Link: Anatomy of a Collapse

•March 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Another heartbreaker last night for the Jazz as they lost to the Washington Wizards in overtime.

My thoughts on Saving the Skyhook.

Utah Jazz: Anatomy of a Collapse.

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Fredette Wins Oscar Robertson Trophy, All-American

•March 28, 2011 • 2 Comments

The United States Basketball Writer’s Association has awarded the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Trophy to Jimmer Fredette. Fredette averaged 28.9 points a game and 4.3 assists for the BYU Cougars, and led them to the Sweet Sixteen before being eliminated in Overtime by Florida.

Robertson will present the award to Fredette on Friday, April 1st in Houston, as part of the Final Four festivities.

UPDATE: It was also announced today that Fredette was the leading vote getter (64 of 65 first team votes) to be among this year’s NCAA All-American First Team. Based on that vote tota, methinks the AP Player of the Year is coming next…

If The Playoffs Started Today, Part 2

•March 28, 2011 • Leave a Comment

One week closer to the Playoffs, and what was looking like placeholder playoff seeding looks to be solidifying as the actual pairings. There’s still a change for some jockeying at the top of the Eastern Conference (Bulls, Celtics and Heat are separated by 2.5 games) and the bottom of the Western Conference (Portland, New Orleans, Memphis separated by 1.5 games, with Houston 2.5 games behind them), but none of the Probable Playoff Match ups changed from last week.

Western Conference Eastern Conference
#1 San Antonio vs. #8 Memphis
(Series tied 2-2)
#1 Boston vs. #8 Indiana
(Boston won series 3-1)
#2 Los Angeles vs. #7 New Orleans
(L.A. won series 4-0)
#2 Chicago vs. #7 New York
(Boston leads 3-0)
#3 Dallas vs. #6 Portland
(Dallas leads 2-1)
#3 Miami vs. #6 Philadelphia
(Miami won series 3-0)
#4 Oklahoma City vs. #5 Denver
(Series tied 1-1)
#4 Orlando vs. #5 Atlanta
(Atlanta leads 2-1)
On the Outside Looking In
Western Conference Eastern Conference
Team Games Behind Team Games Behind
Houston Rockets 2.5 Charlotte Bobcats 1.0
Phoenix Suns 4.0 Milwaukee Bucks 2.0
Utah Jazz 5.0 Detroit Pistons 5.5
GS Warriors – Out 7.5 New Jersey Nets 8.0

Continue reading ‘If The Playoffs Started Today, Part 2’

Falling is Like This

•March 25, 2011 • 2 Comments

When I was either 15 or 16, I worked at one of those mini-McDonalds inside a Walmart with two of my best friends, Jason and Nick. One night after we closed, the three of us stayed late with free access to Mountain Dew (something we considered to be a remarkable job benefit), and had a detailed discussion about the women in our lives. One of us (I don’t remember who) was telling us about a recent date, and wound up admitting that he thought this girl liked him.

This was not breaking news.  The fact that this girl liked our friend was so unbelievably obvious, that he was literally the only person in our social universe who didn’t know. Granted, it wasn’t exactly a big universe, but still, he was the only one who hadn’t got it yet.

One of us (and again, I don’t remember who), responded with a toothy grin and  said “Gee, ya think?” This prompted a memorable round of laughter and cheers, partly fueled by excessive caffeine, but mostly fueled by the sweet relief that comes when you finally acknowledge something that has been staring you in the face for WAY too long.

In that spirit, and with every ounce of positivity I can muster, allow me to proclaim that the season is over for the Utah Jazz.

One has to give due credit to the guys coming to work every day and trying to improve. If you look back over the Jazz season, a lot of NBA players would have given up by now. The Jazz have consistently faced challenges since Dec 3rd (a losing effort against the Mavs that sparked a 7-6 run through December). Heading into that game, the Jazz were 15-5 and gaining steam heading into the main stretch of the season.

