Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
Jazz fans are, in a majority, discontent with the current state of the team. This shows everywhere from posts and comments on this blog to the empty seats in ESA. I understand and share the multiplicity of frustrations. (We’re all familiar with them, so I don’t feel the need to rehash the multiple elephants in the room.)
I’m convinced that Jazz ownership and the front office understand as well. I don’t feel, however, that many of us Jazz fans understand why the team has and continues to act in the way it does. (This is partly the fault of the front office for being so opaque about everything.) But trying to look at the situation from the perspective of team ownership and management makes their plans more understandable—as well as reasonable and wise.
What follows is the result of long study and thought trying to understand the comprehensive plan the Jazz have going forward. No one has to agree, but at least consider.
Strategy vs. Tactics
To win any prolonged contest, be it a war or an athletic championship, requires strategy (how best to employ resources throughout a complex plan so as to achieve ultimate goals) as well as tactics (how to employ time-and-place-specific resources to achieve time-and-place-specific goals). Tactics win battles, but strategy wins wars (often with lots of won battles along the way).
Fans are typically tactical devotees. We debate lineups and substitution patterns, play calls, and game management, every player action and every coach’s choice. But to understand the Jazz’s approach, we have to think strategically first. In The Art of War, Sun Tzu says, "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles." So let’s start with self-awareness.
Who Are the Jazz and Who Are We Competing Against?
Let’s start with the lifeblood of an NBA team (as well as most everything else in the world): finances.
As of January 2013, Forbes estimates the Jazz’s value as $432 million, or 17th highest in the league. This puts us $668 million behind the league’s most valuable franchise, the New York Knicks ($1,100 million). Comparing the two teams demonstrates a great deal about the slanted playing field that is the NBA.
· Our revenue of $111 million puts us 17th as well, $132 million below the league leading Knicks ($234 million).
· Our operating income of $12.1 million is 14th in the league, $71.1 million below the league leading Knicks ($83.2).
· Gate receipts: Jazz = $31 million; Knicks = $94 million
· Metro Area Population: Jazz = 1 million; Knicks = 19.1 million
A few other bits of info:
In 2010-2011, the Jazz lost $3.9 million. In 2011-2012, they lost $16.4 million.
In 2011-2012, the Jazz had one of the NBA’s highest local television ratings, also according to Forbes. The Jazz lost $16.4 million even with that television deal, which is in force until 2021, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The team won’t get substantially more from television revenue any time in the near future. Compare this to the Lakers, who are getting $200 million per year from their new TV deal, in force from this season to a minimum 15 guaranteed years in the future.
In short, we are middle of the pack in every way financially, and that isn’t going to change. This is a major disadvantage.
We are also a cold weather city with a reputation throughout the league, deserved or not, of being boring, culturally and politically conservative, and ethnically and religiously uniform. All of these are disadvantages when compared to many of the larger metropolitan cities. Players are less likely to want to come here for the same financial incentive as other cities; once here, they’re less likely to attain an image that makes them attractive promotional prospects.
All this being said, we are not without assets and competitive advantages. The Jazz has dedicated ownership who has put us in the middle of the pack on financial matters, not in the basement. That matters a lot in a small market. We have as much cap room starting next season as any team in the league (less than $26 million on the books, including Marvin Williams’s $7.5 million player option and the $788,000 team option on Kevin Murphy). So we have immense flexibility. Better, what money is invested in current contracts is for a very strong crop of young potential with the C4, all on very affordable rookie deals. We have two draft picks in the first round this season and owe none in the future. Finally, we are part of one of the most passionate, dedicated, and knowledgeable fan bases in the league.
To put it in terms Sun Tzu would understand: We’re a respectable military force without the ability to hire fate-changing mercenaries. Our forces must be largely home grown. Simultaneously, we lack the resources to easily and readily equip our force comparable to our stiffest competition. We’re Iraq, Italy, or Venezuela, and our opponents are the US, Russia, and China.
When you look at us and our competitors, we’re not supposed to win. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. And to defeat a superior force—and the LAs, Miamis, Chicagos, and New Yorks are superior forces—you have to understand the field of battle.
Realities of the New CBA
When the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was ratified, Kevin O’Connor publically stated that the first three years of the deal would hurt small market teams. I can’t recall the exact wording, but I want to say that "hurt" is putting it mildly.
