Please bare with me as I brain dump all of my Jazz thought in one long rambling post. I have been thinking about this for a long time now and I think it’s time I actually put it out there. I think the best team in the NBA right now to model our franchise after are the Houston Rockets. I will explain this more in detail a bit later. I’ve never been grandiose statement guy, but I can’t help but think that this is going to be the most important offseason for the Jazz for the next 10 years due to our situation in the draft as well as our coaching search. I have long been a draft-a-holic, so I want to start there.
In my opinion, the most appealing draft prospect in this draft has got to be Embiid. Without a doubt he has the greatest ability to be an elite game changer on the next level. If you really believe he has only been playing basketball for four years, and you watch the skillset that he already has, he could legitimately be the next Hakeem. He also has the greatest bust potential due to the injury concern, so I understand peoples apprehension. If he clears the medical exams, then I think he’s the clear cut number 1 pick. The thought of a front court of Embiid and Favors could be the thing dreams are made of. Would we have spacing issues? Probably. But I really think Favors has the ability to develop a shot similar to Lamarcus Aldridge. Following Embiid, I slot Parker at 2. I am concerned with his defense and that he is a tweener, but I think we could deal with that. Wiggins should go at 3. Already elite athleticism and defense, so if his offense never comes around then he’s still a great player. I worry about his inner drive to be the best because he just plays so passively. I don’t quite think he knows how dominant he could be. Exum should go at 4. He may also be a boom or bust type player since we don’t have a lot of film on him, but from what I've seen I am very impressed. I am praying he falls to 5 because I really want to see him playing next to Burke. This kid’s got game, and I think looking back people will realize he should have been in considerations for the 1st overall pick. If these guys all go before our pick at 5, then I just don’t have any strong feeling for the next best available player. Smart already has the tools to be an elite defensive pg, and I love his fire. I see Gordon a lot like Wiggins, he already has some excellent basketball tools, and if he develops a shot that would be the cherry on top. If we wanted him though, we probably should trade back for him. Either way, I just cant muster up any passion for anyone after the first 4.
Trade up to get our guy you say? I know that everyone really wants that, but I just don’t think it’s a good idea. The price it would cost us to move up and grab Parker would be far too high. And even if we did, who’s to say Jabari won’t be a bust? Now this is where I think we should be modeling our team building after the Rockets. For years everyone has been looking to the OKC model for success in building a championship caliber team. There is only one problem though. There just aren't that many superstars in the league that are capable of carrying a team like KD does. As we have so painfully learned this year, there is just no way to guarantee that we’ll even get a high enough pick, even if there were another Lebron in the draft. Now the Rockets were one of those teams stuck in NBA mediocrity for a number of year. After Yao retired the Rockets were a bad team, but never bad enough to get a high pick. So what did they do? The accumulated assets. That’s clearly where the Jazz are right now in this rebuild process, we are gathering assets using our cap space and the draft. So the Rockets waited for the right opportunity and cashed in their assets for a superstar in James Harden. Step 2 was to use their promising young team and one super star to lure another super star to the team (Howard). What’s next? Since they have managed their salary cap so well, they have room to sign superstar free agent number 3 to the team, if they can find said star and actually convince them. Now I’m not necessarily saying I love Harden or Howard, or that I even think they will ever win a championship. My point in this excessively verbose article is that you don’t cash in your assets unless you know exactly what you are getting. Did Jabari look great in college? Of course. Will he be great in the NBA? Who really knows? I believe the best path for the Jazz would be to grab the best player available at 5 and 23 and stay the course. Every single year there are at least two stars in the league that are rumored to be available for the right price. (like Love is right now) I believe the Jazz should wait for the right guy to come along and be ready to pull the trigger if they think he’s the right guy. Maybe somewhere down the line we’ll accidentally draft the next Paul George, but if that doesn't happen, I think we just need to sit and wait patiently for that right guy to become available.