The Downbeat #950 -- The "Money and Stars" Edition

USA TODAY Sports

So, the Utah Jazz lost last night. It's an 82 game season. Let's move on. The big picture here is that, well, in most competition driven things you get what you pay for. And the Los Angeles Lakers are worth (according to a recent Forbes actuation) $1 Billion Dollars. They also have an operating capital of $47.8 million. They were ranked #2 on the Forbes list. The Jazz are ranked #17.The four teams ahead of us are the Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, and Cleveland Cavaliers. The four teams below us are the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Toronto Raptors. Our franchise worth is $432 million, or $0.432 Billion, if we're trying to keep the same standard of the Lakers. Our operating income is $12.1 million (which is less than Al Jefferson 's salary this year). The mean operating income for the 9 teams around us is $9.41 Millions (thanks a lot to Portland's operating income of $-10.1) -- so we're above the average for the group.

Team Current Value Operating Income
($ Millions) ($ Millions)
PHX 474 13.00
ORL 470 12.00
POR 457 -10.10
CLE 434 18.60
UTA 432 12.10
LAC 430 9.10
DEN 427 12.00
PHI 418 -0.80
TOR 405 18.80
Average 438.56 9.41

Two things, are we using all of that money; and secondly, is our bang for the buck at par with the rest of our financial peers? I'm going to assume that our team is spending as much money as possible. That may or may not be the case, but for the sake of simplicity, let's just say that all franchises are spending all of their funds. Bang for the buck? Out of this peer group we're right in the middle in terms of franchise worth (four better, four worse). Our Operating income is also above average.

That's good news. What's the "bad news"? Financially we're in a group where six of the nine teams are lottery teams. Our franchise worth is in the middle, in the middle of the pack of some bad teams, and we have more operating income. We're a playoff team, and Denver and LA are both Playoff Teams. We're on the bubble. Beyond Conference standings let's try and see the relative marketing value for these teams. The primary one is, well, do they have a star player on them? Portland, Cleveland, LA, and Denver do. Philly would have one too if Andrew Bynum was healthy and good. Only Philly and LA are the "big media markets", so I guess they would have an easier time then the rest of this class.

So if you remove LA and Philly you are left with: Phoenix, Portland, Orlando, Utah, Cleveland, Denver, and Toronto -- which is a funny situation as it's one of the biggest cities on the continent, has millions of people, has a ton of sports teams in it's media market, and so forth. If you further remove the teams that have stars on them you are left with Phoenix, Orlando, Utah, and Toronto. We should be better than all of those teams.

And we are.

We can't run with the big dogs, but with where we are, and with what we can possibly do -- making the playoffs every year may actually BE our championship ceiling barring the undeniable good fortune of drafting two HOFers in consecutive NBA drafts. That's kind of a downer.

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In better news, Utah Jazz athletic trainer Brian Zettler is on twitter now -- give him a follow @BrianZettler ! His following list is an amazing trip into his psyche. I wonder what all of our following lists say about us. (I do know that Kanter follows a lot of, uh, actors and actresses . . . )

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The All-Star selections were made and I'm a little bummed out that we were shut out again. On paper a case could be made for Al Jefferson; however, realistically, I don't think he really had a shot. Which sucks. An all-star nod, even if as a replacement player, affords more benefits than it should. The player gets a boost in the eyes of the league, and they are allowed to get away with more. This cachet is important, because it allows stars to cheat, and get away with it. And that helps you win games. People like to take the high ground and say individual awards don't mean anything. Sadly, they do. They allow Karl Malone to foul Nick van Exel on a three point attempt, and have it count as a block, in a playoff game, on a potential game winner. They allow Carlos Boozer to get called for offensive fouls less on rebound attempts. They allow some players to freaking walk with the ball. A Tyson Chandler goaltend is block, while a Derrick Favors block is a goaltend. It's not just about marking players, or getting those TNT games -- it's about every game where assumed perception of a player influences the outcome of a call.

Al Jefferson is known as a finesse player, so he doesn't get the calls when fouled. Paul Millsap was a bench player for longer than he should be, so league wide the reputation he has from his on court play is limited by his status on his own team. This same thing is happening to our darling Gordon Hayward -- assumed ability is more important than actual ability. And it's hurting our team, and making it harder to win games. All-Star selections and other awards are important. And I guess this goes back to promoting your players -- Portland, which is operating in the red this year, always promotes their players. As a result, they seem to always get these 'stars' and get the benefit of the doubt when they should not. I guess all their injuries could be Karma. I don't know. I'm not a Karmic specialist. I do know that we need a star -- not just because stars are supposed to be better players; but because stars get the calls and make winning easier.

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The Jazz play three more games this month -- tonight hosting the Indiana Pacers, the 2nd night of a back to back, and 3rd game in four nights. After that we have a day off between each game -- Monday hosting the Houston Rockets, and then Wednesday hosting the New Orleans Hornets. It would be sweet for the Jazz to finish this month with three wins in a row. They should. But it's also likely that they finish the month with only one more win.

We fans can only hope so much -- after a while yelling at each other, the coaches, and the front office only does so much. Sometimes it's okay for the team to start getting some good wins. Now would be a perfect time -- and I think our team is good enough to win the next three. What do you think?

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I'm in the middle of finishing all my mid-season review articles . . . but a quick question: Who is our MVP? Should that be our most expensive player, implicitly? Who is our MIP? Does being MIP actually mean they are any good, though?

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