I have officially had it with the Utah Jazz. Seriously, I'm done. It is disgusting. I'm so sick of their "sit back and watch" attitude when it comes to free agency. Each year, after the Jazz are eliminated in the first or second round of the playoffs, everyone just says "Oh, well, the Lakers are just too good for us to compete with." And I look at these people, astounded, and I ask them, "Well, how do YOU think they got 'too good?'" And, of course, the answer is that they are active at the trade deadline and during free agency. Something that the Jazz are not, and have not been, in years.
This offseason, however, could be more crippling for Utah than most. Paul Millsap, arguably Utah's second best player, is going to jump ship, unless the Jazz can bring themselves to match the Trail Blazers' offer sheet. And, given the circumstances, I do not think that they will. In order for Utah to bring Millsap back, they are going to have to move Carlos Boozer. In any other offseason, this would not be a problem, since Boozer is one of the premier power forwards in the league. However, no team has enough money for Boozer, so, odds are, he's in Utah for the upcoming season.
But, the Jazz need need NEED to find another home for Boozer. He is more breakable than a fortune cookie, and he chokes in the playoffs. There is no sugar coating it. He sucks in pressure situations. Paul Millsap, however, is tough as nails, works his ass off for a rebound, and does not demand a billion dollars with a side of Cadillac Escalade for his contract. Sure, Boozer is a lock for 20 points and 10 rebounds a night when he is healthy (which is rare), but Millsap is capable of producing the same numbers, as we saw this year when he was in a starting role. If the Jazz front office was smart, they would ship Boozer, match the Blazers' offer, and move on.
The Paul Millsap debacle is not my only "beef" with the Utah Jazz right now. The re-signing of Mehmet Okur, who's name must translate to "deer in the headlights" in Turkish, angers me. He is another reason that the Jazz are stuck in neutral. If you look at his player profile, you will see that he plays Center. However, Bambi, as I like to call him, suffers from an extreme case of mistaken identity. You will not find him in the paint, posting up defenders and floating baby-hook's, or dunking. Instead, you will find him camping behind the three point line, ready to launch three's.
I will give him credit, he can occasionally be lights-out from beyond the arc, but that is not where the Jazz need him. Utah needs him to be a force in the paint. The Jazz have several players capable of making three point shots, such as Deron Williams, Kyle Korver, Andrei Kirilenko, and Ronnie Brewer, to name a few. And, making threes is part of their job description, it's what they do, they aren't Centers. And, I'm not even going to start on Okur's defense, as that would cause me to unleash an obscenity-laced tirade fit for a Gary Busey movie role.
And, lastly, the Jazz's recent draft picks have been atrocious. All three of their picks last year were awful. Kasta Koufos, a taller Mehmet Okur, is never going to be anything more than a role player. And, their two second round picks are never going to leave Europe. This year, the Jazz took Eric Maynor in the first round. I was befuddled. Deron Williams is Utah's starting Point Guard, and should be for years to come. Taking Maynor made no sense. It would have been much smarter to take a Power Forward, like DeJuan Blair and pair him up with Millsap. And, in the second round, Utah selected Goran Suton, a poor man's Kosta Koufos.
The Utah Jazz's laissez-faire attitude in the free agent market, coupled with their poor draft decisions, have made them a team that the West's elite do not fear come playoff time. Jerry Sloan's brilliant coaching can only get them so far. With players that are constantly injured, and without a dominating center, the Utah Jazz can expect to be stuck in the mud for years to come.
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