I am far from an expert on the new CBA, but thanks to Larry Coon, I understand that the luxury tax penalty gained new teeth. Starting next year, teams don’t simply pay $1 for every $1 they exceed the luxury tax threshold; instead, the penalty increases the more over the line you spend. For every $5 million dollars above the threshold, the penalty increases by an additional incremental tax ($1.50, $1.75, $2.50, $3.25 and beyond). Here’s an example Coon gives: "The Lakers' tax bill in 2011 (when the tax was dollar-for-dollar) was about $19.9 million. Under the new system, being that far over the tax line would cost them $44.68 million."
Big markets are able to shrug off even these enhanced penalties, especially at the lower levels, but not so for small markets. Anticipating this, the new CBA also includes a repeat offender provision. Basically, if any team spends into luxury tax territory four out of five years, their tax goes up by a whole $1 for every $1 spent on top of the additional incremental tax. So, again from Coon referencing that 2011 Lakers team: "If they were a repeat offender (paying tax at least four of the previous five years) [on $19.9 million] they would owe $64.58 million!"
That’s a lot of money, enough—in theory—to keep even the Busses, Cubans, and Prokhorovs of the world from spending their way to titles.
Will it work? No one’s quite sure yet, but it looks like it will, at least in cycles. Teams loaded with fat revenue streams may well dare luxury penalties for three years and then have to unload contracts in a two year lean period before going on another three year spending binge.
One consequence of this might be the end of superteams patterned after the Heat or Celtics, as top stars inking deals for four or five years will make it very hard to keep three large salaries at once without hitting the repeater penalty.
Another consequence is KOC’s observation about small markets in the first three years of the CBA. These coming three years are a boom time for big market spending, as the heavy hitting teams decide whether to dare the increased luxury tax penalty (the Bulls at roughly $5 million over) or completely deny its existence (the Lakers at near $30 million over). Meanwhile, the small market teams are getting their balance sheets in order with more rigidity than ever before.
For evidence that KOC is right in his assessment of these first years of the CBA penalizing small market teams, consider the two major cost cutting trades already completed this season: the Thunder trading James Harden and the Grizzlies deciding to part ways with pieces and then, on top of that, Rudy Gay. The two small market teams competing at the highest levels in recent years both made cost cutting moves this season while the Nets and Lakers took on huge new contracts.
The lay of the land is this: For the next three or so years, the big market teams’ financial advantages are emphasized while small markets are put at even greater disadvantage.
The Jazz Strategy
An honest assessment of the Jazz’s ability to compete, the serious advantages possessed by some of our competitors, and the drastic influence of the new CBA makes the Jazz’s current strategy—and tactics—much more understandable.
I truly believe the Jazz want to win a championship. I also believe they know the odds are stacked against them. They know who they are, who they’re competing against, and the lay of the land. So they’ve decided to take as many of their assets and resources as possible and capitalize on them at the moment of greatest advantage. It’s smart. And it means now isn’t the time to go all in.
In a few years, once many of the large market teams are confronting heavy taxes and penalties and the others have shown their hands (how they plan to handle the luxury aspects of the new CBA), the Jazz will look to strike. But to take full advantage of the opportunities then, the Jazz will need as many assets as possible in place when the moment comes. What does that mean for many of the items of opportunity the team possesses now?
They’re trying to save them for later.
Here are a number of ways we see this strategy in action.
Making the Playoffs Last Year and This (I like optimism)
The financial standing of the team is the foundation upon which its ability to compete is based. For the next few years, the Jazz are in a predominantly hold-and-develop-from-within pattern. Part of that plan is to ensure finances are in good order when the time comes to spend, especially if the team anticipates needing to brave any luxury tax penalty at all during their peak competitive years.
After two straight years of losing money, the team is doing everything it reasonably can to correct that going forward. A couple million dollars from even a single playoff series is not an insignificant amount, given the financial operating condition of the Jazz covered earlier. (Jared Quan’s Purple and Blue post put the profit at about $3 million in ticket sales for a playoff series, though I’m not sure how correct that is.)
