Let's be honest, this was supposed to be our season. Not our season to 100% win the championship, but a year where things were supposed to come together better than they had the previous seasons -- guys would be at the end of their contracts, and this would be a make or break season for the team as it is currently composed. Instead everything pretty much went absolutely nuts -- in a bad way.
It could have been worse, you know -- it's not like we traded a player only for him to fail his medical examination (right Hornets?); or we haven't played our highest earning player a single second this year (right Knicks fans?). That said, it hasn't really been that great either.
I haven't been that glued to the Jazz this season partly because of how bad it got. I haven't felt this distanced since the 2004-2005 season (where AK missed 41 games and Carlos missed 31). The Jazz are sitting at 3rd place in their division and 8th in the conference right now. Why? If I had to point my finger on something I'd have to go with "Injuries for $500, Alex". After playing 55 games this season the Jazz have (only?) 23 losses.
|Position||Name||Role||Accolades||# of games missed||Status|
|PG||Deron Williams|| |
All-NBA 2nd team last year, Top 5 PG in the L, Gold Medal winner
Injured in pre-season, played hurt all season long, finally feeling healed over the last two weeks
|SG||Ronnie Brewer|| |
Primary wing defender
Top 5 FG% SG in the L
|SF||C.J. Miles|| |
Utility player on offense
Never really had playing time before in his life
|PF||Carlos Boozer|| |
Top Scorer, Top Rebounder
Multiple time All-Star, Gold Medal winner
|C||Mehmet Okur|| |
Best outside threat, clutch shooter
Former All-Star, captain of his National Team
Had to fly to Turkey in the middle of a road trip because his father was on his death bed
|6th Man||Andrei Kirilenko|| |
Best defender, Glue guy
Former All-Star, MVP of Eurobasket 2007, European player of the year 2008
Just had ankle surgery, came back early, could have been out longer
|Brevin Knight|| |
Team veteran off bench, oldest player
one of the best career Assist:Turn over ratios
|Paul Millsap|| |
Became starter early in the season because of Boozer's injury, previously just an energy player off the bench
Had 19 straight double doubles this season
Got injured when the Jazz were reeling from other injuries to forwards/centers, has been playing hurt over the last 6 weeks
|Matt Harpring|| |
Toughest hustle player
Player other NBA players hate to be defended by
Near fatal foot infection after surgery in the off-season
|Kyle Korver|| |
Highly regarded three point threat
Has played entire season with wrist injury to shooting hand
|Jarron Collins|| |
Probably had a good SAT score
Off-season golf cart accident that injured him and his twin brother, still a bad player, but still our backup center
|157 games total|
That's a lot of games missed by key guys. If you divide 157 games evenly between your starters, and their back ups, you get an average of 16 games missed by each of your top 10 guys on your depth chart. That's not bad, especially not if those are spaced out. That's quite manageable. Unfortunately, the Jazz have had multiple injuries at the same time . . . sometimes to the same position on the court. Heck, there have been games where both Deron Williams and Brevin Knight have been out. If you haven't been following along, Jerry Sloan's offense is only as good as the point guard running it. During this stretch the Jazz had Ronnie Price (former 2 guard), C.J. Miles (a former 2 guard now playing the 3) and Andrei Kirilenko (former 4 playing the 3) running the show. How solid would the Lakers have been at the 2 (the triangle's most important position) if Kobe and Sasha were both out? Probably not that great, I reckon.
Lots of teams face injuries during the season, it's just part of the game. Very few teams face a multitude of injuries/absences to the same position at the same time though. The zenith of it was a game against Philadelphia where Memo had to leave to fly to see his dad in Turkey, Jarron Collins was injured, Kyrylo Fesenko had to leave the country because of a work visa problem, and the Jazz had to start a 19 year old Kosta Koufos -- and Kosta had to defend guys like Elton Brand and Sam Dalembert all night long. The Jazz actually won that game. How crazy is that? All hail expanded rosters and 4th string (actually he should be 2nd) centers! [Sadly, this was one of the first games of the season -- and the most RECENT game recap on All That Jazz]
The injury situation has been absurd this season for the Utah Jazz . . . heck, yesterday our injured team owner even passed away. Never has a team been so cursed with injuries it seems. Well, there is good news -- so don't jump off any bridges yet. Right now the Jazz are the least injured they have been all season -- with only one key guy (Boozer) who is out. And rumor has it that he will be ready to play next week. The Jazz have managed to position themselves in the playoff hunt, and they are only 5 games behind in their division. Utah plays Denver twice yet this season, so if the Jazz win those two games then they only need to make up 3 more -- which is easily done if we come back hungry and healthy in this 2nd half of the season. It's a good time to be a Jazz fan, because as dark as things look now, things are only going to get better. After all, in the last few games the Jazz have (while still not at full strength) knocked off the LA Lakers and Boston Celtics.
Oh, if the Jazz do win the division Jerry Sloan should get COY . . . all the other playoff teams would have died by now with 157 injuries (spread unequally among the rotation guys). So here's to a healthy next 27 (+playoffs) games!
Go Jazz Go!