We'll get to Jarron in a minute, but first we have to look at how we got to Jarron in the first place. Jarron is a product of the Utah Jazz scouting team and has developed during his entire career as a product of our system. This, invariably, causes a player to have more relative value in our system, than in any other. (Look a guys like Greg Ostertag, Bryon Russell, and countless others) He would have a hard time finding a spot on another team -- especially with the suggestion that refs will call flopping more seriously this season. What is Jarron Collins? He's a 6'11 molasses footed center who does not rebound, does not play defense, and does not play offense. Really, he is only good at the mental aspects of the game -- pretty much the only things he has done right on the court have been to flop, and get offensive fouls called on Shaquille O'Neal back in the day -- which would make Shaq frustrated, and have him make more mistakes down the road. If we were smart, we'd get rid of him. We just may get that chance as Jarron is in the last year of his insane contract extension that he got a few seasons back -- insane in that he got one in the first play. During this 2008-2009 season Jarron Collins will make approximately $2,074,302. (More than double what Paul Millsap expects to make this season.)
There are several obstacles which prevent us from making a clean break from Jarron though. First of all, he's pretty much well liked by the rest of the team. He's like the token nerdy/smart guy that you keep around when you are having trouble with your Digital Video Recorder, or when you need someone to set up your wireless Internet at home. Heck, he's a member of the Kappa Alpha Order . . . how do you replace someone like that? Most likely the same way that we got him -- through scouting, drafting and developing his replacements.
I've love to just let him walk, but if what we've done with Harpring is any example, he's probably going to get some ridiculous golden handshake deal for all of his services to the franchise over his career. He was drafted in 2001, and as a Rookie he started in 68 of the 70 games he played for the Jazz. He's going to turn 30 years old this season and has played in over 450 games for Utah. The first 5 seasons here he was averaging 20 mpg, and these last two he's hovered around 10 mpg. He has made a stink about this though. (Apparently the Internet cannot currently support my argument, but I've read it that he was unhappy with having his minutes slashed in half) That said, what are three things to look out for this season, from the man we affectionately call Tree?
- What you see is what you get: Jarron Collins does not improve, and actually, you can argue that he's only gotten worse over the past 7 seasons. He shot nearly a career low last season (43.9 fg%) and did manage to shoot a career low from the ft line (62.2 ft%). His rebounding numbers extrapolated over a 36 minute stint are 1.5 rebounds less than when he was a rookie. Collins is not going to improve vastly this season, one can only hope that his play continues to slide (in this, a contract season) that the Jazz Brass decide to just roll the dice on Kyrylo Fesenko, Kosta Koufos and Ante Tomic next season.
- Must work hard on transition: Do I mean he has to work hard running up the floor to get transition baskets? No, I mean he has to work hard on developing into a veteran coach in the locker room type of guy. He needs to hang out with Coach Ty Corbin quite a bit and find a way to tap his vast storehouse of NBA Lore and use it to teach younger players. Jeff Hornacek did not have to do any of this, he just retired and called it a career. Then he became a coach after. Collins probably still wants to earn an NBA paycheck for another few seasons . . . hence, the need to transition. By Drafting/Trading for three guys 7 foot and above in the past two seasons it's pretty clear that they aren't going to be hoping to keep Collins around as a player for the next 10 years.
- If he plays 70 games again this season, it is bad news: He played in 70 games last season. That is a lot games to go out and manage to grab a sum total of 116 rebounds, or score 118 points, or block 6 shots. 70 games, wow! That tells me a few things -- that for whatever reason, we had to use him and instead of playing Fesenko for 10 mpg, Kyrylo was sitting behind the bench in a suit. If guys like Koufos and Fesenko spend this next season with DNP-CD's and DNP-INJ's then it is bad news for the Jazz. Collins just isn't that good. And if he continues to play in games (stifling the development of our younger centers) then it just may very well mean that Kevin O'Connor is going to offer Jarron a contract next off season.