Ranking our team’s assets
If you don’t know what an asset is, here is a quick definition: A useful or valuable quality, person, or thing; an advantage or resource.
The Jazz have many different types of assets, the ones that I am going to rank are players, rights to players, lottery picks, and advantages with resigning players.
Now before I do my list, let me remind you, this is not a list of “Who is the best player on the Jazz” but a list that is “Who or what is most valuable to the Jazz” (This is all of course my personal opinion)
*Lots of words ahead, proceed at own risk
1: Derrick Favors This was the easiest decision for me. Favors is the youngest player in the NBA (thank you Matt Harpring...), and has as much potential as pretty much any other player. Favors was the most important piece in the Deron Williams trade, easily the most valuable asset for the Jazz in my opinion.
2: Gordon Hayward Hesitated a little putting Hayward this high, but ended up doing it for the same reasons I ranked Favors number one. A good amount of us fans booed when KOC selected Hayward (I didn’t know how to react, so I just stared blankly) but it took Hayward less than a season (KOC told us two) to impress us Jazz fans. He’s one of the youngest players and most talented, definitely a big piece for the Jazz while they rebuild and move forward.
3: Al Jefferson It was very and I mean VERY hard to put Jefferson over Millsap, but in the end I feel it was the right thing to do. When it came down to it, I think Jefferson is just too talented to put under Millsap. I see Jefferson as part as our future as well, as he has many years left in the tank. He was the only Jazz player to play all 82 games last season (something Millsap couldn’t even do). I see him improving a lot next year, and being even better for the Jazz (Like Richard Jefferson on the Spurs, took him a year to adjust and become a factor).
4: Paul Millsap At this point, Millsap is my favorite player on the Jazz. He puts it on the line each and game. His work ethic and motor are just plain incredible. It hurts me to rank him this low, but I think it is the right place to put him. Millsap continues to improve each and every year (we saw that last season with a very nice jump shot, even three point range). But his value goes down with his lack of height and length which makes him a pretty undersized power forward. I still see Millsap as a key part of any run the Jazz make at a championship; however it may need to be off the bench. He is still a very valuable asset to the Jazz to either use or trade (I hope we keep him). Not to mention the man is a bargain.
5: Devin Harris A few years ago, Harris was an All Star for the East and considered one of the top point guards in the league. But since then, the NBA has experienced a flood of talent at the point guard position. With that Harris may have become a little underrated. Many say Harris is not good enough to be a point guard on a championship team, I disagree with this (Harris has already been on a team that went to finals), however I do think that Harris is going to bridge the gap at the point guard spot for the Jazz as we seek a young new point guard in the next few drafts. Very good player overall, 28 years old and just finishing up his prime (I assume), will be valuable to Jazz next year whether we trade or use him.
6: * Andrei Kirilenko Alright, Kirilenko is a unique situation. It was sort of hard to rank him, because he hasn’t signed with us. If he does sign with us, he said he would give us a home team discount, that being said, if we signed Kirilenko for under/around 5 million than he might be a little higher on this list. However he might not play another game with the Jazz, which would make him not a Jazz asset at all and he would not be on this list. But Kirilenko has also said that if the Jazz want him, he will be available to the Jazz (with the discount), and that is why I rank him this high, because even though he is not under contract it looks like the Jazz will control if we sign him or not (he wants to play for the Jazz). Kirilenko is a great player when healthy, he is no doubt a major game changer, and with the right price he could be very valuable to the Jazz season.
7: *CJ Miles Miles, like Kirilenko is also not under contract for next season. But he does have a team option on his contract (3.7 million I think) that the Jazz can choose to either pick up or not, so the Jazz literally control Miles future at this point. We all thought that this would be the year that Miles broke out of his inconsistency and become one of the best bench players in the league. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Miles did seem to make some strides, but was still very streaky and did not have the best shot selection. But remember, Miles is still very young, 24 years old to be exact. I
8: 2011 #6 Lottery Pick (Via Nets) Now lottery picks are a little different situation. Obviously this pick could turn into pick number 1, 2, 3, 7, 8. But in this list I am assuming it turns out as the 6th pick in the first round. We also have to consider that this draft is considered a weak draft
where the best talent and “sure things” of the draft drop off after the top 2/3 picks. With this pick the Jazz could be selecting Walker, Knight, Burks, Biyombo, maybe a Euro (Hope not) or a few other players. Any of these picks could possibly be a #10 (give or take) picks in a non-weak draft. I hope that we can find a solid player with this pick, it’s not very likely we find an All Star, but maybe a future starter. Early lottery picks are usually pretty good assets, but in this case the weak draft hurts its value by a lot. Still could be very useful for the Jazz who are in rebuilding mode.
9: Mehmet Okur Okur’s injury could really be the first domino that fell in what become a disastrous 2010-2011 season for the Jazz. With a healthy Memo the Jazz would have likely not been swept by the Lakers in the previous playoffs (I still think we lose the series) and would have had a “starter ready” center for the next (previous) season. Turns out, Memo will likely never become the “Money Man” again. So I rank him here not as a player, but as a trading asset. Memo has a large $10 million contract that expires after this season. There will be teams that are in need of freeing up some cap space (especially with the CBA issues) and will take a strong look at Memo. The Jazz didn’t move Kirilenko in a similar situation last year, but Kirilenko is more valuable to the team in my opinion. We’ll just have to wait and see how KOC deals with Memo.
