Wednesday, July 30, 2008

RMR Game 5 & 6: Wins and Losses

Almond swoops in for 2 vs. the Mavs The Jazz Coaches conspire to keep their best players on the Bench Kosta Koufos made a average first impression  Fesenko struggled with almost everything save for blocks
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

The Rocky Mountain Review has finished for yet another off-season, and all had a good time. Well, some had a better time than others. The Jazz finished 3-3 after beating the Atlanta Hawks in Game 5, and then losing to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6. The true winner in these types of things are the fans, who get a chance to see the stars of tomorrow -- today! (or something to that effect) Over-all the Jazz played their regular style of RMR, where wins and losses are ancillary towards playing 16 people every game and not giving your younger prospects any real chance to get better.

"Given the Jazz's investment in Fesenko, there's no way he should only be playing 13 minutes in a summer-league game. These are opportunities for game experience that won't be there come November and probably won't be there in October, either.

It's also difficult for the Jazz to criticize C.J. Miles for skipping the Revue when Fesenko is playing so little. If it's so important to the development of their young players, then the Jazz's young players need to be playing 25-plus minutes right now." (Siler, 2008, The Salt Lake Tribune)

That, however, is a tangent. First the games! (and their long overdue reports!)

Game 5: Utah 83 - Atlanta 78

  1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Utah 20 18 25 23 83
Atlanta 14 21 26 21 78

The Jazz avenge their Game 2 loss (Atlanta 72 - Utah 63) in a game where the Hawks played their bench guys much more than previously in the review, essentially handing this game to the Jazz. Coach Corbin only played 9 bench guys for this game, and Kosta Koufos actually came off the bench to play 21:48 of game time. (Fesenko only played 12:48, but hey, no one on the Jazz bench seems to have a good reason for that, so we'll stop talking about it.) While this game did not have the spectacle of the game vs. Iran, or the sense of dire urgency as the New Jersey game, this game was entertaining enough for the fans of the home team. The Hawks were pretty much a four man wrecking crew of Acie Law IV (21 points, 5 assists), Thomas Gardner (11 points, three rebounds), Olumide Oyedeji (9 points, 7 rebounds), and the dangerous Luke Jackson (16 points, 4 assists). Only Law started for the Hawks, and played over 30 mins.

On the Jazz side of things it continues to be the Morris Almond show (29 points, 50+ fg%, 3 rebounds) and whomever happens to be on the floor with him. Almond and Law both went 8/10 from the FT line and were attacking relentlessly. Almond suggests that it was the 4th game of the review, and hints as though he has to play his game, furthermore,

"My game is not going to change over night," (Almond, 2008,

This is obvious, as in this system and with his quality of team mates he's not going to ever become a distributor. Ultimately, the Jazz would win ZERO games if Mobe doesn't end up taking the most shots for the team. Sure, he's not 'getting his team mates involved' (according to the guys on the Internet), but I've seen him pass the ball countless times to guys who botch the play and rob him of assists.

Game 6: Utah 70 - Dallas 82

  1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Utah 18 9 19 24 70
Dallas 24 21 21 16 82

The Jazz break their three game winning streak by getting rounded up by the Dallas Mavs in, pretty much, the ugliest possible way. Despite winning the points in the paint 44 to 26, *and* winning 2nd chance points 16 to 4 the Jazz still managed to dig themselves into a 20 point hole after three. How? It's pretty easy when you go 26 for 73 (35.6 fg%) as a team, and 1 for 12 (8.3 pt%) from deep. Morris Almond and Kosta Koufos (both starter this game) finished the game with 14 points a piece. While Fesenko played almost 10 more minutes than last game (this time coming off the bench), he only finished with 4 points off of really poor shooting (2 for 8) which ended up destroying his fg% for this tournament. (from 57 fg% down to 45.5 fg%) The only good thing from this game is that Morris Almond showed us that he can do more, getting a couple of assists and locking determinedly locking down Gerald Green into an 11 point (3 for 11) night. Kosta has his best shooting game and played quite well. (4 for 7 shooting, 6 for 7 at the free throw line, 2 blocks, 2 steals and 1 assist) Contrasting that, Fesenko put up one of his most frustrating games, and emphatically finished the night with an impressing dunk to end an unimpressive Rocky Mountain Review for the Ukrainian giant. To add insult to injury, not only does this last game resonate loudest in our memories, but with Kosta's good play, and Kyrylo's poor play, the big Greek finished the tournament with some better looking numbers.

W5 (5 factors that influenced the last two games):

  • Who: Morris Almond -- He's the only guy on the team who has played close to 30 minutes every game, and the only guy who shoots the ball more than 10 times every game -- no wonder he's our scoring leader!
  • What: Improvement -- This is something (outside of Almond's better all-around game in the loss to Dallas) that no one has shown except for the 19 year old Rookie Kosta Koufos. He has had his ups and downs, but he really came on strong in the last two games (averages of approximately 12 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.0 bpg, 54 fg%, in 22 mpg).
  • Where: The Three Point Line -- No wonder our team had to score in the paint and at the line so frequently? The Jazz team went 2 for 20 over the last two games from deep. 
  • Why: Talent Level -- This year's Rocky Mountain Review team was one of the least talented squads in recent memory. The three best players on this team were two late 1st round picks and and mid 2nd rounder. Back on the 2006-2007 Rocky Mountain Review our team had Deron Williams (starter, All-NBA 2nd team, Olympian), Ronnie Brewer (starter), Paul Millsap (could start on our team), C.J. Miles (has started for our team, just signed his 2nd NBA contract), Dee Brown (The Cousy Award winner in his Senior year of NCAA ball) and Rafael Araujo (a Top 10 lottery pick). How this team won 3 games amazes me, and probably is just a testament of Morris Almond's raw scoring ability.
  • How: Internal Development -- Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor has pretty much made the roster pretty solid, and lots of talented guys probably don't want to try out for the Jazz summer league team. Probably this is because the Jazz have 15 guys under contract (now...) and most of the young guys have been developed internally -- leaving little incentive to try out for the senior team. That said, I wouldn't be surprised to see guys like Lyde, Paulding, Korolev, Fuller and Brazelton be asked to come back in October.


    More on this in the next post!

    What's next? Veteran's Camp in October!