In a season of endless change for the Utah Jazz, it still has not been officially announced if once backup point guard Earl Watson will be available for the start of training this October. This leads me to believe that Earl will fall from 2nd to 3rd string on the Jazz depth chart. Ahead of him will be newly acquired Mo Williams, and Jamaal Tinsley.
Currently, the Jazz have 16 players on their current roster. With that number having to come down to 15, one player will need to be cut. It is easy to believe that the Utah Jazz would be more inclined to release a player with less experience than Watson has. But let me give you a few reasons why I think Earl could end up on the outside looking in.
Reason #1: His Age.
Currently on the Jazz roster, Watson is the third oldest player on the team. With newcomer to the organization, Tinsley and current hold out Raja Bell barely older than Earl. When you add in that Raja has refused to play for the Jazz this season, and the fact that Jamaal has played in two less season than Earl has. Watson instantly becomes the oldest player on the Utah Jazz roster. Playing any sport for 11 years will be hard on anyone’s body. But to play a fast paced game like NBA basketball is the worst when you are trying to come back from an already troubling knee injury.
Reason #2: Mistake prone.
The sport of Basketball is a game where any mistake is one to many. And sadly to say for Watson, he makes far to many. To give you but a small glimpse of what I am talking about, I compared Watson’s 2012 season stats to Williams’ 2003 stats. I used 2003 because that was Mo’s only season with Utah, and his only season of being a true back up with similar games played as Earl.
Earl Watson- 50 Games Played. 85 Turnovers. 149 points. 105 fouls. .338 AVG. 20.7 Min per game
Mo Williams- 57 Games Played. 51 Turnovers. 284 points. 87 fouls. .380 AVG. 13.5 Min Per game
In a league where every mistake is one to many, Earls’ numbers just don’t add up to a player who will make in a league full of talented backups.
Reason #3: Who else would you cut?
This reason is the real heart of the issue. There really isn’t much room (barring a trade) for Earl in the current Jazz roster. Here is how the roster breaks down.
Guards: (8) Watson, Mo Williams, Bell, Tinsley, Alec Burks, Shan Foster, Randy Foye, Kevin Murphy.
You could only have one real cut here and that is Shan Foster. Even with Bell leaving the organization, the minutes available just don’t seem to be there.
Forwards/Centers: (8) DeMarre Carroll, Jeremy Evans, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Al Jefferson, Enes Kanter, Paul Millsap, Marvin Williams.
It’s rare to say the Jazz have a ton of talent in the front court. But looking over this list there isn’t really anyone to let go. Somewhere down the line a trade may come in for a proven star like Jefferson, or potential stars like Favors and Kanter. But I don’t see this happening before someone has to be let go.
Do I think Watson will be cut by Utah? No.
There really isn’t a market for him at this time. But if the Utah Jazz feel the need (and they have before) to have an open spot on the roster. Don’t be surprised if Watson is the first to go.