10: Jeremy Evans I feel really bad for putting Evans this low. I think further in the future he will become much more valuable to us, but next year I don’t think he will be quite ready to be a consistent contributor yet. Evans is a solid young player with tons of athleticism and some pretty good potential. With a consistent jumper and enough bulk to play the power forward position he would immediately jump (no pun intended) on this list to a much higher position, but until he can do that, I think I will keep him this low. I feel like Evans has a bright future with the Jazz, he really could become a great role player for a team that hopes to make a deep run in the playoffs.
11: 2012 Top 7 Protected Lottery Pick (Warriors’ pick via Nets) It is not a guarantee that we get this pick next year since it is protected (for the Warriors) for the first seven picks. However I think that Golden State will probably get the number 9-13 pick, which would allow us to keep it. The 2012 draft was already supposed to be pretty stacked, then half of the talent from this upcoming draft decided to stay in college and enter the draft next time, which makes it even better. If this ends up being a 8/9/10 pick, then it may be more valuable that our number 6 pick this year. There are about 9 high school seniors that are projected to
*To put this in better perspective (how stacked next draft is), this year’s draft has 7 sophomore/freshman projected to go top 15. Next year’s draft? The first 17 projected picks would be either freshman or sophomores. Now of course, just because they are a freshman or sophomore doesn’t mean they are going to be good, but for the most part, the best lottery picks and “sure things” are freshman and sophomores. It’s a shame we couldn’t have the 2 lottery picks in the next draft.
12: 2011 #12 Lottery Pick A late lottery pick in a weak draft, not the best thing to have, but of course it is better than nothing. This pick could turn into either The Jimmer, Hamilton, Thompson, Burkes, or maybe the Jazz draft someone higher than expected. An All Star player with this pick is pretty much impossible, starter is probably a stretch, hope to get a solid rotation/bench player. This pick is pretty set at the 12 since it is very unlikely of winning the lottery, and it could only move down if the Suns or Rockets win the lottery which is even more unlikely.
13: Earl Watson He is under no contract with us for next season, but I really want him back. He is a great veteran backup point guard who could run the offense great and play pretty good defense. I’m not totally sure if he is planning on coming back though. When we originally signed him, Watson thought he was going to be playing for a team that was contending for the title, no so much. If he does get resigned, for another short cheap contract, then he will be a great back up for us. Not so sure how well he fits in, in the long run though.
14: Raja Bell Oh the hopes we all had for Bell this season. I really feel bad for him. Instead of completely blaming Bell for his terrible season, we should at least blame part of it on ourselves, who expected a 36 year old coming off an injury to be a major contributor. We have Bell under contract for the next 2 seasons at around 3 million. Personally I think Bell will have a little value coming off the bench and putting in a few minutes, and maybe have some trade value. I just don’t expect to get much out of him either way.
15: *Ronnie Price Price is another player that is not under contract with the Jazz next season. However I do feel like he still wants to play here and we would most likely be able to sign him to a fairly short and cheap contract. Price is a pretty high energy player who can play with a lot, A LOT, of intensity. But really, he is not the most consistent player at this, and he will often jack up bad shots and disrupt the offense. Not very valuable to Jazz, asides the fact that we could probably resign him for insurance at the point guard position.
16: *Kyrylo Fesenko I feel like he is kind of the same situation as Price is. Not signed, would possibly come back, but would not be much more than an iffy bench contributor. If we sign him, he we be worth 6 fouls, and a bunch of funny interviews, but that is about it.
17: *Francisco Elson Not under contract for us next season. He actually started the year out great, and was a legitimate backup center. He couldn’t really continue his good play though, and finished the year with an injury and on a sour note. I personally don’t want him back, I’d rather have Fesenko as a backup. He has no trade value with us since he isn’t signed, and it doesn’t look like he’d give us much value on the court if we decided to keep him.
18: Rights to Ante Tomic Back in 2008 the Jazz picked this European center with the 44th overall
pick in the draft. We fans haven’t heard terribly much since then. He is said to be an All Star in the league he plays for, but most NBA Scouts look at him as soft and not likely to be a good NBA player. Then there is his contract situation, which isn’t to good. I think if we wanted him to come over next season we’d have to buy out his contract for 7 million, which I personally don’t think is worth the money. As a trade asset I don’t think he is worth much either. But then again, some team could decide to take a gamble on him, which would greatly surprise me. Don’t count on Tomic giving us much, if anything at all.
19: Rights to Tadija Dragicevic Dragicevic (say that three times quickly) was the 53rd pick in the
2008 pick. I know even less about him. He was another European All Star player, but has yet to play a game for the Jazz. He’s a 6’ 9” forward, but is 25 years old right now. I don’t know if any of you guys know very much about him (last news I heard, was that he sat out our summer league last season due to an injury), but from what I heard (or haven’t) I’m doubting he will play for the Jazz anytime soon, let alone contribute to the team.
So there you go, all 2,444 words of it.