Hey, guys. Remember 2010? That was the year the Utah Jazz finally got their mitts on that long-elusive draft pick via the dismal New York Knicks. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite as dismal as we'd hoped, landing at the #9 spot. We took The Man Known As G-Time, Gordon Hayward. But should we have? (Especially since one Paul George was still on the board?)
ESPN contributors Amin Elhassan and David Thorpe take a look at the 2010 draft as a whole and rewrite history, knowing what we all know now. The results for the Jazz (Insider):
9. Utah Jazz | Actual Pick: Gordon Hayward
Elhassan's pick: Lance Stephenson | Thorpe's pick: Hayward
Thorpe: I thought Utah would take him early in the spring of 2010 as both a small forward and a shooting guard. Hayward has not yet realized his considerable potential, but he is a good fit there without doubt.
Elhassan: I first saw Stephenson as an eighth grader at the ABCD camp in New Jersey, and it was very apparent the only thing that would prevent a talent of that magnitude from making it would be the hubris of himself and his circle. He's never looked as good as he does now, and a lot of that is because of the tough love administered by the man who drafted him, Larry Bird. Stephenson would have received the same kind of strict treatment in Utah, which would have been good for his career.
Still on the board at #9 in their redraft: Quincy Pondexter, Patrick Patterson, Greivis Vasquez, Avery Bradley, Larry Sanders, and others. (For the record: Thorpe and Elhassan had Paul George going no later than third. Derrick Favors: fourth.)
What do you think? Should the Jazz have taken a chance on Crazy-Pants Lance, or would Hayward still be the best pick here? (Assuming, you know, that you had a time machine.)
Meanwhile, if you'll step out of your phone booths, here in the present the Jazz still haven't settled on a new head coach, although they might be getting closer. Reports say three candidates -- Quin Snyder, Adrian Griffin and Alvin Gentry -- have had second interviews for the job.
Our friend from Item 1, Amin Elhassan (he's a busy man), has ranked the top 10 free-agent coaches out there, and only one of the Jazz's candidates appears on his list. Right at the bottom. (That's because it's a list of guys with previous head coaching experience, and of the Jazz's threesome, only Gentry has that.)
Anyway, here's Elhassan's brief evaulation:
10. Alvin Gentry | Career win/loss: 335-370 (0.475)
Former teams: Heat, Pistons, Clippers, Suns
Reputation: Players' coach
Pros: Offensive minded with coaching pedigree, great communicator
Cons: Can become guarded and conservative with rotations and depth chart
His top five, in order: George Karl, Avery Johnson, Jeff Van Gundy, Vinny Del Negro, and He Who Must Not Be Named But Whose Name Rhymes With Schmark Schmackson. Personally, with the exception of JVG, I'd rather take a chance on a new guy like Synder or Griffin than one of these retreads. What say you?
FanPosts! Much of the discussion this week was dominated by the coaching search, as both pacoelcid and nkeith did some research on Quin Snyder. Here's part of paco's take:
While much of what Quin has done shows promise, you don't go from a job that's paying over a million dollars a year (head coach Missouri) to a job that pays around $75K annually (head coach Austin Toros) without some sort of reason.
And a bit from nkeith:
His coaching records for Mizzou (125-95 / .576) and the Austin Toros (94-56 / .627) are pretty good, and he's learned from some of very good coaches and organizations (Coach K, Messina, Budenholzer / San Anontio, etc.). I'd give him a strong consideration after Lionel Hollins. I think Snyder could be a good coach for Utah's young team, and he sounds particularly focused on bringing guys up to speed on defensive sets, help defense, rotating, and communicating to each other as a team.
I strongly encourage you to click through to both posts; pacoelcid compiled a TON of relevant links, and nkeith embedded a couple of interesting videos. Good work, y'all!
pacoelcid went one step further, too, breaking down Adrian Griffin as well. A tidbit:
Adrian on what his father taught him, "My father was a minister, so I understand the effects that a leader has on a community, on individuals - he set such a great example of being a servant to others, helping others, and that is something that I aspire to do. I want to teach leadership and set up programs for underprivileged kids, especially in the minority community because I think they need it a lot. To understand what you need to succeed in life.
That sounds very, very much in line with what the Jazz like to portray as an organization.
Finally, you all had a field day with the little $15 NBA All-Time Team I included in last week's Downbeat. You may have already seen it by now, but Utah_Soldier made one just including Jazz players. You'll have to click through to see the values he set and make your squad.
Thanks to everyone for your FanPosts this week. They make me feel like this:
So what do the Jazz actually want in a head coach, anyway? The Trib's Gordon Monson came up with a list, and first among the criteria: a defensive brain.
Jazz powers are straight-up sick of watching their team get kicked around at the defensive end. They've said that again and again, and it's more than sweet-sounding BS. If we all had five bucks for every time Dennis Lindsey has hammered the point, we'd all be rich enough to buy the Clippers. In the first real chance for the club to hire a head coach outside its organizational walls since ... well, ever, this longtime weakness will be addressed. Defense can be taught, stressed, improved, insisted upon. Whoever the new coach is, he will think more like Tom Thibodeau than Mike D'Antoni. It's not just that defense wins championships, it's that defense prevents you from getting blown off your home floor by the Denver Nuggets and crushed on the road by the Milwaukee Bucks. It's a jumping-off point for future success.
Monson lists several other attributes you can click through and check out.
The biggest item on my wish list? Well, I know this is as much or more on the assistant coaches (especially the player-development coaches) than the head coach, but I want someone who will get the most out of young players. I'm tired of seeing guys not live up to their talent, for whatever reason.
Again, I realize there are a LOT of factors at play there, and the head coach doesn't have control over all of them. But hey: this is my wish list, and I'll dream if I want to.
Thus far, I've been on Team Gordon, as in, Aaron Gordon, for the Jazz's #5 pick. His athleticism and defense remind me too much of Andrei Kirilenko for me not to love him. But I'm starting to come around on Noah Vonleh. Dude's shot is pure sweetness, especially from the outside.
Here's a DraftExpress workout video and interview with Vonleh that turned my head a bit.