Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pitt will be a nice test for Utes

I noticed today that Pitt is picked to win the Big East this year which gets me a bit more excited for Utah's season opener.

It seems like it has been a while since the Utes opened at home with a legitimate opponent. Utah has opened against Oregon St. (07), Michigan (08), and UCLA (06) in recent years but those games were all on the road. It will be fun to have the favorite in the Big East come into Rice Eccles to open the season.

My only worry is that Utah tends to come out a bit rustic in its opener. Even last year it started slow against Utah St. before waking up to win going away. Utah did not look good opening at Oregon St. in 2007 and at UCLA in 2006; both were fairly bad losses. It beat Michigan in 2008 but that Michigan team was not that good. Nonetheless, I like opening against a legitimate opponent. It makes it that much more exciting.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Random Thoughts

The arrogance of the byu continues to amaze me.
I'm not a Utah fan that hates the byu more than I like Utah but listening to Bronco Mendenhall during the MWC football media day made my stomach churn. Mendenhall was asked on numerous occasions if he felt Utah going to the PAC-10 might in anyway negatively impact the byu's recruiting. Mendenhall responded boldly each time that he didn't think it would impact at all. He said the following:
"I don't think it will be effected one bit. They may say it it will be effected a ton but I don't think we will lose a single player who wants BYU to any other team in the country," he said.
"There have been some people who have been recruited nationwide but a kid who wants the byu experience can only get it at byu. There is no other place that is as unique, as specific and as special as Brigham Young University for all the reasons that make it special."
To say that byu won't be impacted negatively by Utah going to the PAC-12 is not only arrogant, it's plain stupid. If Mendenhall's statement is true, he doesn't need to recruit. Players will just come knock on his door because they want that experience. To think that a local kid won't be swayed in his decision to go to Utah is crazy. It appears that Mendenhall thinks that the only type of kid that wouldn't want the byu experience is one it doesn't want or couldn't hack it. This arrogance drives me nuts!

To hear what Larry Scott is doing in the PAC-10 makes me that much more excited that Utah is going to be a part of that conference. Scott has been on an east coast trip with PAC-10 football coaches the past week. Scott seems like the guy that is an Urban Meyer of conference commissioners. His optimistic outlook and aggressive style is a breath of fresh air and should make PAC-10 schools excited. He seems different than any other commissioner in the country right now.

Utah's level of success in the PAC-12 the first few years it joins the conference will indicate how legitimate the MWC really is. If Utah is in the upper part of the league immediately I think it will indicates that the MWC is what it claims to be. However, if it falls into the middle to bottom of the pack it means that the MWC is a conference that can't compete with the big boys. It seems that the MWC would have a better argument for BCS inclusion if Utah is immediately successful.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jordan supports my claim about James

I just heard a spot on Yahoo sports that said Michael Jordan indicated he would never sign with other superstars like Lebron James did. "In all honesty, I wanted to compete against those guys," Jordan said. He also indicated he never would have called Bird or Magic and suggested they play together. He said he wanted to beat the elite.

This supports the idea that I made when James signed that he was taking the easy way out. The best players in the world want to beat the best; not join the best! James is afraid he can't get it done by himself!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jazz Signing Bell is another Great Move.

The Jazz continue to impress me with their offseason moves. Raja Bell coming to Utah is another great move. He gives them veteran leadership, defensive toughness, and someone that is not afraid to knock people around. He has played in Utah before so he knows the system. He can shoot the 3 and will come significantly cheaper than Wesley Mathews. I love Mathews but I love the fact that the Jazz are willing to call Portland's bluff and will likely now let him go. I loved watching Matthews last year and I'll be sad to see him move on but I don't think he'll be as effective outside the Jazz's system and Portland is showing its stupidity by woefully overpaying for him. It appears the Jazz will be getting Bell at roughly $3.3M per year whereas Portland is giving Matthews $32M over 5 years (which is crazy).

I loved the way Bell played for the Jazz in his previous stint. I especially remember the year he performed so well the year after Stockton and Malone left. The Jazz were supposed to win maybe 10 games that year yet ended up winning 41 and just missing the playoffs. Bell was a stud in PHX and was the only guy on that team willing to play defense.