The Jazz know they aren’t going to challenge for a title in the next few years. Even the most aggressive—and risky—strategy imaginable wouldn’t be likely to make us a serious championship threat in two or three years. Given that, the playoffs is a solid competitive goal as well as an additional financial boost. It also reinforces a culture that expects a certain level of success every year, which is in itself an asset when it comes to developing young players and their competitive expectations and standards. It also makes the team more attractive to free agents below that most desirable top crop, players the Jazz will need to fill out a team around young stars.
But Prioritizing the Playoffs Has Delayed Championship Contention
No, it hasn’t. The plan was never to compete for a championship as quickly as possible. It has always been to compete at the highest level possible at the moment of greatest opportunity. Assuming Favors and Hayward both earn starters minutes next year (which I think we all believe), and Kanter builds minutes over the next two years (which I also think we all believe), it’s easy to argue the team might be hitting its window of contention right in that timeframe in which big market teams will be burdened from overspending earlier (3 or 4 years). Rare advantage to the Jazz.
Also, from a purely tactical stance, moderate development of our young players might save money on their next contracts. If the point is to have the most talent assembled at the least cost when your window hits, getting one or two of the C4 on affordable contracts following their rookie deals could be a game changer.
It may be true that delayed development can retard development, preventing a player from reaching his potential or inducing him to leave the team as a free agent. But I find it highly unlikely that Derrick Favors or Gordon Hayward fit that description, as both are clearly central long term pieces the team is preparing to pay well. Also, it’s hard for me to buy an argument that Enes Kanter has been either significantly underutilized or offended, given his positive relationship with players ahead of him on the depth chart who are, at this point, superior players.
I concede that Alec Burks is a candidate for both depressed development and/or alienation from the franchise (though his recent performance is encouraging). I believe the Jazz would counter that he is a special case, given his reputation as a me-first player coming out of college, both on and off the court. The team would argue that how Burks is being treated, if he handles it well, will condition him to be a constructive member of the Jazz culture as well as a player better able and more willing to fit into the role the Jazz can offer him given the other young players on the team. It is up to Burks to make the best of it, in short; if he does, he may be better for the experience. That’s the explanation the team would give, and it is at least worth consideration.
Given everything that has transpired to this point, the Jazz certainly believe the C4—as well as any other young pieces procured in the future through trades or the draft—will have time to develop into the players they should be by the time the Jazz feel they should press their advantages.
On Cap Space
The Jazz front office has been clear that it will not overpay for players. Expect them to be as good as their word this off-season. The Jazz aren’t about to overpay for any free agent, such as the "max player" Josh Smith. Nor will they trade for a player with a questionably large contract or who is clearly looking to sign one soon, such as Brandon Jennings. Call this cheap if you want, but the Jazz would counter with the claim that it’s smart because it allows on-going flexibility that will be needed when the time comes to go all in.
Expect the Jazz to continue signing veterans to fill out the roster around their young developing pieces, at least for another year or two. The veteran deals will, in all probability, mirror those we saw this last off-season: Mo Williams—1yr/$8.5 million; Randy Foye—1yr/$2.5 million; and Marvin Williams—2yrs/$15+ million (player option next year). All the deals are short. Expect the Jazz to sign or trade for veterans who aren’t game changers on short contracts for the foreseeable future to maintain their flexibility, which they will protect until a moment of great opportunity.
That opportunity may come in free agency, when major talents in their primes decide to move on from cash strapped teams (including some big markets afraid of repeater penalties) or teams that have otherwise disappointed them. With many of the big market teams dissuaded from pursuing a player who will demand a big new contract, the playing field will be more level for the Jazz.
Big markets will still land the majority of star free agents, but when they commit to contracts from now on they will have lessened ability to chase additional pieces. Under those circumstances, more prized free agents are going to hit free agency with fewer big markets in a position to sign them. The Jazz, potentially with money to spend and a team already loaded with quality talent, should be much more attractive a destination in such a situation.
The Jazz have been open and consistent about the high value they place on flexibility. Don’t expect that to change until a rare moment presents itself—most likely a few years in the future.
The Jefferson/Millsap Conundrum
This is a complex situation with a lot of factors, but essentially, it’s simple for the Jazz: they want good talent that fits this team on bargain contracts or, barring that, flexibility. Flexibility is already guaranteed as a worst case scenario if both players leave for green(back)ier pastures. To the Jazz, that isn’t a bad result at all.
