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.
3. The Jazz suffered a huge blow when Mo Williams announced he needed surgery on his thumb and would miss at least six weeks. But Jamaal Tinsley has elevated his game and Jazz has won nine of twelve games since back-to-back losses to the Clippers. Going forward, does Jamaal Tinsley or Mo Williams give the team the best chance to win?
Amar: Mo gives the Jazz the best chance to win because the defense has to stay on him. Against some of the better defending clubs they just let their PG play free safety and shut down our inside game while leaving Jamaal open from three. You can’t leave Mo open. Jamaal has played well, but he’s not a starter in this league anymore, and going forward he’s going to be scouted more and more. Not so much to stop him, but to let him be put into situations where he’s not effective. On Pick and Rolls both defenders go with the roll man, instead of stepping out to prevent him from having a good look from 25 feet, etc.
Clark: I don’t think they are mutually exclusive options. The Jazz can certainly use both of them going forward, but I’m assuming that you are wondering if Jamaal Tinsley should remain the starting point guard when Mo Williams returns. I think the Jazz will have to start Mo Williams when he returns for a lot of reasons. First of all, as teams continue to see the Jazz with Jamaal Tinsley more often, they will be able to gameplan against us more and more often. Teams will stop guarding Jamaal Tinsley and we aren’t talented enough to make up for that offensively every night.
With that said, our starting lineup hasn’t been really effective either with Mo Williams or Tinsley at the point. But the versatility that will be afforded when Mo comes back will help the Jazz. They will be able to cut Earl Watson’s minutes and overall the Jazz should improve offensively when Mo returns. You may be aware but the Jazz shoot about 3% better as a team when Jamaal Tinsley is on the floor and that stat can’t be ignored, so I would certainly understand if you wanted to make a case for Tinsley, but I think other teams will adjust.
Deuce: Without a doubt it’s Mo Williams. I have been impressed with Jamal Tinsley’s ability to fill in for Mo during his injury. However, the fact remains, he is aging and who knows if he can continue to play this effectively, consistently logging long minutes in the second half of the season, plus having him come off the bench and play with the young guys should/does gives them veteran leadership and stability on the floor.
Diana: Mo has never been my favorite player; I was never that Jazz fan pining for Mo when we let him go the first time. I do not prefer point guards that are more of a shooting guard in a point guard’s body. I understand that Devin was just part of the DWill trade, and I don’t think the Jazz ever expected him to be the long-term point guard of the team. I was surprised when KOC traded/re-signed Mo this past summer since Mo and Devin are such similar players.
The Jazz have talented players but they need that playmaker to bring it all together. At times Hayward can be that person and even Burks has shown sparks of having that playmaking ability. I think the Jazz are at their best when they have a playmaking point guard. Hayward and Burks can help but we need it from the point guard also.
When Mo is in the games he doesn’t allow Hayward to be a playmaker. Mo dominates the ball and we have seen in clutch time he goes into “hero-mode” when most of the time doesn’t end well. With Mo as our starting point guard it seems like there are a lot of isolation plays run. I hate watching strictly one-on-one plays; I don’t think Mo makes our team better.
I like Tinsley. I think he is a great passer and brings energy to the team. However, Tinsley cannot consistently start for us. We have seen with Mo being out that Tinsley has his ups and downs. Tinsley can impact that game when he is on but when he is off it’s like the Jazz are playing five on four.
So I don’t really know who gives us the best chance to win. I’ll say Jamaal since he cares more about setting up others than being the hero.
Dog: I love Jamaal Tinsley and have been impressed with his production of late, but it’s hard for me to give him the nod over Mo Williams. I like Mo’s game, I like his leadership, and I like his intensity. Tinsley has done a great job filling in and has certainly exceeded my expectations of him, but I’m not sure he’s the long term solution.
Grant: Mo Williams is my vote. Tinsley may be doing a great job running the offense and team right now. However, he is not the end answer. Do you remember when AK47 played for the Jazz and you would yell, “No!” every time he looked like he was going to take a jump shoot, or the gagging reflex you got when he actually shot it? (Or maybe it was just me?) That is how I feel when Tinsley takes an outside jump shot. I don’t get that feeling with Mo.
Jon: I don’t know. Mo Williams is clearly a better player. He can do more things, he can do more things well, etc. But Tinsley happens to do a couple things better that happen to fit the Jazz offense. In the end, I think Tinsley is actually the better option. His passing really helps the other players, he rebounds better than Mo, and though he struggles defensively, Mo did too.
Matt: When I wrote this question I was in Camp Tinsley. Upon further attention paid to the past several games, I’ve moved out of Camp Tinsley into Camp Neither. Mo Williams is a great guy and I was happy to get him, but like so many of the writers here, I don’t think he’s the right fit. Under an historical view of the Jazz, he is the opposite of what we needed. We need a guard who distributes the ball unselfishly (yeah, I’m looking at you Rondo when I emphasize the work “unselfishly”) and knows when to take a shot (as well as make it.) Tinsley can distribute and get the team into position, but he can’t hit water from a boat in the ocean and he’s not the strong leader that John Stockton or even Deron Williams were when they were here. Can we combine Williams and Tinsley and get a hybrid that works well?
Mike: Tinsley signed an autograph for my daughter so I obviously love the guy but Mo is what the Jazz need to make things go. Mo isn’t afraid of the big shot and is a cold blooded scorer. If the Jazz are looking to cultivate young players at the expense of wins, Tinsley is our guy. He plays hard and is an assist machine. IMO with the struggling teams in the west the Jazz should try to make a push while growing the youngsters. MoWill fits this role better.