Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What We've Learned....

Confession. I listen to probably 4-6 hours of sports talk radio a day. Call me a junkie, addict, whatever. I'm okay with it. There are far worse things to be addicted to, and while I have been known to mumble Jim Rome drops in my sleep, I feel like sports radio has in some ways, made me a better person. At the end of every show, Dan Patrick, (after whom The Dan Patrick Show is aptly named) goes around the room with his "Danettes" and asks what each of them learned. A typical day can be filled with little nuances or insignificant facts, but the point that I think Patrick makes, whether he means to or not, is that there are things that can be learned by looking back at something as a whole, and recognizing what it is that did or did not happen, be it small or large, normal or unusual. I can't think of anything that this may apply to more than this years' Jazz season. With all due respect to the amusement park juggernaut that is Lagoon, the ups and downs of this year in Utah Jazz Basketball were the almost like a perfect storm; interesting roster mix, shortened season, first full year for Head Coach Ty Corbin, an unexpected return to the playoffs, and a roster overhaul in the off-season that also has included the front office. Arguably with a shortened season, you don't want to base too much of what we know going forward on a schedule that for practically every team included three games, in three nights, in three different cities, but what good would we be as fans if we didn't dissect every moment, analyze it, and spend the entire off-season determining how it relates to next year? Consider it your off-season workout as a fan. And don't be surprised if you find out a few things you didn't notice right off the bat....

The Youth Movement has Arrived

Okay, so it wasn't fair to build up into a tease like that, only to start off with perhaps the most obvious fact of the season, but let's break it down like so; this might be the most important thing to take from this season. The at-times superb play of Gordon Hayward, and the playoff emergence of "Beast Mode" aka Derrick Favors hulk-like alter ego (I submit Tiago Splitter as exhibit A and B) made this a pretty obvious fact to everyone, including the players. Paul Millsap stated in his exit interview that he felt he had proven that he could play the three, clearly trying to sell either Coach Ty or Management on the fact that he still has value as a starter, because Favors play against a still-productive Tim Duncan was nothing short of awesome. Raja Bell made it clear that he wanted out, deep down probably knowing that Burks' play throughout the season had relegated him to little more than a bench role, and even third year guy DeMarre Carroll threw his hat, (dreads?) into the youth movement ring with a heart and hustle-filled performance in game four that undoubtedly had many Jazz fans penciling him in as their under the radar all-star pick for next season, something I say only slightly tongue in cheek. Bottom line, as we move forward, it stands to reason that success the next few years rests more on the shoulders of Hayward, Favors, Burks and Kanter than it does on the good, solid veterans that Corbin relied on often to guide this team to the postseason. If they improve like Kanter's body has this off-season, I predict Amar's meltdown from excitement to win an Emmy.

Motor City meets Salt City

In several interviews since the end of the season, Kevin O'Connor has referenced the Detroit Pistons when asked about how he was trying to build the team. One of the most widely accepted methods of thought in the NBA currently is the need for a Superstar to win a championship, something that we can effectively confirm all the way back into the eighties, with one exception. Detroit. Clearly O'Connor and Jazz brass have come to the conclusion that staying competitive while recruiting a superstar is an unlikely occurrence, and O'Connor's magic iPhone app has locked in on a few traits for all the players he's brought it this off-season. Almost universally, every player turned Jazzman was described by outsiders as tough, defensively capable, with the ability to shoot decent from the outside. Not surprisingly, those Motor City teams were constructed similarly, with Chauncey and Rip Hamilton being the dead-eye shooters able to get it done in late games. Will Mo Williams take that role for Chauncey? Who will become the scorer for the Jazz? Hayward? Burks? Randy Foye? Can Marvin Williams become the lockdown defender that Tayshaun Prince was known for? Can Utah be the blue-collar, Dudley Doright version of the Pistons? If nothing else, with a young roster of talent and loads of cap space, it's worth figuring out right now, so you can fine tune a championship run in a few years, after Kobe, Lebron, and Kevin Durant have left each other dead like the closing scene of The Departed. Timing is everything, after all.

The Jazz are smart(er?) than fans give them credit for.

