The case of Hayward is … curious. The Jazz were hoping he’d be more than he is.
Why I'm not sure?
As mentioned, he was on the floor more than any other player and was asked to do more, probably too much. He’s led the team in scoring — averaging 16 points — and got 5.2 assists, along with five rebounds. But he also turned the ball over the most — 2.7 times a game — and shot 41 percent, 31 percent from three. In each of his four seasons in the league, as Hayward has squeezed off more attempts, his shooting percentage has dropped, from 48 percent to 45 percent to 43 percent to this year’s low.
He’s taking too many shots outside his range, and he’s making bad decisions as to when to fire away in traffic. Hayward can still be a fine player. He might even become a fringe all-star. But the load of carrying a team is too much. He’d make a terrific third-option on a contending team.
Favors is the closest thing the Jazz have to an emerging elite player.
He is? Burks does to me. Kanter offensively. Favors defensively. Hayward all-around. Burke a lot to work on.
His defense has always been his priority, and he could become a great rim protector. He averaged 1.4 blocks this season — that number will go higher — and he also averaged 13.2 points and 8.7 boards. At the offensive end, the Jazz should have gone to Favors more this season because he already improved enough to make nearly 52 percent of his shots. Still, he ranked only fifth in attempts. He has to get the ball more and he must hit more than 67 percent of his free throws.
That's not a bad FT % for a big.
Burks showed the most improvement, doubling his scoring — to 14 points — and making 46 percent of his shots, despite ratcheting into the ionosphere their degree of difficulty.
His aggression at the offensive end rewarded him with more trips to the line than any other Jazz player. He made 75 percent. It will be interesting to see how the Jazz use Burks moving forward. Do they see him as a trusted go-to guy from hip to hop, or as a kind of mercurial, situational force off the bench?
Could depend on the draft, G and Burks own contact.
Kanter should have played more this season. It was wasteful that he didn’t. In his 26 minutes, the Jazz player who benefits more than any other from his time put up 12.1 points and hauled down 7.3 rebounds. He’s a gifted offensive presence, with evolving moves and a soft touch. His defense at times was a laugh a minute, but Kanter is capable of a better effort there than he showed. He needs strong coaching and court time. He’s a unique talent the Jazz should make more use of or trade for whatever it is they’re looking for.
Trade looks likely.
Either way, the forceful fact remains.
The Jazz have young players all around who can be good, a couple who can grow to be real good. But they still need what they don’t have: a player who somewhere in his bones can be great. With luck, and a few more losses, maybe they’ll get him from the only place they ever could, from the place this season was always — or always should have been — about.
Yeah, you know where.
GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" with Spence Checketts weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM/1280 and 960 AM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.
Parker, a Mormon, told ESPN L.A. that he had ruled out serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I think I have at this point," he said. "It’s either between returning [to school] or [declaring for the draft]."
Not much of a surprise. The mission hasn't been mentioned since before the season. The church would probably rather have his 10% anyway.
On that front, basketball fans will have to wait a few more days.
"It’s a very tough decision, especially leaving behind, potentially, my coach and all the people behind the program that helped me out this year," he told the radio station. "I have to really keep them in consideration. The whole process, it’s very mind-boggling."
Parker said he intended to announce his decision by the middle of next week. Meanwhile, he shot down reports that he already secured on-campus housing for his sophomore year, calling it simply "rumor."
Parker, a 6-foot-8 forward who averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds this season, is projected to be a top-three pick if he declares and would stand to make millions of dollars playing in the NBA next season. The money, however, isn’t his or his family’s only consideration.
"They don’t care," he said of whether his parents had tried to influence his decision. "They just want me to be happy. Because it’s more than just next year. It’s going to be my career from there and how happy I’ll be from there."
Asked about possibly being drafted by the Lakers, Parker said it would be "a blessing." Pressed on whether he would like to play in heavily Mormon Utah, Parker said that "wouldn’t matter."
As it stands, the Jazz can mathematically tie or pass Orlando for the third-worst record if the Magic beat either the Bulls or the Pacers or both. However, the chances of Orlando beating either team are too remote to take into serious consideration. So, the Jazz can realistically finish anywhere from fourth-worst to sixth-worst.
Depends on if those teams have anything to play for. Looks like they might. They might end up sitting guys to rest for the playoffs too.
