3 Shades of Blue has been talking with a lot of bloggers for other teams over the years trying to get a better idea of what to expect from the teams they follow when they play the Grizzlies. Taking that one step further for our readers, we have decided to try and put these conversations into a format our readers can use to learn what their thoughts are.
In that vein we present three Utah Jazz bloggers answers to three questions about their team. Hence the term 3 on 3. Joining us today are Basketball John from SLC Dunk, Broox Anderson from Purple and Blues and Spencer Hall from the TrueHoop Network blog Salt City Hoops.
1) The Grizzlies had a Millionaire Front Line before Randolph’s injury. Do you consider the Utah frontline superior, equal or below the Grizzlies (healthy) frontline and why?
Basketball John: I think this is the matchup I was looking forward to the most. I think it would have been very evenly matched if Randolph was able to play. Where the Jazz might have had an advantage would be in depth. After Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, the Jazz can throw Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter out there. The latter two have been huge rebounders and defenders this year. It’s too bad we won’t be able to see Millsap and Randolph go at it.
Broox Anderson: The Grizzlies did, in fact, have one of the best frontlines in the league before Z-Bo’s heartbreaking knee injury. Utah’s frontline is nowhere near the statistical giant that the Grizzlies’ (healthy) frontcourt is. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap may look good on paper, but they are vastly undersized and are routinely embarrassed on the defensive end. Utah’s young big men, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, are a different story however, because once this pair of No. 3 overall picks develops they’ll be a tough couple to surmount.
Spencer Hall: I have to go with the Jazz on this one, just because it’s one of the few things Utah has going. Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are both showing a lot of promise and have the Jazz surprisingly leading the NBA in blocks. Al Jefferson doesn’t thrill many people, but he’ll get some points and do Al Jefferson things. Paul Millsap is still Paul Millsap, too. It’s a shame to see Z-Bo go down, though. The Jazz are on a weird streak of meeting opponents without their best players. Here’s a speedy recovery for Randolph.
2) Devin Harris: Point Guard or Short Shooting Guard?
John: I’m still one that believes he can be an effective point guard. He was on the verge of becoming a great point guard while in Dallas but ever since he was traded to New Jersey, he’s had to shift to being a scorer instead of a distributor. It was a similar situation when he came to Utah. I think he was still in scoring mode — and in a way he still felt he had to be when he came to the Jazz. I think he realizes now that he has a lot more scoring options available to him again and that he doesn’t have to be one of the top go-to guys on offense. Hopefully that allows him to become more of a point guard again and perhaps even a good defender again.
Broox: I can raise arguments for both. Devin Harris has shown us that he is capable of being a more-than-serviceable point guard in this league, but his performance this year has been atrocious. He’s taken a back seat to 32-year-old Earl Watson for heaven’s sake! He doesn’t have the shooting ability to be a “short” shooting guard, so, at this point, he’s just a poor, lost point guard.
Spencer: The frustrating thing about watching Devin Harris is that he shows tantalizing glimpses of his ability. He’s a very capable point guard and defender when he makes the effort, but the effort isn’t always there. I still think he’s a point guard, skills-wise, but I’d like to see a little more leadership.
3) What is different about the Jazz now without Sloan? Is it better or worse?
John: It wasn’t just Sloan that the Jazz lost; they also lost long-time and formidable assistant coach Phil Johnson. Add on the Deron Williams trade and suddenly the Jazz were almost unrecognizable. Right now, it’s an obvious transition and rebuilding period. So it’s going to be worse for the time being. The Jazz have a good core of players though and the future is bright. Tyrone Corbin can’t be Jerry Sloan, but as a disciple, he’s off on the right foot. After what he’s been through in the past year, everything else going forward should be relatively easy.
Broox: Worse. My first thought when watching the Jazz for the first time this season was, “Wow. This is an ill-coached Jazz team.” They’ve since picked it up a little, but I can’t help noticing the glaring holes in their performance. They play better team defense, but lack their trademark gritty, hard-nosed, big-hearted play. Their offense is a far cry from where it was in the Sloan era. They lack an identity as a team. If I was GM of the Utah Jazz, my first move would be to find a better coach.
Spencer: There’s a lot less tough love in the post-game comments, for one thing. That being said, I think Ty Corbin is doing a great job in a very tough situation. He was thrown into the mix unexpectedly, had to replace a legend, and then had the lockout to deal with. In a lot of ways, I get the sense that the players are a lot more comfortable and have an easier camaraderie than they did in previous years. Sometimes I think the biggest change in the culture is from the absence of the late owner Larry Miller. There have been a lot of games where I wished he was around to storm into the locker room and remind everyone how he expected them to play.
3 Shades of Blue hopes this helps our readers get a better idea of what to expect from tonights game. We want to thank Basketball John, Broox Anderson and Spencer Hall for their time in answering these questions.