Thursday, September 27, 2007

AK in the Matrix

As has been reported on for the past week or so, Andrei Kirelinko wants out of Utah. That's not really a surprise as it's pretty much been established that he just can't take his role as a defensive specialist. Instead, he wants to be The Man. That wasn't a problem until this past year, with Carlos Boozer being injured and Deron Williams not yet established at the point, but now where he is the 4th option on the floor, he is done with it. To some degree, I can see his frustration. He was used to being the go-to guy and then it got taken away. At the same time, it didn't really get taken away, he threw it away. He threw it away by relying on his natural talent instead of working to get better. Sure, he practiced and all, but if D-Will is accurate (and I tend to think he is), Andrei was out of the gym the second Coach Sloan called it a day. Meanwhile, you had people like Boozer or even Rafael Araujo who were out to prove something, and they did. Hoffa didn't end up sticking around, but even though he was the 12th man on the team, he worked like there was no tomorrow. I respect that. I also respect someone who, after losing his alpha dog status, crawls back up and gets his head in the game. Williams did that after a really rough first season. Sloan's not known for coddling people, and Williams took the challenge and broke out his second year. AK, while one of the most incredible natural talents I've seen, decided that he was going to sulk that he didn't get his touches. You want to know how to get touches? Rebound the heck out of that ball. Run the court. Do all the little things that help your team win. By doing that, you'll get your touches. That's how Matt Harpring has made his living, by slashing, crashing the boards, and making a nuisance of himself. If AK would throw himself into defense, he would get his points.

So he wants out, and in my opinion, we should do everything we can to move him. He's an unnatural talent that will make us regret the trade, but he could also be such a negative influence in the locker room that it causes the team to implode. At the same time, Phoenix has the same problem with Shawn Marion. Swap those two for each other. I know that a lot of people, most notably Bill Simmons, have proposed this idea, and I have to say I'm keen on it. The Jazz get an impact player for theirs instead of pulling a Billy King and getting 50 cents on the AK dollar from some other team. Both teams solve their immediate problems and it's as close to a win-win as you could get in the NBA. Heck, we'll even throw in Gordan Giricek for no extra charge. He's locker room poison too as far as I'm concerned.


themickel said...

Yeah, I'm not sure I see the Matrix mixing well with the Jazz. I mean, he has the same problem as AK - he wants to be THE man. And what kind of moron whines about playing on a team with Steve Nash? I don't think he's as good as he thinks he is.

Sorro said...

The Matrix may not mix well with the Jazz to be sure. He can't be worse than AK at this point though. In addition, he is a better pure player at this point than AK is as well. On top of all that, he wouldn't extend his stay here beyond his contract, freeing up some much needed money to keep D-Will here. Make no mistake about it, he'd be a merc, but a top of the line merc.