Now that this season is finally over I have been reflecting on the Jazz and what I am supposed to make of this season. Before Jerry left and D-Will was traded I was seriously having a hard time even watching the Jazz play. In all reality I was as bored as a midget in an amusement park. Having a team full of talent that can't manage to beat the Washington Wizards really makes one think about how much of a fan you can really be. After the ground shattering retirement of Jerry and subsequent trade of D-Will, we were all left angry and confused. I'm sure I wasn't the only fan that had a tough time deciding how I was supposed to feel about the franchise that I love so much.
Now that the season is over, and I have had some time to process all these changes, I have to admit that losing Jerry Sloan and D-Will may have been the BEST thing that could have happened to this franchise. Keep in mind that the following arguments are based on my belief that the Jazz would have made the playoffs as the 8th seed if Jerry and D-Will were still here. We only finished a few games outside the playoffs and I am sure that D-Will would have won us at least 4-5 more games if he stayed the entire season.
If we made the playoffs this season we would be left with zero draft picks in the upcoming draft.
Week draft or not, it is impossible for a team to get better without adding newer, younger talent. We all know that the Jazz have had a difficult time luring free agents to Utah, so high draft picks are essential to improving our team. So if we make the playoffs and lose in the first round, then what? Yeah, we still might have D-Will for one more year, but we still won't be able to bring in enough talent to satisfy D-Will and he walks away after next season. As for the 6th pick that we got, it's obviously too early to tell how that will work out, but there is talent to be found in this year's draft, the Jazz just need to find it and figure out how to get it. I know many Jazz fans have been critical of the teams ability to draft good players in the first round, but I am positive It would be pretty tough to draft a talented young player when YOU DON'T HAVE A DRAFT PICK!
If we don't trade D-Will we don't have Favors.
Yeah, he is still young and very raw, but I truly think Favors is going to be a beast. I expect his career to be a lot like LeMarcus Aldridge. In about two or three years from now Favors is going to keep developing and one day he will say to himself, "Hey, I can dominate anyone on the court whenever I feel like it". And that's when Favors will turn into an all-star. I know that every time he gets the ball I immediately go into a trance waiting to see what he does. The last player I remember feeling like this towards was, well...D-Will.
If Sloan stays around then Gordon Hayward doesn't develop nearly as fast as he has.
We all know Sloan wasn't much for giving playing time to the rookies. Yeah, G-time would have seen more minutes near the end of the season anyways due to injury concerns, but I really believe that getting more playing time, and not being intimated by D-Will, has let Heyward turn into a solid basketball player much faster than he would have otherwise. Yeah, he still has a lot to work on, but from what I have seen I think he will be one of the most complete all around talents in the league. He's smart, he can shoot, he can drive, he can pass, and he can play defense. He still needs to improve all aspects of his game, but I truly don't see any obvious weakness that he has.
I know, I hate it when people state opinions as if they are facts, but I STRONGLY believe that Favors and Hayward or going to be legitimate stars in this league. Favors has all the physical gifts anyone could ask for in a young big man, he just needs to develop them. Hayward just has that magic that's is hard to describe but you love to see in basketball player.
After watching the rest of the season play out, what do you seriously think would have been the best scenario for the franchise?
You could keep Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams. We make the playoffs and exit in the first round. We then have zero draft picks. Then we use the entire offseason trying to lure in at least one big name free agent hoping that they will be the missing piece to our team that helps us win and keeps Deron in Utah. Then spend all of next season with Deron's contract hanging over the team.
You can have Corbin as head coach, a Gordon Hayward who quickly developed into a legitimate starting wing, Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, the number 6 pick in the upcoming draft, and an additional first round pick next year.
I don't know about you guys, but I think we are MUCH better off than we would have been if none of these changes went down.