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.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

USA wins The Cold War 2008

The Cold War 2008

Nice defense Andrei. Where was that in Western Conference Semis?




Andrei Kirilenko was Russia's "go to" man while Team USAs Human Victory Cigar - Carlos Boozer - played 5 minutes with 2 pts and 0 (zip/zero/nada/zilch) rebounds.

The Cold War presented some interesting questions.

Why is Andrei Kirilenko so dominant in FIBA basketball?

Mother Russia plays Andrei at a true four (as we see above). His line from the game was much better than his average Jazz night (and the entire game is only 40 minutes):

31 minutes 6-14 8 rbs 4 ast 18 pts

The only real drawback was his 6-12 FT shooting.

Perhaps having Boozer leave SLC wouldn't be such a bad thing for the Jazz. I know I have been a ranking member of the "Move AK" club, but when I see what he can do as a true power forward, it makes me think that maybe the defensive big man we are lacking, is actually already in a Jazz uniform. (?)

I do think Andrei has a love for the game of basketball and perhaps it is his love for the NBA that has dwindled. What do the Jazz need to do to get the ammo back in the AK-47? Team Russia found a way to do it. In fact they were able to use Andrei so effectively they came out of the bottom of the pack to defeat Spain and win the FIBA EuroCup last year. Who was the MVP? See the picture below. When was the last time you saw this much energy and passion from Andrei Kirilenko (and this picture doesn't count). Perhaps the Jazz should consider bringing Team Russia coach (American born) David Blatt in as part of their staff. He has proven that he can win, and we've seen the success a FIBA coach can have in the NBA (see D'Antoni, Mike).

Somewhere in that scrawny frame is an Basketball Star. I am positive of that. Perhaps the simple answer is allowing AK to play his natural position. He is much quicker than most power forwards and his length can give anyone fits. Allowing him to roam closer the paint will only make his help defense that much more valuable. If you watch Andrei's post moves, they are much stronger than any hint of an outside game he thinks he has. Playing the true four would allow him to get a lot of put backs and his length would make it difficult for the defender to get a good position on him while preparing for a rebound. Andrei had 8 boards against Team USA. That is 7 more than Boozer, Bosh, and Howard combined.

Team USA didn't dominate this game in the paint. They dominated with the outside shot. Was this in part to Andrei being in his element? I know Russia has a big front line, but I am starting to believe that all Andrei needs is a little confidence and position alterations to return to his All-Star form.

Perhaps this is the duo who will lead us to the promised land. Agree or disagree? Leave us a comment. -CB Jack

27 comments:

Scrumtrulescent said...

AK will be a HUGE part of the Jazz reaching a championship level...but more so if he goes than if he stays. $13 million a year can buy a lot of good stuff, much more than 13 points, 6 boards and 3.5 assists (those are from memory...they may or may not be accurate)

Hammy said...

We know that AK can be an All-Star, but I dont think that he will ever fit into this Jazz squad. There is no doubt he is playing out of possition and would be much more effective as a 4, but his skills do not translate well in the pick and roll system that Jerry loves. Either Jerry goes and we bring a new system or AK goes, they are not a good match of styles.

Booner said...

I would be interested to see how many blocks AK had that game. It may have only been a couple but everytime I turned around he was blocking/interupting someones shot. Just hit your free throws AK. You and D-Wade.
I don't know C.B. You bring up a good argument. I just don't think AK likes the NBA. He seemed so bitter towards the entire US team. I think if he took the same attitude and fire he takes into a Euro League/Olympic Game to a Jazz game....like he used to....he could produce. I just don't think he ever will.

Batyr said...

Booner, you are funny. AK doesn't like the NBA??? Come on, now. If he didn't, he would care to speak up. There's many players in the NBA, who get their paychecks and keep their mouths shut. Andrei certainly isn't one of those players. He is at least as passionate as he is sensitive. Give him an opportunity to be more than a "junk yard dog" and he will give you his best. Blame it on the foreigner! LMAO.

C.B. Jack said...

I don't think the question is if AK likes the NBA, it's does he like it as much as FIBA/International basketball?

