ESPN: "The Thunder have taught everyone how to build a legit NBA contender from cold, hard data"

I'm in the middle of writing a "why winning now isn't dumb" style post to (foolishly) dissuade slcdunk dissidents from believing that there is some party line here. There isn't. And I'm sorry if you think there is. Sure, people here agree -- but that by no way means I'll attack you or your opinion if you produce a cogent argument stating why you think differently. On the contrary, I invite just that. I am on the record for wanting the younger guys to play more -- but like it did on twitter two years ago -- people don't know how much I want younger guys to play. I'll spell it out in a post after the All-Star break -- but it's not very different from what we have now, but the difference is that our younger guys have more to gain from being on the floor 3-5 more minutes a game than our vets do.

I will also take this time to remind you all that I am ALSO on the record for being an opponent of what OKC had done up to a certain point. I wrote at length about how unsustainable that 'plan' was based upon former examples of teams that had tried to do the same.

The sad truth is that OKC did make changes from that plan, and have done some things right with their youth. We would be stubborn to overlook the things they did successfully. It's not the 1980s anymore. NBA players can now make three pointers -- we AGREE that the Jazz should defend the three point line instead of playing 'the averages' from a viewpoint back when no one dared to take a three. Larry Bird has a career average of 1.9 three point attempts per game. We consider him among the best at that shot in the history of the game. Joe Johnson averages 4.1 three point attempts per game, for his career. Times have changed. Rookie contracts have changed. And sadly. the players have changed the most. It's not the 80s anymore. They aren't going to stick around through the thick and thin with the team that drafted them if a) they don't get playing time b) they don't feel wanted, or c) they aren't winning.

OKC is a super small market, probably smaller than SLC. The team is winning. They are winning a lot. They are winning the most in the entire Western Conference. And they are winning because of the play of their lotto picks, and other smart draft picks, and smart moves to trade draft picks for veterans. Why are they good? Is it just luck? Is it just Kevin Durant? I used to think it was primarily both of those things -- I'm a huge OKC hater. And I'm on the record suggesting that the previous model they were on doesn't work.

But beyond my blinding hate I gotta try and understand what they are doing that works, so I can better see if we are doing something that's working or not. I Hate HATE H.A.T.E. the Thunder. But damn it, I respect their front office and respect their recent success.

ESPN just posted an article all about them, I'm going to read it. I wanted to get this post up so you guys could read it too. Maybe here we could discuss it -- and hopefully poke holes into it.

The "Bottom Line" is that we are all Jazz fans, and want our team to be successful. My definition of success is no longer "win 50ish games a year and maybe 2-5 playoff wins". That is success for a team that has never gone anywhere. For us that was "normal", and nothing to celebrate. Maybe your idea of what a successful season is different than mine. Please share your views, and hopefully we can figure out where our team is going.

And maybe figure out what secret, mysterious witchcraft OKC has that we don't, that gets their young lotto picks to turn into productive rotation guys quickly so we can try to find out how to make our young lotto picks rotation players instead of perpetual bench guys.

Please go nuts in the comments section. If anything sticks we can work on it. Read the article. Are you PRO-OKC model? Are you Anti-OKC model? What parts do you like? What parts do you hate? What can the Jazz learn from them? Don't be afraid to define your terms.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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