Posted by: Brian McCann on January 10th, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Do the Jazz, as they are currently constructed, have what it takes offensively to reach the next level? Over the last few years, Utah has put teams on the floor that have characteristically dominated the offensive side of things, but have had too many weaknesses on the defensive end to progress. Fans that paid close attention to Utah’s defensive rotations came to realize that changes needed to be made in order to make the team tougher on the less glamorous side of the court. Kyle Korver was great at hitting deep shots, but he wasn’t athletic enough or quick enough to rotate out to the wing if he were double teaming in the post. As a result, teams that had a dominate big man, and did their homework would try and lure KK down into the paint, and spot up a three point shooter in the corner. Korver got burned so many times that watching it happen became both predictable and maddening. Another glaring issue had to do with Utah’s starting bigs. Booz and Memo have always been deadly when it comes to scoring the ball, but defensively, they have always also been huge liabilities. Having both of them on the court at the same time fostered that “wet paper bag” defense in the paint we all came to loath.
Over the summer the Jazz became decisively better defensively, but they also lost a step on offense. John Hollinger once said something to the effect that the ’08-’09 Jazz squad could challenge any team in NBA history as the most potent offensive squad ever. This year’s team is quite a bit different. Some of the stagnation and lack of aggression on offense this season still can be attributed to new players learning a complex system. Some of it also has to do with personnel. Regardless, my personal feeling is that the net sum of this team is all around better than other products we have put on the floor in the recent past. We aren’t as good offensively right now, but we are decisively better defensively (overall this season-the last couple of weeks have not been that great). Take for example our second unit. CJ Miles is the only one on paper in that group that you would think could consistently score the ball, but as we have all seen time and time again this season, it is the second unit that is the spark plug that gets the Jazz going, and it is that group’s defense that is fueling the spark.
My concern is that we do not have the depth offensively to score consistently enough to beat teams in the playoffs when defenses get tighter. While it is exciting to see the Jazz come back from large deficits, that will not happen in April and May. And if the Jazz ever want to get to June, they need to correct that issue. At the heart of it is offensive stagnation, and it makes trade rumors for players like Andre Iguodala and Kevin Martin very enticing, even if they are not probable. The Jazz are lacking a dynamic, consistant second option right now. Al and Paul can both put up big numbers on any given night, but both have been a little inconsistent at times. A free roaming threat like Kmart or Iggy would presumably have a field day because they would hardly ever see a double team.
I Believe the Jazz will become better offensively as the season progresses, but as we reach the half-way mark, I don’t know how much they will improve. I am becoming more and more convinced that the right AK trade would help to put us in the ball park of where we need to be. We need to score more and more consistently, and over the last few weeks, it just hasn’t been happening.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.