Inigo Montoya wrote:Interesting podcast by Locke today, where he's breaking down the impact of Conley's return to the lineup and how it affects other players and their touches. Don't know if I agree with everything but it's interesting nonetheless and props to him for putting in the work. The main guy who's affected by Conley's return according to him is Ingles, which matches the eye-test.
Ingles has been terrible when Conley has been available, which was the case to start the season and the case now. Royce definitely doesn't look the same either (he has always been a better starter than bench player). Both of those players have provided better, complimentary play for longer stretches this season than anything Conley has provided- and I'm not sure what Conley is providing is worth the loss in their production.
Before Conley went out with injury the Jazz were playing selfish offense, Ingles was invisible, Royce was meh, and our defense was terrible. Conley goes out with injury and the players pass the ball- the selfish hero ball chucking basically disappears, defense improves, Ingles thrives and looks great, Royce looks solid. Conley comes back and we're back to where we were.
Now before the Conley stans come at me: I'm not blaming the recent stretch on him necessarily. The whole team is playing like tarsh and Conley has been okay for the most part. He didn't even play in the first Denver game and we still lost. Earlier in the year the Jazz had 5 blow out losses, almost back-to-back, and Conley only played in 2.5 of them. Its not really on him. ...The timing is suspicious however.
Yes our schedule was easy, no denying it was a cake walk- but the team looked better- again they were passing, playing with energy, playing defense. They played a better style of ball.
These last 5 games haven't been against good teams either. Without context, the Rox and Nuggets look like great teams as our schedules are comparable, but when you look at who played it wasn't a good team that was fielded. There is no reason for the Jazz to have lost 5 in a row to these teams. They are not any better within context than the teams we played early January.
Yes teams drop games they shouldnt- happens all the time. But that is a single game and the team usually bounces back to a solid style of play. The Jazz are clearly not doing that. The players are off, the defense is off, the offense is off- and I don't think its because of the opponents. They are beating themselves. They aren't playing good teams right now, so why?
This is where I (unfairly?) blame Conley:
Could something about his presence be psychologically messing with the team? It shouldn't be the case. He's a great teammate, he's not a cancer, he should have been a perfect fit that brought this team to the next step (according to a lot of people but not all).
And yet, that's not what's happening at all. You listen to national media guys and they all talk about how shocked they are that he isn't working. He should fit. You watch the jazz play and as an individual he's been okay- but the offense looks terrible as well as the defense when he's around. Can't blame him really, except he's the common denominator in that when he's present, the team and chemistry looks off. I know advanced stats say that his presence is still one of the best starting 5's, but my eyes feel differently.
So the question is, what is it about his presence that shakes up the chemistry, makes the players play selfish hero ball, makes the defense vansih, makes Ingles and Royce all but disappear?
Is it the expectations of what he was supposed to provide? Is it the failure to meet those expectations? Is there not enough ball when he's around? Is it because he is making so much money and was touted as the guy who finally got us some FA'ls, was going to bring us to the next level, and basically be the hero, that it has bothered our main/original guys (especially with him not playing to expectations)?
He's not a bad teammate. Everyone seems to like him, and yet there is this common theme happening with the team that I don't think has to do with the schedule. I'm not sure its fair to blame Conley. Actually it probably isn't. Its not his fault, but sometimes players just don't work out and click with a team when they should. It happens. However, this team is all out of whack and subconsciously something about Conley is bothering the way this team plays (IMO). It sure looks that way given the timing of the poor stretches of play versus good.
Come @ me Conley stans, or non Conley stans who think I'm crazy.
I probably am, but its weird is all.