They're bad, huh? Yeah, real bad. Poor Jerry Sloan. His career leaves him (Stockton and Malone), he gets teased by one great year by his youngsters, then they make like the Titanic and barrell head first into an iceberg. Things haven't gotten much better for them this season either.
Deron Willims has been eratic, but no more than a rookie who's a starting point guard should be. AK-47 and Carlos Boozer are still battling injuries, and they don't have anyone who can shoot. Harpring is a great role player, but stands exposed without help. Giricek is just not very good. Mehmet Okur certainly is looking like he's worth the money they paid him, and that's really all they've got. They would be the Raptors this year if it wasn't for their coach who, as much as it pains me to say, is a really great coach.
7-10 is certainly not a bad record, it's the 2-6 at home that hurts a lot. It's not the 91.2ppg(7th) their defense is giving up, or the 42.7%(5th) Fgs their opponents are shooting. It's the 88.2ppg(27th) their offense is scoring, while shooting 41.3%(29th) from the floor, the 15.8tpg(27th), and the 26.1 fouls their committing per game, which is dead last. Defensively they're playing perfectly well, it's the offense that is pitiful. Sure, they're offensive weapons are all hurt, but wow, they are just awful on the fun end of the floor. Sloan has never had Dallas Maverick-type teams, but they've usually been atleast competent on offense. Sloan's hard-nosed style is working out defensively, which is about the teams only saving grace.
Anyone reading here has probably seen how the Wolves are doing - see previous post, opinion shared.
PG Marko Jaric v Deron Williams
Deron's quickness will give Marko some trouble, but experience will play heavily in this matchup. Jaric, at 6-7, should spend as much time in the post as KG does. If Casey decides to let Jaric get some touches down there, it's gonna be a long night for Williams.
SG Trenton Hassell v Gordan Giricek
Giricek has a hard enough time putting the ball in the hoop all by himself, so with the defensive stopper of the Wolves on him, he's gonna have a really long night, unless someone makes Hassell play a lot of help defense.
SF Wally Szczerbiak v Matt Harpring
This is actually a pretty good matchup. Wally is bad at defense and Matt is not very good at offense, and the opposite is true. Wally is shooting well, so he should win the duel with Harpring pretty handily because Matt will be called on to help out on KG
PF Kevin Garnett v Andrei Kirilenko
This is also a pretty decent matchup. Both guys know a lot about defense, but AK-47 is playing horribly on the offensive end. Look for KG to get some on both ends because he doesn't have back-to-back cold games very often and Andrei is still playing hurt
C Michael Olowokandi v Mehmet Okur
Bowl of Candy is going to get destroyed tonight. Okur can play all over the floor and, as we saw against Shareef Abdur-rahim last night, Kandi can't guard anyone who's more than 6 feet from the hoop. If KG and Eddie G don't play great help defense, Shareef dumps 30 on Kandi lastnight. Look for Kandi to be really confused all night. If Casey is smart, Eddie Grif will play the center position all night.
This is going to be an ugly game no matter how it's played. Utah can muck it up with the best of them, but if the Wolves get going early, this game will be over before half time. If they don't, then expect a game with final score that resembles a pre-shot clock game.