Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Point for Point

The Utah Jazz have been lucky in some ways, and unlucky in others. One of the greatest examples of this is how they have had some pretty good point guard play over the years. Perhaps luck has nothing to do with it, and it's rather the scouting department and player development that has much to do with the apparent success of Ricky Green, John Stockton and now, Deron Williams. Of course there were some lean years along the way, specifically the capable though unspectacular trio of Carlos "Pride of Puerto Rico" Arroyo; Raul "The Hispanic Heartthrob"Lopez; and Maurice "Mo" Williams -- but those days are now gone.

Ricky Green was the reason why Stockton didn't start until his 3rd year in the League Stockton is, probably, the best player in franchise history Raul Lopez quickly became a pariah Success went to Carlos Arroyo's head Mo Williams now plays in Milwaukee Deron Williams is the most dangerous point guard the Jazz have ever had

Recently, as recent as last week, the Utah Jazz front office was able to trade Jason Hart for Brevin Knight. This type of trade may have no overt impact in the short term -- though this trade may resonate within the consciousness of fans for generations to come -- like the trade that brought Ostertag back to Utah. Or maybe not. That said, this position for the Jazz has not been this secure since the days of Stockton, Eisley and Vaughn.

Point for point -- Brevin Knight is the superior player out of the two traded. Through this measure, Kevin O'Connor won the trade. It doesn't hurt that Knight makes less money and is pretty talented for a 3rd stringer. It's also good to know that Knight is just too damn short, and not a good enough shooter for Jerry Sloan to go crazy, and contemplate starting -- like he did with that Deron Williams / Derek Fisher starting lineup in the 2006-2007 season. Neither are perfect . . . Hart was to bring defense and veteran leadership, but ended the season deep on the bench while Ronnie Price made fans and the media go wow! Brevin is good at taking care of the ball, but has made only 16 career three pointers. That is a ridiculously low number which makes me cringe at the thought of him being in the game, and the other team immediately clogging the paint and passing lanes with a super-duper zone defense.

Brevin Knight better not take Morris Almond's #22 Hart returns to the Clippers! Success!

Photo by NBAE / Getty Images

Photo by NBAE / Getty Images

At the risk of repeating myself, Knight is a solid 3rd stringer because he is frequently unable to stay healthy for any long period of time, is very short, and can't shoot. All of our sets that we run rely on the point guard being able to, at the very least, keep the defense honest. Outside shooting is a key component of the NBA today -- when Portland found out that the Jazz had spotty shooting from deep (before the Korver trade) they just zoned us and laughed. I don't want a repeat of that horrible December, 2007.

Knight is also great insurance. Sometimes players get tired. And tired players who play long minutes are at risk of getting injured. John Stockton played in the Olympics in the summer of '92 and again in '96. Each season after the Olympics he had relatively 'down' seasons in the NBA (scoring and assists went down from 1991-1992 to 1992-1993, and again in 1995-1996 to 1996-1997). [For those keeping track at home, the Jazz went to the Western Conference Finals in 1991-1992, then the next season were bounced from the 1st round of the Playoffs. In 1995-1996 the Jazz were again defeated in the Western Conference Finals, and in the next season lost in the NBA Finals.] The Jazz Brass want to make sure that if Deron needs more time during the regular season to rest that they can afford to let him have it.

"I'm happy to be coming to a winning team with very good players and a Hall of Fame coach . . . How can I be upset with that? I'm also looking forward to hearing the cheers and not the boos from Jazz fans. I see my role as being a veteran guy there to do whatever is necessary to help the team win. I'll more know about that when I get to down." (Knight, 2008, via. The Salt Lake Tribune)

It's a solid deal for the Jazz, may have had some influence on the C.J. Miles re-signing and could be good for us down the road. Great move Kevin O'Connor!