Gunther, Graham, & OC Discuss What A Win Over Miami Tells Us About The Jazz
Are the Jazz legit? After last night's big win over the defending champions and a stretch of very winnable games ahead of them, the Jazz are poised to make a run. They have won 6 out of their last 8 and star is emerging in Gordon Hayward, who is averaging 16 points, 2.5 boards, and 2.5 assists in January. What's more impressive is that he's putting up those January numbers while getting only limited minutes from Coach Tyrone Corbin. Hayward's minutes have gone up in January, but he's still only getting 26.5 minutes per garme in the 8 January games the Jazz have played. That is clearly not enough playing time for the 3rd year pro who promises to be the future of this Jazz organization.
So the question remains- is this Jazz team for real? Can they be legitimate contenders in the NBA? 1320 KFAN's Kyle Gunther (@GuntherKFAN) thinks the win over Miami along with other big wins this season prove the Jazz can be contenders and not just pretenders:
"After beating the Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs this season the Jazz's fan base was elated. After beating the defending world champion Miami Heat last night, good gracious, the fans should be ecstatic! The Jazz have proved over and over again this year that when they have good ball rotation and great energy off their bench they can beat literally anyone. It doesn't matter that Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh played a combined 40 seconds in the 4th quarter..... It's the Heat. I say that we should now hold the Jazz accountable to be legit contenders in the NBA landscape. We want wins and postseason success now. That means getting past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in years and not making the same mistakes that have made the Jazz embarrassing to watch since they flushed away their playoff hopes in 2010/2011."
Kevin Graham (@KevinGrahamKFAN), the other half of Gunther & Graham, heard on 1320 KFAN from 3:00-7:00 every weekday, is not quite as optimistic (surprise). He seems to feel that the Jazz are teasing the fans with a win like this over Miami and will dissapoint later down the line. Graham says:
"Despite the fourth quarter meltdown that was obviously an impressive win for the Jazz. Except for LeBron James, the Heat overall looked disinterested until the fourth quarter. That’s when Gordon Hayward took over who is clearly emerging as the Jazz go-to guy down the stretch. All indications are pointing to a good run ahead with 14 of the next 19 at home but I’m not buying in quite yet. We’ve seen this team go into to many tailspins throughout the year so I’ll go with the old cliché—we’ll take it one game at a time."
Sean "OC" O'Connell (@OCkfan) is on 1320 KFAN from 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM. He doesn't see The Jazz being a real contender as currently constituted and advocates a move involving one of the veteran big men:
"The Jazz have done it again, playing to the level of their competition, and this time well above the level of the defending champs. We've seen it before (see Spurs) and despite a near-collapse in the 4th, it's good to see this Jazz team get the job done. Particularly meaningful is the contribution of Gordon Hayward. He's maturing into his role nicely, and doing so in big games obviously means more than doing it against crappy Eastern teams. Big Al, Paul Millsap, Gordon Hayward. Those are the Jazz 'big 3'. Is that a formula for playoff dominance? certainly not. But leaning on those 3 is your best bet to short term success. Derek Favors needs to grow into the role that Sap fills now, but he'll need more time for that. Might have to move Millsap before that happens, but can you ask to move him after how he played vs. Miami? The Jazz played 3 strong quarters against one of the league's best 3 teams and got the win. But it is only one win unless they find consistency and stop playing beneath their talent/depth levels. Sure they can beat the Heat and the Spurs, but can they avoid the letdowns against the bottom-half teams?"
It's difficult to say whether the Jazz are really putting it together or if their recent success has just come at the hands of bad NBA teams. Of course Miami can't be classified as a bad NBA team and the Jazz looked great in that game. What can't be argued is that the Jazz are currently 21-19 and face a very comfortable stretch in the schedule as 9 of their next 11 games are at home where the Jazz have only lost 4 games this season. The combined record of the next 12 opponents for the Jazz is 195-252 (.436). The Jazz have a very real chance to push their record to 30-22 or better in that stretch.
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