Editor’s Note: The following was written and submitted by Gerald Playle. Follow and interact with him on Twitter: @TheJerrbear1.
As much as they are good guys, as much as they have skills and abilities that are valued on the court, and as much as Jazz fans want to see both working together and both to succeed, Alec Burks and Rodney Hood have a fight up ahead; and that fight is against each other.
Who will be the starting shooting guard for the Utah Jazz this season? There are a few points that I want to make. To start it off, a few thoughts to the idea of not losing your starting job because of injury. First, we all know that is an older idea from the Sloan days (even if that is a generally common practice in the league), but Quin and Lindsey are the decision makers right now. Even Burks has mentioned Quin makes the choices.
Secondly, it might not even be that Alec is losing the starting job because of injury. It could be that Hood is better, or is better with the starting lineup. Alec did well in preseason. Better than I expected. Hood did decently himself. Hood started late in preseason; especially on the final preseason game in which Quin said that game the Jazz were going to play as if it were the regular season.
When Hood has played with the starters though, seems like it has had good results, and the final preseason game produced good results. During the first regular season game, Hood started and played more than Alec. Both were decent that game, even though we lost. It was even mentioned that the line-up of Alec, Hood, Hayward, Favors, and Gobert were a +90.5 net rating, courtesy of Andrew Bailey. So even though this is an article about the “Burksers” versus the “Hoodies” (new Jazz fan wagon names), it is important to see that they can work together.
And third, and this is a thought that will have people up in arms, but was the job really Alec’s? I mean he started 27 games last year. He’s only started 39 games in his entire career. Did he really cement himself to the position? I would say he hasn’t. All the arguments that can be said about Burks to answer this particular question can also be said for Hood.
Hood started 21 games last year. It was a combination of needing a better player at that spot and Hood actually being a better player.
Alec might have started most of the preseason games as a test. So Quin could see where Alec was as well as how he might have performed with our main starting guys.
I honestly did think we would see Hood starting at the beginning of the season, which happened in game one; but I also think we’ll see him start more. I did think Burks might have some lag and not be in full playing shape, but other than a little tiredness in spots of game one of preseason, Burks seems perfectly fine.
Another thought is that Hood is more familiar with the system. Yes, Burks was sitting right there, learning, but Hood has performed, and he has performed with success. When you think about winning games, you always have to think about on court production and overall net outcome. In my book, this is a huge advantage to have successful performance history. Also, anyone telling me Burks learned more than Hood…well maybe, but I doubt it.
I know what I’m saying is going to ruffle up some feathers. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be shocked if Burks cements himself as the starting shooting guard throughout the season. I won’t be phased if he’s starting at the point guard spot. I’ve promoted the idea both of them starting with our big 3. He is a good player and the veteran compared to Hood, but don’t be shocked, angry, or upset if Hood is starting shooting guard and Burks never sees that spot. (Anyone thinking that veterans should start, I want to refer you back to Corbin.)
To end it, I’m reminded of what was mentioned about standards being more important than roles, and what Quin said in day two of training camp about matchups and fit. Quin has had many compliments for both Burks and Hood. It is time to show that his words weren’t in vain, for either player.