3-time NBA All-Star
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Peking, P.R.C., Asia
Re: 2013 Fall camp/Pre-Season!
We've seen it time and time again, like when the Toronto Raptors beat the Chicago Bulls back on December 8th, 1996. That Bulls team would win 69 regular season games and the NBA title, but on that night guys like Damon Stoudamire, Walt Williams, Sharone Wright, Popeye Jones, and Doug Christie gave it their all. Sometimes being too young to know better can get you a win.
This seasons' Jazz team will most likely finish with more wins that the '96 Raptors (Jazzfans hope), yet may still end up losing a lot of games this season. But they'll go down fighting with defense and activity. They'll give an effort. That was something sorely missing at times during the last few seasons.
3. What are the team's biggest weaknesses?
Inexperience. The head coach is inexperienced. The projected starting point guard is inexperienced (just check out this info on rookie PG led teams). The top duo of Favors and Hayward have played less than 2,000 on the court together in their three years in Utah. The starting frontcourt has previously averaged 21.4 mpg and 14.4 mpg for their careers. This team isn't marketable. This team will be led by young guys who, according to the league perception, weren't good enough to play big minutes early in their careers (vs. the idea that a guy like DeMarcus Cousins is worth a billion dollars on the open market). There are going to be some calls that go against us this year, but that's not the big weakness.
The big weakness is this doom and gloom perception of inexperience. The team is projected to be really bad this year, almost purely as a product of this inexperience. If the players and coaches start reading all of this it could negatively affect their play, or, you know, help motivate them. After all, our roster is almost exclusively made up of people with chips on their shoulder at this point. But that, in itself, could be a problem. Especially when you mix having a chip on your shoulder with a very volatile group of known troublemakers in contract years.
Clearly Andris Biedrins is the Latvian Dennis Rodman, right? Oh. He's not? He's some external threat of some sort though, right? Okay, so personalities shouldn't be a problem this season at all.
Well, aside from some vets coming off of down or injury plagued seasons last year, and our back up point guard being kind of a chucker, there are no serious, damaging weaknesses this season beyond inexperience.
No weaknesses? No proven go to guys. No proven starters outside G who has played some of his best ball coming off the bench. No proven depth.
Tyrone Corbin will get better. Trey Burke will get better. Sure, guys like Favors and Gobert can get in foul trouble. Sure, Hayward doesn't have the most consistent shot in the world from day to day. And yea, sure, Kanter has only played 1952 total regular season minutes. But these are all problems of inexperience. We'll screw up some plays. We'll get unforced turnovers sometimes. Someone may, at the wrong time, take the wrong shot.
But these are problems that will all go away with more on court experience, and time together as a team. (Is there a reason for this massive experience deficit? Maybe, but we're not finger pointing here today)
4. What are the goals for this team?
Head Coach Corbin has put it out in the most clear terms: "Get better [and/or] be better."
I don't think wins are every something an honorable franchise tries to avoid, but this season the evaluation of this Jazz team -- at least internally -- will be an evaluation that does not immediately regard wins and losses. This should take the pressure off of Ty first and foremost as he should be then more free to a) accept young players making mistakes on the court and not pulling them, and b) being more liberated in trying different things on the court. When the pressure to win games was on the last few seasons (because, clearly, when you lose a Hall of Fame head coach in Jerry Sloan, and trade away your All-NBA point guard in Deron Williams, you know your franchise is in "win now" mode), Corbin couldn't do a) or b) at all, the margin of victory or loss was just too slim. Which sucked for him, of course, because he was forced into trying things out during the season down the homestretch that he had previously not tried at all before. (Like the "Big Lineup" of Millsap / Favors / Jefferson, or the "Small Lineup" or Burks / Foye / Hayward)
This season should be different as the main goal of this team isn't going to be about trying to squeak into the playoffs for a cut of that playoff money and two televised home games. The main goal is to improve.
And in this league you improve mostly by making mistakes, making adjustments, and then slowly moving towards on-court comfort and eventual mastery. We Jazz fans all remember Kobe Bryant shooting air-ball three pointers in the playoffs against the Jazz, and the eventual sweep of his Lakers. But Kobe stayed on the floor, kept shooting those shots, and eventually got better. Perhaps way better than we ever imagined. This is that season for our guys. We have to get on the floor, and we have to take those shots regardless of success.
All the "good teams" that build through the draft do this. They have one or two down years led by their accumulated youth, but then surge ahead. We all know no top tier free agent is going to take his talents to Salt Lake, so it's obvious the youth movement has to happen now or never. And that's really what is going to happen if you listen to all the interviews the brainstrust give to local media.
My individuals goals would be 2,000 minutes each for our F5 (Future Five): Burke, Burks, Hayward, Favors, and Kanter. And plenty of no-risk in game and between game adjustments for Tyrone Corbin. I can't guess how many minutes need to go where beyond the necessary building blocks we've already drafted.
That's not even 30 minutes a guy. The goal is to lose and get one of the studs at the top of the next draft plain and simple regardless of how they want to say otherwise. No way Lucas is in the rotation otherwise. Could be ugly if they actually win some games!
The jury is still out on if minutes help development, but the jury is made out of joe sixpack and not learning theorists and organizational psychologists. For the educated it's obvious. But this is sports and the majority opinion likes to parrot the fables of hired propagandists. Regardless of if minutes advance development -- this season our young players should get minutes.
They should get the opportunities to lead a team either to success or failure. Many times high lottery picks are able to play well, and suffer early, on their way to greater career success. If our players can do that this year we'll be in good hands. If we play them, and success does not seem possible, and improvements are not happening -- then we've identified more things about our team. And that's the second goal.
The Jazz need to find out who they are. It's a mystery if you are on the bench, or pile up DNP-CDs.