sports, Utah Jazz

Mehmet Okur is Unstoppable: The First Jazz Post of 2009


Mehmet Okur gives the state of Indiana 43 reasons to hate him.



I (Ben) have been postponing this Jazz post for a while now. On January 1, 2009, Utah was 19-14. Had the playoffs begun that day, the Jazz would have been the nine seed in the West. If you don’t follow the NBA closely, being the nine seed is no good. You remember how Golden State won 47 games last year but missed the playoffs? Utah was on pace to be this year’s Golden State.

Then Carlos Boozer announced he was undergoing “garden variety” arthroscopic surgery, weeks after announcing he would test the free agent waters next summer. That wasn’t really a surprise, although after him sitting out fifteen straight games you might question the timing.

On top of all this, Scott Guldin’s Chicago Bulls swept the Jazz this year and I could not stop having nightmares about Vinny Del Negro’s hair.

Then Utah won four straight, culminating last night with Mehmet Okur’s career high 43 against the Pacers. Andrei Kirilenko added 23 points and 12 boards. Morris Almond was scoreless in four minutes of playing time. And my fantasy team jumped two spots.

That dark cloud still hovering over Utah’s finest though? Now they’re only the eighth seed. And they’d still play the Lakers in the first round. (John Hollinger puts a whole bunch of numbers into a calculator and predicts Utah has a 93.5% chance of making the playoffs, which is reassuring, but just a 4% chance of winning a title.*)

I’ve been troubled by something Denys Lai said earlier this season, which I will quote here:

I think your thesis of the Jazz contending is an affliction that plagues many writers — they run out of good things to write about, come up with some cockamamie idea, and then proceed to defend the idea like it was two disgraced marines and you were Tom Cruise. It’s like when I debate my coworkers that Cocktail was Tom’s best work when you and both know in our heart of hearts that it was Top Gun

In our heart of hearts we all know Tom’s best work was Top Gun. And in my heart of hearts, I know the Jazz will not win an NBA title this year. Deron Williams getting injured in the preseason. Boozer getting injured (again). Andrei Kirilenko starting a blog. Vinny Del Negro’s Bulls sweeping us. It’s just not in the cards for 2009. Which is a huge disappointment considering Utah was on the rise after two strong playoff showings. But when I watch the Cavs or Lakers play, or when I see up-and-coming teams out west like Portland and Denver (curse you, Joe Dumars!), I put on my vintage 1988 old school Stockton jersey and curl up into a fetal position on the floor.

So what’s there to keep writing about if Utah isn’t a serious contender this year? And what about other pressing questions, such as:

1. When will Paul Blart relieve David Stern of his duties as NBA commissioner? It’s only a matter of time. ABC’s Christmas Day game between the Lakers and Celtics was basically a two-and-a-half hour commercial for Paul Blart Mall Cop. And the sideline interview with Kevin James and Adam Sandler was excruciating to watch. The only thing that made it even slightly bearable was trying to figure out whether or not Sandler was high. I’m still convinced he was.

2. When will Brandon Roy return my calls? Brandon, I just want to hang out! I’ve got Portland street cred! My brother lives there! Trust me, I know we’d be BFFs! I love you!

3. Wait, Brooke Lopez scored 31 points against Oklahoma City last night?

4. No, seriously, was nobody guarding him?

5. What exactly goes on inside the mind of a Memphis Grizzlies fan? According to my friend Jason, an actual Memphis Grizzlies fan, this:

I’m worried about Rudy Gay. The knock on him coming out of college was that he would defer too much or disappear for stretches at a time. That has definitely been the case this year. I love Rudy, but I wonder if he has that desire to win. Mayo seems to have it. And I like Marc Gasol a lot. As soon as he limits his fouls and turnovers I’ll like him even more.

So there you go. (Please give Jason a hug when you see him.)