I'm not much for trolling, and for the most part I try not to debate too much over twitter, but I also do keep up with a lot of what the fans have to say, and for the most part, it isn't always good. There is an itis that seems to be spreading amongst sports fans in general to doubt whatever it is that their team says in the media, or to

Dennis Lindsey Likes Kanye Songs

Golden Friday

If you've been thrashing on the waves of life lately, looking for a buoy to grab hold of, look no further than today's drop. Maybe it was the chicken lime burger I had for dinner last night(definitely not), or maybe it was the A$AP Rocky playing on my Spotify this morning(yup), but the Champ is back and ready to train for another heavyweight battle against the blerg and boring blogs of the bodega. Will this lead to weekly entries? Hardly. Will your Friday be better for reading this? Doubtful. Have I spent the last hour and a half trying to organize my paper clips by size, weight, and density? Let's just get to what really matters most, my thoughts.....okay fine, just humor me for a bit by reading them anyway.

-If the top headlines are an accused murderer losing his All-American brick at his Alma Mater and Alex Rodriguez paying random doctors he's never met to "clear" him from an injury that most likely was fabricated to begin with, it must be late July. The dead season of sports has been magnified x1000 with the growth and demand of sports-related news, including Twitter honks and Deadspin comment board devotees. So of course this would be the perfect time to work desperate sports fans into rabid, foaming at the mouth nutcases for football season by running every major conference media day this week. Do I enjoy media days? Sure, in about the same way that I enjoy the guy at the drive-thru throwing an extra package of Chick-fil-a sauce in with my nuggets. Media days, preview shows, Phil Steele's oracular spectacular of a pre-season publication all contribute to the hype that gets fans to pack the stadium seats on opening day, but is it really the best approach to covering upcoming seasons? All the effort, money, and time spent on predicting perhaps the most unpredictable of all life's dramas? How often do fans unnecessarily put pressure on their teams early on because they hear a few choice comments or quotes, thus dooming any team that doesn't meet expectations to an early demise? Angry rantings aside, there are more important matters to discuss, like why did Kim and Kanye decide that  $750,000 worth of gold plated toilets was a good idea?

-Continuing on with rants about things that don't really matter, UPCOMING JAZZ SEASON!!!! Seriously though, if it hasn't been covered by any of the Jazz-centric blogs or tremendous beat writers Jody Genessy and Bill Oram, you probably don't need me rehashing it here. I'm less excited about the season than I thought I would be, simply because contending for a playoff spot, even if it is the 8th seed, is exciting to me. Obviously I want a trip back to the Finals someday, and so I see the necessity of what the Jazz are doing, and will abide, like the Dude that I am....


That doesn't mean the Jazz need to do the same. Now is probably as good a time as ever for the organization to get the off-court side of the Jazz really developed for the hopeful playoff/championship run. Jumbo Tron was the right place to start, because now watching a game from the upper deck will actually be worth it, but there are other areas I'd like to see improved. Granted, these all won't be popular, but whatever, that's what comment sections are for, right?

1. Bring back the Copper and Black- Just for one game, maybe two. Part of this is me missing that whole era due to a relocation project that I participated in for two years in the frontier town of Ukraine, but the other part is those jerseys are kinda cool. It's a solid change of pace from what we have currently, black is easy to wear, and I'd rock the sh*! out of a black Kanter 0 jersey. The option of a black out at the ESA is also ripe for unintentional comedy.

2. I've heard stories that in the old Salt Palace, there used to be a brass band that would play songs and such around the arena during breaks and before and after games. There is a distinct stereotype that there is no Jazz in Utah, so what better way to switch it up than to re-create a Mardi Gras-type atmosphere before, and possibly after, every game? This would obviously be a long term goal, as you could expand the outside of the ESA to have a concourse like Bankers Life Fieldhouse(had to Google the current name) where fans could meet up and either enjoy some tunes, or have tweet ups as our loyal twitter #Jazznation has been known to do. I'd also gear the in-arena stuff more towards a Mardi Gras celebration than the kind of Utah fluff that we have now. Also, can we pick a postgame victory song and stick with it? Preferably not Enrique Iglesias. Seeing as how winning games will probably be few and far between, Get Lucky by Daft Punk would make sense, but what about Curtis Mayfield's Move On Up(only a slight ripoff of Semi-Pro), or Kanye's take with Touch the Sky, even though I kind of hate Kanye now.

3. Jazz Dancers, the line has been drawn. Top this, and take your rightful place among the great NBA Cheerleaders already. This state has far too many beautiful women for our team to not be able to produce something equal to that Rockets' video.