They got run by rookie Chase Budinger (17 pts.) and now the Utah Jazz are off to its worst start since the 2002-03 campaign. The 1-2 Jazz looked lifeless and lost in its 113-96 embarrassment at the hands of the depleted Houston Rockets.
Without stars Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady on hand, the Rockets steamrolled a defenseless Jazz team on their home court.
Star point guard Deron Williams says it’s same o’ same o’ from last year’s 2-7 finish. “It’s like we picked up right where we left off,” said the Jazz guard, who fouled out after scoring 18 points and handing out eight assists. “We haven’t played a good game of basketball yet. It doesn’t look too good right now from the inside and sure it doesn’t look good from the outside.” Williams told the Salt Lake Tribune after Monday’s debacle.
And why would this team do anything differently, it’s comprised of the same players who stumbled so badly at the end of last season and into the playoffs?
Which brings us to the next question, how good is this Jazz team? The Jazz brass and paid employees in the media insist it’s a whole new team.
Educated Jazz fans say otherwise. But the blame for this stink bomb of a team is being placed at Boozer’s feet.
Trust me Jazz fans, Carlos is part of it, but the lion share of this failure should be directed at Kevin O’Connor and Jazz management.
Bringing Boozer back has been a colossal failure, just three games into the season the former All-Star has struggled big-time from the field and remains a liability on defense.
In the loss to the Rockets, Boozer went 1-6 shooting and was booed relentlessly by feed-up Jazz fans.
Boozer’s problems stem from the offseason trades rumors which both Jazz management and Boozer himself perpetuated into summer time drama.
In the weeks following a July conversation, Boozer believed a mutual trade agreement had been reached.
Utah Jazz chief executive Greg Miller allegedly told Boozer that he was no longer in the Jazz future plans.
With its collective foot stuck firmly in mouth, Jazz management denied ever uttering such words, saying it was a misunderstanding on Boozer’s part.
Miller has since declined several opportunities to clarify what had been said. Why not address it? Now the possibility remains that Miller may have said something along those lines to Boozer or his agent.
But the bigger problem was the Jazz failure to ship the Olympian out of Utah. Sniffs from Chicago, Detroit and Miami came up empty and that’s a failure on GM Kevin O’Connor for not getting at least draft pick out of those opportunities.
In any event, this current Jazz team is still the same underachieving, gutless, uninspiring, defenseless squad that has managed to go from an appearance in the Western Conference finals to a disappointing first-round playoff exit, all in the span of three years.
It’s about time Kevin O’Connor, Jerry Sloan and the rest of the misguided Jazz front office own up to this mistake.
That means acknowledging they screwed up by bringing back a player that didn’t want to be here, while never addressing real needs like a shot blocking center or shooting guard.
O’ Connor is trusted to make the player personnel decisions and he clearly whiffed by not forcing a Boozer trade or finding a way to breathe new life into a tired team.
Acknowledging these errors is half the battle, until then, the organization can’t move forward.
Jazz fans shouldn’t be booing their power forward. They should direct their anger at Miller, O’Connor and Sloan for failing to make the team better, especially when most contenders in the west (except Denver) did just the opposite. Jazz fans welcome to the lottery.