For one thing, they can put up solid numbers. Big Al, for instance, is averaging 17.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game while connecting on 83.0 percent of his freebies. Likewise, P-Milly is shooting 48.0 percent from the floor and collecting 1.4 steals per contest. Plus, he can heat up fast, like 11-points-in-28-seconds fast.
Here's the problem: This isn't fantasy basketball. In reality, Al and Paul can only take the Jazz so far, and as long as they're at the helm, it looks as if the Notes will always be good but not great.
Accordingly, it's time for team officials to shake things up. It's time for at least one of these bigs to compete in a new uniform. And it's time to see what Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, Utah's two No. 3 picks, can become.
Favors, who currently averages 9.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in just 21.8 minutes per game, has the potential to be a superstar. His size and athleticism are reminiscent of a young Amar'e Stoudemire (the Amar'e who in his sophomore season with the Phoenix Suns recorded a 10-block game against the Jazz, not the one who settles for mid-range jumpers with the New York Knicks). He knows how to disrupt opposing offenses, and he's exceptional at throwing the air-filled sphere through the nylon cords. In fact, No. 15 is one of the NBA's dunk leaders this year with 44 flushes.
Similarly, Kanter, who's per-36 minute averages are nothing short of impressive for a guy who didn't pick up a basketball until five years ago, could turn into a very special player for the Jazz. Check out his line from Feb. 6 against the Milwaukee Bucks: 17 points, 9 rebounds, 5 blocks, 7-of-9 shooting from the field. Impressive, right? What if I told you he only played 17 minutes that night. Yes, it's true.
Let's recap: If the Jazz stand pat at the trade deadline, they'll continue to play well. They'll even make the playoffs. But, like last year, they'll probably get eliminated in the first round.
On the other hand, if they trade one (or both) of their veteran bigs, who have expiring contracts, by the way, Favors and Kanter will get the time they need to grow, and, with the help of fellow youngsters Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks, eventually turn this group of players into more than just a middle-of-the-pack team.
- Sports & Recreation
- Utah Jazz
- Enes Kanter
- Derrick Favors