Game #47

New Orleans takes on Utah at Utah tonight; if there’s one team I’d pick as our “rivals” it’d be Utah. Mainly cause of the whole DWill-CP thing, but also David West is emerging as a force at the position Carlos Boozer currently dominates. I had a little conversation with the dude from All Jazzed Up, so have a read. I answered some questions for him too, and you can find them after the rosters (scro-oll down).

At the Hive: Utah has stayed pretty much under the radar until this latest 8 game winning streak; what’s changed strategy-wise or simply execution-wise for this winning streak to be possible?

All Jazzed Up: I think one reason is that everyone is for the most part healthy now.Before, Memo was out several games with back and shoulder and Kirilenko had a few games.  I also think that execution in the 4th quarter has changed and the confidence that the players have at that time of the game is different than when they were struggling in December.

At the Hive: Obviously, I couldn’t do a Hornets-Jazz preview without mentioning D-Williams and CP. Although Deron’s continued to have great assist numbers on the year, his turnovers have continued to increase from last year, and the turnover margin has been a huge difference between Paul and Williams. What can he or (maybe even Coach Sloan) do to limit the turnovers?

All Jazzed Up: Oh yeah, certainly not.  I have noticed he has had an increase in turnoversand it looks like during this winning streak, he has improved a little in that area.  I would say that it comes to execution and not being a little lazy onthe passes or in the execution of the plays, and doing that with crisp passes as well as the sharp cuts and right routes of the guys he’s passing to.  I’ve noticed a big change in that during this 8-game win streak.


At the Hive: Finally, Williams said last week that the Hornets this year reminded him of the Jazz of last year. What aspects of their games do you see as similar, and what steps do the Hornets still need to take to match a team that went to the West Finals?

All Jazzed Up: I see a similarity in the Paul to Chandler combo like Williams to Boozer. It is different because they have different aspects to their game, but both teams have the strength of that 1-2 point guard to power forward punch like Stockton and Malone were for the Jazz and others like Magic to Kareem.  I think the Hornets need to continue to play like they are now and stay healthy.  That’s very important-staying healthy.  And then just getting into the playoffs and getting that experience and running with what they have going and seeing where it takes them because not many, if any, people expected the Jazz to get the the Conf. Finals last year and they played tough and caught some breaks (Warriors over Mavs) which I think the Hornets would need to do the same.  I’m not saying I don’t think the Hornets can beat the best in the West-I just think like everybody says(players and coaches anyway that have beenin the playoffs), that the playoffs are a different beast, a different atmosphere, and that experience plays a huge factor into it most of the time and that it will be tough for less playoff-experienced teams to move forward against playoff-veteran experienced teams like San Antonio, Dallas and Phoenix.  Even the Lakers, especially now with Gasol.  But, if the Hornets continue their great play and continue to play tough, I do think they can surprise a lot of people and teams in the playoffs.

 

 

NEW ORLEANS (PPG)

UTAH (PPG)

 

C. Paul 20.7

D. Williams 18.8

 

M. Peterson 8.7

R. Brewer 12.0

 

P. Stojakovic 15.6

A. Kirilenko 11.8

 

D. West 19.4

C. Boozer 22.0

 

T. Chandler 12.3

M. Okur 13.0

 

All Jazzed Up: Who would you pick to win in a 7-game series between New Orleans and Utah if Utah had home-court advantage?

At the Hive: As much as I hate to admit it right now, I would have to go with Utah. Two main reasons I have: first, Utah negates one of the biggest, but most underrated aspects of the Hornets game- defensive rebounding. Right now, no team save San Antonio holds opponents to fewer offensive boards in the West than New Orleans. But the Jazz are statistically the best offensive rebounding team in the conference, and guys like Boozer and Millsap are tough to deal with. Second, the Hornets would be unable to take advantage of one of the Jazz’s biggest flaws- Utah leads the league in sending opponents to the line (measured in FT/FG), but the Hornets rank dead last in getting to the foul line. Aside from Paul and West, almost no other Hornet really has the tools to consistently draw fouls/get into the paint (or in the case of Chandler, make free throws). It’s a big concern when the matchup forces you not only to be unable to capitalize on one of your own biggest strengths (Defensive rebounding) but also to be unable to capitalize on one of your opponent’s biggest weaknesses (fouling).

You might be surprised I don’t list the Williams-Paul matchup in favor of Utah (as many analysts do, due to the size difference). I may have had concerns with Paul guarding bigger guys earlier in his career, but given the way he matched up with Baron Davis twice this year, I really think he’s developed a much better understanding of the game defensively, especially position-wise.

All Jazzed Up: And who would you pick to have on a 10-year contract: D-Will or C-Paul?

At the Hive: This one I have to answer as straight-up Paul. The first reason for this is statistics-based. It’s been a long, long time since we’ve seen a guy as young as Paul put up the numbers he has. He’s second in the league in PER, averages almost an entire turnover less than Steve Nash with similar assist figures, and has rectified his biggest flaw from last year (perimeter shooting). Right now Williams shoots .546 (eFG%) to Paul’s .513, but an important stat to note is how often the two of them are assisted on their shots. Deron is assisted on about 41% of his field goals, but Paul is assisted on just 20% of his. The similar eFG% figure with a vastly lower “Assisted On” rate speaks to much more room for improvement in the case of Paul. In terms of ball-handling turnovers, the two are basically equivalent, but it’s in terms of passing that Paul excels. Williams has made 93 turnovers on passes compared to Paul’s mere 53.

Now on to the second reason: you hear in football a lot about “system quarterbacks” or “system players.” I think this applies very well to basketball as well. In my mind, Paul is far less of a “system” point guard than Williams. Even though New Orleans runs a complicated Princeton set, Paul often comes up with passes on the fly, passes that really weren’t predicated by the offensive system. This is important in the 10-year mindset, as it’s important to remember that numerous types of players, coaches, and offensive schemes come and go over the course of a decade. I’d pick Paul as more likely to successfully move from one system to another than Williams, who has really shone under Sloan’s offensive plan.

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6 Responses

  1. Tradin’ Questions is always fun. That Jazz Bench is going to be hard to handle.

  2. Yeah, it’ll be tough getting back on track against the hottest team in the NBA. But I think CP will have a huge game against Deron tonight.

  3. […] Patriots loss, needs a win. All Jazzed Up Are the Jazz interested in Jeff Foster? Yahoo! preview At the Hive has a Q&A up with All Jazzed Up. Hornets 247 preview Hornets 247 game thread Enjoy the game, […]

  4. I’m going to Phoenixxxxxxxx. CAN YOU DIG IT NoLa???? I was in Kazaam!!!!

  5. Do you think the Hornets will deal for some more depth before the trade deadline? Maybe Pietrus or Webber from Golden State. Also, maybe if we gave the Lakers West and Paul for Gasol?

  6. What do you think of this?
    “The Chicago Bulls are being described as “all over the map” in their trade talks. In addition to trying to move Ben Wallace, one source said the Bulls are now “as open as they’ve ever been” to trading Ben Gordon. Discussions recently broke down between the Bulls and Hornets over a deal that would have sent shooter Rasual Butler to Chicago.” – ESPN

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