Judging by his stats? No, he doesn't like it as much. I guess it proves that playing with your countries name on your chest means more than style of music.

Booner said...

Hey batyr, Thanks for visiting the blog. If my comment made you LYAO I think you will enjoy all of our writers. Who blamed what on the foreigner? I didn't blame him for anything. In fact if anyone has ever been blamed for anything on this blog it is a player from Alaska....wait, wait, that's too broad, one C. Boozer from Alaska. (not to mention any names.) So, don't take it personal when I ask AK to play with a little more heart.

moneyman memo said...

Great post! I have been touting AK's efficacy at the 4 position for a long time (and I know I'm not alone). But I agree with Hammy - he and Sloan and Boozer cannot co-exist. His game is not suited to the outside and Sloan is too old-fashioned to experiment with something new. Imagine the same starting line-up but with AK and Boozer playing 4 and 5, respectively...and Memo playing outside as a small forward. On defense everybody would play their natural positions, but the havoc that would cause on offense could allow AK more post-ups and some gorgeous low-post passing. AK might come close to a triple-double every night.

Glad you took the AK-hating shades off, CB Jack...AK is definitely a weapon, it's just that Jerry hasn't figured out how to pull the trigger yet...

C.B. Jack said...

MoneyMan.

I don't know that the shades are off, but I am definately sold to the fact that he isn't playing his best basketball as a Utah Jazz man. I think this guy has serious game, it's just a matter of giving him the reasons to use it.

PS MoneyMan. Look for My Utah Jazz news very very soon....

moneyman memo said...

You got me all anxious, CBJ...what's the news??!! Did Hammy deliver the turd sandwich to KOC?

By the way, love the new banner on the site. True Blue - it's what runs through my veins. Your post got mentioned on Ball Don't Lie today.

UtesFan89 said...

New title and all.
Nice!

Booner said...

Hey C.B. That life size poster of AK came in. You know, the one where you had yourself super-imposed in it? It's awesome, you can't even tell Masha was there. He is in his tux and you are feeding him the wedding cake in your AK 47 jammy's. Can't wait for you to see it. I'll come over tonight and we will hang it on your ceiling.
Text me back........wait. was this a text or a comment on our blog?

C.B. Jack said...

Thanks a lot D-Bag.

So much for the big news everyone. That's it...good night...thanks for coming.

Booner said...

ooops

C.B. Jack said...

That reminds me of that creepy guy on To Catch A Predator. They busted him twice and all he would say is....

oops.

I take back the D-bag comment. I mean we've been friends for a long time and that would be super shallow of me.

Think we should bust out the big My Utah Jazz news?

Booner said...

Bust it.

C.B. Jack said...

Well. Let me put a little something together tonight and we'll unveil tomorrow...ish

Booner said...

Because chances are we've overhyped it and when we tell people (all three of them) they will be like, "so what's the big news." Kind of like the episode of the Office when Michael tells everyone he has a surprise and when he passes out the ice cream sandwiches everyone in the office is like, "Thanks Michael. We can't wait for our surprise."

Hammy said...

Warning, long tirade coming:

Remember that year right after Stockton retired and Malone sold his soul to the devil and the Jazz were supposed to be the worst team in the league and then won 42 games? AK played the 4 that year and went to the All-Star game. He was the most dynamic young player in the league and the sky was the limit for AK-47. That next off-season we went out and spent money on Booze and Memo only to see Booze fake an injury all year and Memo get married to a super model. Memo played fat because he was too busy banging Miss Turkey to work out so Jerry only gave him 25 minutes per night even though he was easily the best player on the team. Add in Carlos Arroyo going nuts and getting traded and all of the sudden all the rosey feelings in Jazz land went to crap.

The end result was the Jazz sucked that year and got D-Will so it really worked out well for us, but the one negative is that Jerry forgot how to coach AK at the exact same time that Booze's ink dried on the contract. In about .5 seconds Jerry changed from FIBA style ball right back to Stockton to Malone style ball. He stuck AK in the 3 spot which is like the farthest corner of hell in the Jazz offense and then a year or two later stuck him in his dog house because AK was pissed about it. Can you blame AK for being mad? He was a legit all-star in the making and then he got shoved to the side for a dude that stabbed a blind guy in the back. I would be pretty upset too.

