Alright. Maybe that was a little harsh but I think our franchise is fully stuck in neutral and the biggest reason is the front office still hasn't made a decision on Big Al Jefferson. Ty Corbin has been put in a horrible position and really if he improves upon our 8th seed from last year, he should win COY.
I have always assumed that we would eventually move away from Big Al. His next contract is likely going to be a near max contract and that is more than we would be willing to pay in the future knowing all we know now about his limitations. He wasn't held back by bad teams and playing with a superstar point guard did not magically make him a better player. Those myths were debunked and we know who he is, and a franchise player he is not. But, now I'm not so sure that the Jazz will really part ways with him after this year. But you know what, at this point I don't know if I really care anymore. But please, make up your minds already.
Here are 5 reasons that this lack of decision making and leadership is holding our franchise back:
1. If we don't make a decision during this season, we can't get any value back from trading either Millsap or Jefferson when one of them eventually walks at season end. (let's be realistic, unless both of Favors knees explode at the exact same time, one of them is leaving at season's end)
2. I believe our "deep" front court is causing us to lose games this season. We are forced to use unconventional lineups that don't really work because we "can't bench Millsap or Big Al". It also is creating all sorts of uncertainty for everyone on the team. From night to night, players have no clue what position they will be playing and if they will be starting or coming off the bench and if they will be playing 20 minutes or 40 minutes or no minutes at all. Sure, every player should be ready when their name is called but they should be ready for their natural role. We shouldn't be changing up peoples roles so drastically from game to game.
3. Millsap (arguably our best player) is being jerked around and completely underutilized. We aren't exactly giving him a lot of reasons to want to stay around next year.
4. The biggest argument for waiting is that we can "figure out" what we have this season and make a better decision in the offseason. Alright, I could buy that before the season started... but now that argument is no longer valid. We know what progress has been made by our players and I wouldn't say a single one of our young guys took the summer off and didn't improve. What more do they have to prove? Were we expecting Favors to all of the sudden become an unstoppable offensive force in 1 offseason? Wouldn't we all agree that Kanter looked 100X better than anybody expected? We have more than enough information right now to make an informed decision on our front court and be comfortable about a Favors and Kanter taking important roles now and in the future.
5. It is preventing us from forming a team identity. We have a bunch of mismatched parts that Corbin has to try some way to piece together and then put together a good game plan that maximizes everyone's talent. Well guess what, that is impossible with this roster so we are under utilizing half of our team. All of that hinges on Big Al. We basically have the possibility of 2 teams in my mind:
Team 1 - Big Al centered - Post up team with shooters spacing the floor. Can run some other action like pick and roll but the main emphasis is isolation post plays. Players who would thrive in that system: Mo, Randy, Big Al, possibly Carroll and Murphy. Gordon and Sap are very adaptable players so they can be serviceable type players in that system as well. Kanter probably could fit into this system as well, but in place of Big Al not on the court with him at the same time.
Team 2 - Flex/Motion type offense - This offense would be based on motion, making everybody a threat on the court at all times, a lot of pick and rolls, and pushing the pace. Players that could thrive in this offense - Gordon, Burks, Favors, Sap, Marvin, Carroll. I think Mo and Foye could be serviceable in this type of offense as well. Kanter would need to improve his passing skills, but I think he could fit in this system as well if we let him use that silky jumper of his.
Not making a decision on what type of team we want to be hurts everybody's development and the development of our team's identity as a whole. Alec Burks isn't playing because our front court, not because of the back court situation. If we moved Big Al, then we would know that we needed more of a creator/shot maker like Alec Burks and would develop him accordingly (at least I'd like to think that is what would happen). Same thing with Kanter and Favors. We'd tailor our offense to better suit their playing styles if we made a decision on Big Al.
Let's make a decision already and move on as a franchise. If we pick Big Al, ship out Sap and Burks and get some better shooters around him and let's build our team that way. If we pick Sap, ship out Big Al for some picks or a PG or anything and then free Alec Burks and Kanter to develop. If we keep giving Burks DNP's all season long we can't expect anything out of him in the future. It just doesn't happen that way. Our long term success is being severely retarded by this indecision. Make a freaking decision already.