Earlier, I mentioned the 7 reasons thing going on over at SLC Dunk. Sadly, that has come to an end… or it had. I’ve decided to pick it back up. I have at least 4 lists in mind, this is the first of them (for those of you that want AK to go… don’t worry, that’s my next list). So, with all that mentioned… 7 reasons the Jazz should keep AK around.
- He’s a safety net should Booze leave.
Just say for the time being that Booze decides to leave (the Jazz low-ball him, his son needs to leave the altitude, his wife just gets totally sick of it, etc.). ‘Sap is an ideal back-up, but the foul trouble is worrisome. Okur could shift over, but then there’s a hole at the 5 (unless Koufos or Fesenko really explode this year). The Jazz probably won’t have a draft pick in the first round next year, and there’s no guarantee that a FA will want to come to Utah (even with Deron here). AK is the safety net should the Jazz not be able to get another 4… AK has played the position before… and was an All-Star that year. So he can handle it.
- He’s a “jack of all trades, master of none” player.
Just look at his stats. He won’t go off for 50 points on you. But he’ll get his points, along with rebounds, steals, blocks & assists. While specialized players seem to be becoming the norm in the NBA, guys who can do it all still have a spot. And AK is one of those guys. Whatever you need him to do, he’ll do. Or at least try to. You can’t expect an offensive outburst from him too often, but he’ll do plenty of other things to make up for not scoring 30 points a game.
- The Jazz won’t get enough in return.
It’s true. He’s considered “overpaid” by most because he doesn’t score like most “max players” do. It’s a sad reality of today’s NBA. No team will give up a piece the Jazz really need to get him… it’ll be more of a salary dump for the Jazz. And on a team so close to the Finals the last couple of years, a salary dump involving one of your starters might not be the smartest idea.
- AK plays defense… at least help defense.
The team struggles defensively. It’s a known fact that they depend on the “hack anyone that drives” defensive scheme as their #1 defensive plan. AK is able to provide help defense (and occasionally one-on-one defense… when he isn’t getting called for fouls as Kobe pushes him over), and also has the ability to come up with the steals. Yes, he occasionally hurts the team as he lets guys past him (seemingly so that he can set up for the block), but overall… he’s a lot better than most of the guys on the team.
- AK is a good passer.
It might be a bit overrated here, but the Jazz work best by getting the ball to the open guy. AK, while having some turnover issues, passes the ball well (2.6 apg in his career… 4.0 apg last year!) and is also able to bring the ball up when Deron is on the bench. His attempts at fancy passes hurt sometimes, but he’s shown the ability to be a solid passer.
- AK’s long-ball is improving.
AK is playing out of position… and at a position that requires him to shoot the long ball. While still not solid, his shooting from long range last year was solid for him (we’ll ignore the playoffs). It seems as if working with Jeff Hornacek really did work… last year was the first time where you didn’t shut your eyes every time he took a jumper (it only happened early in the season, and then in the playoffs). If he can develop that jumper even more, he just becomes more deadly on a Jazz team that relies on the inside-outside game.
- His game fits the Jazz.
The Jazz offense really emphasizes cutting to the hoop without the ball (see Ronnie Brewer). This fits AK’s game exceptionally well… he’s a ton better closer to the hoop (most people are… but in AK’s case, you get nervous when he’s shooting a jumper). He’s able to cut to the hoop and get open, which is something the Jazz could use more of. Unfortunately, Brewer does that too, so the Jazz offense requires AK to stand outside (probably a better option than AK slashing and Brewer standing outside). If somehow the Jazz could find a way to let them both cut to the hoop…
That’s how I see it. Thoughts? Comments? Questions?
Up next: 7 Reasons To Trade AK