The Jazz control their destiny. They can simply lose vs. the Lakers and Timberwolves to clinch the fourth-worst record. There are some subtle and not-so-subtle ways that Utah can make sure it loses its final two games.
But should the Jazz intentionally throw those games?
Intentionally losing any game runs against the competitive spirit that makes sports fun. What kind of message would throwing games send to the Jazz players? Such a move would signal to the players and coaches that they're so bad it's worth tossing a game or two to increase the odds of a high lottery pick.
That's not the best way to build loyalty.
Besides, the Jazz need to convince their young talent to stay for as long as possible so they can build a playoff-calibur team around a top lottery pick. It doesn't do much good for the Jazz to get a top-three pick only to have young players such as Trey Burke jet as soon as they can become free agents.
Speaking of Burke, he's already spoken out against tanking to Jody Genessy: "We play hard, practice hard every single day. Why would we want to go out there and try to lose? Wherever we do land in the lottery, that will be great for us, but to try to tank games and lose games, I think, is just absurd."
So, is intentionally losing the Jazz' final two games and adding tension to the locker room really worth better odds of getting a top lottery pick? What happens if the Jazz do finish with the fourth-worst record only to drop to the No. 7 pick in the lottery? While that scenario has only a 1.2 percent chance of happening, it's possible. After all, there would be a 62.2 percent chance the Jazz won't be in the top three even if the team throws its remaining two games.
At any rate, it makes Monday's game between the two worst teams in the West interesting.
Lafe Peavler is a staff sports writer for the Deseret News. Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.
I think it sucks to be put in a position where you hope they lose. Something needs to be done about the current system.
Jason King: Baylor soph center Isaiah Austin will enter the NBA draft, sources tell @BleacherReport . Austin wouldve gone last season if not for injury. Twitter
Isaiah Austin: To whoever falsely said that I will enter the draft, I am still weighing my options and have not come to an official decision yet Twitter @IsaiahAustin
potential stretch big. early/ mid 2nd
Michigan State junior Branden Dawson announced his decision to remain in school for his senior season on Tuesday. A 6-foot-6 guard/forward from Gary, Ind., Dawson averaged 11.2 points and a team-best 8.3 rebounds for the Spartans in 2013-14. Michigan State Official Athletic Site
Bruce Pascoe: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Kaleb Tarczewski are staying at Arizona, Sean Miller confirms. Twitter
Point guard Elfrid Payton will forgo his senior season at Louisiana Lafayette and enter the 2014 NBA Draft, a league source informed CSNNW.com. According to another source educated on the situation says the 6-4 guard has agreed to make Ty Sullivan of Creative Artist Agency his agent. CSNNW.com
Adam Zagoria: Rodney Hood is gone to the NBA, source told @SNYtv. Jabari decides tomorrow. Twitter
I think maybe I've mentioned him already? mid late first
The Lakers broadcast put up a stat box when Burks was shooting free throws: “Averaging 15.2 ppg in April, 51% FG, 88% FT.”
He has been improving at the line. He gets fouled so much and doesn't take many shots away from the rim so his FG should be high.
Those are some great numbers, and he only missed two shots last night. The fantastic thing about Burks is that he’s almost always attacking. He’s learned that you can’t drive to the basket every single play, that you have to mix it up, but he’s blending attacking and creating and shooting from the outside incredibly well. Burks might be the player I’m most excited to see break out next season.
I'd say he broke out this year. Who knows what will happen with a new coach, possibly a new role with G maybe gone and a possible franchise player coming in.
Side note: Swaggy P reminds me of Burks, the way his body moves when he’s dribbling on the perimeter and trying to find a hole to drive to the basket. Anyone else notice that?
Who is Swaggy P?
Passing. In the first part of the first half, there were some really encouraging passes, some really good spacing, and some exciting plays. With four minutes to go in the first quarter, a Evans set a pick for Burks, and when Evans rolled and got the ball, he was doubled in the key (seriously, LA?)
