This is a pretty good back and forth debate on twitter right now. I just figured it'd be a lot easier for me to express my views on the state of the franchise rather then keep tweeting about it. So here we go after the jump!
Lets be completely honest with ourselves. I want everyone to look deep down in their heart of hearts. Are you looking? Good. Can I see a raise of hands of people who honestly believe while looking at this roster that the Jazz are a championship team? If you've raised your hand, you're either slightly tipsy, a little high, or just to much of a Jazz fanatical to be honest with yourself.
This roster isn't winning a championship. It's not. It's going to win one next year either. At best, this team is a 4-5 seed and is probably gonna lose in the first round.
Are we satisfied with that?
I could be. I love going to the playoffs, Maybe we could get really hot and pull of a championship. I think all of us can look at the last 20 years of playoff births though and only see 2 years the Jazz really had a chance. We were close but well, Jordan.
So where are we if we aren't a championship team and most likely an 8th seed or missing the playoff kinda team?
Here is where we are.
We have 4 lotto picks. 2 of them are fine. They play most likely SG and SF and there is no logjam there to keep them from getting time to develop. We have a sauvy though overpaid and declining vet in Bell and a young vet in Miles who can be a great spark off the bench. We could maybe use one more wing but really we are ok in this area.
The other 2 are in quite the predicament. They are both #3 draft picks and both of them are big men. One is a little rusty and hasn't been in basketball for a few years, but he's got potential. The other has all the potential in the world and he's already got playing time under his belt. He can be good. Very good.
Only problem is. They are buried. Buried beneath underneath 35 million dollars worth of contracts. Almost half the Jazz's cap space. Buried beneath an injured heart driven Center who has given everything including his health to this team. Buried beneath a slightly undersized scoring Center. Buried beneath an undersized PF who plays with a ton of heart.
This is where alot of us have different opinions. Right here.
This is where I make my case.
A large explosion last Winter sent this team careening onto a different path. None of us saw it coming. It was a nuclear blast to the heart and soul of our beloved Jazz. Sloan retired. D-will was traded.
We find ourselves in a completely different direction then we were.
We are rebuilding. Not retooling. Not tinkering. Rebuilding.
Sentimentality and loyalty are great, but this is a business. The business is Championships. Sometimes you can't do the sentimental feel good things. Sometimes you have do the hard things and move on.
That's where we find ourselves.
I love Millsap. I do. Love him to death. He's everything I'd ever want in a player. Except A. he won't come of the bench and he doesn't deserve to. B. No matter how much heart you have it doesn't always make up for 2 inches or being a little quicker.
Millsap is an undersized PF. He's fantastic and finding ways to score and he can be a great help defender but lets face it. Guys like Griffin, Josh Smith, Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki are going to own him. He'll put up a damn good fight and sometimes he will win a few but in a best of 7 series. He can't win 4 games against them. Those are the guys he has to be able to defend or outscore to help the Jazz win a Championship.
Lets also put to rest the he can play SF. Sure, he can pull a Miracle and Miami and go off from the 3 point line. Sure he could match up against some bigger SFs but we are kidding ourselves if we think he can defend the perimeter or is quick enough to hang with the elite SFs. Playing him at SF also kills Hayward's growth.
The truth is. None of this is a problem if he's willing to come off the bench. If he'd do that. Peachy. Keep him and we can all love his hustle and heart.
So that leads us to Jefferson. The guy is hard not to like. He's a great guy. Says the right things. Tries and works his butt off. He's just not very good at defense and at times can be a complete black hole on offense. Here is where people love to throw out stats. Say he was improving. Say he can get better. Say he's the primary scorer. We'll be awful without him. Here is the only stat that matters to me. 13 million.
He makes 13 million dollars. We are paying him 13 million dollars to be a stop gap until Favors and Kanter are ready. We are paying him 13 million dollars to get us a lower draft pick. To maybe get us in the playoffs and lose probably in the first round. We are paying him 13 million.
You know what I'd rather do. I'd rather have a horrible season but give Favors and Kanter a little more playing time. Have the develop some over the course of the season. I'd rather have a high draft pick because we had a horrible record.
I'd rather trade Jefferson (God bless his awesome personality) for draft picks in up coming drafts that could have us get even more talented players to pair with Burks, Hayward, Favors, Kanter, and Evans. I'd rather spend some of that 13 million dollars on say. A 5 million dollar center who will play well, who won't demand more minutes than the Jazz can give, and not interfere with Favors or Kanter's playing time.
I'd rather keep the left over 8 million dollars and pair that Memo's contract expiring and maybe grab a few good vets to fill out our roster.
I'd rather have an extremely young core of guys Burks, Hayward, Favors, Kanter, Evans, and hopefully a future high drafted PG to all grow together.
I'd rather have cap space to take on contracts that other teams are willing to dump and give us more picks so we can keep building through future drafts.
I want to be the Oklahoma City Thunder.
This is where we find ourselves. We have the potential to get a very young and very talented team if we are willing to go through a few rebuilding and developing years. We'll have the potential to keep rebuilding through the draft while hopefully staying under the Lux cap.
What I really don't want to see. Though it'll make us feel better right now. Is to put all our eggs in the retooling idea. The: Lets build around Jefferson, Millsap, and Harris. Lets let our extremely talented and brimming with potential rookies/sophs come off the bench for another 2-3 years while we continue to be 8th-7th seeds.
We had almost 20 years of magic with Stock and Malone. Why? Because we invested in them. We built around their potential, their youth, their hard work. Look at what we have right now. We have 4 very promising high talent high drafted players. 4 of them! With more likely to come over the next 1-2 drafts. That's extremely luck and fortunate/
Sure, we can keep what we have now and maybe we get lucky and we win one championship. That'd be great. I want to build a dynasty though. I want to be the Spurs of the last 12 years. I want to be what the Thunder have the potential to be. I want to relive the magic of Stockton and Malone. The loyalty, tradition, the sentimentality.
That's the reality I see. That's the future I see possible.
I'm sure many will disagree with me. That's fine. Lets keep the discussion civil though. We all the love Jazz. We all love the Jazz players. We all just want to win what we haven't won.