Jazz Basketball: Ya' gotta loathe it, baby!
On the Safari for Jabari
The reality is that we can get rid of Al, but then we'd have no one we can go to in the clutch. As sojodave said, he can get his shot off under nearly any conditions. I know it's hip among the cool kids on this board to pretend that Al has no redeemable qualities, but you just can't ignore this skill of his.
Every team needs closers. It's one thing to be able to score points and have a great shooting percentage when you are able to pick your spots, but it's a whole other story when you have to force the issue. Kyle Korver shot 54% from the three his last year here. Do you recall him having the ball in his hands much in late-game situations? Hell no, he's a spot up shooter. If he caught and shot, he was money. If he took even one dribble, he'd probably miss. Watch the Gaines three against the Cavs again. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yawMyj4zQU
Most of that play, the Jazz have 5 players outside the 3-point line. Not one could create. Two great spot up shooters, two athletic chuckers and one D-Leaguer we knew nothing about at that point. Deron went down, Andrei was useless by this point, and Boozer couldn't do PnR without Deron. Notice how Korver passes up the shot the moment he's challenged, Ronnie Price tries a move even I could defend, and the game of hot potato finally ends with everyone deciding that they should let the D-Leaguer take the blame for missing the shot. Except, of course, he makes it, but if you repeated this situation 10 times, the Heat would win 10 times.
You got to have someone who can create in the clutch, and for most teams, that's a guard or a small forward. Couple of reasons. One is that teams pack the paint in the clutch, and the other is the dearth of centres who are anything more than complimentary players. Look at the all-star centres this year. Noah, Chandler, Howard? Would you give any of them the ball in the clutch and ask them to put points up on the board? Hell to the no. If they don't get stripped or commit a turnover otherwise, you're looking at an awkward heave from 15 feet out that may just draw iron. We are lucky, in that Jefferson is one of the rare centres in the league who can actually post up and get his shot off pretty much at will. He's also not as bad passing out of the double team as he is made out to be. He's not Eddy Curry. You can give him the ball with a minute left in a close game and know he'll get a decent shot off. That's something, because there's no one else on this team you could say the same thing about.
Millsap can occasionally get into a zone where he's channeling Paul Pierce and taking guys off the dribble in the clutch and driving to the hoop, but that option disappears the moment someone quicker or longer is on him. Now, if we had a point guard who could penetrate and dish out, that could be another good option instead of giving it to a player to create one-on-one, but we don't. I love Jamaal, but g-d bless him, he's not that player. If he was, it would instantly turn Randy Foye into the most dangerous man of the floor in those situations, but this is ifs and buts. If we get rid of Al right now(and especially if Millsap also follows), then every late game situation will look like the Gaines shot. Hot potato until someone has to heave it. And as my dad would say, it ain't Christmas every day. Most of the time, the unheralded D-League pickup will not make that shot.
The good news, however, is that Hayward is almost there. I believe that in a year's time, Gordo will be the guy with the ball in his hands in the clutch. He still needs more confidence and a little more control, along with some better decision-making, but I believe he's only a season away. When that happens, we won't need Al. Until then, we either replace him with someone who can close games or we hang on to him until the summer. Else, our already sad late-game strategy will get even sadder.
The problem a lot of people on this board have is that they will take two or three hypothetical situations and then assume that the likelihood of them is the same. Then they make a further logical fallacy of saying "Given the choice of A and B, how could you possibly choose the worse one?" You have board members(let's not name names) whose signatures imply that somehow the Jazz are choosing current mediocrity over a future championship. As if the likelihood of us making the playoffs this year is somehow identical to winning the championship 5 years from now and we just have to make the right decision. Hollinger's playoff odds(which, admittedly, aren't far off from witchcraft) have got us at 77% chance of making the playoffs. We also made the playoffs last year with roughly the same team. Does anyone actually believe that by simply playing our kids, we have a 3 in 4 chance of winning the title?
Same goes for Al. We already have Al. The likelihood of that hypothetical situation is 100%. What's the likelihood of others? A bird in the hand and all that.
Sure. And if we had someone who could do that(remember, Mo's hurt and who knows when he'll be back and at what level), it'd be great. We don't though.Other teams generally use a guard or wing to get the last shot, moving to the hoop if they can.