, only to pass it off perfectly to an open Favors for a two-handed dunk. It was a beautifully executed play, and seeing that passing and cutting from the young players was encouraging. The next play, on defense, Favors blocked the ball, and then Hayward took the ball down, passed it to Favors, who passed it immediately back to Hayward for a three. Later, there was a great pick and roll between Burke and Favors. Nearing the end of the first half, there was a beautiful pick and roll between Burke and Kanter, for a Kanter dunk. One of the most interesting things to me about that play, however, is that Burke didn’t celebrate; he didn’t start backpedaling to get on defense. He jumped forward to start putting pressure on the Lakers as they were bringing the ball inbounds. He’s all business.
Gordon Hayward was absolutely on fire in the first half, and then disappeared in the second. During the first half, I thought, My goodness, he gets up for these Lakers games. He had 16 points and was hitting just about everything he was throwing up. He was getting rebounds and taking the ball coast to coast for two-handed dunks, he was deflecting passes on defense, he was attacking the basket with reckless abandon, and he was setting up teammates. The Gordon Hayward of the first half is a player to get really excited about, especially if he’s surrounded with more talent. But his comments after the game that he’s learned he can be “The Guy” on a team don’t ring true to me. As much as I love Hayward’s game, if he’s your numero uno guy, you’re going to be a struggling team. But if he can find a way to be more consistent and dictate matchups next season, he’ll be another fun one to watch.
Yeah I understand he's confident about his abilities but you have to know who you are and be able to play within your limitations. He's easily their best all-around player but he's not a go to guy. He's a streaky shooter. His D hasn't been as good now that he's playing more in a bigger role.
Mini Glimpses. Jeremy Evans has hops. This isn’t new to any Jazz fan with eyes over the last few years, but seeing him get blocked on a layup only to take it back up immediately for the jam is still a cool display of athleticism. Trey Burke’s become a better distributor. He still looks for his shot far too much, in my opinion, but he’s doing a better job of setting up his teammates, as evidenced by his increasing assist totals: 46 assists in the last five games.
He's going better at passing. Another trip to Spokane would do hi good I'm sure. Deron went at least twice.
These glimpses were encouraging, given the number of discouraging moments, times, and trends we’ve seen this season. Will the defense be better next year?
My guess is they'll hire a defensive coach and they'll get better at that end. Can they get a coach to get them playing up to their abilities at both ends though? Seems to be hard to get.
Will Alec Burks become the top scorer on the team?
Him, Kanter and Burke are scorers. Hopefully their go to giu will be their #1 pick though. Wasn't worth tanking if he's not.
Will Burke maintain his clutchness?
I' be more worried about him improving his many weaknesses.
What glimpses from this game—and this season—have you looking forward to the future?
Favors putting it together consistently. Kanter getting better at the defensive end. Gobert getting better offensively. Evans extending his range and being able to put it on the floor.
This gave the Lakers a 6 point lead going into half, but the Jazz somewhat valiantly fought back in the 3rd quarter to fight back to tie the game. Then, in the opening 7 minutes of the fourth quarter, the Jazz’s offensive sequence went like this:
Miss, turnover, miss, miss, turnover, miss, turnover, miss, FT make, FT miss, miss, miss, miss, miss.
That’s very bad offensive performance in stretches against a terrible defensive team, and it’s absolutely worrying. The first half slide might be the most troublesome, as it happened for the most part against the core group of young players that Jazz fans are so excited about: Burke/Burks/Hayward/Favors/Kanter. 1 It was as if those players had never played together, and while they haven’t played much as a unit this season, they’ve played together in at least large 4-man groups: those are 5 of the 6 players with the most minutes as a team.
Interestingly, beside those stretches, the Jazz shot really well: 65% from the field is really quite good. The difference might be indicative of the Jazz’s biggest offensive problem: they have no one who they can trust with the ball who can get points semi-reliably.
They don't have a go to guy. Simple as that.
Yes, this game was largely about tank race, and Ty Corbin thought it affected the players on the floor, saying “We gave into the talk tonight, but we can’t concede to what others say.” It was a worrying game for the state of the team as currently constructed, pre-draft pick.
Could have gave into the talk earlier.
2. But! The loss sure does help the Jazz with lottery odds.
The loss assures them of, at worst, a tie for 4th going into the NBA’s draft lottery on May 20th. If the Jazz had won tonight, they could have fallen to as low as the 6th spot. This is a big deal: most observers think that this draft contains a very excellent group of 5 players.2
While the odds of getting the top pick in the NBA draft are not incredibly different between the 4th and 6th slots (11.9% to 6.3%) the odds of getting a top 5 pick are extremely different: the chances of getting a top 5 pick are 82.8% for the 4th slot, and just 21.5% for the 6th slot.
