As Jazz fans we have come to appreciate an execution-heavy brand of basketball that relies mainly on the decision-making ability of the ball handler. Whether it was John Stockton masterfully picking apart the defense, The Mailman in the post directing traffic, or D-Will breaking down his guy and making that picture perfect play, it’s what we all love. It’s the reason the lovable guy and talented offensive stud (yeah, I said it) Big Al Jefferson just didn’t click here in Utah. Jazz basketball is not about relying solely on that star player and riding him for better or worse.
You see, the idea behind the pick and roll and the flex offense is to look predictable, but be totally unpredictable (or flexible). When it’s run properly, the play looks the same at the start and each of the five offensive players will move to the place on the court they are most likely to be successful. The defense will make choices and the ball handler will read the defense. He’ll then make the proper pass to complete the play with the highest chance of success. (I realize this is painfully simplified.)
Well it seems like the Utah Jazz front office has taken a page right out of Jerry’s play book and the scenario for next season is set. The Jazz will be playing Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Trey Burke (aka the Core 4 +Burke)—all of whom are essentially obligated to the Jazz for the near future. Coach Ty Corbin will be forced to develop the young talent and by this time next year we will know what we have in our young guys. That much we know is going to happen. Personally, I can’t wait. I think it is brilliant on a number of levels. Not the least of which is the Jazz will not be forced into committing a large salary to anyone who is not already a proven entity (but that’s another story for another day).
So in one sense, we know exactly what is going to happen next year . . . at least who will be playing. (I think I speak for everyone when I say if Andris Biedrins or Richard Jefferson gets more minutes than Favors or Kanter next year, Ty is the one who should be sent packing.) In brilliant Jazz-like fashion there is a great play to be made no matter how things unfold.
Say the Jazz continue their winning ways and remain an average team. The players responsible for the winning remain under contract and the Jazz will have money to spend on any free agents they desire to fill in the needed roles—perhaps even attract one of the superstar-level talents to join this established core of young talent. I believe if this group is successful, Utah becomes a very attractive destination.
If the Jazz lose and end up at the very bottom of the league, they become a major player in next year’s draft, a draft which all the experts seem to believe is rich with all-star, even super-star, talent. All the while, the Jazz are developing their youngest talent and, again, the flexibility of a Romanian gymnast in the free agent market.
Lets just hope Dennis Lindsay knows what to do with the ball next year as the shot clock expires.
So Jazz fans what do you think? How do you think the season will play out? Which scenario do you hope for? How do you feel about a team that seems to intentionally be built to lack depth and force the growth and development of the young guys? Is Ty Corbin up for the task? And most importantly, will it work?