Really, what do you even hope for, as a Rookie playing in Jerry Sloan's system? I can only really name a few guys off the top of my head who actually got significant playing time as a Rookie here . . . Paul Millsap (18.0 mpg) did it when he was a rookie back in 2006-2007, Deron Williams (28.8 mpg) did so as well the season before, and before that some guy named Shandon Anderson (16.4 mpg) got burn on an NBA West Finals team. Usually, though, a rookie either doesn't have the opportunity to play, or the BBALL IQ to deserve playing.
I have a chance of being wrong here, but I'm going to go out on a limb and strongly suggest that Koufos isn't going to play in more than 30 games for the Utah Jazz this season, and he's not going to average 10 mpg in those games. [For a point of reference, Fesenko played in only 9 NBA games last season, @ a rate of 7.8 mpg per]
|Photograph by Melissa Majchrzak for NBAE/Getty Images|
So right off the bat the Ohio State product is getting put in a bad situation for him. I guess part of that just happens to be the fact that he was drafted lower than he expected, and thus, is going to a better team. I'm pretty sure that he could be a rookie producer for some other teams that are rebuilding, and don't have any good bigmen (you know, like Oklahoma) -- but he's not on such a team. He's on a team where the guys ahead of him on the depth chart are all vastly better than him at this point in time. And also there's another 7'1 prospect already on the team.
|Mehmet Okur||Carlos Boozer||Andrei Kirilenko||Paul Millsap||Jarron Collins|
|Starting 5||Starting 4||Starting 3||Backup 4||Backup 5|
|Photograph by Melissa Majchrzak for NBAE/Getty Images||Photograph by unknown for NBAE/Getty Images||Photograph by Melissa Majchrzak for NBAE/Getty Images||Photograph by Melissa Majchrzak for NBAE/Getty Images||Photograph by unknown for NBAE/Getty Images|
Okur was an All-Star back in 2006-2007 and after the All-Star break last season he averaged 17 and 10. Okur was a power forward who was converted into a center when Boozer came back from injury a few seasons back.
Booz was an All-Star in 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 and just 'won' a Gold Medal. He's one of the few 20-10 guys out there today. Boozer plays around 35 mpg, and can play either 4 or 5 depending on the team the Jazz are playing.
AK-47 is the starting 3, but at this stage you better believe that Jerry is more ready to give him big minutes at the 4 than Kosta, after all, he too was an All-Star back when he played inside the paint.
Mansap is a beast, and potentially could be good enough to mitigate any potential losses from having Boozer walk. He's short, but strong and tenacious on defense. His offensive game is highly under-rated.
Jarron Collins is a black belt jedi when it comes to flopping. He's so good at getting other people in bad situations that HE was the guy driving the golf cart when his brother got injured this off-season. He's not a very good basketball player, but he has Jerry's trust -- something Kosta does not yet have.
While Konstantine Demetrios Koufos may one day be a legit power forward of center in the league, this season he's going to be getting a lot of quality time with the Utah Flash. Well, what three things should we look out for this season from Kosta?
- Work hard and learn quickly: Everyone raves about his work ethic. This is really a good thing, because he's on a team where you either work hard, or you don't play. What I've seen of him so far (basically just the RMR), he is talented, and if taught, he can be a solid NBA player for many seasons. He's a very good shooter (especially from the free throw line), but Deron said it best -- what the Jazz need from him is rebounds and defense. Those two things are aspects of his game that are not quite NBA ready -- but hey, if he works hard and learns quickly they will develop quite well. Let's not forget that he's a 19 year old Rookie though, so don't expect him to be the next Moses Malone or anything, but it's not like Jarron is going to last much longer here on the Jazz.
- Be a better offensive player as a rookie than Fes was: This shouldn't be hard, especially when you compare the fact that Kosta is a 1st round pick who played NCAA ball and was a potential lotto pick, and Fes was some raw hulk playing in obscurity in a minor European league who was drafted in the 2nd round. Kosta has drawn comparisons to Mehmet Okur -- and as far as sweet shooting big men go, it's hard to find a better role model. That said, Fes was not horrible on offense as he did manage to shoot above 50 fg% and scored over 10 ppg for the Flash. You kind of expect Koufos to shoot the ball more (something he seems to have developed a taste for, as he shoots the ball nearly as much as Boozer does), and thus, he has an inside track on scoring more and being a quantitatively better offensive player. Fes was a beast in his departments, averaging 10.8 rpg and 2.7 bpg over 36 mpg in the D-league, and 12.9 rpg and 1.5 bpg over 36 mpg in the NBA. Kosta will, likewise, be a beast in his departments -- mainly ppg, ft% and rebounds.
- Split time with Fesenko all season long: It only seems plausible that Kosta will be down in the D-league when Fes is sitting on the bench (or behind it) in Salt Lake City, and they'll switch over periods of the season. The deal is that a guy on the D-league affiliate can only be called by three times during the season, and the 3rd time they have to STAY with the NBA team for the rest of the season. So I guess the Jazz brass will keep an eye on this, and the guy who does the best will be called up a 3rd time, and maybe make it on the playoff roster. If I was the coach I'd seriously think about the development of all these young guys . . . but I'm not the coach, so don't expect much from Kosta or Kyrylo this season.