The 22-19 Utah Jazz have crossed the halfway mark in the 2012-2013 season and the guys at 1320 KFAN weigh in and give the Jazz a mid-season report card.
Graham, Gunther, OC, Napoleon, Ben Anderson, Will, & Dave Gore
THE UTAH JAZZ MIDSEASON REPORT
|Jazz Offense (11th- 98.7 ppg)||B||B-||B+||B+||B||B+||C+|
|Jazz Defense (18th- 98.6 papg)||C||D||C+||B-||C||B||B-|
|Veteran bigs (Al & Paul)||B-||C||B+||A-||B||B-||B+|
|Young Bigs (Fav & Turk)||C+||B||B||B-||C+||B||B-|
|Veteran Point (Mo, Tinsley, Watson)||B||A||C||B-||B+||B+||C+|
|Veteran Wings (Marv, Foye, DeMarre)||B||A||B-||A-||B+||B-||B|
|Young wings (Hayward, Burks)||B||A||B||B+||B||B||B-|
What is the Jazz' biggest weakness?
Kevin Graham (@KevinGrahamKFAN) thinks, "Interior defense and too many role players that prevent the younger guys more playing time."
Napoleon (@NapoleonKFAN) adds, "This is no secret but the Jazz don't have a superstar. They have been following 04' Pistons model using a committee. That's a very difficult model for success in the NBA, especially when you factor in the Jazz' contracts at the end of the season. So many guys will be free agents that it seems unlikely to find success without a superstar. However, after 41 games, I see signs that Gordon Hayward could emerge as that superstar for the Jazz. It will be interesting to see if Coach Corbin allows Hayward to turn into the star or not."
Dave Gore (@DavidGoreKFAN) says the Jazz have depth problems. "The Jazz are TOO deep. Because they have quality vets it makes it tough to find the minutes for the young guys. They are sacrificing a chance to be great in the future for a chance to be good today."
Kyle Gunther (@GuntherKFAN) describes the Jazz biggest weakness as, "Their inability to properly develop this incredible nucleus of young talent because they have saddled themselves with so many expiring contracts. Millsap, Jefferson, Foye and to an extent Mo Williams have all taken minutes away from the young core of talent on the Jazz roster. That normally wouldn't be a weakness to have talented veterans on your roster but I'm still personally waiting for the Jazz to prove to me that they are even slightly more interested in winning than a year ago."
Will Smith (@WillSmithKFAN) on the Jazz' biggest weakness: "They have no leader. When the going gets tough every team needs a guy to pick his team up and the Jazz do not have that."
Would the Jazz be in contention for the playoffs if Corbin gave big minutes to Hayward, Burks, Fav & Turk instead of the vets?
Sean "OC" O'Connell (@OCkfan) says, "There are certainly games that the kids would lose if they were on the court where the vets are able to win. How many? It may be a total of 5 or 6 losses at the end of the season. As constituted I see the Jazz winning about 46 games. Would 5 or 6 fewer cost them an appearance in the playoffs? Most likely. It doesn't look like 39 wins will be enough in the Western Conference to get you the 8th seed. They would be in contention but I don't think they would make it.
Will agrees with OC that the Jazz would compete for a spot but come up short. "The Jazz wouldn't be a much worse team than they are right now but playing the young guys would cost them at least a few games. They'd still contend to be the last team in, but I don't think they would have enough W's to make it in in the Western Conference. Maybe in the east, but not in the west. I would see them sitting 10 or 11 in the west if they went away from the Vets and played the kids."
Graham adds: "I believe they would have a shot at the eight spot still but the goal really isn't the playoffs when you play the young guys. It's about the big picture- allowing them to continue their development for the future."
Given the Jazz' road-heavy schedule in the 1st half, would you say they over-performed, under-performed, or performed to expectations?
Gunther (@GuntherKFAN): "The Jazz are the same team from a year ago in my mind even though they've managed to win a few nice home games this year. They have just performed to my expectations."
Napoleon: "That schedule from late November to early December was an absolute bear! You can see a few games here and there where the Jazz certainly under-performed (Phoenix, New Orleans, Sacramento), but to come out of there with 22 wins in the first half of the schedule is an over-performance."
Ben Anderson (@BenAndKFAN) says, "Sure the schedule was tough in the first 41 games but 22 W's isn't that great. For me a 22-19 record for the Jazz in the first half was exactly what I expected from them. You can look at several games like the road loss to Phoenix and they cancel out the nice victories like the recent home win over Miami."
How many wins do you think the Jazz will get in their final 41?
Graham: 22. This team is exactly what we see: win some you shouldn't, lose some you should. Barely make the playoffs only for an early exit.
Gunther: 23. The Jazz won't be any better than last year. They were on a pace to win 45 games in the shortened season last year. They won't do any better than that this year.
OC: 25. The Jazz are playing better ball than they started the season off with. 25 might be a little low considering how they are playing right now.
Napoleon: 27. The Jazz have turned a corner. With the way these guys are playing right now, I wouldn't be surprised by 30.
Will: 20. They over-performed in the first half of the season and the year-end free agent situation will come back to haunt this team down the stretch.
Anderson: 26. Same good home team, more home games in the 2nd half, more W's than the 1st half.
Gore: 26. A lot of winnable games that should set them up nicely to make the playoffs.
SHOULD the Jazz make a move before the deadline? Why or why not?
Graham says, "Yes. Try to trade some expiring contracts if the right value is there. Attempt to rid themselves of Al Jefferson for a younger point guard and allow more minutes for Derrick Favors."
Gunther adds, "If the Jazz ever want to move on from being at best the 6th best team in the west and never getting out of the first round of the NBA playoffs they'll make a commitment to Favors, Kanter, Burks and Hayward. They need to move their vets out of the way, perhaps via trade. Even though that may cost the Jazz organization valuable playoff revenue it is the only way for them to advance as an organization. Cats."
Gore remarks, "If you want to make the playoffs, I think you don't trade this season. If you want to rely on the youngsters, then they might fight for the 8th and final spot."
Napoleon doesn't think a trade is the right move for the Jazz. "We just saw the first NBA trade where a team is making moves to unload contracts before the new CBA cap rules go into effect after this season. Jazz management have purposefully positioned themselves to have a nice clean canvas on the day the new rules take over. They will be one of only a handful of teams that have any room to maneuver in the off-season."
WILL the Jazz make a move before the deadline? Why or why not?
Graham: "Most likely no because typically it's not in their nature. This will be a big test for Dennis Lindsay in showing whether he truly has the power and say to make something happen or does he fall in line with how the Jazz are typically run."
Will Has seen this movie before and knows how it ends. "No. I have watched the Jazz stand pat for too many years to expect them to shake things up."
Ben Anderson: "The Jazz' plan has been to have contracts expire at the end of this season. This is by design. Expiring contracts are like gold right now as the salery cap tightens up at the end of the season." I don't see the Jazz sending off theses opportunities to shed payroll at the end of the season, so unless they are offered a deal that you can't say no to, I don't see them making a move."