OK, fellow Jazz fans, you can breathe now that we've been shown by the New York Knicks that these Jazz won't go undefeated. However, 5-1 is a great start, and here are my random thoughts and musings on everything Utah Jazz so far this season.
AK 47 for Sixth Man of the Year
How great has Andrei Kirilenko looked coming off the bench this year? He has embraced the role and shown that he is a team player, averaging over 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocked shots per game. He has been one of the main reasons the Jazz have barely felt the absence of Deron Williams and Matt Harpring. If AK can continue this type of production he should be a shoe-in for Sixth Man of the Year.
Jerry Sloan Is a Basketball Genius
Why this man has not won Coach of the Year yet is beyond my understanding. He has now won 1,000 games with the same team (more than any other coach in major professional sports). On top of that, his move to bring Kirilenko off the bench has energized this Jazz team and should they continue on this pace and finish in the top two in the West, then he will be COY.
Ronnie Price and Brevin Knight
These two men have filled in admirably in place of the injured Deron Williams. Combined, they have averaged 10 points, 10 assists, and three steals per game. Not quite D-Will numbers, but still good enough for many teams around the league. The assists do add up to one of the reasons that Utah can let Williams heal fully before trying to force a comeback.
New York No Longer a League Joke
After watching the game against New York, I came to realize that these Knicks aren't the New York Stephons of years past. Mike D'Antoni has brought his fast-paced offense from Phoenix and has a guard who can run past anybody in Nate Robinson. This team will be playoff-bound but needs a few years before all the pieces are in place to be dangerous.
Is it just me are these Jazz actually playing some pretty good defense so far this year? This team is usually know for it offensive prowess but, going into Sunday's game against New York, they had the league's third-best defense allowing roughly 88 points per game. Maybe just maybe playing the Clippers twice has something to do with it, though.
Hall of Fame
News out of Salt Lake is the Jazz organization will be nominating both Jerry Sloan and John Stockton this year for induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. A nomination will follow next year for fellow pick and roller Karl Malone. These three men should be slam dunks for first time inductees. These represent what this Jazz Organization stands for and is about.
Back to Backs?
Will this years Jazz be able to deal with back to back road games? Well this week it will be time to find out with games at Philly then Washington on Tues and Weds night followed by games at Charlotte and then a visit with King James in Cleveland on Friday and Saturday. Can they step up to the brutality that is a NBA road trip? Will they be able win on the second night without Deron Williams? We all will know more about this team and their road capabilities at the end of this week. Stay Tuned for more Jazz maniacs.