With the Nets’ tipoff at MSG less than an hour from away, the New York Sun’s John Hollinger says of Jason Kidd’s recent performances, “maybe he should get divorced more often.” And while that’s a rather cold way of looking at things, I’d sooner trust Hollinger’s hoops judgement than that of Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller (above), quoted this morning by the The Salt Lake Tribune’s Phil Miller (no relation).
“The best advice, I suppose, for (Andrei Kirilenko) is to play the game the way he knows how to play it,” Miller said during an interview on radio station 1280 AM. ” . . . To me, Andrei could make the choice to play well, and I don’t think he’s done it the past eight to 10 games.”
Miller said he was surprised by comments Kirilenko (above) made following a meeting Tuesday with the Jazz’s coaching staff, all but admitting he was having difficulty staying interested in the team’s games when he wasn’t getting to shoot.
“Some of the games, I don’t feel like I’m on the floor,” Kirilenko said. “I just go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth and I go to sleep.”
The team’s owner, who cited conversations about energy and hustle he had with Kirilenko while negotiating the Russian’s six-year, $86 million contract, said he wasn’t happy watching his highest-paid player on the floor lately.
“When he shoots off the 10-foot elbow or 12-foot baseline, I’m cringing right now. He’s shooting it that poorly,” Miller said. But hearing Kirilenko explain that he wants “two or three plays” called for him makes it worse.
“I would have to say he’s putting himself on thin ice,” Miller told the radio station. “The combination of not playing very well and shooting his mouth off – that’s not a good combination.”
“I’d almost like to call his bluff. Say ‘OK, automatically we’re going to leave you out there, you’re going to take 20 shots a night five games in a row. And then we’ll see,’ ” Miller challenged Kirilenko. “That would resolve the issue. He’s either going to make them or he’s not.”
“What percentage of the time is he going to make the basket when he drives down the key? What percentage is he even going to have the ball in his hands?” Miller said. “It sounds bad, but . . . I would say three-quarters of the time, he loses the ball before he gets to the rim.”