December 29, 2011

For the Utah Jazz, 'Timing' is everything

Al Jefferson, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, Devin Harris, & Raja Bell... the starting 5? nope. It's the 5 guys with the highest averages of minutes played, in order.

If those are the top 5 guys you would have liked to of seen with the most minutes, two games into this accelerated season, then I'll tip my hat to you and wish you good luck as you look elsewhere for a fun little ditty to read about the Utah Jazz. 
                                                                     Go Jazz!

O.K., now that he's gone can we all just say it; WTF! (What The Favre!)

Why is a stop gap guy like Raja Bell being used as a full time, minute laden starter!? To be fair, I have no problem with Raja. I think he's had a great career, and seems to be a pretty good locker room guy with a great "Act like you've been here before." attitude. He stiffed Kobe and the Lakers which right there is enough for me. But when a 35 year old shooting guard gleans an average of 22 minutes over two blow out games as the youthful legs of Alec Burks & C.J. Miles rot on the bench, It makes me feel like my T.V. set is puking on me.
To be clear, I actually think using Raja as a starter is a good Idea. After warming up, the worst thing for a pair of old SG legs to do is sit restless. But starting Raja and playing him for over 20 minutes are two different stories.
So after the above mentioned 5 who would you guess is pulling down the most minutes... what if I told you it was the one player that has a guaranteed contract that missed almost all of camp and has never played on a Jazz team. Yup, Josh Howard is your sixth man with a 21 minute average.
Again, much like Bell, I really don't mind Howard, and think he's a descent signing... as long as he's not taking these huge minutes from Alec Burks! Why!? Why is he playing so many minutes?
So, what is the perfect amount of minute allotment? Well obviously it is a living number as players play up, play down, get injured, or get in foul trouble. But sure, I'll take a crack at what I'd like it to look something like as of right now:
 -At each of the 5 positions there is 48 minutes on the floor (non-overtime game)
 -Simple math says that's 240 minutes a night to divide up for a team
 -I combined the PF and Center positions into just one 'BIGS' category (96 minutes)
 -I combined the SF and SG position into just one interchangeable 'WINGS' category (96 Minutes)

Jefferson 27
Millsap   20
Favors   24
Kanter   19
Evans     6      

Hayward  28
Miles       18
Burks      18
Bell          11
Howard    8
Evans       7
Millsap     6
Harris * (can play minutes in unique situations)

Harris     26
Watson  18
Tinsley     4
Burks *       

Hayward    28 
Jefferson    27
Harris        26
Millsap      26
Favors      24
Kanter      19
Miles        18
Burks       18
Watson    18
Evans       13
Bell          11
Howard     8
Tinsley       4    
TOTAL:   240

What do ya think?
Obviously this could change on a per night basis, or over a season if a player rises or falls in skill,but this is what I would set as a goal minutes break down. 

It's all about timing this season, and it would appear that Corbin is a bit off the mark.

October 26, 2011 The Mountain West 12: What could have been. The Mountain West 12: What could have been.

The Mountain West 12: What could have been.

On February 2nd 2005, the MWC made this official announcement:

    "The addition of TCU to the Mountain West Conference is a perfect fit and is already complementing the steady growth and progress of the Conference. The MWC anxiously anticipates TCU's official entrance on July 1, 2005. The issue of additional membership expansion is no longer a topic of discussion."

With this seemingly exciting addition of TCU came also a statement that sealed the death of the MWC as a possible AQ conference... 

"The issue of additional membership expansion is no longer a topic of discussion."

If the good ol boys of the BCS chairmen ever were considering having another option in the west to add as an AQ conference, that door was shut tight when the MWC decided not to squeeze every last drop out of all the available non-AQ teams in the west.

What a crossroads the MWC was at in 2005. Here was this new conference that had two very strong football teams in BYU and Utah, and they had just added the next most impressive non-AQ team in TCU. Whoa... at that moment any non-AQ school would of taken a similar style crap deal that Utah took to get in the PAC-12! Yes, some schools already in the MWC were bad. Really bad. A lot can be said that they (Wyoming, UNLV, & New Mexico) 
were the real reason AQ status was not given to the MWC. 

OK, I'll buy that for just a minute. But humor me for a minute with this thought; if a conf. becomes too top heavy it will do one of two things: 1- The top teams will tip to one side or another and finally breaks off (exactly what happened with TCU, BYU, and Utah). or 2- If the top teams are united, and the conference has pieces to develop a decent conference body, they wont sway one way or another. It will be a conference that's strong enough to compensate for the weak feet.

So who is this strong "body" that could of supported a united head of TCU, BYU, & Utah? Who should the MWC of added in 2005:

Boise St. (BSU would be a top tier MWC team of course!)


Fresno St.

The addition of these three athletically strong schools would have put the conference to 12 members, and given the MWC two divisions with a championship game.


Mountain Division:
Air Force
Colorado St.

West Division:
Boise St.
Fresno St.
San Diego St.
New Mexico

So how would the last few years of a MWC championship likely played out?

