Emptying the Noggin – Jazz pre-season loss in Portland

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
• The played very poorly tonight. It is a rare occasion that the Jazz don’t play hard and don’t play tough. Tonight was one. It is the pre-season and it is clear the guys have moved their focus to being ready for Halloween night rather than tonight. They will re-adjust that out of pride on Thursday night.

• This won’t be the last. Over the course of an 82 game schedule there are at minimum 6 nights a year and probably more where you just wipe the slate clean and say didn’t have it. Tonight was one of those.

• The primary issue of the pre-season was whether or not the Jazz could move to a top level defensive team rather than the 21st ranked team they were last year. At the core of that issue is whether or not a team with an undersized power forward and not very agile center can be a top level defensive team. At times this pre-season there has been marked improvement. However, tonight 1st quarter(41) and the 3rd quarter (34) against the Clippers were unmitigated disasters. 30 point quarters are death in the NBA.

• Enes Kanter had another impressive outing. Nothing about this is a fluke. He is a player. I am not sure I thought he would be the player demanding playing time this pre-season but he has made his case and he it is hard to deny the progress he has made and the stunning improvement to all aspects of his game.

• Derrick looked closer to the Derrick Favors we saw last year. He had his best post move we have ever seen on the left block with a cross over baseline move for a revere lay-in. This is a process that we all want to happen immediately but it will take time and those flashes are important.

• Jamaal Tinsley was clearly bothered by having his wisdom teeth taken out. He just didn’t look right. He runs the team so well, but his lack of shooting is noticeable when the first play Foye came in to play the point he hit a three on the same rotation that happened two plays earlier and Tinsley wasn’t an option to shoot. The difficulty is Foye doesn’t run the team as concisely as Foye. Tough decisions.

• 22 turnovers is way too many. The Jazz have been loose with the ball. Interesting to see if Coach Corbin can handle this team playing the up tempo if they turn the ball over. My guess is they slow down considerably if the turnovers don’t subside.

• Damian Lillard is really good. He can shoot it. He is in control. He plays calmly and reads the floor and plays each play correctly. Teams will adjust to him, but he is solid and going to have a great year and a solid career. Teams will start going over on the pick and he will have to learn to finish at the rim and hit the mid range shot, but his ability to shoot and his tempo will overcome any weaknesses.

• One more that doesn’t count.