In a recent ESPN Podcast (click on that if you want to listen to it) Ford talks for about 2 minutes about how gosh darn awesome the Jazz are. He starts by suggesting (what a lot of people thought, including himself) that the Jazz success in the 80's and 90's were primarily due to John Stockton and Karl Malone; however, he now sees that the influence of the system and Jerry Sloan had a lot to do with it. Case in point: this version of the Jazz who are pretty strong -- partly due to the system, and partly because of shrewd roster moves by GM Kevin O'Connor.
Furthermore, success in the Jazz system is predicated upon strong point guard play -- and none of this recent success would be possible without Deron Williams. Who Ford "thinks is one of the top 3 point guards in the NBA" (Chad Ford, 2008, via ESPN Podcast). He goes on about how dominant he is.
Next Ford talks about Boozer being an anchor in the paint; mentions AK-47 as a talented role player whose true contributions do not always show up on the box score; and that Mehmet Okur stretches the defense and had an amazing second half of the season for us. Surprisingly he gets himself a good seat on the Ronnie Brewer bandwagon and talks about his athleticism, his ability to play the passing lanes, he's potentially a ball hawk, and really is what the Jazz team are missing. Basically he's suggesting that he's going to be that athletic perimeter defender that we haven't had since, well, uh, Blue Edwards? (Jazz history isn't rife with great athletic shooting guard lore) Over-all the Utah Jazz's depth, head coach and system are hard to ignore. Such that:
"I think that if anybody is going to be able to stop the Lakers this year it's the Utah Jazz -- they're great at home, they are getting [increasingly] confident, they have a great mixture of youth and veterans, and I think at the end of the day, if there's a team that is going to surprise us in the West, it's going to be the Utah Jazz." (Chad Ford, 2008, via ESPN Podcast)
|Chad Ford, ESPN|
I haven't heard any of his other team podcasts, but I doubt he's going to be really critical (well, maybe the Pacers and Bobcats...) in any of them. If you want, you can listen to them all here. Over all, I agree with him -- our bench is under rated, our system works, and we have some athletic young talent for once. NBA Finals here we come!