The results are in...guess who's #1?

The results of LA Ball Talks team blog contest are in. And once again, Jazz fans have made it clear that True Blue Jazz is their favorite Jazz blog on the Internet. Thanks to all who voted. Stay tuned because we have big big BIG news on the way....Prepare for Jazz heaven.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Chat with Brew Hoop

Our own CB Jack recently sat down with to talk about the Bucks/Jazz match-up.

Here is what took place:

1. Michael Redd has historically destroyed the Jazz. If you were Ronnie Brewer, how what excuse would you use when Redd goes off for 54 tonight?

If I were Brewer I'd point to the scoreboard, since Redd's big games usually seem to come in losses. Redd has improved his passing this year, but in general he's still the sort of guy who will have periods where he gets into attack mode and it's like he's the only guy wearing a Bucks jersey. Often times this season he's had little choice, as the Bucks spent much of the
first half of the season trying to figure out how to score consistently. So the team often got into a situation where guys were hinting in the media that Redd was trying to do too much late in games, yet aside from Mo Williams and occasionally Bogut, no one else was showing they deserved the ball either.

When Redd does go off, it's usually because he's making very difficult shots. He's really hard to keep out of the lane despite his lack of top tier athleticism, and he's probably better at contested jumpers than wide-open ones. So I'm not sure there's an easy gameplan for stopping him,
but often times when he is going off the rest of the team goes into hibernation.

2. What was your personal view of the Jazz on Sunday after they beat the Suns and Denver back to back? How does that compare to the Jazz that just lost to the Bulls last night?

I didn't see any of the last game, but I've felt for a while that the Jazz would be in the mix in the West. As a fan it's pretty exciting to see so many teams in one conference looking like legitimate title contenders, and overall I'd put them maybe just behind the Spurs and Lakers as favorites out West. If Okur can keep playing at anywhere close to the level he's been at
recently they are going to be a formidable team come April and May. The Nuggets were in Milwaukee a couple weeks back and blew a 23 point lead against the Bucks, so I wasn't all that impressed by their chemistry late in the game and in general they seem like a team still trying to figure some stuff out. I saw the Suns lose to the Sixers in Phoenix two weeks ago (I was on a spring training trip) and have generally been very skeptical of the Shaq trade. So individually those wins don't surprise me THAT much given how good the Jazz have been. But still, I think the Jazz have shown they belong in the conversation with the Spurs and Lakers, namely because after last year they've gotten experience playing together in the playoffs. I don't think you can manufacture championship teams over night (one reason I'm a little skeptical of Boston), so you have to feel good that the Jazz did some damage in the playoffs last year.

3. Bucks were able to get a steal with Mo Williams. What would kind of a trade would it take to get him back in a Utah Jazz uniform?

Nabbing him the way they did the Bucks definitely got a steal, but I think there are huge questions whether Williams can really be the point guard answer for the Bucks' in the long term. They had to re-sign him because they had no one capable of replacing him, but his defense continues to be poor and his game management is still developing. Part of the problem is
also that the Bucks didn't really have an offensive identity for much of the season. Are they Redd's team? Is Bogut going to be the focal point? Are they going to push the pace? So Mo's had to change the way he plays over the course of the season. I think he's best suited to an up-tempo style playing with a more defensive complement in the backcourt. I think he could do really well with a guy like Deron Williams actually, but playing PG next to Redd is tough because neither defends well and they both need to be scoring to be effective.

4. Are there a lot of deer in Milwaukee?

I once hit one with my car in high school and they still occasionally eat some of the vegetables in my parents' garden, so I'd have to say yes.

5. Yi. Can you please give us a phonetic spelling? Has his addition helped your blog get over a million hits a day?

I'd say most people are best left to say "E" and not bother with his given name. But lately the word is that you're supposed to pronounce it "Jee-yen Lee-yen," though I think that's a simplification because us Americans won't be able to pronounce it correctly.

Jianlian is actually two characters in Chinese, each of which (I'm told) is only one syllable, so in practice I think you're supposed to slur the pronunciation a bit together. When I've watched international games of his the Chinese announcers usually say it so that it sounds more like
"Jhen-Lyen." Two long syllables.

Our Chinese hits aren't that high, especially now that he's hurt. Though the curiosity factor probably helps us in that he created a lot of stuff to write about last summer and US hoops blogs have often linked to us since he's an interesting story. Some Chinese sports websites have also
translated some of our stuff (without asking of course), so that was funny to see. The most surprising one was when CCTV, the state TV network, put one of our stories in Mandarin on their website. We'd never have known except that they put "brewhoop" in English near the top. Too bad they don't give us a hyperlink!

6. If you could create an All-Star starting 5, a 6th man, and a coach using only the Bucks and Jazz current rosters, who would fill what position and why?

How about we just take the Jazz choices for all of those? Sloan is an easy pick; Larry Krystkowiak is unfortunately still trying to figure things out in the NBA. The only Bucks starters you might pick over their Utah counterparts would be Bogut and Redd, though Redd's scoring is hardly needed on a team that scores as efficiently as the Jazz. And I definitely like Korver off the bench. So I'd say all Jazz, except Bogut gets a homecoming of sorts and slots in for Memo at the 5.

Can you tell that I'm expecting a loss tonight?

So there you go folks. What happens if we're both expecting a loss?

We'll find out soon enough.

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