Posted by: Landon J on April 8th, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Near the beginning of the season, I thought up the idea of ranking the players by how much they are currently benefiting the team. I updated it around midseason. Now, 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. In this end-of-season analysis, keep in mind that it is based on how the team has been playing of late. It is not a list to summarize up the entire season, just the past several weeks. (although I will be writing one for the overall season) So without further explanation of what I’m getting at, here are my Jazz Player Power Rankings as of April, 8, 2011:
1. Al Jefferson
It’s kind of amazing, because in my mid-season Power Rankings, I had Deron Williams in the number one spot and said he probably would be for the rest of the season. Oh, if I only knew what would occur about one month after writing that. Now that D-Will’s no longer wearing a Jazz uniform, I had to really look to see who had provided the Jazz the biggest boost. It came down close to Al, and Paul Millsap. What gave Al the advantage, was how well he’s been playing since the All-Star break. He carried the team on his back through the “Deron Transition” as I like to call it. He may not be playing as well now as he was a week or two ago, but he knew that he had to step up, and he did a great job of it. He may be one upset guy after a loss, but he still keeps his head up. And because of that, the team might too.
2. Paul Millsap
Paul Millsap is one interesting Basketball player. I remember when he was our best bench player last year. He would just keep working and trying to prepare himself for the day that he would be where Carlos Boozer was: starting a game. We knew the potential he had and he’s really lived up to it. And just recently, he’s begun working on another new role, as a small forward. He has really improved his ball handling skills and is going to be an interesting player to watch during the offseason.
3. Gordon Hayward
Gordon has been impressive lately. We all knew what he was capable of, but we also knew how uncomfortable he looked at times. But hey, I can’t imagine it being easy to be a rookie in the NBA. Especially when you were a first round pick and are expected to come and play perfectly from the start. And even more especially when you are drafted by a winning-team that wasn’t in any rebuilding process. But he’s snapping out of it and his shooting has been phenomenal. He’s now playing the way we thought Raja was going to be playing from the beginning of the season. And if you ask me, CJ should just hand the sixth-man spot right over to the rookie.
4. Devin Harris
Devin Harris is no Deron Williams. He is not as strong or durable as Deron. And to put it blunt, he’s nowhere near as impressive. But that’s because Deron Williams is the league’s best point guard, and is within the class of Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, and even Rajon Rondo. We all knew he wasn’t D-Will and we didn’t expect it. But that’s not too say he isn’t good. Devin is much faster than Devin, and tends to push the ball a bit more. He also has great shooting ability and is probably one of the better pick-ups that the Jazz could have gotten as far as second-class point guards go. Once Devin learns the way specific players like to play and really gets Jazz basketball, he is going to be a consistent advantage for this team.
5. Derrick Favors
D-Will was my favorite Jazz man, as I would assume would be the same with many people. When he left, I really felt like he took a big piece of this team with him. I still miss him and will continue to wish that he wasn’t wearing that ugly red Nets jersey and headband. But I feel like part of what he took was replaced with Derrick Favors. Favors is just a lovable player. You can’t help but be amazed when you see him play, and see how big he is, and realize that he’s only nineteen years old. If this kid’s this good now, imagine how good he’ll be in a season or two, or more. He’s a keeper.
6. Earl Watson
Earl has been a great PG in the absence of Devin Harris due to injury. He has ended up playing huge minutes and has managed to get the most out of them. He is a good ball handler, fairly good passer, and even though his shot is very goofy looking, he has made quite a few of them lately. He’s a good, reliable, veteran player.
7. Jeremy Evans
The thing I like most about Evans is how he really goes for the offensive follow. Same with Favors. Whenever a Jazz man shoots the ball, he goes right up after it and tries to get it if it misses. He has great rebounding ability and has, again, like Favors, had some decent blocks in the past few games. He’s long, but he can move quickly and jump high.
8. Kyle Weaver
I know he’s only been on the team for several days, and is a D-League call-up, but to be honest, I wouldn’t mind seeing him stay around for a while. He wants to be here, he has a bit of an attitude, (which the Jazz could use), and he seems to have a pretty good Basketball IQ. We’ll have to see what the Jazz do with him, and what else he can do for the Jazz.
9. Ronnie Price
Ronnie really hasn’t had a ton of playing time lately, but in my opinion he hasn’t made the most of what he’s gotten. As much as I love this guy’s attitude and dunks, he really needs to work on passing and shooting. I’m not saying he’s a liability, but he hasn’t really been much of an asset to the team lately either.
10. CJ Miles
Mr. Inconsistency is what I call him. Man, he can be a good player. But I wish I could say that more often than I say “No! Don’t give it to CJ!” He has made less than 15% of his last 25 3-point shots. I hate to come down hard on him, but he’s just so frustrating. He hogs the ball, and instead of passing to a better opportunity player, he insists on either throwing up a shot or driving it in and usually loosing the ball. I love him when he plays smart, but it just doesn’t happen enough. Jazz management has said for years that he’d be great when he becomes a consistent player, but it still hasn’t happened and it’s been how long?!
11. Kyrylo Fesenko
Fesenko is Fesenko. I’m assuming you all understand what I mean by that. I really like the way he played against the Lakers, if only he could play like that more often. He kind of has the same case as CJ, but at least the Jazz realize it with Fesenko. I think these two are good guys, and I think they can be pretty good, but until they play well more often, they’ll continue to hang around the lower end of this list.
12’s. Andrei Kirilenko & Raja Bell
It’s tough to grade a player who hasn’t played for a while, so this is where they’ll have to be.
And hopefully Okur will me able to get things figured out in the offseason, best wishes go out to him.
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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