Utah Jazz fans and bloggers all over Twitter may be jonesing for them to tank, but the team (or at least the players) are looking to be competitive this season.
After starting 1-14, the Jazz are 3-2 in their last five games. The latest loss came at the hands of the best team in the NBA, but by only nine points.
They played the Pacers so tough, they actually led the game by 11 in the second quarter. Youth (and extremely bizarre substitutions) got the better of them down the stretch.
In a tight game against the team with both the best record and point differential in the NBA, Tyrone Corbin randomly inserted Mike Harris and Andris Biedrins in the second half.
Harris has appeared in just 14 of Utah's 20 games and is averaging 12.1 minutes. Biedrins has played eight minutes total this season.
Like I get it, Kanter is in now, but you allowed Biedrins, Mike Harris, and Richard Jefferson to play vital minutes in a close game.— Mychal Lowman (@My_Lo) December 5, 2013
That’s not even stealth tanking. That’s “getting a call from the competitions’ committee in the morning” tanking.— Mychal Lowman (@My_Lo) December 5, 2013
The Pacers took control of the game during that crucial stretch, but before the coaching blunders, there were some fantastic signs from this bunch. And that's something that could be said of the last week and a half for the team.
The future is indeed bright if the individual members of the young core continue on this trajectory.
Each one is starting to carve out a role for this and for coming seasons. These rankings will be based on the importance of those roles and the overall play of each member of the team through the first six weeks of the season.