The Utah Jazz finished the season 25-57, the fourth worst record in the league. As a direct result, they have the fourth most ping-pong balls for today's NBA Draft lottery. In order to get a little more information on the Jazz we're going to Jam with, uh, me . . . I guess (@AllThatAmar).
Utah has a 10.4% shot at the top pick, so let's get Jammin'!
1. My team is only in the lottery this year because of __________, ________ , and __________ .
Amar: I would have to say "design", "desire", and "execution." The people running the team ran this team full steam into an iceberg this past season on purpose. No team was going to be a contender with the coach we had. And no team was going to be a contender with the bench we had. And no team was going to make the playoffs with some of the starters we had. And no team was going to make the playoffs with the salary to production distribution the team had. It was by design that the team was this bad. The GM Dennis Lindsey tanked the off-season so that no matter what happened during the season, we would be in the running for a good pick this year. The desire aspect was because this is a highly regarded draft class with a number of blue chip prospects. For a team that can only build through the draft (we're not a hot free agent destination) it was necessary to maximize the results of the lotto. For the most part the team did that -- though they could have just as easily been the #3 seed with one or two more losses there and there. Lastly, there's the execution issue. Buzzer beating wins against lotto teams, and overtime road victories aside, this team did what they had to do in the W/L column to be where they wanted to be at this point in the NBA Draft cycle.
Utah did what they needed to do, and it's up to the fates now.
2. If we were drafting based on need, the top player on our draft board would be _________ .
Amar: Andrew Wiggins. He's the guy withe the highest upside and has the most value as an asset. We love our players, but more and more we need to be a little bit more detached and view these guys as assets. No other player in this draft is worth as much. Utah needs a hyper athletic wing who can run, jump, dunk, and play defense. It's something the franchise has been missing for years. You could argue that this team needs a reliable go-to scorer, and thus, make a strong case for Jabari Parker. There's really no wrong answer there, it's about what you value more. And in this NBA where wing-scorers are plenty I'd take the guy with the higher upside who has the athleticism to make game changing plays. More than anything else Wiggins also gives the Jazz a National star and a chance at being in the spotlight every night. Exposure is needed if the team is ever going to make the next jump.
3. Historically the lotto has been _____ to my franchise.
Amar: Unforgiving. Yes, the Jazz did get Enes Kanter at #3, a huge jump from where the pick should have been, but that was actually the Nets pick, and not the Jazz pick. Most of the other times the team has been in the lotto they've either stayed in place; or if there was something to lose the team ended up losing. The year the Jazz got Deron Williams at #3 wasn't because of the lotto -- despite the poor record the Jazz had to trade up to the #3 spot. We didn't "win it", we won a much lower one because we weren't that lucky.
4. Our team deserves a Top 3 pick because __________ .
Amar: This team hasn't had one in, well, a few seasons. Hmm, also the Jazz have been building up good karma for seasons now with all the community service work of keeping washed up vets off the streets and into our starting lineups. That has to count for something. Also the team won games down the stretch, well, kinda.
5. Our team deserves the #1 pick because ___________ .
Amar: ...because the Jazz have never had a #1 pick before. Utah should have hadJohnson at #1, but we were cheated out of that because of some bad rules back in the day. The next closest the Jazz have ever gotten was a #2 pick, who was Dominique Wilkins, who never played a second with the franchise either. It's time for a #1! Let's do eet!
Thanks Amar, and best of luck to our Utah Jazz today!