ESPN.COM recently asked their 25 member NBA staff to rank the teams from top to bottom in each conference. The Jazz managed to snag the 4th over-all spot and are predicted to win 51 games next season. If this was a prediction for 2006-2007 that would be spot on. How accurate is this as a prediction for 2008-2009? Probably highly inaccurate at best as the Jazz were an absolutely horrible road team last season, were very flawed, and still managed to win 54 games. Furthermore, the vast majority of ESPN's Sportsnation (they allow you to vote on these things, you see) believes that this prediction (51 wins) is either on the money or too high. How many people is this? I don't know, but only 20.8% of people think that 51 wins is too low for the Jazz.
So basically the Utah Jazz are going to regress after being a year older and wiser, and getting a great backup PG (for the price of Jason Hart), and a few young 7 footers -- either that, or ESPN, their "Experts" and 79.2% of their Sportsnation are flat out insane.
Anyway, here is just as a short refresher course on the Jazz' recent history:
* 2004-2005 (26 wins) -- AK and Boozer are injured for the majority of the season, the Jazz end up paying guys like Curtis Borchardt, Randy Livingston, Ben Handlogten and Aleksandar Radojevic money to fill out a roster for a team that is lead (in total points) by Matt Harpring for a season. Among other crazy stats that season the Jazz had 5 different point guards start at least one game: Keith McLeod (47 games), Carlos Arroyo (16 games), Raul Lopez (15 games), Randy Livingston (4 games) and Howard Eisley (1 game).
* 2005-2006 (41 wins) -- Boozer misses yet another season while the resurgent Utah Jazz miss the playoffs by 1 win as they are lead by Mehmet Okur (18.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg) and the outstanding Andrei Kirilenko (15.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 4.3 apg, 3.2 bpg, 1.5 spg). Over the summer the Jazz traded up in the NBA Draft and selected Deron Williams with the #3 pick, yet Keith McLeod and Milt Palacio still manage to start a combined 50 games this season.
* 2006-2007 (51 wins) -- The Utah Jazz remain mostly healthy this season and win the division and end up winning 9 playoff games in their first trip back to the post season since the Stockton and Malone days. Carlos Boozer had a great season (20.9 ppg, 56.1 fg%, 11.7 rpg) while Andrei has a stinker (8.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.9 apg, 2.1 bpg, 1.1 spg) when compared to this production (as a point forward) the previous season. Deron Williams also breaks out for 16.2 ppg and 9.3 apg -- second best in the league that season.
* 2007-2008 (54 wins) -- This past season had the Jazz dominating teams at home, and losing to some absolutely crappy teams on the road -- but still increased their season win total from last season to 54 wins and won another division title. This team finally got rid of Gordan Giricek (good player, wrong fit for this team) and tweaked the line-up a bit as Ronnie Brewer (in his 2nd season) became the full time starter at the two and responded with 12.0 ppg (55.8 fg%) while chipping in 2.9 rpg, 1.8 apg and 1.7 spg in less than 28 mpg. The Jazz lost to the eventual Western Conference Champions in a tough 6 game series in the second round of the playoffs.
|Unless ESPN has some sort of parabola idea (i.e. the season after the 51 wins we go back down to 41 wins, and then 26), then this makes little sense. You don't have to be John Hollinger to understand how to read this.|
So . . . it's obvious that the Jazz are going to win less games this season, even though every season the Jazz get more experienced and play better while the roster improves. None of our starters are 30, and we added Brevin Knight (who never turns the ball over) to be a part of our 2nd unit. None of that matters because of Ron Artest now plays in Houston, and uh, Chris Paul has dreamy eyes! Therefore, the Jazz will not win, at least, as many games as last season. We have made few headline breaking moves this season. Also, apparently, none of our young players will get better, if Deron Williams can go from being a 2nd year player to a guy who averages a double double in the NBA Playoffs then that obviously indicates that the Jazz draft players who do not project to improve -- hence, Ronnie Brewer will not improve from what he has become after 2 seasons in the NBA. Same deal with Paul Millsap (who could start for a lot of teams), C.J. Miles, Morris Almond, Kosta Koufos and Kyrylo Fesenko.
Woe is us . . . back down to 51 wins this season. Right ESPN? Either that, or fire your "Experts"
|ESPN.com's "expert" picks for the 1st round of the 2006-2007 NBA playoffs -- Utah won the series in 7 games.|
|ESPN.com's "expert" picks for the 2nd round of the 2006-2007 NBA playoffs -- Utah won the series in 5 games.|
A special shout-out to the fan who created those images and posted them on the Internet! Thanks!