The smart money is on the team making no move prior to the trade deadline and riding out the season with the team as is, trying to make the playoffs. This offers a multiplicity of options to explore following this season. Many in the league say deals are more likely—and often more lucrative—after the draft has settled rosters somewhat. There would also be chances to explore sign-and-trade options, though the new CBA makes that option far less likely and attractive.
Before that, however, I’m convinced the Jazz would approach both Millsap and Jefferson with essentially the same pitch: "We love you and appreciate what you’ve done, and we really want you back with us—but given where we are as a team, you’re going to have to give us a deal. You’ll also need to assure us that if a day comes in the future when the best role for you would be as the first player off the bench, you’d embrace that."
It’ll be a rough moment for everyone involved, certainly, and I fully expect both Al and Paul would decline the sacrifices asked by the Jazz and pursue their individual goals elsewhere. But there would be that slight chance that one of the two would weigh a good (if not the best) contract and major (if not central) long term role with the Jazz against the prospects of leaving and decide he really is willing to take less for his team. And doing such would be a deafening declaration that it is, in truth, his team and not just a team on which he plays.
I don’t think that will happen, but it might. And if it doesn’t, the Jazz would still have the financial flexibility and young core that form the foundation of their strategy to return to contender status. Don’t expect weeping and wailing in the Jazz front office if they lose both to free agency.
But I’m betting my money against the odds: I think the team does make a trade. They will only do so for good talent on good contracts, but I think they can get that for one of Paul or Al—probably for both, if they want. They won’t get equal talent, certainly, but they can get good enough talent to justify making a move.
The SheridanHoops rumor of the Spurs giving up Tiago Splitter, Patty Mills, and Stephen Jackson’s expiring contract for Al fits that bill. I firmly believe that other such deals will be and probably have been volleyed their way. Historically, the Jazz are a fairly risk adverse franchise, and, if anything, that is even more the case right now. That being said, they are thinking strategically (long term competitiveness) and not just tactically (this season), and so I think a fair, affordable return that involves low risk is something they would—and will—do.
But… You Aren’t Really Saying the Jazz Would Consider Bringing Back Al!!!
If he agreed to play for $10-11 million a year, you’d better believe it. He would be too valuable an asset on that contract to pass by. If the team ever did decide the best competitive decision would be to move on from Al once and for all (I’m convinced this is inevitable), on a contract like that, he would bring back substantial value in a trade, even a year or three down the road.
But don’t worry. Won’t happen.
Ty, Ty, and More Ty?
There isn’t a how-to book on moving on from Jerry Sloan. That being said, it’s clear that the Jazz wanted certain things to change while others stayed as much the same as possible, in spite of Sloan’s departure.
The culture, which Kevin O’Connor regards as the single most fundamental element of a successful franchise, was to endure all but unchanged. The hard work, grit, respect for the organization and the city, willingness to play hurt, and team-orientation championed by Jerry were all aspects the front office desperately wanted to maintain with the selection of a new coach. They wanted a Jazz guy, clearly.
But that doesn’t mean they sought for a clone of the venerated former coach. While the team has never been completely upfront about the nastier side of Sloan’s departure, they are well aware of the part that Jerry played in things turning sour after so long: the dimmed competitive fire after so many years; the inability or unwillingness to adapt to Deron’s preferences in nearly any way; the earn-your-way-or-I-don’t-have-time-for-you standards, especially for young players with finesse games.
Ty is a holdover from the Sloan era, maintaining cultural foundations while adding youth and hunger to prove himself. Systematically, he is evolving largely because he is still developing himself. (He’s nearly as young a head coach as Alec Burks is an NBA player.) And Dennis Lindsey in particular likes to praise Ty for his utter lack of a "dog house" in which to place players.
Many Jazz fans loathe Tyron Corbin as the head coach of the Jazz, but the organization feels very differently—but not opposite. The team is taking a similar approach to Ty and his future with the team as they are the rest of their assets. From an organizational standpoint, Ty may as well be the fifth member of the C5. He’s another young and inexperienced asset that they’re trying to develop into an excellent talent. I don’t know that the specific value of Ty’s contract has been made public, but it certainly isn’t breaking the bank by NBA standards. And not at all surprisingly, the deal is up after a single year passed this season.
Ty is another young, cheap, short term contract the Jazz are trying to create into a bargain deal. It might not happen. If not, they will simply let his contract expire and seek an upgrade after next season. In their timeline, that would still give the new coach plenty of time to gel with the team before they hit the prime competition window.
