Where oh where did Mehmo go? Where oh where could he be?

Where oh where has my little Mehmo gone?
Where oh where could he be?
With his 3 points shot
And wannabe phohawk.
Where oh where could he be?



I spent all of last season and this one telling the world that Andrei Kirilenko is not a fit for the Utah Jazz with Mehmet Okur and Boozer on the team; offensively that is. I was more than right last year, but things have changed now. What happened to Mehmo???? Him and Andrei have changed places. Last season Andrei was averaging less than 30 minutes, while Mehmet was at 34 minutes per game. Things have flipped, which means their stats have too. Andrei is averaging 35 minutes per game; leaving Mehmo on the bench, only getting 29 min.

Mehmet is averaging 12.5 points and 6 rebounds per game so far. His lowest output since he was in Detroit, coming off the bench in 2003. Meanwhile, Andrei is having a nice bounce back year with 10.9 ponts, 7 boards, 6.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.3 blocks. Why the change and has it actually made the Jazz better?

Let me be clear, Andrei is a great talent. Few people can fill up the stat sheet in every category like he can. He is most effective when playing the power forward position, because that puts him closer to the basket and he’s a tough matchup for other power forwards. That’s exactly what the Jazz are doing early on. Although AK47 starts at the three, he spends a lot of time at the four with Boozer manning the five. Giving Mehmo a decreased role. The question is, does this make the Jazz better?

The Jazz are a much different team this year. Yes, they have the same guys, but their young guys like Millsap and Brewer have really come on strong, which changes things. That is one reason that I am so surprised by the decrease in Mehmet’s minutes. Brewer is your starting shooting guard, and although he’s a wonderful young player, his biggest weakness is his outside shot, or lack there of. You would think Utah would need Mehmet to space the floor a little, but that has not been the case so far. I guess the real question is… What do they need more? Okur’s shooting or Andrei’s defense and hustle? I think they need both, which is why Sloan is catering to Kirilenko here in the beginning. I’ll explain.

Sloan is a hall of fame coach and he knows Andrei wants more of an offensive role on the team, as we all due due to his excessive crying and bitching during the offseason. Andrei is an emotional player who needs a pat on the back to know he’s doing well. Whereas Mehmet will just go out and do what he’s told and help the team the best he knows how. Jerry is capitalizing on the easiness of their early schedule to give Andrei the confidence he requires. Look at who the Jazz have played. Only 2 of the first 6 teams they have played have a winning record, and they lost both of those games (Houston and LA Lakers). The other four teams have a combined 4 wins (Cleveland – 3 wins and Memphis – 1 win). That means they have played two teams with NO WINS (Seattle and Golden State – who they have played twice). Which by the way, they only beat Cleveland and Seattle by 2 points each. All of the other wins have been blowouts, which allows Sloan to play Kirilenko heavy minutes and let him do his thing. Andrei has been sub-par in their two losses against actual good teams. Averaging 9.5 points, 5 boards, 3 assists, 0.5 steals and 1 block in those two games. One can argue that the Jazz need Andrei to play well in order to win, and I would agree, but they don’t need him to be a focal part of their offense. That’s just it, by the way. AK47 can post these numbers without being a focal part of the offense, but that’s not good enough for him. He needs to feel like he is getting plays called for him or that he has an active role in the offense to be the defensive force that we all know he can be. Sloan is just giving him his pat on the back here early and I fully expect him to tighten the reins a bit as they get into the season and give Mehmo more minutes.

So yes, I am STILL NOT A KIRILENKO BELIEVER! Not yet anyways. He has played extremely well against very bad teams. Plus, Matt Harpring is coming back from injury and playing very limited minutes, if at all some games. I’ll give Andrei some credit, since he needs it to feel good about himself, and say that he has had some incredible games, almost getting a few triple doubles. I’ll also tell all of his owners out there in fantasy land, that you should trade him, if you can get something good. He won’t continue to have these incredible games on a regular basis once the Jazz start playing tougher competition. Again, don’t misunderstand me. He will be better than last year, but he won’t be the Mr. Almost Triple Double that we have seen so far. Call me a hater, or whatever you want, but I only call it as I see it. He’ll need to sustain this level of play for a least a few more weeks, before I start to believe.


2 Responses to “Where oh where did Mehmo go? Where oh where could he be?”

  1. 1 brob
    November 12, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Dude, why do you have to talk so much about the Jazz. They suck and don’t stand a chance. Quit catering to some big homo golpher in your office. lol

  2. November 13, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Amen…..quit catering to the Jazz fans. You should post more about how Manu Ginobili is the bomb! Spurs take it again in ’08.

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