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Monson: Investment tip: Buy into the Jazz now

Published November 11, 2010 11:37 pm

Wins will come easier as players get more familiar with the offense.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If the Jazz were a stock or a tradable commodity, everybody would be buying. Everybody should be buying. They're going to get better. They're going to gain in value.

And here's the best part: The risk factor is low.

What's happened during the past few games, especially the last two, is just a glimpse at their potential. Skeptics might call it dangerous good fortune, this habit the Jazz have of falling behind by major double-digits and then finding a way, some stupid way, to come storming back to win.

Living on the edge, some figure, is no way to invest.

If Paul Millsap has to score 46 points and hit three three-pointers to give the Jazz a chance, then what's sound about that? If the Jazz trail by large margins, not just against the Heat in the first half and the Magic deep into the third quarter on the road, but early against the Clippers at home, how is that supposed to create confidence?

If the Jazz need to be yelled at by Jerry Sloan or inspired by Raja Bell during halftime speeches to wake up and play ball, again, where's the assurance there?

Well. The assurance comes in a simple equation that applies to any team, but especially to this particular version of the Jazz: E + E = W.

Energy plus efficiency equals wins.

It takes no Einstein to grasp that. Even Al Jefferson will understand it, and it won't take him until January to do so.

Yeah, the Jazz have struggled more than many of us thought they would, at least until they launched this week's road trip with one of the most remarkable comebacks in memory. When they trailed the Big Three in Miami by what seemed like 50 at the half, it was a continuation of disjointed play. They set soft picks, they threw bad passes, they chucked up shots that looked as though they were heaving coils of heavy cable onto a loading dock, they looked baffled, they could not get themselves going.

Which is to say, they played exactly the way they played in the first half against the Clippers in their previous outing, and against Golden State the game before that, and in their losses to Phoenix and Denver.

Most inexplicable was their lack of fire.

Who needs a pep talk a week or two into a 30-week season? Shouldn't that rear its droopy head in the doldrums of January or the humdrum of February?

The Jazz, for some reason, needed persuasion like a thoroughbred that refused to leave the gate. It took the veteran Bell's motivational speech to finally get them to motate out and into their current groove.

The lack of efficiency makes more sense.

No matter how often Jefferson said he was grateful to be with the Jazz and eager to provide whatever it was that the team needed, he still had to figure out where to be in Sloan's offense and, even more, how to read defenses, how to find his teammates, how to move the ball. That's still a work in progress, but as he sat through the most dramatic moments against the Heat, having made just one of seven attempts, he appeared eager to nail it down sooner rather than later.

Sooner came the next night in Orlando, when he at least mastered the first part, the where-to-be part, hitting 10 of 16 shots, contributing 21 points, helping the Jazz to their impressive 10-point win. He also had zero assists, which surprised nobody, all while Millsap and Andrei Kirilenko combined for six.

There are many lessons yet for Jefferson, as well as all the newcomers, to learn at both ends, but as they do, the Jazz will get better and better, more and more efficient.

Remember the tip: Buy those stocks, those commodities now, while the Jazz remain a modest 5-3. When they get the effort and the efficiency synced up, they are likely to run off a couple of 10-game win streaks, with maybe a loss or two in-between.

Already, they are shooting nearly 47 percent and averaging almost 25 assists, and nobody knows nothing yet. On the road against the Heat and Magic, two of the East's best teams, the Jazz hit 48 and 50 percent, with a total of 54 assists.

Picture what they might do when they thoroughly put the simple equation together. E + E = Wins — a lot of wins. Although they need to strengthen their bench, the Jazz could blow past the 57 regular-season wins predicted for them here and maybe even become a contender. Especially since different players, beyond Deron Williams, are rising up in their victories, playing their roles, lifting the Jazz when lifting is called for.

Williams appeared to know all this before the season even started, before the Jazz hesitated out of that gate, before they stumbled, and before they exploded into national notice Monday and Tuesday in Florida.

"This could be the best team I've ever played on here," he said.

Like most investment advisers, I can guarantee nothing. But, even as a lifelong skeptic, I'm just saying … Buy now, man, buy now.

GORDON MONSON hosts "The Gordon Monson Show" weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on 1280 The Zone. He can be reached at gmonson@sltrib.com.






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