On the Draft
Many Jazz fans—myself included—were disappointed the team didn’t move up in last year’s draft by trading either Jefferson or Millsap. Looking back on it, I never should have expected that to be a legitimate possibility. In today’s NBA, draft picks are inflated currency—the earlier the pick, the greater the inflation. The amount of risk involved in nearly any draft pick simply isn’t fairly taken into account when teams make their high first round picks available.
If there is one thing the Jazz will simply NEVER do in these years of wait to strike, it’s trade assets for high risk prospects. Expect the Jazz to keep both their picks this year and take two players in the second half of the first round. If they do make a trade, it will be to move up a few places at minimal additional cost or to swap a pick for a role player they like.
Lots of good assets at bargain cost is the name of the game, and they’ll keep playing it until something truly too good to pass up becomes available. Don’t expect that to happen in the 2013 NBA Draft.
But the Strategy Is Passive and Reactive!
This is true, and the truth gets at the crux of the matter that the team will never admit to Jazz fans: the Utah Jazz will almost certainly never go out and grab a championship purely through their own merits.
No strategic brilliance, no tactical aptitude can by itself overcome the disadvantages of who we are, who we face, and the uneven rules by which everyone plays. For the Jazz to win a championship, we’re going to need help. San Antonio received that help in the form of an injury to David Robinson combined with once in a lifetime luck. Oklahoma City received that help in the good fortune of having a generational player fall to them with the second pick, and the support of a city so exuberant over getting its own NBA team that fans stuck with several seasons of epic losing. Detroit received that help from a number of franchises who undervalued, misused, or could not manage the behavior of players like Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, and Rasheed Wallace.
The Jazz can’t use the Laker playbook of sign franchise changing free agents every five years. They can’t force the luck that so benefited San Antonio. And they won’t try the from-the-ashes approach at OKC, and probably couldn’t pull it off successfully if they did.
The Jazz have been completely open that they are seeking to employ the Detroit model. Amar, in particular, scoffs at this, pointing out the numerous discrepancies between how the most recent Piston’s title team was built and what the Jazz have done. His analysis is 100% accurate, so far as I can tell. But that isn’t what the Jazz mean by the Detroit model. Their version of the Detroit model involves capitalizing on other team’s mistakes rather than hitting the lottery, either in the lottery or free agency.
The Detroit Model as Meant by the Jazz
The Jazz have no delusions of either signing an All-NBA player as a free agent or drafting one with a top three pick, which would require seasons of systematic losing. Instead, they intend to maintain the ability to take advantage of mistakes other teams make. Consider the manner in which the most recent Pistons championship team was constructed:
Chauncy Billups: The Pistons signed him as a 26 year old disappointment. What else can you call a former #3 pick who only plays more than 30 minutes one season in his first five, producing 13.9 points and 3.8 assists in 33 minutes that year? In 02-03 the Pistons signed a fair player who had already disappointed four teams in five years to a contact worth about $27 million for five years. That player never produced fewer than 16.2 points a season on that contract, and only produced less than 5.7 assists once. The Pistons got three All-Star seasons out of a player who had started less than half the games in which he played the past three seasons before arriving in Detroit. He started every game he ever played for the Pistons.
Ben Wallace: Ben had never played more than 26.8 minutes in a season and had only started for a single year when the Pistons traded Grant Hill to Orlando for him and other pieces. He was seen as a nice defensive and rebounding prospect, but was certainly not the attention getter in that trade; Grant Hill was. Wallace ended up winning Defensive Player of the Year four times in his six-season first stint with the Pistons.
Rasheed Wallace: Rasheed was a two-time All-Star in Portland who had worn out his welcome because of atrocious behavior. He was traded to Atlanta and then almost immediately flipped to Detroit in a three-team deal that cost the defending champion Pistons four players and two 2004 1st round picks (who turned out to be Josh Smith and Tony Allen, pretty good players). But the Pistons, secure in their veteran culture, thought they could capitalize on Rasheed’s talents while managing his dysfunctional attitude. The year previous, Rasheed made $17 million as a Blazer; the year the Pistons traded for him, he made less than $10 million and they returned to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Spurs in seven games.
