Time to press the panic button?

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For Utah Jazz fans there are two ways of looking at the rocky start into which the team has stumbled early this season. After a discouraging loss to the Boston Celtics, the Jazz are 3-5 and chemistry seems to be a big issue. Utah has lost games to the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings after opening up double digit leads. So, are the
Jazz an awful team for having given up those big leads, or are they a talented team that hasn’t figured out how to finish games strong?

After a tumultuous off-season with Carlos Boozer essentially campaigning his free agency, when in fact, he wasn’t a free agent, and the shift from one Miller to another, Utah has regressed. Just two short seasons ago, the Jazz benefited from a major NBA-playoff upset and coasted to the Western Conference Finals. In the following season, 2007-08, the
Jazz lost in the second round of the playoffs and then suffered a first-round exit last season.

If the trend continues, this could be a devastating season and result in the Jazz missing the playoffs altogether. Or, if the front office is serious about winning, the team could deal Boozer and acquire some outside shooting and defense. Kyle Korver and C.J. Miles are set to return next month, but will they provide a constant threat from the outside? Not only does the Jazz need outside shooting, but also a consistent scorer other than Deron Williams.

All is not lost. The season is young and there are plenty of games yet to be played. Whether or not the team members figure out a way to coexist, Boozer needs to go. His salary will come off the books at the end of this season, and letting him walk could be one of the best moves for the Jazz.

With Utah owning the Knicks’s first-round pick, the tide could change in Utah if New York continues to struggle. The pick gives the team options, and with Boozer’s money out of the way, the Jazz can use the pick and make a selection, or bate the pick and fill some holes.