This current three-day break seems a perfect time to give an update of the Utah Jazz season. The Jazz, as of yesterday, were tied with the Miami Heat for playing the most games in the league, 26. Of those 26 games, 14 games were against teams with a .500 record or better including the aforementioned Heat, Dallas Mavericks, and Orlando Magic twice. The Jazz currently hold a slim lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder by a half game in the Northwest Division with a record of 18-8, and are due for a few days off. No Boozer? No problem! We all knew that Carlos Boozer was not going to stick around in Utah.
Do we all miss his All-Star play? Of course. Do we miss the person? Of course not. The addition of Al Jefferson has definitely helped most of us forget the Boozer days. It took some time for “Big Al” to start playing. Showing up out of shape, learning the Jerry Sloan system, and clearly pressing early on slowly dissolved over the first few weeks. Along with Jefferson, filling the void is Paul Millsap. Millsap, in a starting role, has come up big in key wins this season including a career high 46 points against the Heat in that most epic comeback. So far the duo is averaging around 34 points and 17 rebounds a game.
Without a doubt, C.J. Miles has been the most impressive player of the Jazz team so far. Finally they found a perfect role for him, coming off the bench as the 6th man. Miles is averaging a career high 12 points per game, and has 5 games of over 20 points. Almost as much as impressive is Deron Williams. Williams, who wont the October/November player of the month, is averaging a career high 23 points per game and currently is sitting on three straight games of over 30. D-Will was voted before the season as the best point guard in the league, and has been clearly living up to that.
The least impressive player is Gordon Hayward. Yes he is a rookie, but I’ve never seen a player so timid to pull the trigger. One game, yes he did throw down a dunk, but while Raja Bell has been out three games with an abductor injury, Hayward has tallied an astronomical amount of one single point as the fill in starter.
The Jazz do have a better team this year than last, and they may just make some noise this year. Mehmet Okur is on the trail of coming back from his torn achilles tendon, which will offer depth to a bench that is already pretty solid. Once all the pieces fall into place and the Jazz have a few more months to gel, it may be a special season.
Written by: Matthew Flygare