Since, they’ve been on a free fall, losing 32 games, including 13 at home. They’ve lost their team identity, their defensive focus (the Jazz gave up 95.7 PPG in November and 103.6 since November, including a shocking 110.1 PPG in March), and, of course, their Head Coach, Assistant Coach and franchise Point Guard.

It’s been a long, slow, painful run ever since.

The Jazz have 9 games left in their season, 7 of which are against probable playoff teams (Mavs, Lakers x2, Blazers, Spurs, Hornets, Nuggets). The other two are the Wizards – who the Jazz did lose to in January – and the Kings.

That’s not to say that all hope is lost. There are glimmers of hope for the team’s future. Derrick Favors has shown signs of life in games against the Knicks and the Timberwolves, Jeremy Evans and Gordon Hayward have had solid performances on occasion, and Al Jefferson and C.J. Miles have emerged as guys on the rise.

Still, and I don’t know exactly how to explain this, the Jazz just look outmatched nearly every time they take the floor. Even in November, when the Jazz would take on elite team, I felt like the they had a fighting chance if they could get their opponent to change their game plan (i.e. the Miami Heat game on Nov. 9th)

When I watch now, I realize I’ve become my mother whenever Belatrix LaStrange does something mean to one of the kids on Harry Potter. I find myself covering my eyes and shouting:

“OHH The Horror! The Wicked, Wicked Horror!”

I’ve come to grips with the fact that being a Jazz fan is, once again, a long term prospect. It’s time to start scouting the college world for meaningful prospects and hoping for luck at the lottery. It’s time to contemplate how to draw talent to the small market world of the Utah Jazz and how to keep them.

The fate of the Jazz fan lays in the hands of the Jazz scouts and members of the draft team, and the truth is, it’s probably going to be a while before the Jazz are serious contenders again.

In 1997, the San Antonio Spurs figured out how to survive the inevitable departure of their then franchise player by drafting Tim Duncan. Surely, it can’t be *that* hard to find another guy like that, right?

Smoke Monster is Coming Y’all

•March 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Ah Mid-March. Great time of year.

The snow is nearly gone, I can put my coat away, I have another busted NCAA bracket, and Smoke Monster starts focusing in on his goal… to swallow your soul.

(this from last night’s matchup with Portland)

If the Playoffs Started Today

•March 21, 2011 • 1 Comment

Now that the NCAA game that’s taken so much of my time is rolling and my bracket is officially toast (Marquette’s win over Syracuse was the dagger), let’s turn our attentions toward the NBA Playoffs.

I’ve always been interested in seeing how team positioning moves on a week to week basis down the stretch, so I thought it might be a fun exercise to track the Playoff match ups each week down the stretch.

Western Conference Eastern Conference
#1 San Antonio vs. #8 Memphis
(Spurs leads 2-1)
#1 Boston vs. #8 Indiana
(Boston leads 3-0)
#2 Los Angeles vs. #7 New Orleans
(L.A. leads 3-0)
#2 Chicago vs. #7 New York
(New York leads 2-0)
#3 Dallas vs. #6 Portland
(Dallas leads 2-1)
#3 Miami vs. #6 Philadelphia
(Miami leads 2-0)
#4 Oklahoma City vs. #5 Denver
(Series tied 1-1)
#4 Orlando vs. #5 Atlanta
(Atlanta leads 2-1)
On the Outside Looking In
Western Conference Eastern Conference
Team Games Behind Team Games Behind
Utah Jazz 1.5 Milwaukee Bucks 1.5
Phoenix Suns 2.0 Charlotte Bobcats 1.5
Houston Rockets 2.0 Detroit Pistons 5.0
Golden State Warriors 7.5 New Jersey Nets 7.0

Continue reading ‘If the Playoffs Started Today’

New Post: George Hill on Playmaker Magazine

•March 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment
George Hill of the San Antonio Spurs

Image via Wikipedia

Hi all,

A buddy over at Playmaker Magazine gave me a shot at providing something for their site. They’re based on all things Texas Sports, so they asked me to do a profile on Spurs guard (and Smoke Monster antagonizer) George Hill.

Enjoy!