We love Jam sessions here at SLC Dunk. It makes sense as we're the Utah Jazz, the only music related team in the league (unless you think Thunder is music). So for the end of this season I asked the crew seven questions. You'll get a new one each day all week long. Hope you enjoy these.
#7: In a season of development and discovery what did you find out about your team? What did you find out about yourself?
Basketball John: There's still a long ways to go. The Jazz have pieces but this season has been like the second movie in a trilogy -- it's a bridge to the third act that leaves a lot of questions and cliffhangers.
Peter J Novak: I found out that I'll continue to watch every minute of every Jazz game, even if they are lousy. In addition, I attended 6-7 games in person, more than any time in the recent future, and I had a great time watching some of the young guys grow.
Clark: I still have a lot of faith in this team moving forward, but I realize now that we are a lot worse than I thought we would be. I'm surprised at how much outside influences (engagement, contract negotiations, free agency) has affected Gordon Hayward. I'm surprised at the consistency and effort that many of the other young guys need to learn and exhibit.
But I also learned that I can't quit the Jazz. With graduate school and another child on the way, I've had a lot of reasons to keep my distance, and I have more than previous seasons. But I kept one eye on the Jazz all season. I love them. I love talking about and digesting and writing about them. I guess I always knew that though. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go study.
TazzJazzFan: I'm happy to say that I'll watch every game, at least once, even if we are struggling. I thought I'd give up at some point.
I also learned that some players can flourish even in trying times.
Moni: That no matter how bad the Jazz get, I'm still there watching every game from tipoff to final buzzer, regardless of time of day or time zone. I need help.
YuccaMan: Despite frustrations at sundry parts of the year, all the young guys showed progress. They are still unpolished, the team as a whole is a long way from being good, and it’s very possible they are more a set of complementary pieces than stars who can someday lead the team to championship glory. But there’s still more to discover, there’s going to be a major addition coming from the draft this summer, and I still think the future is bright.
Spencer Campbell: I am a true fan and watched almost every game even the blowouts. Losing is hard, but hopefully we can look back and say man that was rough, but look where we are now.
Prodigal Punk: I found out that next year is a fresh start and I'm still very excited about this team. The Jazz will add a very good player in this year's draft (and he won't have the weight of carrying an entire team on his back), possibly some good rotation players (or starting caliber players if they determine some of the young guy's have a rotation player ceiling), and probably a new coach to guide their improvement.
This season has put Jazz fans through a bit of an existential crisis, and everyone has handled it differently. I have been able to be patient and, as I just mentioned, maintain my excitement. Besides, an added benefit of a terrible season is that ticket prices don't rise, so my wife and I are season ticket holders for the first time.
MyLo: I found out that this team is devoid of a star. While we have found that Alec Burks is a scorer, Gordon Hayward is a do everything forward, Favors and Kanter at times can be reliable low post presences, and Trey Burke can lead a team, none of these players are capable of carrying this team for the future. Is it possible that with the right coach they can become greater than the sum of their parts? Possible. But that is a big stretch of the imagination at this point.
In addition to being devoid of a star, we have learned that Dennis Lindsey is willing to do what it takes to get that star. Whether that is bundling picks to move up in a draft, gain extra draft picks to increase lottery odds, or sign free agents that will further a "tanking" agenda, Dennis Lindsey is looking for that "it" guy. That's comforting. It means he is not stuck on any one player whether it is from the core foundation players, free agents, or someone in the draft. He wants a star and if it becomes available he's willing to pull the trigger to get them.
I found that I cannot tolerate a coach that is not in sync with the front office vision. I know there are many that believe that Tyrone Corbin was in complete accordance with the front office's vision for the future, but the evidence is not there. The signs of discord were there. Alec Burks coming off the bench, Enes Kanter's benching, then starting again, then benching, then starting again. His preference for Richard Jefferson when Jefferson could barely get minutes in Golden State. Let's be clear, Richard Jefferson should not have received the minutes he received. Good for him for doing well with the minutes provided. But this should never have happened. Marvin Williams becoming a starter over a promising young big who had shown signs that he was a big men capable of 20-20 (Kanter) was frustrating.
I could not disagree more with people who have said this was their favorite Jazz season. It could have been a great season. It could have been one that was filled with youthful athleticism played at a high pace. Instead it was one marred by veterans who will struggle to land a contract this offseason, slow pace, "get betters", terrible defense, even worse offense, and fans critical of other fans because consumers are not allowed to have an opinion, apparently. I'm done with it. I was sold on a foundation of young players, not 30 minutes a game of Marvin Williams and Richard Jefferson. I'm tired of not being able to enjoy a game and being pulled between rooting for a team and checking the loss column. I wanted tanking. Because opportunities like this draft come once every decade or so. They're unicorns. I understood that. But the medicine would have tasted better with some sugar, and Marvin Williams and Richard Jefferson are not sugar.
Diana Allen: I discovered that it is very bad to have a lame duck coach in a season of discovery. The Jazz should have parted ways with Corbin a few years ago but since they didn't they definitely should have parted ways with him this past summer. It was very clear that Corbin favored vets. Corbin held a bias against young "hot shots", there is no reason whatsoever that the Millers and KOC/DL should have kept Corbin knowing his biases. Corbin was absolutely the wrong coach to lead a team in a season of discovery. Add to the fact that Corbin was a lame duck coach in this season of discovery made things a thousand times worse than if he had additional seasons on his contract (not that I EVER would have wanted that ever). We discovered that we still don't know much about Trey Burkes and the Core Four playing together. We learned that that Zone and Jazz owned media will defend Ty's decisions at all costs no matter how ludicrous those decisions are. We discovered that Enes and Favors are a best big man duo yet they weren't really given the opportunity to grow together until Dennis Lindsey had the "talk" with Ty Corbin with 13 games left in the season. We discovered that Ty Corbin is not the coach of the future for the Utah Jazz. I mean he was actually trying to win games and he only won 25 games. Many of those 25 wins came against teams down many starters including their best players. Many of those wins came from players making clutch shots (Trey Burke) or Alec Burks even though Ty didn't draw up those plays. The thing that I discovered most about the Jazz is that we didn't really have a season of discovery.
I discovered that I love team basketball, I love teams that have true systems on both ends of the court. I discovered that I can truly enjoy a Jazz season without Twitter. I loved just interacting with Dunkers instead of Twitter for this season because of the dischord from some fans. I discovered that this was not my favorite season and that coaching makes a huge impact on how I feel about my team.
AllThatAmar: I learned that the Utah Jazz franchise will still take the middle path instead of committing 100% in a direction, and as a result, they will not do what it necessary to win a championship. They are too afraid to go 'all in', and that's why the Jazz just went from a 96% shot at a Top 5 to a 69% shot in the span of a week or two. Because of pride and a desire for short term gratification, over delayed gratification.
As for me, I learned that no matter what I can't 'quit' the Jazz. I watched almost every loss three times this season, in addition to watching every game at least once. So in a season of 25 total wins this means that I've watched more Jazz basketball this season (total hours) than some years when we go to the second round of the playoffs. I'm a sucker for this team. I love this team. And I guess that's why I wish to correct mistakes -- so the team can once again be great. Instead of either a) mediocre, or b) entirely forgettable. Which is exactly where this team is right now.
What did you learn about the team? What did you learn about yourself?Sound off below!