lost those other three games, but I personally believe that at the start of the season, Al was slowing our offense down tremendously. Now, credit is due to the Jazz point guards for turning up the tempo on offense and bringing out the best in Jefferson.
2. Paul Millsap
What a beast. Millsap also had a seemingly rough start this season, but since then, he has returned as the Paul Millsap that we’re so used to seeing. He’s making his shots, playing good D, and appears to be recovering well from his hamstring injury. If only the ref’s could keep him out of foul trouble.
3. Devin Harris
Devin Harris still isn’t playing like the all-star he once was, but what an improvement he’s made these past few games! He’s starting to find his groove and is looking increasingly comfortable in the Jazz offense. He’s pushing the tempo, playing smart, and isn’t having a problem playing in the clutch.
4. Derrick Favors
Man, I love Favors. Is he the next Karl Malone? It’s not uncommon to think so. Malone isn’t a name to be replaced, but I honestly won’t be surprised if Favors puts up Malone-like numbers eventually in his career. Favors still has some of the most potential of any player in the league. He’s playing great; incredibly, actually, for being only 20 years old. I can only wonder how long it will be until he’s an all-star.
5. Gordon Hayward
Hayward reminds me a lot of Kyler Korver, but more consistant. Since Korver, and especially with Memo gone, the Jazz have needed a “go-to” three-point shooter. And remember, I’m speaking about consistency, so I do not believe CJ Miles fits this role. I can see Hayward becoming the Jazz go-to three-point man. He’s been making a huge benefit to our offense, and isn’t a bad defensive player either.
6. Earl Watson
I almost put Watson in a tie with Harris, just because they are both pushing our tempo so well. Our tempo really is what makes or breaks the Jazz offense. And it’s always fun to see Watson give the team an extra boost with one of his traditional “Early-Oop’s.”
7. Raja Bell
Raja really hadn’t had a great offensive game until Golden State, but his defense in times makes up for his poor shooting. If it weren’t for Raja’s good D, we surely would have lost the game against the Warriors, and perhaps more.
8. Josh Howard
Josh Howard has impressed me. He’s a tough player, and reminds me a little bit of Matt Harpring. With Ronnie Price gone, It’s good to have another “scrapper” out on the court.
9. Enes Kanter
Kanter really disappointed me early this season. I’m sounding like a really negative person when I keep saying that, but he did not give us very much to be excited about. He looked confused, almost like he hadn’t even learned English before coming to the NBA! But perhaps Memo worked his magic, and really did teach Kanter something before he got traded. Kanter is now starting to go up stronger under the basket, power his way up for rebounds, and just plays smarter.
9. CJ Miles
Now you can say I sound negative. I tied CJ with Kanter, but not for a good reason. While Kanter is getting increasingly better, CJ is getting worse. The Jazz gave him one last chance by leaving him on their roster this season. He claimed he would be better, he even bulked up a little. But I’ve yet to see Miles play any better this season than he did last season. He puts up stupid shots, misses them, and then shoots even more! If you’re not making your shots, stop shooting! Or you can just not play defense, too, and get pulled out of the game by Coach Corbin. I have to apologize, I want CJ to be a great player, I really do, but that only happens once out of ten games that he plays. The Jazz have given him the opportunity and encouragement to succeed, but if he doesn’t improve drastically before the end of the season, he’ll be turning in his Jazz jersey.
10. Alec Burks
I haven’t seen Burks as much as I’d like to. I think he’s got great potential, and reminds me somewhat of Russel Westbrook. I think in time, he’ll turn out to be a great PG.
11. Jeremy Evans
I’d love to see more playing time for Evans too, but at the same time, the Jazz have been winning without him playing. He’s got tough competition in oops from Watson, because Favors has been getting quite a lot lately. Still, I like Evans, and hope he can get more time on the court.
12. Jamaal Tinsley
We’ve seen Tinsley play the least. He’s definitely great to have on the bench and in the locker room, though. And I love to see how excited he gets, even while sitting on the sidelines. But no worries, he’ll get more playing time, too.
And that pretty much sums my rankings up. I’ve got a great story to tell about meeting Jerry Sloan, but I’ll save that for my next post. I’ll likely put out new rankings in four to six weeks. But for now,
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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