Wood's Word: Utah Jazz hit midseason

The Utah Jazz are nearing the midpoint of the 2012-13 NBA season. Why must it pass by so quickly?

I love the Utah Jazz. I love to watch them (win) and I support them in their yearly conquest to make it as far as the Western Conference Finals (rimshot!). They provide me with a cause upon which I may devote my time and heart during the frigid, unsympathetic winter season. “Well, maybe you should find a girlfriend!” you say. To that, I respond: “I have one. Her name is the Jazz.”

“Have they ever loved you back?” you ask. Yes, they have. They have, indubitably.

I cite one specific example. A friend of mine recently invited me to attend a local sporting event at Energy Solutions Arena to see the Utah Jazz defend their home against the San Antonio Spurs. I hesitated to accept, if only briefly, due to the result of the last Jazz game I attended. I was present for Utah’s season-ending playoff loss to the Spurs last April. Nevertheless, I gladly welcomed her invitation (they were lower-bowl seats to boot).

The game was played on 12/12/12, and, naturally, there was something alive in the air. We enjoyed a comfortable Jazz lead for most of the game until the Spurs closed the gap in the fourth quarter. The game was tied with only a few seconds to go, and Utah point guard Mo Williams sank a 3-point buzzer-beater to seal the victory.

Small moments like those keep your love alive. The Jazz represent our state to the rest of the nation, and it’s fun to support them to bring their best play.

But, as my older brother wisely said, “the Jazz are kind of like an insecure girlfriend.” They can be really great to you for a while, and then a more attractive girl like the Oklahoma City Thunder comes along to put them down and ruin fun. You assure her that you didn’t even notice the Thunder, but, really, they clearly looked great.

Prior to their matchup against Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers last Saturday night, the Jazz held a slightly above-average record of 26-21 nearly halfway through the season.

The team has some positive qualities to look forward to for the rest of the season. After demonstrating some cohesive and impressive play during the month of January, things are looking hopeful for Utah. The Jazz have one of the best home-court advantages in the NBA, as shown by their 17-5 record at home. The team’s deep bench allows for some versatility and energy throughout the entire game. The strong Utah frontcourt has almost no other comparison in terms of depth and power, and the young prospects are certainly improving in their game. Derrick Favors continues to grow in his overall ability and feel for the game, and, in this columnist’s opinion, potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate Gordon Hayward is the glue that keeps the team together.

That being said, many questions loom regarding the future of the men of the music note.

While it is one of their strongest resources, the Utah frontcourt may be a bit too deep — if that is at all possible. Though they succeed in height and strength, the Jazz lack some necessary floor management at the position of the guard. Due to their depth at the forward and center positions and lack thereof at the guard, the widely accepted rumor throughout the NBA is that the Jazz will be looking to trade either Al Jefferson (the team’s leading scorer and rebounder) or Paul Millsap before the Feb. 21 trade deadline. Stay tuned for a change likely to happen on the Jazz roster in the next few weeks.

A possible trade may also help the overall management of the team strategy led by head coach Tyrone Corbin, who seems to possibly be catching the hang of things after quite some time.

Whatever the future holds for the Jazz and their roster, I don’t expect the team’s story to disappoint any time soon.