The concern on Bell would be age. Is he too old now? Will he be as affective coming off of wrist surgery? He's 33 and will be 36 when his deal is complete. Nonetheless, the Jazz need a veteran. I think it is worth the risk.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jazz Move to Acquire Jefferson is Brilliant!

All those Jazz fans that have been criticizing Kevin O'Connor recently need eat their words. The Jazz acquiring Al Jefferson is a brilliant move. It essentially becomes a trade of Carlos Boozer and Koufus for Jefferson.

The Jazz get a younger power forward that has only 3 years left on his contract at a slightly cheaper rate than Boozer received. More importantly, keeping Boozer would have meant signing up to a at least a 5 year deal for an injury prone power forward. Jefferson only has 3 years left on his deal which makes his contract much less risky.

Jefferson gives the Jazz a true post player that is meant to play with his back to the basket. This will be perfect in the Jazz's power forward oriented offense. I expect the Jazz to start running the famous guard screen to get Jefferson position on the block that it ran for so many years with Stockton and Malone. My only concern is Jefferson's ability to run the floor. Jefferson is not known for his ability to get up and down the floor quickly which is one reason Minnesota parted with him for a more agile style. Nonetheless, I think this is a great move for the Jazz. This is a much better situation long term than resigning Boozer to a long-term deal.

Friday, July 9, 2010

LeBron's decision a major disappointment

I heard an analyst say on ESPN this morning that Lebron James should be given credit for going to Miami because it shows he is all "all about winning." What a load of garbage!!! What it tells me about Lebron James is that he realizes he can't win a championship on his own. He needs two other superstars to do it. He's scared he can't live up to his own potential without some help from his friends. He's lost all of my respect and Miami is now officially joins my list of teams to cheer against.
LeBron took the easy way out. He is not all about winning! He's just about doing it the easy way. Staying in Cleveland would have required finishing something he started. It would have required him to be one of the league's best ever to win a championship. It would require him to step up his game and make his teammates better as well. Going to Miami makes it easy. He doesn't have to be at his best to win a championship with Wade and Bosh. He can probably just coast and with help from Bosh and Wade he can hide a bit. It's an easy way to establish a legacy. However, it my eyes I'll just view him as someone that couldn't get it done by himself.

The depressing thing is that it will probably work. Bosh, Wade, and James will probably gone on to win multiple championships together and James will be praised as one of the best ever. It's worked for Phil Jackson. He hasn't had a coaching job in the NBA without the best player in the league on his team and yet he's praised for being one of the greatest coaches in history even though without Jordan, Bryant, Shaq and Gasol he's probably like Doug Collins jumping from job to job around the league.

My only hope is that Miami fails. I might even have to cheer for the Lakers to beat them as hard as that may be.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Boozer to Bulls

I'm proud of the Jazz for their unwillingness to overpay for Carlos Boozer. Although this likely means the franchise will take a step back for the next couple of years; it is the best long-term decision for the franchise and will it much more competitive in the long run. The Jazz are definitely a better team with Boozer right now but that won't be the case a few years from now.

The decision helps the Jazz get out from under the financial mess they're currently in. It didn't make sense for the franchise to be paying the luxury tax for a team that didn't have a chance of winning a championship. It will allow the team to be a player in the free-agent market once Kirlenko's contract comes off the books next year.

Boozer is likely at the peak of his prime right now. He may have 2-3 more years of great basketball in him. However, he'll likely start declining drastically in the last few years of his new deal and will become a financial liability. He's an undersized power forward in the league that relies on his quickness that he likely won't have in a few more years.

Boozer missed close to 30% of his games with the Jazz. Although I'm not one that felt Boozer sat out unnecessarily, it will be interesting to see how many games he plays this next year now that he has a guaranteed five year deal and doesn't have the contract year to use as motivation.

The downside is the Jazz could very well be in a world of hurt in the front court this coming season and will likely lead to the organization taking a major step back this coming year. Millsap will move into Boozer's starting role but who will move into Millsap's role? The thought of Kosta Koufus taking that spot is a bit depressing. Okur will also be out for the first half of the season so the center spot will be more handicapped than it already is. Nonetheless, I'd rather sacrifice this next season than over-pay for Boozer and tie the organization's hands the next 5 years.