Fraternizing with the Enemy: Pre-game 4 Q&A with Amar from SLC Dunk

The Spurs continue their playoff journey Monday, but what will be a running, series long dialogue between Amar and I continued today (and while Amar has been a joy to do these with, hopefully ended today, too). To get things started, I asked him a few questions, and his first answers are here. His first questions for me and my answers can be found here. Round two of his answers to my questions are here, and round two of my answers can be found over here. Round three is here, with my answers here. Round four is below, with a link to my answers to his questions here. Enjoy, Pounders.

I think Hayward is probably your best perimeter defender, and I think putting him on Tony was a solid move. I was pretty impressed with Burks as well. Do they frequently play at the same time?

Only in my dream rosters and in NBA 2K12. For the entire season Hayward and Burks have only played 266 minutes together. The Jazz season, including all the overtime periods played this year, and the three playoff games, has been 3377 minutes long. That's a whopping 7.88% of the available time. By a point of direct comparison Gordon Hayward and Josh Howard have played 358 minutes together (10.60%), and Hayward and Raja Bell have played 519 minutes (15.37%) together. Please note that these are percentages of how much that tandem has played together, out of the entire season. The actual values for "playing together out of available playing time" is much higher, because guys like Bell and Howard have missed so many games. Burks/Hayward is for 69 total games. The other guys for 33 and 46 games total. Out of those four who do I expect to still see on the Jazz in 2 seasons? Only Hayward and Burks, so I'm frustrated that they have not played much time together.

Right now, if I had to guess at your best lineup, it would be Burks / Hayward / Millsap / Favors / Jefferson. That said, if you start all those guys, you've got nothing left on the bench. Would you agree with that overall assessment, and if you were Ty Corbin, how would you balance that?

I don't know if that would be the best lineup, but it is a very talented one for certain. I wouldn't mind seeing them all on the court at the same time. I have seen worse this season. Burks is only a capable three point maker off of spot ups, and would need a penetrator on the floor to help him balance things out - Hayward would have to penetrate in that starting unit. If you do start the game with those guys you do have a bench unit of Devin Harris / Josh Howard to take all the shots they want - which seems to fit their game. You have Kanter coming in to spell one of the bigs, while one shifts over, and another gets a breather. The disparity between the two units would be somewhat mitigated because Tyrone Corbin does not mix and match too frequently; so all the problems with the first unit would persist, allowing the second unit to look better because they may be more traditionally built.

Ty needs to mix and match more, and mix vets with youth in particular. This method may accomplish just that, while unlocking the super retro-Mavs powers of Harris / Howard off the bench. I just do not see this ever happening.

Which of the Spurs role players (anyone outside of Duncan, Manu, and Parker) do you think has done the most damage so far?

In all fairness to Matt Bonner (has anyone else ever hit a pre-halftime dagger before? Besides Matt?), I'd have to say it is Danny Green. He does everything well, and is having a remarkable post season right now. I expected Gary Neal to tear us up, and quietly has. Stephen Jackson is scoring more and shooting better from deep. Kawhi Leonard is starting and shooting better from the field. Boris Diaw has absolutely nullified Paul Millsap; however, it's gotta be Danny. Green's gotten to the line, is averaging 4.0 rpg in this series, and is absolutely dangerous in transition, in the half court, off of cuts, spotting up, and driving to the basket. He also has as many blocks as Tim Duncan has this series. Of course, someone new has stepped up in each game this series, I wouldn't be surprised with Tiago gets a double double in Game 4. But right now Danny is doing a lot of Manu stuff, which really eases any concerns Spurs fans would normally have had over Manu's 31.8 fg% this series.

Devin Harris: starting Utah point guard next year, or soon to be backup/trade bait? Was he this inconsistent in the regular season, or is it just a playoff thing?

Harris is the incumbent starter until something crazy happens. Even if the Jazz somehow ended up with John Wall or Kyrie Irving this offseason Harris would still start because he's a veteran. That's just how our franchise runs thing. Harris is on the books for another year too, so he's not going anywhere.

Harris had the unenviable task of trying to reign in his speed game to play with Al Jefferson. Jefferson is the only modern era professional athlete who would lose a race to a brontosaurus. As a result, a lot of the "useful" Harris became replaced with "inert" Harris this year. His shooting was up and down all season long, but he started to pay better after the trade deadline passed. Leading up to the playoffs he was on fire and running more. He was taking more shots, and performing better. And then Tony Parker just destroyed him in Game 1. He had a nice bounce back in Game 3 - but it still wasn't quite enough. He'll be better next year, which is great. However, it does not help the team out THIS year at all.

Game 4 Prediction: Do the Jazz roll over and play dead, or do they come out and fight like Game 3?

Jazz fight hard in Quarter 2, get destroyed in Quarter 3. And that'll be the ball game - and season. (I reserve the right to be wrong about this, ha ha)

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