Tayshaun Prince: Selected with the 23rd pick in the 2002 NBA Draft.
The core of that Pistons team included one free agent widely regarded as a bust, a young prospect big with a limited skill set, a disgraced and seemingly unmanageable former All-Star, and one late first round pick. In each case, the Pistons benefited from other teams’ mistakes.
How the Jazz Will Mirror the Detroit Strategy
*Three teams traded away Billups and a fourth declined to retain his services, all by the time he turned 26.
Likewise, the Jazz will concentrate their free agent search on players they feel have untapped potential but are written off by other squads. Randy Foye is such a player. The Jazz knew his shooting could be an asset, but they also hoped he would exhibit point guard skills he hadn’t had the opportunity to display in recent years. Foye has produced mixed results, but expect the Jazz to continue to bring in players like Foye—good bench players or borderline starters—who are past their peak prospect years but who the Jazz think might still have untapped abilities.
*Orlando rolled the dice on an injured Grant Hill while the Pistons created a perfect fit for the promising young defender Ben Wallace to become the most outstanding defensive player of his generation.
Similarly, expect the Jazz to keep talent, even once it is clear that talent is not enough to win a ring, until a deal comes involving young prospects. The Jazz won’t give up a proven commodity unless another team really reaches for that asset, giving a good amount for a questionable asset.
I put Al Jefferson in this category. The Jazz know full well they will almost certainly be inhibited by Jefferson’s defensive liabilities as long as he plays starters minutes on the team. Even knowing that, they aren’t going to trade him unless a team makes an offer of good young value—like Orlando offering Ben Wallace—reaching for a difference making piece with downside, like Jefferson or an injured Hill.
*Portland lost control of their former All-Star, Rasheed Wallace, where Detroit had cultivated a culture where he could thrive.
I don’t see the Jazz making a play for an All-Star caliber player with an attitude problem, no matter how solid the team culture. However, I do think they anticipate a chance to trade for an All-Star or nearly so player who no longer fits on a team because of salary considerations or because he was asked to play too great a role on his previous squad and they’re looking to rebuild (see Josh Smith). In fact, I practically guarantee this type of deal is in the Jazz’s sights going forward.
The Marvin Williams trade is a minor example of this tactic. Marvin has been viewed as wasted talent since the day he entered the league, and the Jazz clearly thought they could employ him better than Atlanta had. They haven’t, at least, not thus far. But the deal stands as a template of what to expect in a more significant trade in future years.
At some point, the Jazz will move young assets or draft picks for a veteran in his prime who fills the dominant pressing need on the team. Think a Jazz team of the C4 hitting their prime landing a player like Andre Iguodala primarily because of timing and cap flexibility, like Denver did last year. That’s the idea, and it will be the most obvious significant move the Jazz make in their construction of the next championship team—just as the trade for Jeff Hornacek was in the Stockton and Malone era.
*Teams picked Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Dajuan Wagner, Chris Wilcox, Jared Jeffries, Melvin Ely, Marcus Haislip, Fred Jones, Bostjan Nachbar, Jiri Welsch, Juan Dixon, Curtis Borchardt, Ryan Humphrey, Kareem Rush, Qyntel Woods, and Casey Jacobsen before the Pistons selected Tayshaun Prince with the 23rd pick.
Similarly, the Jazz will try to maximize the late round picks winning teams get rather than try to procure high picks. I suspect this is a major reason for the Dennis Lindsey hiring. The Jazz are clearly not as analytics-driven as many teams, but if there is one area where they are likely to increase dependence on the numbers, it’s in the draft. They’re gearing up for a prolonged period of no lottery picks with the intent of getting good talent even with the late picks.
This is the model the Jazz are trying to follow: build the team by taking advantage of other teams’ mistakes rather than shooting for that free agent or #1 pick franchise player.
The Jazz strategy is to use a cherished culture, patience, discipline, wise financial decisions, growth from within, and other teams’ mistakes to build a championship team for a window more than three years out. They know they have a lot going for them, but even so, they have to leverage every asset as wisely as possible to produce the greatest probability of success. That’s exactly what they’re doing.
There are other strategies for building a championship team. There may even be other strategies that are realistically employable by the Jazz. But, I believe, this is the strategy the Jazz are using. I understand it and, aside from some specific tactical decisions, I find it hard to argue with.