That's the big difference there. Getting a top 5.
It’s a real quandary, though: the current players looked really terrible at times tonight. They looked to have even regressed from game 1 of the season, in which they lost by only 3 in a fight with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Was the pick worth it? We’ll probably find out on May 20th.
To me the losing wasn't worth it if they just get another nice piece to what they have and not the franchise player they are missing.
3. Ty Corbin was introspective tonight.
This was probably the most deflated I’ve ever seen Ty Corbin this season: he, quite frankly, looked like a man out of answers. He’s tried the new starting lineup, using the youth all together as a unit, and it hasn’t really worked. A loss against the Lakers, as they’re currently constructed, is embarrassing. The most telling exchange was probably this one, at the end of the post-game press conference:
Tony Parks: “As a coach, what do you want to take from this year, specifically, as you go forward?”
Corbin: “I don’t know if that’s a good question right now. It’s a question to be asked, it’s a question I have to ask myself, it’s a question I have to accept, figure out where I go from here, for me. It’s been an interesting year. I have a lot of evaluating to do that I want to do for myself, and figure out what’s my next step.”
Corbin has always been strong in his press conferences, staying strong to the “We gotta work hard to get better” mantra. Honestly, it’s a good mantra, and it certainly helps a team to see strength and resilience in its leader. But tonight was the first time Corbin’s been open about his uncertain future, and he didn’t seem particularly optimistic.
He's not stupid. He can see the writing on the wall like everyone else. I hope he gets another shot. He deserves it. He hasn't had a good situation here since je took over.
Since March 3, Jazz opponents have scored at least 101 points in 14 of 22 games. Utah is 3-19 since Milwaukee, which owns the worst record in the league, rolled to a 114-88 victory.
Individually, the list of individuals who have torched the Jazz include the Bucks’ Ersan Ilyasova (31 points), Philadelphia’s Tony Wroten (31 points), Houston’s Terrence Jones (30 points), New Orleans’ Anthony Morrow (26 points) and — now *— Young.
Those are guys you can't have lighting you up.
"Nick, tonight, made some great shots," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. "We made some mistakes rotating off of him ... [but] guys will make shots in this league."
Young already had a big night going before he stepped into a three-pointer in the final second of the third quarter and lifted the Lakers into an 86-86 tie.
In the opening four minutes of the fourth quarter, Young scored nine points during an 11-0 run that put L.A. on cruise control.
"Give them credit," Corbin said. "They shot the ball extremely well. We shot  percent but they shot 54 percent and they had transition baskets against us. You can’t afford to have that kind of effort and they made us pay for it."
It’s been a recurring problem, especially lately.
In the Jazz’s previous four losses, Golden State scored 130 points, Dallas made 16 of 17 shots during a 39-point first quarter, Portland poured in 35 points in the fourth quarter and Denver scored 65 points in the second half.
"We know we can play defense as a team," rookie point guard Trey Burke said. "I think specifically, Nick Young got them going tonight. They were getting easy little drop-back passes off the pick-and-roll [and] our rotations weren’t as good as they could have been. It kind of came back and bit us."
You can? We have yet to see it even from the so called stopper.
This season, Hayward’s fourth in the NBA, the wing player has led the team in scoring and could be the first Jazzman since Pete Maravich in 1976-77 to average better than 16 points, five rebounds and five assists for a season.
He needed 28 points and 10 boards over the season’s final two games to reach that mark.
"Everybody knows he’s a great player, great defender, great teammate to have," said shooting guard Alec Burks.
And to lose him would be a blow to the rebuilding franchise, his teammates said.
"Hopefully it’s not his last home game," said rookie Trey Burke. "Hopefully he’s back next year. He’s meant a lot to this team. … He’s one of the leaders on the court. He’s one of the guys we look to for strength."
To overpay him past next season would be an even bigger blow though.
Jazz forward Marvin Williams missed a third straight game with a bruised left knee bone. Burke, the point guard, said he’d been dealing with a sore ankle himself, though he said it wouldn’t affect his status.