Extra observations from the not-so-good, the bad and the ugly 86-80 Utah Jazz loss to Chris Kaman and some guys from New Orleans:
POINT 1: Last week, Bill Riley of ESPN 700 Radio asked me on his show if the real identity of the Utah Jazz was closer to the team that had beaten the Lakers or the team that had lost to the Knicks.
In other words, is this team really a good one or a bad one?
My answer: Yes.
More games have passed, and I’m more convinced of that than ever.
The Jazz can be good. Really good.
And the Jazz can be bad. Really bad.
I’ve written before that they can look like the Globetrotters and the Generals, even in the same quarter.
More proof of their split-personality possibilities: Sunday’s well-played outing at Memphis (98-88 win) and Monday’s pitiful performance in New Orleans (an 86-80 no-show).
Having written that, watch them go out and beat the NBA’s best team in Oklahoma City tonight.
The Jazz are capable of doing that.
Then again, they’re capable of getting blown out by 30 to the Thunder, too.
POINT 2: The way C.J. Miles and Josh Howard are struggling — and considering Jeremy Evans was apparently lost with the luggage in New York — DeMarre Carroll‘s Jazz debut may come sooner than expected.
OK, it probably won’t happen, barring injuries. He just hasn’t had time to learn the Jazz system and go through practices since joining the team last week.
But Miles and Howard — and Evans because he hasn’t been given a chance — are experiencing some hard times.
Miles has shot 4-for-18 from 3-point land and 24-62 overall during the Jazz’s recent losing spell in which they’ve dropped six of eight.
Howard has only made 17 of 46 shots during that same skid.
Question du jour: Could Evans or Carroll be that much worse?
Is it time to start allowing rookie Alec Burks to get wing minutes along side Raja Bell and/or Gordon Hayward? At 6-6 Burks is a bit undersized to guard some small forwards. But on offense the two wing positions are interchangeable for the Jazz, and, if nothing else, the energetic Burks gets to the free-throw line (10 times in 14 minutes Monday).
POINT 3: Devin Harris epitomizes the Jazz’s current up-and-down state as much as anybody. He is either there. Or not. Doesn’t seem to be much middle ground.
The point guard’s shooting has improved lately, but his ball distribution hasn’t — unless assists no longer mean anything to the Jazz offense (which they do).
Harris, the starter, mind you, has dished out more than five assists only eight times in 27 games this season. He has more than six just three times, and he’s only had eight assists once.
Jamaal Tinsley had 13 assists in his only real outing this season.
When he’s asked about Harris’ offensive execution, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin says the point guard needs to be more aggressive, get the ball up the floor quicker and remains positive that things will start clicking for the former All-Star when he gets “comfortable” with the Jazz system.
It’s almost been a year now. You have to wonder when (or if) Corbin will shake things up and see how the team functions with Earl Watson starting and Tinsley perhaps getting more playmaker opportunities.
How long do you get to become comfortable?
Having written all that, Corbin said that he wasn’t ready to make changes as of last night. The Jazz were going to review film, have their usual morning meeting for back-to-backs and then “see what happens.”