Bye Bye Brewer
February 19, 2010 -
When I said the Jazz needed to make a deal, this was not what I had in mind. Shortly before Wednesday’s trade deadline, Utah shipped Ronnie Brewer off to Memphis for a protected 2011 1st round pick. Yup, another salary dump. I guess they answered my question as to whether they would be buyers or sellers in this market.
Before I go any further, I want to say that I actually don’t mind this trade. While I’ve always liked Brewer, he wasn’t having a particularly strong year. Most of us were expecting him to take another step forward in his progression this season, but if anything he seems to have gone backwards. The Jazz also had a logjam of players at the wing positions with Kirilenko, Korver, Miles, and Matthews all competing with Brewer for minutes. Particularly with the way Matthews has exceeded expectations, Brewer won’t be that difficult to replace...at least on the court. Ronnie was apparently well liked by his teammates, and I just hope this trade doesn’t do anything to adversely impact team chemistry.
The real reason I don’t mind this trade is that the Jazz likely would not have been able to keep Brewer this summer anyway. With so many teams projected to have cap space, Ronnie would have most surely received an offer that Utah would be unable (or unwilling) to match. With that in mind, they did well to get a 1st-round pick for him rather than watching him walk away for no compensation.
While I don’t mind this trade, I’m upset that it was the only move Utah made. I believe the Jazz missed a golden opportunity to improve their team, and that will be the topic of my next article.
I’ll miss Brewer. Aside from the fact that he couldn’t shoot to save his life, he was a fun player to watch. I wish him all the best in Memphis.
Andrei Kirilenko, Where Have You Been?
February 3, 2010 -
I thought we’d never see you again. That guy who looks like you – the one who has been wearing your uniform and cashing your enormous paychecks for the past few seasons – had really worn out his welcome. I was getting sick of his antics. It’s not that he did anything blatantly wrong; he just wasn’t the guy who earned a max contract extension five years ago. Not even close. He didn’t play with the same energy, passion, or plain joy that you did before you disappeared.
Anyway, I don’t know where you’ve been hiding out since 2006, but it sure is nice to have you back.
With tonight’s victory over Portland, the Jazz have now won 11 of their previous 12 games, and Kirilenko’s play is probably the single-biggest reason why. Over that stretch he averaged 14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1.5 blocks while shooting an impressively efficient 62% from the field. It’s been a while since he has put up numbers like that for any consistent period of time.
But AK has been even more impressive in the last 7 games (all Jazz victories), during which he averaged 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and shot an absolutely ridiculous 72% from the field. He’s also back to doing a bunch of things that don’t show up in the stat sheet (deflections, altered shots, etc) but make the Jazz a much more difficult team to beat.
Perhaps most importantly, he looks like he’s having fun out there. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that from him, and it’s a welcomed sight.
Not too many weeks ago, I was just about ready to give up on this season. The Jazz were underachieving, and they honestly weren’t much fun to watch. I’m not quite sure what got Kirilenko and the rest of the team back on track, but I sure hope they can stay there.
Welcome back, Andrei. Please stick around this time.