Once upon a time there was a man who drove a 1983 Toyota sedan. It was rickety. Constantly had engine troubles. It didn't even get good gas mileage anymore. The haeter and AC was broken, so he fried in the summer and froze in the winter.
One day, his rich uncle gave him a brand new 2012 Corvette. Fully loaded, featuring a souped up engine, this car was made to cruise.
The man took the car and put it in his garage, covering it with a plastic cover, neglecting it while continuing to drive his old Toyota. He knew what the Toyota could do, he reasoned. He knew how it handled. The car, through years of service, had earned the right to be his means of transportation.
One day, the old Toyota finally died. But to his dismay, he discovered his long stored Corvette would not turn over when he tried to start it. Parts were rusty. Leather seats were soiled with dust. A beautiful car, left to ruin, had done just that.
The Jazz have received 4 "Corvettes" Gordon Hayward, obtained from the long hoarded Knicks pick. Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter- a special talents that we paid a steep price to acquire. And Alec Burks- our second lottery pick from the 2011 draft.
The season is still young, things could change. But if the current "Toyotas"- namely Bell, Howard and Al Jefferson- continue to soak up the playing time leaving our young guys, in effect, "stuck in the garage."
The Jazz know, after all, what Al and Raja and Josh can do. Sure, they don't give a chance to really, truly compete- but they are a known quantity. There will be no uncomfortable growing pains to suffer through that would surely come from playing our young guys decent minutes.
To be fair, Kanter and Hayward have gotten decent burn. But Favors and Burks are getting shafted. Here's just a few problems with this.
A. We already know we will not compete with the vets as our core. But we don't know if our 4 young guys can compete for a title. We need to find out. If it turns out one, two or even all 4 shouldnt be part of the future, we need to know this sooner, not later- otherwise we're just prolonging our time as a bad team.
B. It's literally unfair to the careers of the young players. An accountant can account for 40 or 50 years. A lawyer can practice well into his 70s, beyond even. Famous actors find roles as Octogenarians. But a basketball player has a short window to earn money. If a player can't prove their worth during their rookie contract it effects the dollar amounts of their next contract- or may push them out of the league all together. Obviously, a rookie needs to earn playing time, but there comes a point where a player is just not getting a fair shake. Favors being benched because of 2 measley fouls is a case of him not getting a fair shake. Alec Burks being unable to get minutes from an obviously ineffective Raja Bell, appears to be the whim of an unfair coaching decision.
No doubt, Ty knows things we don't. He is privy to practices and inside info that we are not. Perhaps their is a reason BUrks can't get more than garbage time. Perhaps there is a reason that Favors, with unworldly talent, cannot garner over 20 minutes a game. But if these reasons exist, they better be very, very good reasons.
I don't care about losing, if that losing is for a purpose. Watching Al score 20 points on 25 shots is not a purpose. Watching Raja get beat off the dribble time and time again is not a purpose. Watching Howard chuck up ill-advised shots and having him called a shot creator is not a purpose.
But watching favors, Burks, Kanter and Hayward play ball- through the thick and thin, the good and the bad, the amazing and the excruciating- is a purpose even if we lose. The purpose is finding out if these kids are ballers, letting them grow into their potential. Look, Jeff Green didn't end up fitting the Thunder's needs- but he was developed enough to be flipped for Kendrick Perkins. I'm a big believer in the idea that you cut bait or you fish- and a team needs to quickly figure out which a player is.
The youngsters have to play. Favors and Hayward no less than 25. Burks and Kanter no less than 15.
Again, Derrick Favors losing a basketball game does not bother me. Raja Bell losing does.
Free the young guys,