No doubt by now you've heard that Morris Almond is out, or will be soon. The Jazz did not end up picking up his contract extension. They are planning on trading him, and Almond himself admits that he saw this coming -- basically ever since this happened. It really sucks, because I kind of called it a while ago (read #3) . . . but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.
Morris Almond is not a finished product, which NBA Rookie is? (Take Karl, for example: he didn't shoot FT's well at all, and surely did not average 30-10 as a rookie) Almond is competitive compared to the 'average' NBA shooting guard. He's only going to get better. I think that he can be a good player, and heck, he knows how to score. He gets to the line.
He would be one of the most talented 5th options out there in the L, if he started. (Is CJ really that much better than him on defense? Really?)
Well, Almond isn't the only young Jazz player to be (apparently) shipped off after a very short audition. The startling thing is that so many players (almost all) get better in their 2nd and 3rd seasons in the league. Are we really ready to get rid of him so soon? [Some people are ready to move on already . . . ]
What if we got rid of John Stockton after his rookie year? In his rookie season he shot 18% from three, a low 70% from the FT line and a solid 47 fg%. He played quite a bit though, 18 mpg and had a very impressive 5 ppg and 5 apg. The next year after that he upped his playing time and got 7 and 7. He still shot 13% from deep that year. The year after that he averaged 7 and 8. Hmmm, has his reached his plateau? (5 and 5, 7 and 7, 7 and 8)
If there was no space for John then I guess the current Jazz brass would have gotten rid of him, try to trade him away for a roster spot . . . or, well, do what they actually did. They gave him the minutes and he went from 7 and 8 one season to 14 and 14 the next. It would have been a shame to give up on John after three seasons, as his 4th was the charm.
Almond doesn't have to become a super star in order to be useful though . . . look at Kris Humphries.
We all hated that guy, but he's become a solid rotation guy for the Toronto Raptors. Last season he ended up averaging 6 ppg and 4 rpg. He played in Utah for two seasons, but he was just too young to be any good in the league, he did not have any NBA experience (same with Almond, btw) and when he played -- he only played with players worse than him (also like Almond, btw).
Is Humphries a guy who deserved to be picked in the lotto? Based on what people thought of him back then the answer is yes. Has his NBA career backed that up? No. Is he better than Jarron Collins [1.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg] -- a guy who we continue to pay as he gets worse every season since his Rookie year -- and could a guy like Humphries be useful to us, as our current back up centers all suck? The answer better be yes, or you are lying to yourself.
Even if Almond never becomes awesome he can still be a great rotation guy on any contending team . . . how great at defense is Eddie House? All he did was sub in the game and shoot threes.
Probably the best case (because Stockton didn't have 2 guys ahead of him) is Mo Williams.
He plays for the Cavs now, and looks a little lost, but as a rookie for the Jazz he got to play 13.5 mpg (for the record, Almond only played 4 mpg as a rookie). That was enough for Mo Williams to get 5 ppg and 1.3 apg. Nothing too great, much worse than Stockton got . . . but unlike the 3 year internship Stockton got, Mo got the boot after 1 year. Since then he's put up seasons of 10 ppg and 6 apg and 17 ppg and 6 apg -- twice. Sure, I'm happy that we got Deron Williams running things now instead of Mo Williams -- but there's no causality in there that prevented us from getting Deron. We could have just as easily sucked with Mo being there as Andrei and Boozer both got injured that season before Deron.
Is Morris Almond a Stockton to CJ's Green? Or is he more a Mo Williams to Arroyo and Lopez? I love Brewer, but I don't think that he can become a complete player for a two guard, as I fail to see him ever being able to consistently (40%) knock down the three. CJ has all the potential in the world, but he's still developing an NBA body and this is his 4th season in the NBA -- he's not very consistent either, even from quarter to quarter. Almond, on the other hand, seems like he can be a complete player (though he suffers from Boozer-itis on defense), and he is consistent. Brewer is the guy now, and he is the most exciting and athletic. CJ is young and has shown flashes of brilliance. I do think that out of the three, though, the one who is most likely to be a prime time contributor in the playoffs on a contending team would have to be Almond -- once people figure out a role for him, let him do what he's good at, and then give him minutes.
And that's the crux of this argument . . . there just does not seem to be any minutes for him. There were minutes for Stockton AFTER FOUR YEARS WITH THE TEAM, and he got a chance to produce. There were minutes for Humphries in the two years he was here, but he did not produce -- though he has developed into a rotation player (he was 19 with the Jazz, btw, and has no brain) in the years he's had outside of Utah. Mo Williams was dropped after only one season, and out of the guys he was dropped in favor of, he's currently the only one who is any good. Unlike those three guys, Almond did not even get a chance to play 5 mpg with the Jazz -- he did entirely destroy the NBA-DL, and set their scoring records on fire. It's a dirty damn shame that the Jazz are just taking the easy way out and not working him into the lineup (or future plans) . . . Almond has to go while Harpring stays. With that type of thinking then I guess Johnny boy is going to move into the White House while Obama looks for a new job. For the record, I don't like either candidate -- but I like Almond over Harpring anyday. At least Almond is healthy and can learn to play better defense. Harpring is just physiologically incapable of it.