Posted by: Kyle Goodman on March 21st, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
So the 2011 season, a roller-coaster ride of trades and resignations for us Jazz fans, is coming to an end. For the first time in almost a decade, the Jazz may not be in the playoffs (though I hold out hope they could get there) and are now in rebuilding mode. It’s sad to see, but that is how it is. Anyway, I figured since most of us are looking forward to the draft and the off-season, I would do my own little thing on off season needs based on position. Lets get started.
- Point guard
Players: Devin Harris, Earl Watson, Ronnie Price
Outlook: Harris is the unquestioned starter, but is not really the point guard the Jazz need. He’s a score first point guard who does not understand when he should and when he should not pass. He is a high energy player who is extremely fast and quick. He’s been with the team for less then half a season so he is still figuring things out. Off the bench, Ronnie does not make a great point guard but is more fit at two. Earl is much more instinctive, but is up there in years and I do not know how well he can do as a starter by this point. Of all those guys, only Harris is under contract for the 2011-2012 season.
Likely course of action: The front office keeps Harris for another one or two seasons and during that time, drafts his replacement for the long term. Ronnie is probably gone after the season ends. Earl will be kept.
Preferred course of action: Trade Devin Harris for Raymond Felton. This guy is withering away on the Denver bench and George Karl clearly seems to favor Ty Lawson over him. Felton scores in all the traditional point guard manners (threes, pick and roll layups), is a much better passer then Harris, has a decent contract, and thrives in high energy systems. Both are pretty equal defensively. He would be a good point guard in the Jazz system.
- Shooting guard
Players: CJ Miles, Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward
Outlook: After months of lackluster play from Raja Bell, Coach Corbin finally benched him in favor of CJ Miles, and has not looked back since. CJ is making the most out of every opportunity he can to start, and he seems to provide that extra energy that gets this team really moving. Hayward, originally drafted as a replacement for Andrei Kirilenko, has shown to be more fitting at shooting guard then small forward. He is getting better offensively, but is lacking bulk and is a tentative to weak defender. Raja was brought in to bring veteran leadership and tough defense at the shooting guard position, but clearly father time caught up with him this season and he has provided next to nothing offensively.
Likely course of action: CJ keeps the starting job under Coach Corbin and maddens us with his offensive inconsistency, but becomes a key part of the solution to the problem we have at finding a scorer. Hayward replaces CJ as the sixth man off the bench and develops into a reliable Kyle Korver clone. Raja asks to be traded and gets his wish.
Prefferd course of action: CJ remains the starter and Hayward replaces him as the sixth man. Raja stays and accepts his role as a bench player and helps out on the defensive end.
- Small forward
Players: Andrei Kirilenko
Outlook: After a few years of being bitten by the injury bug, the ever useful AK47 of the Jazz Andrei Kirilenko has finally been healthy again (for the most part). He is playing well on both ends, stuffing up the stats, and giving us key plays and offensive facilitation when they are needed the most. His intended replacement, Gordon Hayward, looks more fit to be a shooting guard then a small forward at the NBA level.
Likely course of action: Out with the old and in with the new. AK wants to play for Jerry Sloan and not Ty Corbin and won’t get the payday he probably wants, so he leaves and heads back to Russia after a great career as Jazz man.
Preferred course of action: AK is kept for two years and a wing player is drafted this year to split minutes with him. There is an over abbundance of wing players in this year’s draft and small forward is a huge position of need for the Jazz. A player like Harrison Barnes or (if possible) Derrick Williams would be greatly appreciated and land in a good situation to be able to learn by one of the best wing defenders in the business.
- Power Forward
Players: Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, Jeremy Evans
Outlook: This is the one position where there is an absolute surplus in the Jazz system. After years of sitting behind Carlos Boozer, Paul Millsap has clearly earned a starting job and does everything his predecessor did with increased bulk and size. Rookie Derrick Favors, acquired in the Deron Williams trade, has landed in the perfect situation. His defense is clearly there and he has even more size and bulk them Millsap does, and the Jazz have a long history of developing quality big men. Jeremy Evans, a second round pick last year, has played limited minutes for the most part and is rather undersized.
Likely Course of Action: All three players are kept but Favors gets increased minutes and platoons with Millsap, who keeps the starting job for another year.
Preferred Course of Action: Trade one of them. Millsap has been courted a lot over the past few years and the front office is only hurting Favors (who they seem high on) by keeping Millsap in front of him. He plays better when he gets more minutes and his defensive skill is already there. Hopefully Favors learns post offense quicker then is estimated. Evans is best fit as a reserve.
Players: Al Jefferson, Mehmet Okur, Francisco Elson, Kryolo Fesenko
Outlook: After coming over from a trade in Minnesota, Al Jefferson has played the best center in a Jazz uniform since Mark Eaton and is a player who gives you a lot on both ends of the floor. However, as much as a front court upgrade he has been, he is undersized when compared to other real centers (Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman, Dwight Howard) and is a poor fast break defender. He is probably more fit to be a power forward. Mehmet Okur, long time Jazz man and fan favorite, provides a lot with his outside shooting ability and rebounding along with center size, but has been hurt this whole year and does not look like he will be same player again. Elson and Fesenko are reserves.
Likely Course of Action: Both Al and Memo stay but Al keeps playing center while Memo becomes a reserve. Elson goes. Fesenko finally leaves after frustrating us all these years and no upgrade is really given to the position.
Preferred Course of Action: Sign DeAndre Jordan!!! This team needs a human wall to clog up the paint, block shots, and give the Jazz some extra size and lenght. Jordan has done a great job defenisvely starting for the Clippers and would not be required to score for the most part. He will be a free agent after this season, and deserves a look by the Jazz.
So what are your thoughts on the 2011 off season for the Jazz?
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