6. Where can I get some pictures of that creepy-looking Jazz bear mascot driving a motorcycle with a cheerleader? Glad you asked.

7. Is it true that human Sasquatch Mark Eaton really has his own blog? You know it. (If you scroll down to his entry from July 16, 2008, you’ll see that Mark recommends the Amisfield Pinot Noir ’05, saying it’s “one of the best pinot noirs coming out of New Zealand” and that it’s “perfect with salmon or roast chicken.” Then he adds, “Remember, life is too short to drink bad wine!” Mark Eaton: Wine Connoisseur Who Just Happens To Look Like Bigfoot.)

8. Are you just finding obscure links off the Utah Jazz homepage because you don’t have anything else to write about? Yes. This is a cry for help.


UPDATE! We’ve made Jazz blog friends with SLCDunk. “Basketball John” quotes from this post, except he quotes Denys Lai, not us. I wonder if I’m going to be excommunicated for expressing doubt about Utah’s title hopes. 




* = Denys, good news! Hollinger says Golden State has a 0.1% of getting to the playoffs this year. So you’re telling me there’s a chance!)


11 thoughts on “Mehmet Okur is Unstoppable: The First Jazz Post of 2009

  1. Okur and Williams combined for 66 points, 9 rebounds, and 14 assists last night. Giving my fantasy team an early 10-0 lead for the week.

    Thanks, guys!

  2. I always get excited when I see a new post, followed by the disappointment of finding it is about the Utah Jazz. It’s like turning on Law and Order hoping for Vincent D’Onofrio and getting Chris Noth.

  3. I’m glad you brought up Eric Gordon. What is the maximum number of Clippers players allowed on one’s fantasy team? One? Zero? I have two: Marcus Camby and Al Thornton (a recent pick-up from waivers). Is this why I’m in sixth place?

    Andrew — I know that sickening feeling well. I’m sorry you feel it when we post about the Jazz. Would it help to work in a poop story every time?

    Scott — Remember how we’d always look at Matt Geiger and say, “That guy just looks like he has smelly poops”? I still think about that. And I’m still certain he does.

  4. Ben — Of COURSE I remember our conclusion about Matt Geiger. For what it’s worth, I get a similar vibe from AK-47 (seems like he eats a lot of asparagus for some reason — stinky) and Boozer (must be the chest hair — don’t ask.)

    I almost want to apologize for the Bulls’ season sweep. The Bulls — they’re not so good. I read in the Tribune the other day that John Paxson is trying so hard at this point to get rid of Larry Hughes that he is willing to take on a similarly horrible contract in return. DO YOU NEVER LEARN, PAX???? So basically we’ve done this: Elton Brand –> Tyson Chandler –> Ben Wallace –> Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes –> someone even worse with a really bad, crippling contract. (In fairness, Jerry Krause traded Brand, but wouldn’t Chandler look pretty good running the break with Rose right about now? I mean, the pre-2008-09 Chandler — the one that doesn’t single-handedly cripple my fantasy team?) Also of note, the deal that cleared the cap space for Ben Wallace [Chandler to New Orleans for PJ Brown] also included JR Smith, who was promptly cut. But Paxson sticks with Thabo Sefolosha and signs Lindsey Hunter? WHAT?!

    Stinky poops indeed.

  5. I’ve only heard that story, what, 60 times now? Maybe 90? Confession: Sometimes when I’m walking down the street and see you coming toward me, I duck into an alley so I don’t have to hear it again. I mean seriously. The world doesn’t revolve around you meeting Sharon Stone over a good poop at the Ivy.

    Scott — When you lay it all out like that, I see — no, I feel — your pain as a Bulls fan. And you didn’t even mention that Vinny Del Negro has felt compelled to start Aaron Gray for most of the season. Whatever his detractors are, however, Larry Hughes still hit the game-winning jumper at the Delta Ce–er, Energy Solutions Arena.

    Stinky poops indeed.

    (Chest hair?)

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