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Jazz are officially in tank modeI think we’re going to look back on this game and think of it as the official turning point in the season — the one in which the Jazz really started to tank. After all, the Jazz gave the Spurs their first win in over a month to break a 16-game losing streak, and had to play really poorly to do it.
What is the evidence they’ve chosen to tank?
• First, the injury report. Clarkson, you’ll remember, did seem to hurt his hand in the Jazz’s last game against San Antonio, but played the remainder of his normal minutes in that game. Collin Sexton’s injury, too, is a little suspicious: he was healthy enough that the team felt comfortable risking his performance in the All-Star game Skills Challenge, but not well enough to play the first three games coming out of the break? But Rudy Gay with a broken nose — sure, he can play. After all, he’s been the Jazz’s worst rotation player this season.
• Second, the rotational choices. Udoka Azubuike is on an expiring contract. He will not be on the Jazz next season. Damion Jones, even though he’s older, will likely be on the Jazz next year: he should almost certainly pick up his $2.5 million player option. Jones, also, is a much better player than Azubuike. Jones is the more logical short-term and long-term player to play — unless you’re trying to lose. Juan Toscano-Anderson played significant minutes on the champion Golden State Warriors, but the Jazz played Johnny Juzang in his first NBA game over him.
• Third, the lineups used. If you’re trying to win an NBA game, you simply can’t put a lineup with Kris Dunn, Juzang, Simone Fontecchio, Toscano-Anderson, and Rudy Gay at the five out there for nearly half a quarter. The lineup has no rim protection, no scoring threat, no real playmaker, and multiple defensive holes. If you’re trying to win, honestly, you put Kelly Olynyk out there for some of it and have him operate essentially at point center.
• Fourth, the timeout choices. The Jazz had the opportunity to use an extra “use it or lose it” timeout before the three minute mark with the team scuffling, Hardy let that chance slide. They used one with 2 minutes left, then didn’t use another one after that. They have seven timeouts to use in a game, and called five. (The Spurs, by the way, called four.)
This makes sense. The front office has been abundantly clear that they are not interested in being competitive for the rest of this season — that’s why you trade four rotation players even as you’re in the midst of a playoff battle. The question was basically whether or not they could get Hardy to go along with that mindset. After tonight, I think it’s pretty clear that he’s in, too.
Now, a six game road trip: two games against the Thunder, then the Mavericks, the Magic, the Hornets, and the Heat. The Thunder are probably better than the Jazz, at least the shorthanded Jazz; the Mavericks are too (but are 1-4 in their last five since acquiring Kyrie Irving), the Magic are weirdly 6-4 in their last 10, the Hornets have won five in a row, and the Heat are the East’s 6th seed. It could be a loss-filled trip, but we’ll see.
That's weirdly silly from Andy.From Andy Larsen's Tripple Team article.
I guess its more about everyone expecting the tank so any plausible evidence triggers confirmation bias.That's weirdly silly from Andy.
Coming out of the AS break the Jazz first decided NOT to tank the first two games, but then suddenly changed course? Really? Does the FO make that kind of massive decisions by the seat of their pants?
I get that holding out Sexton seems extra cautious. Then again, he already had a hamstring injury this season where he returned too quickly and then had to sit again.
If you're convinced that the Jazz couldn't have lost to the Spurs without tanking and looked at how awful the game was, everything that happens is suddenly tanking from Hardy.
In reality it's possible, even probable, that the Jazz wouldn't have lost if Ochai hadn't got hurt, if Fontecchio hadn't had the worst game of the season, if Lauri and KO hadn't missed 6 FTs etc.
Of course the fact that Hardy has to play 10-day guys after a couple of injuries is a FO decision. The players on the team understand those decisions. For Hardy suddenly to start coaching to lose on the other hand is a quick way to lose the locker room and trust.
Well put.I guess its more about everyone expecting the tank so any plausible evidence triggers confirmation bias.
Andy is my spirit animal
Its a huge contradiction as I look at that recent trade as a super tank trade. I look at the Donovan mitchell and rudy gobert trades as pretty damn tanky. I look at the royce oneal trade as a tank trade. i look at the bogey trade as a semi tank trade. Dumping a very successful coach for a rookie first time head coach looks pretty tanky. Playing rudy Gay more minutes than last year looks tanky. i look at our record and see no tank. Honestly I think the contradiction all comes down to one thing. Lauri Markennan. If he were simply as good as most everyone thought he would be (decent starter) or if he were injured or never acquired then we would be right near the bottom of the league in wins and losses. Danny Ainge did his best to make a great tank but Lauri broke it.It’s pretty obvious right.
Ya I still dont think hardy is tanking. he is a rookie head coach is all and makes some mistakes (hiring a rookie head coach was kinda tanky imo in the first place. Ainge was hoping he would make rookie mistakes)I don't think anyone is claiming that the deadline deal didn't make the team much less likely to win games. Whether the main purpose of that deal was to get the LAL pick and cap room OR to lose this season, that's debatable (and has been done so...).
Holding Sexton and JC out as proof of tanking is not something I'd say for certain right now. They both have actual documented injuries. If we don't see them at all in March, then yes.
But for Andy Larsen to say that Dok's minutes, lack of timeouts or whatever small decisions Hardy made last night was proof that he just suddenly started tanking in game 63 of the season is pretty wild in my mind. That just doesn't make sense on any level.