The Jazz have been playing pathetically of late. I’ve never been a big fan of the early Martin Luther King Matinee. The Jazz have played poorly in that game for 3 consecutive years now. Lucky for most of us that game got lost in the fact that most of us still had to work so I didn’t suffer through much more than a few David Locke play by play calls towards the end. The Nets loss also came and went without a chance to watch. What I did get to watch was last nights Blazers vs Clippers tilt on TNT. I don’t often watch the nationally televised games and watching Wes Matthews light it up for Portland is like being stabbed over and over with a butter knife. How Kevin O’Conner let him go I’ll never understand. Teams always seem to play better when they know they are the focus of the NBA’s thursday night but I was particularly impressed with the 2 guard play for both teams. I’ve decided that compared to these 2 teams the Jazz have a huge issue at the 2 spot and it’s being exposed now by even the worst of the NBA’s cellar dwellers.
Let’s compare the production of CJ Miles and Raja Bell to that of Wes Matthews and Rudi Fernandez for Portland or even The clipper’s Erik Gordon (who’s really really good) and Randy Foye (Who’s really really bad) in their game last night.
Miles and Bell – 58 min. | 17 pts. | 2 rebs. | 4 assts. | 3 stl. | -12 +/-
Gordon and Foye – 67 min. | 40 pts. | 5 rebs. | 4 assts. | 1 stl. | -16 +/-
Matthews and Fernandez – 71 min. | 45 pts. | 6 rebs. | 8 assts. | 5 stl. | +14 +/-
Biggest issues I see with this adhoc comparison is the lack of any scoring support we’re getting from the 2 spot. It’s obvious teams have scouted Millsap and he’s struggling with bigger more physical opponents on both ends. This puts a greater emphasis on someone else stepping up and right now Raja and CJ just aren’t getting it done. Compound this issue with basic effort issues (note just 2 rebounds in 58 minutes!) and it’s no reason the Jazz are struggling to find any offensive consistency or efficiency.
Personally, I’d like to see the Jazz move Kirilenko for either a more consistent 2 guard who can spread the defense and maybe guard an opponent every once in awhile without fouling, or a bigger more defensively minded back-up for Paul Millsap.