Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jazz vs Jazz East Roundup

Just some thoughts about last night's Jazz vs Jazz East (or Bulls, as some might call them) game:

I'm not going to overstate it and tell you that the inspired performances by Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap (who was especially gritty and teethy at the start) are proof positive that we're better off without Boozer. That's what the local media is for. I realize that it's one game and you can't get too hot or cold on one game. And I realize that, if you get really statty about it, neither Jefferson nor Millsap is necessarily out-statting Boozer either this year or when he was with the Jazz. And of course there are other factors, but...I don't miss his lack of heart at all. Compare Boozer's limp showing last night to LeBron returning to Ohio. Anyone with even a little heart would really wanna show up in a game like last night. But Boozer just continues to punch the clock. And Millsap continued to show why his game and heart are endearing and 1000x better for the team than a guy who puts up good numbers with no heart. ESPN's headline "Boozer Helps Bulls Beat Old Team" is true in the same way that "(Insert Any Non Crucial Player On Bulls) Helps Bulls Beat Jazz" is.

OK. He's overpaid. That's old news. And he probably hasn't worked like a guy making Alpha Dog money should. But, even while watching him gun ill-advised airballs last night, I found myself loving the guy. Great passer. Unusual herky jerkiness that makes him hard to guard (if not occasionally hard to watch). FOUR blocks, most of them on Boozer. Steals. Basically, and I have said this a million times, he is not the best player on the floor ever, but he is a completely unique player, whose skillset is unseen in any other one player. He may leave us for a team that's a better fit, but I'll always have a soft spot for the Russian headcase.

But I'm willing to admit that, at least last night, Rose is the better PG. He's quick, almost impossible to stay in front of, and does so much– distribution, rebounding, tough D, running the O. Granted, D-Will's not 100% healthy with his jacked wrist, especially shooting-wise. But Rose had his way (as he does with every team and, probably, every elite guard), got to the hole, distributed, etc. It's hard to say, but I'd put Rose above Williams on the depth chart for now. I don't think D-Will will play that poorly against Rose again, though. And I'm a loyalist, so I'm sticking with my guy. They're close and I don't doubt D-Will's fire, heart, or ability. He's not gonna sit around and let the other dudes run the league. And, like I said with Boozer/Millsap/Jefferson, let's not use one game to make big blanket statements.

He showed us a few times last night that he still doesn't have an outside shot. But I still miss Ronnie Brewer. The missed shots and the clutch steal are RB in a nutshell. Maybe we get a little of that with CJ Miles, but (and I like CJ) Brewer seemed to just go out and get the job done, where CJ seems to need more encouragement and swagger and momentum. I guess I miss Ashton Kutcher, but I know as well as Bulls fans that for every clutch shot like last night's, there are plenty of moments where you think, "But...I thought Korver was supposed to be money..." as the losing buzzer sounds.

I'm probably alone in believing in guys like Hayward and Fesenko, who show me just enough to believe they can be differencemakers (not all-stars, probably not even starters). What's wrong with being fans of Lifetime 8th Men? Hayward showed some grit and Fesenko doesn't seem to know how to back down (when properly motivated).

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