The Jazz started the season with a 1-13 record. Since then they’ve gone 10-12. How much of that turnaround can be credited to Trey Burke? Quite a bit. But when you look at the teams they beat, it shows that the Jazz are still far from a good team. A Top 3 draft pick is still very much in the running.
Here’s a look at their wins and how they did it.
11/13/13 – Pelicans w/o Ryan Anderson
11/25/13 – Bulls w/o Derrick Rose or Jimmy Butler
11/30/13 – Suns – Jazz had 7 guys in double figures
12/2/13 – Rockets w/o Chandler Parsons or Jeremy Lin
12/11/13 – Kings w/o Rudy Gay or Greivis Vasquez (trade)
12/13/13 – Nuggets w/o Danilo Gallinari or Javale McGee
12/18/13 – Magic w/o Arron Afflalo
12/21/13 – Bobcats w/o Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
12/23/13 – Lakers w/o Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash or Steve Blake
12/30/13 – Bobcats w/o Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
1/2/14 – Bucks w/o John Henson
Now we know that most teams will deal with injury, and many teams will benefit from hitting those teams at the right time, and the Jazz would also likely have some more wins if they’d had Trey Burke this whole time. Sure. Given. Granted. But this season, like every season, is what it is, and it means the Jazz, when facing healthy rosters, don’t do too well.
Their best win, their statement win of the year, came against the Suns, mostly because the Sun were healthy and have since become a playoff team thanks to 2014 Coach of the Year front-runner Jeff Hornacek (knife twist). Friday night against the Lakers – a lottery Laker team without the services of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar or even Xavier Henry – the Jazz watched Kendall Marshall get revenge for not rescuing him from the D-League sooner, and they watched as Pau Gasol demonstrated some All-Star pride and put up 23 and 17. The Jazz starting 4/5 combined for 11 boards; Gasol and Sacre had 27.
It doesn’t matter who they play; the Jazz will have a tough time winning when the Burx brothers shoot 4-23, when they get out rebounded, out assisted and out blocked, and when they end the first quarter down 18 points.
Coming up, the Jazz have the Thunder, who are without Russell Westbrook but will still likely win. Then they face the Cavaliers, where Kyrie Irving is day-to-day. (I really hope Kyrie plays and the Jazz still win that; I’ve already bought my tickets.)
This team reminds me of the 26-56 season, where they thought they had some good pieces but it all fell apart when AK47 went down. Trey is the AK this year, the glue guy that holds it together. Their bad season this year will lead to their next franchise-changing draft pick, like D-Will was in 2005. So for those worried that the Jazz are good enough to play themselves out of a decent draft pick, the Lakers helped show they’re a long way from good.