Sifting the playoff rubble . . . Already, the phone lines are heating up on the Jazz office switchboard and the radio talk shows with the helpful community willingly offering all kinds of clever suggestions.
Funny, it says here Their Jazz won 51 games this season.Then again, the Jazz brought some of this postseason outrage upon themselves with an attitude that said: Judge us by the playoffs, please. Coach Jerry Sloan and the players shrugged off winning the Midwest Division as nothing more than a low-level goal, almost a distraction to the real quest.
At clinching time, Sloan said, and we quote, "I know what's expected of this team."
The next thing we know, they're trying to go back and claim the division title as proof of a great season and say those local expectations were just out of whack. Having now won exactly one playoff series in four seasons, at least maybe they've succeeded in lowering next season's troubling expectations a little.
- Free agent Mike Brown lost market value in the playoffs. He'll be back.
- Thurl Bailey signed his new contract just in time, last January.
- Is it fair for Bobby Hansen to lose three years of playoff reputation in three games?
- Free agent Marc Iavaroni lost market value in the playoffs. Possible next stop: Orlando. But the Jazz could make room for a good influence like him.
- This is Darrell, and this is the other Darrell. Can anyone get hotter and colder faster than Griffith?
- Where was Danny Ainge when the Jazz needed him? Back in Boston, while his children finish the school year. Of course, not giving up on Eric Leckner in February to take Ainge from the Celtics was probably the right move.
- Larry Miller will at least suggest something crazy this summer. Will he do anything crazy?
- Playing as a starter was not necessarily Bailey's problem in Games 2 and 3. As an Opening Night starter against Seattle, Bailey had 26 points and seven rebounds.
- Here's guessing the Jazz will save their postseason awards dinner for sometime after April 10 next year.
- Nine minutes in three games for Leckner, the man too good to be traded for Ainge?
- Mark Eaton lost market value in the playoffs. Or did he? No doubt, that will be a bargaining issue this summer, with a year left on Eaton's contract. Was playing Golden State not a valid test of Eaton's impact, or did the series show that the Jazz need scoring from their center and will only afford to use him in future years as a 20-minute defensive specialist, like Manute Bol?
- While the Jazz make Golden State sound like the hottest thing going, you'd better believe the Suns and Lakers are glad to have the Jazz out of the way.
- Pre-series quote No. 1, from Bailey: "It's scary sometimes, when you think of what people on the outside think versus what you know could happen."
- Does the public take losing this hard everywhere?
- The results of this series hardly cry out for a dismantling of the team, just better game-on-the-line performances from key people. In three games, the Jazz were down by two points, up by three and up by one at halftime. They lost by four, eight and 14. The fact they were 6-7 in games decided by three points or less in the regular season seems more important now.
- The Suns over the Warriors in six games.
- Thanks to his recovery, Karl Malone's market value held steady in the playoffs. That's meaningless, you say, because the Mailman has nine years left on his contract? Yeah, right. He'll be back for more. When Malone makes first-team all-NBA and starts comparing the non-deferred, cash value of his '89-90 salary, he'll be back.
- Pre-series quote No. 2, from Sloan: Reminded that Bol blocked 10 shots in one game against the Jazz, an uncharacteristically flippant Sloan said, "We won that game, didn't we?"
- Training camp starts Oct. 6.
- The '89-90 regular season opens Nov. 3.
- Next season's Midwest Division favorite will be . . . we'd better not tell them.