30 January 2012
To say the least, the Jazz had it rough last week. First they blow a big lead to the Raptors and end up losing in double OT. Then a Dirk-less Dallas shows us the importance of the three pointer, draining 11 of them en route to another Jazz loss. Thankfully, we (barely) survived a home game vs the Jimmers Kings. Going 1-2 isn’t ever fun, but it is something we will have to get used to as our schedule will start to get tougher and tougher.
I’ll be honest with you, if you asked me a week ago whether Devin Harris would “Be traded or win a Player of the Week award first.” I would have confidently told you he’d be traded. It looks like I could be wrong though, as Harris had his best week of the year, and probably his best game in a Jazz uniform (vs Raptors). Not only was Harris third in scoring last week (14.3), but he did it on a very impressive 61% from the field. Harris also led the team in assists with 5.3 to go along with just 1.3 turnovers per game. We don’t need Harris to play like an All Star to win games, or even make the playoffs. But we do need him to play efficient, and be a serviceable point guard. And that is what he did last week, let’s hope it continues. On the other hand, Watson had a bit of a down week. Our favorite backup point guard averaged more turnovers (3) then he did points (2.7) and assists (1.7). I’m sure Watson is well aware of his struggles, and I’m sure he’ll do everything to turn them around. Even when struggling, Watson is still a leader on this team and can contribute elsewhere. I love his attitude, which he consistently shows through his twitter.
Last Saturday we learned that Paul Millsap is in fact, human. Paul had just 6 points on 20% shooting vs the Kings (he did grab 14 boards though).Who knew? This of course comes after his insane 31 point performance vs Toronto, which included a clutch tip in and a “DID HE JUST DO THAT?!” three. Once again Millsap is contending for the award as he had 19 and 10.7 on the week, however he did just shoot 41% overall. Jefferson’s spent the week fighting through an injury (he played 2/3 games) and it showed in his play. Big Al was able to score 15.5 points a game, but it was with only 6 rebounds and on just 43% shooting. On a positive note, Jefferson was able to average 3 blocks and 2.5 assists, both parts of his game that he has improved in this season. However, if Jefferson’s ankle injury continues to bother him, Favors will likely have to step up. Thankfully Derrick was able to rebound from his mini slump in the week prior and put up a nice line with 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds. While he has had a few really good games this year, it still doesn’t feel like Favors has “broken out” yet. That could happen this month, it could happen next year, who knows? We need to be patient with him.
I really liked what I saw out of our rookies last week. With each game Kanter is getting more and more comfortable, especially on offense. We saw this in Dallas as the Jazz went to him in the post multiple times, with Kanter coming through. Enes finished the week averaging 7 points (54%) and 4.7 rebounds in just 15 minutes. He’ll likely get more if he keeps up his current production. Thanks to the improved play of other wings, Burks has seen his minutes go back down to just 6.3 a game. However that doesn’t stop the rook from producing, who still managed to score 4 points in his limited time. One nice thing we saw from Burks last week was his ability to hit the three ball, nailing 2 of 3 vs Sacramento.
Last of all you have our wings, which are still a mixed bag at this point. Raja has finally become a solid player (7.3 points, 53% last week) and is probably our best three point shooter right now (not much competition there though). Gordon is still trying to get there. He had an alright week with 10.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists (second on the team). Then again, if you throw out his bad game vs the Raps you’re looking at 15 points a game on 49% shooting. I think we all can live with that. Josh Howard played pretty poorly after returning from his injury (2 points in 15 minutes). He obviously isn’t back at 100% yet, and he sooner Josh can get there the better. He will definitely be key to any attempt at a playoff run. Then we have CJ, who put together another solid week. Miles scored 13.3 points (44%) in just 22 minutes a game. He is starting to thrive in his 6th man role, thanks to him ‘playing’ and not ‘thinking’. CJ is coming into games and attacking right off the bat, opening up the rest of his game. I couldn’t find the tweet, but someone mentioned that if CJ keeps up this play he will earn himself a new contract, and it might not necessarily be from the Jazz.
Before I pick my winner, let me point out that I am going to slightly change something. Instead of basing it on just overall stats, I’m also going to start looking at players who made big improvements, or players that made nice contributions despite not being the best player on the team. Otherwise (like Clint pointed out to me) Millsap could win it 80% of the time. With that being said…
Player of the Week (Week 5)
Devin Harris is informed of my decision. (Photo via Tom Smart, Deseret News)
Devin Harris 14.3 pts (61%), 5.3 asts, 1.3 to’s
Runner(s) up: Paul Millsap, CJ Miles
Special mention(s): Enes Kanter, Alec Burks
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