Andrei knows that for him to be at his best he needs to be on the low block, not the three point line. And while I like Moneymans idea of playing Booze, Memo and AK out of possition on offense, I really think that to take full advantage of AK's skills he needs to be playing the 4 on defense. In his all-star year he became the second player to ever be in the top 5 in blocks and steals. No other player in the league can create as much havok near the basket as AK. I dont think he has cracked the top 10 in either category as a 3.

After watching AK against the US I actually might be talking myself into believing that the Jazz would be better off just letting Booze opt out and stick AK there. It solves a lot of problems with the logjam of wing players, gives CJ and Almond their chance at the 3 (we would finally be able to put the argument to bed as well) and frees up a ton of money to give to Millsap. The kicker with that plan is Sloan, if he is still the coach it will never go down like that. It might just be time for the Jazz to tell Sloan that the grass is greener out there on the farm.

P.S. random fact of the day for you - Andei wanted to wear #13 when he got to the Jazz, but it was already taken so Quincy Lewis suggested that he go with 47 and gave him the nickname AK-47. Quincy effing Lewis came up with that nickname, amazing.

Scrumtrulescent said...

not gonna lie, I voted for all 4 teams in the poll at the same time simply because I could

Booner said...

at least you are honest Scrum. (C.B. will you put an asterik by all of Scrums votes?)

UtesFan89 said...

I think AK is a much better fit at the 4... even if he seems to be too skinny for it.
It fits his game better... and then we can tell him to stay in there and not worry about him jacking up ugly jumpers at the worst possible time.

Batyr said...

Thanks for a welcome. I visited through a yahoo link. I am not big on blogging, but I like what I see here. Finally, I hear some common sense on AK. While I disagree that NBA vs. FIBA is a big deal, but rather think that it's about "3" vs. "4", the evaluation of Andrei's capacity is legit. Some good points about beastly features that we saw from AK in the league back in '04. To sweep all the comments about A.K.'s fading, I'll point to his continued dominance on the international arena (read 'when opportunity is there'). He was European MVP last year and will show you what he can do during these Olympics. Value wise, everyone is welcome to see that if Booz is worth a near max deal, AK-47 is certainly worth his (if used in a right way). Sloan should go back to his farm and be replaced with somebody legit in order for the Jazz to win. It would take some guts from Larry. No question about it.

C.B. Jack said...

Nice comment. I agree with all of it except the "Value wise, everyone is welcome to see that if Booz is worth a near max deal, AK-47 is certainly worth his (if used in a right way)."

Boozer is probably due a max deal thanks to his offensive production. He is a legit 22 and 11 guy. They don't come often.

Andrei however is NOT worthy of a max deal. I think even if he was putting up FIBA numbers in the NBA he would be hard pressed to get a max deal. I hope AK is sending a big ol' box of chocolates to Pau Gasol because he is the reason Andrei scored his max deal. Andrei is at best a 9-11 MM per year player.

Batyr said...

These 22 and 11s don't mean much in this context... This is a limited view at only two stat lines. Even forgetting productivity not captured by the standard statistics measurements, AK's contributions can be much more valuable at the "4" than what Booz brings. He didn't produce 20:10 back in '04 either, but his across the board productivity was impressive (and still can be). So, pointing to 22 and 11 is somewhat irrelevant (just like weight and facial hair).

I am not saying that AK is your standard max player... he is not. Offensive versatility is one major pre-requisite he does not satisfy. What I am saying though is that Carlos Boozer is no more valuable that AK. I would argue that he is much less valuable for his overall ("offense-defense" and fighter spirit) utility.

I am too lazy to dig salaries, but if AK is overvalued, it's by a million or two, at best. His true value is simply hidden now that he is used out of his natural position (#4). Put Tim Duncan at #3, or Kobe Bryant at #4 or simply reduce the number of touches for either of your max players and you could easily make a case that these guys are aren't worth what they are paid.

Batyr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
C.B. Jack said...

Some great points Batyr.

Aya said...

Interesting to know.