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shaggydan
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Here's the thing about pre-season previews. It's a time for people to sound off and pass judgment on who will be hot and who will be not. While many craft these learned opinions from years of the kind of experience that I don't have, I do think that making pre-season predictions about anything past the first month of the regular season is, really, pretty arbitrary.

We all know that certain teams should do well, but Shaq could spring his toe kicking one of those new basketballs into the stands, Kobe could jinx himself with all that ‘new number, new man' silliness, or Dirk could elevate his game to just a high level that a secret government agency could tap him to play one-on-one with our intergalactic foes Last Star-fighter style. We just don't know.

So I suggest that if these reviews are bound to be arbitrary, then they should be based on legitimately arbitrary issues. For example:

I think that in order for the Jazz to be successful this season, the players need better nicknames.

There. I said it.

I certainly wouldn't want to drop a dime on whoever coined these players current nicknames, but I think some of them could use a little oomph. There was a long time when people in Salt Lake called Greg Ostertag "tag." That, to me, inspires no fear. There was a time that people feared posting up against "The Mailman;" that was a good nickname. Well, I don't know about ‘good' good, but it was effective.

Deron Williams
He's a 6-3 guard from Illinois heading into his sophomore season in the league. He's shooting .416 from the 3-point line and looks to be the primary ball handler until Derek Fisher gets back from his preseason hip injury. More importantly, it looks like he's starting to work with Sloan and earn his respect. Said respect is hard to earn, and many think that Jazz success may truly depend on this dynamic, so, for now, I'm thinking "Jerry's Kid."

Gordan Giricek
Well, for starters, we need to get this man a nickname because practically no one can say his real name (go ahead, try it Mr. Hotshot). Last year, he averaged 10.6 PPG, and 25.8 minutes per game. Giricek has to make some bigger impact this season to keep his starting job away from Brewer, but for now, he's the presumptive starter and deserves a name change. I suggest "Footsteps;" that's got to be what he's hearing.

Andrei Kirenlienko
I'm kind-of done with the AK-47 thing. I don't think it's a horrible nickname, but I do think it's a little bit lacking. I mean, it's his initials, followed by his jersey number. The nickname is easy to remember, but I'm still not feeling the intimidation. He should be healthy this season, and when he is, he's one of the more dominate Small Forwards in the game. This is a player who averages 15.3 points, 8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks a game. 3.2!

He's Russian; he's intimidating and needs a nickname to reflect it. Look at it this way, how many teams in the NBA can call their star play "Red Square?"

This is a great opportunity and we need to seize it.

Carols Boozer
There is a particular problem here. Whenever number 5 scores a bucket, most of the crowd cheers out "BOOZER," which I think would seem weird to a newcomer.

"Does he have a...drinking problem?"

I may not be able to overcome the inherent ease of his name, but since he's a potential 20 point, 10 rebound threat every night, I feel like I should try. Since his injury, Boozer has been a little tentative attacking the basket. Still, he always manages to be near the rim when the ball bounces off, resulting in an 8.6 RPG average. Still, perhaps an imposed mantra nickname could do the trick. Therefore, I propose he shall henceforth be known as Carlos "Bring It" Boozer.

Mehmet Okur
Here again, we find a nickname ripe for regime change. I'm not sure who started it, but somewhere the Jazz faithful have come to call him ‘Memo,' because, well, his first name starts with a ‘Meh' and his last name starts with an ‘O.' Get it?

The truly unique thing about Okur is his skills on the perimeter, he shot .342 from the three point line, hitting 80 of 234, and remember; he's a center. He's strong with rebounds and is faster than his peers at the position. My suggestion: "Center Shot"

 

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