Mar 09, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Utah Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin talks with guard Alec Burks (10) during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated the Jazz 104-91. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
I think it is fair to say that when the draft pool is deep, some teams may try to find a way to get a better draft position. This sometimes comes at the expense of wins. Of course, the key is to do this while appearing to not really be doing it. The whole "Woe is us! David Robinson is sooo injured . . . .oh, Tim Duncan you say? What a happy coincidence!" routine is a hard one to pull off.
Of course, while there is little honor is not going for every win possible, there IS more honor in becoming a dynasty that wins rings. Few people are upset over the results, the Spurs won only 20 games the year before Tim Duncan. And since then they've since made up the difference I'd say.
I think the Jazz suffered the same stroke of good luck when Andrei Kirilenko and Carlos Boozer went down for a grand total of a billion combined games in the same season. Really, it was only 72 games combined, but the damage was done. It got the Jazz into the lottery, which they maneuvered up to get a franchise point guard from: Deron Williams. (They could have also had Chris Paul) The point is that they lost games, and got a great player. It doesn't always work out though. But I think in this case it worked out better than playing Kirilenko, Boozer, and Mehmet Okur's peaks with Carlos Arroyo or Randy Livingston at the point. (See, if we didn't get D-Will those are the buffoons we would have been cheering for, I contend that getting a great PG meant more to our success over that period than any one of Andrei, Memo, or Booz)
It seems like it's important to find that capstone talent that brings the rest of the guys together. Very few of those guys are found outside of the Top 5 picks in the draft though. (And we're honestly not going to sign one as a free agent or trade for one) I can't tell if there's a "capstone" type of player in this draft for the Jazz. But I can say that there are a number of teams I'd rather not have the Jazz be picking behind on NBA Draft night 2012.
Right now there are a number of teams going into full tank mode. And there are a few teams that are stealth tanking. The untouchables are the Charlotte Bobcats (East), Washington Wizards (East), and New Orleans Hornets (West). The stealth tanking teams are the Toronto Raptors (East), New Jersey Nets (East), Sacramento Kings (West), and Detroit Pistons (East). There are a number of teams that are on the edge -- but a few more losses in the next few weeks will push them off the edge of trying hard to win every night to "trying hard not to lose *wink wink* every night". That group consists of the Cleveland Cavaliers (East), Milwaukee Bucks (East), Golden State Warriors (West), and perhaps even the New York Knicks (East). (It is not out of the realm of possibility that the Knicks miss the playoffs this year)
So far the majority of those teams are in the Eastern Conference, and I couldn't care less about them. In the West, though, there are a number of teams I wouldn't want the Jazz to pick behind. Not because I'm worried about missing that "can't miss" prospect (well, a little); but more because it gives the other teams a chance to get better than us, and maybe leapfrog us.
I'm not worried about the Kings or Hornets leap frogging us. I am worried about a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves doing that though. The Portland Trail Blazers are usually a thorn in our sides as well. And I can only count on the Golden State Warriors to mess things up for us. Those are three teams I don't want the Jazz to be picking behind.
At some stage the Jazz brass may need to look into this type of reverse bungle-eering to make sure that doesn't happen. Head coach Tyrone Corbin can only do so much though . . . he's trying to lose as many games as possible while looking like he's trying to win games . . . and somehow still keep his job. It's not easy being Ty.
It's not easy being a Jazz fan either -- but it could be that much easier if we did manage to get a 'capstone' player in this upcoming draft, even if it meant losing 5-10 more games than we normally would. If there ever was a roster that could find a way to make this happen it could be our roster.