2005:   #15 TCU vs BYU

2006:   #20 BYU vs #10 BSU    (BSU went to the Fiesta Bowl)

2007:   #19 BYU vs #25 BSU

2008:   #6 Utah vs #9 BSU    (Utah went to Sugar Bowl)

2009:   #6 BSU vs #14 BYU    (BSU went to the Fiesta Bowl)

2010:   #3 TCU vs #20 Utah    (TCU went to the Rose Bowl)

Including Utah's 2004-5 BCS win, this "non AQ" conference would of gone to five BCS games in seven years... winning every time. (yes, I know BSU and TCU played each other in 09-10 fiesta bowl, but we are assuming BSU would of beaten TCU in division play)
Despite the "weaker" teams in the conference, having the stronger "body" and the extra championship game would of made it very difficult to keep out of the ol' boys club.

So as BYU is seemingly turned away by yet another AQ team, and while Utah is having an off year being pounded by the PAC-12 and earning no conference money, and as TCU whores itself from one crappy, almost dead AQ conference to another shaky AQ conference, and all the while BSU keeps beating everyone placed in front of them, despite not being seen on national T.V., we watch the Big East die, leaving a shiny new AQ spot for what could have been.

The Mountain West 12.

October 24, 2011

Utah Jazz: If the lockout ended today

David Stern is having flu-like symptoms... and the NBA is sick in bed. But someday the chicken soup (a new CBA) is gonna kick in, and the Jazz will be scrambling to put together a competitive basketball team.

If that day were today...

Players under contract for the 2011-12 team

Al Jefferson
Mehmet Okur
Devin Harris
Paul Milsap
Derrick Favors
CJ Miles
Raja Bell
Gordon Hayward
Jeremy Evans
Enes Kanter
Alec Burks

"Got it. Got it. Need it. Got it."

Got it. - The Jazz have five players that play the 4, the 5, or both. Utah DOES NOT have a need for another big man unless they trade a few away.

Got it. - Utah has youth. A lot of youth! The Jazz are rebuilding, but additional youth is not needed... again, unless a trade takes a few young guys away first.

Need it. - Devin Harris is a point guard. He is a good point guard. In fact I think with some stability and confidence he can be a really good point guard (no, not as good as 8).
That being said, as of right now... he is the only point guard on the roster! That would constitute a need. Utah needs a back up PG that can eat up a good amount of minutes.

Got it. - Wing players. Utah has two that really should be exciting. The problem is one of them is a rookie (Burks), and the other one is a 2nd year guy (Hayward).
C.J. Miles, another wing the Jazz have under contract, will be looking to solidify himself as a good option while the youth movement cuts it's teeth. The hope that CJ will become something substationally more than he currently is, is over. On the other hand, the hope and educated guess that he will be much more consistent in the future is very much alive, and  acceptable. He will solidify himself as a good rotation wing, and a legitimate defender. I like C.J., and see him as one of the better options in the league as a mid to high minute rotation player at wing.
Raja Bell will be better the next time he sees the court. I don't see how couldn't be, coming off one of the poorest seasons not only in his career, but in the entire league last season.
I also believe that this "improved" season will be on a different team.
So this "Got it" is more like a "I think I got it." - better hold onto what you got, and keep an eye on a few free agents.

Free agents that could fill a need

Aaron Brooks - PG
A young but experienced PG that could play a large amount of minutes if needed. He has a "good enough" 3-pt shot, and can lead the a team while Harris gets his breath. I like him, and think he can push the tempo.

Jose Barea - PG
Odds are he is going to get a big contract as the starting PG somewhere (LAKERS?), but if he is available, he will push Harris. His energy is priceless. Long shot for sure.

Shannon Brown - Combo Guard
Brown is an athlete first, and a basketball player second. That's why he is not a true PG. He can play the position well enough, while scoring and pushing the tempo. He would be one of my top targets if I was K.O.C. I think he makes just about any team harder to beat.

"Trader Jazz"

If Utah is looking to cut the fat, a healthy trade might be just the diet.

Option 1 : Go get a PG

Gibson is a competitor, and is skilled enough to challenge Harris for the starting PG spot. Casspi is a STEAL at that price, and brings a high level of intelligent play. Long shot that the Cavs run with this... unless a 2nd round draft pick is thrown in?

Option 2 : A lot of Jazz fans wont like this one

Paul Milsap is an underrated PF... but he's also undersized. Jordan Hill does not have anywhere near the offensive skill set Paul does, but he is a better interior defender and a lot taller.
Flynn has become a bust... as a starting PG. But as a legit back-up, I really like what he can bring.
Courtney Lee is, and always has been under used. He is a terrific shooter, stuck behind an even better shooter in Kevin Martin. What he does bring, besides a high 3pt. percentage, is a surprisingly rigid defense.
This trade brings depth to every position, and in Lee, a possible starter. It also frees up more time for Derrick and Enes... this trade works if those two new draft picks are as special as Jazz fans hope they are.

So if the Lockout has ended in a secret meeting while I have been pecking away on these keys, look for one, some, all, or none of these things to happen!

October 03, 2011

BYU Football: Pro Combat Uniforms

Came across these...

Nike's Idea for a BYU pro combat uniform. I am a traditionalist, but these are pretty rad! I love that it still has a lot of traditionalism to it!
Thanks @Cougarblitz84 for pushing these my way.
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