Its time for a mid-season check-in with your Utah Jazz and there isn’t any better way to do this than to get the voices your know best in the market to help analyze how they are doing. We’re grateful to have linked up with Amar, Clark, Diana, and Jon from SLC Dunk, Grant from Torn By Sports, Allen and James from The Dog and Deuce Show, and of course Mike and Matt weigh in as well. If you haven’t been reading SLC Dunk or TBS or listening to D&D, you really need to check them out.
7. Besides Gordon Hayward, how do you feel the development of the Jazz “core four” is coming along?
Amar: They are all behind the curve, and behind their peers in their draft class. It is a great way to reduce the value of your draft pick / lotto pick by systematically holding them back. It’s also a good way to make them resent you, the franchise, their coaches, and be a self-fulfilling prophecy for them leaving after their rookie deals are done.
Clark: There’s definitely been some good and bad aspects. If I were making the decisions for the team, I would certainly do things differently. I think Hayward could use a few more minutes of playing time, because he is our best overall wing player, but his development as far as minutes and touches has been very reasonable. On the other hand, I believe the Jazz have missed out on developing Alec Burks. I know that it seems too early to make a decision like that, but you would be very hard pressed to find a wing player in the history of the NBA who had the minutes, role and situation that Alec Burks has had, and became anything more than an average player. I think Burks’ time with the Jazz is numbered. As far as Favors and Kanter go, I would have certainly given them both bigger roles by now, but with big men, you can be a little more patient historically, and I think next year, there is a very good chance that both will have prominent roles in the rotation. They are both improving, I think, at an acceptable rate.
Deuce: Burks, Favors and Kanter are the three remaining that we have yet to discuss of the so called “Core Four”. Favors seems like he is ready to make a move to the starting five. The one thing I like about Favors is he almost always seems interested in playing defense, won’t get pushed around in the paint and genuinely seems to want to take the next step to become “The Man”. Having said that his sample size is small and he has to be ready to play when he gets the minutes because nothing is guaranteed for him right now. Kanter admittedly is behind Favors because he hasn’t played basketball all that long and didn’t get any game experience in college while at Kentucky. But again, I like his attitude and when he enters a game, I know he is going to give maximum effort for the time he’s on the floor, which is more than I can say about some other Jazz players. Burks, is the one guy I haven’t been able to gauge. First because I don’t think he is a PG and second he seems to fall into jump shot heaven much like Hayward. When the jump shots are falling he looks impressive but when the shots are rimming out, there’s a lot left to be desired. I would encourage him to take the ball to the rim and try to get his teammates more involved in the offense if his lane to the rime gets blocked.
Diana: The hope that the C4 will soon be the focus of this team is what is keeping me interested in the Jazz. The last few years where we have gone away from movement basketball and have been an iso-heavy team has been hard for me. I have no interest in watching Big Al on the left block a thousand times a game. Yes Big Al is talented, yes he is a great guy but we know what we have with Al and Paul as our leaders we are a 7th seed at best and that’s just not good enough for this Jazz fan. I don’t feel Ty has done a great job at all at developing the C4. When the Jazz traded Deron Williams to the Nets, it was time to change the team over to Favors and Hayward, it has yet to happen so we’re in the mediocrity level in the NBA which was is awful. We are not contenders but we are not poor enough to build through the draft. We have four high lottery picks on this team, let them take over.
I would love if the Jazz re-signed Millsap and had him be the role of the experienced vet. I’d love for him to start with Favors and have Kanter be our third big off the bench. Millsap mixes nicely with our C4, Al Jefferson does not.
Ty was a journeyman player in the NBA; he never had a home. He is coaching with a terrible soft-spot for those types of players; I mean he started Josh Howard and starts Randy Foye over the way more talented young players. Ty said in an interview about his playing career and losing his spot to younger more talented players (read Moni’s post on Ty’s motivation) New hotshots who hadn’t proven anything.
Ty is coaching with a bias and it shows in how he treats the C4.
Dog: I would have liked to see these guys be a lot further down the road than they are. Part of it is the log jam at the 4 and 5; there just aren’t enough minutes to go around. Next season will probably be the first chance they will have to develop as a group, but I worry that it might be too late.
Grant: I am happy with the development of the young guys. Kanter, Favors, and Burks have all shown they are continuing to improve. I could be wrong but each player has shown improvements to their game. Yes, they still make mistakes, but that is expected. This is actually where I will side with Corbin and the way he is managing their minutes. By not playing so many minutes it has prevented the players from dwelling on too many mistakes and hindering their development. However, play the guys that are the future of this franchise, not the free agents.
Matt: Up to a few weeks ago, I was on the side of Ty Corbin. I feel that if the team could achieve a good playoff spot and make some progress over last season, then they should go for it. But this team isn’t going to win more than one or maybe only two games in the playoffs and I feel the “next generation” is being sidetracked. I’m not certain what Burks is going to be. But I think both Favors and Kanter have shown enough brilliance in spurts that they deserve the chance to be unleashed. And I think that very silently, these guys may be harboring ill feelings towards the staff and at first opportunity, they will leave us as well.
Mike: Hayward is definitely progressing the most. Kanter was another draft pick I didn’t love but I think Enes is progressing more quickly than expected. My jury is still out on Favors. I remember the guy in college and felt Kevin O’Conner fell in love then and was getting him one way or another. Considering CJ Miles was another love affair, I’ll continue to curb my enthusiasm.
Jon: I feel great about Enes Kanter’s progress. Last year he looked like being a secondary scorer was his destiny. Now I believe he may end up being the primary post scorer on the team within a year or two. His passing out of the post reminds me of pre-Jazz Al — as in I’m not sure he knows he’s allowed to do it. That absolutely needs to improve. But overall, I have no concerns about Enes Kanter.
I feel similar about Derrick Favors. Defensively, he changes the team completely. Offensively his shooting touch is still imperfect, but the rest of his game is terrific, including his moves in the post. He’s passing much better as well.
Burks … let’s just say that he’s lucky the injuries happened. The amount of progress he’s shown in the past couple games has been phenomenal. I’m hoping for more opportunities, because it means great things for the Jazz if he can get them.