Today would be Larry H. Miller's 70th birthday, if he was alive. I miss you Larry. And you are missed from within the Utah Jazz franchise as well. Yesterday was the Larry H. Miller day of service. So here's an awesome picture of a LHM Group of companies employee doing volunteer work.
D.J. Forster of Bleacher Report wrote a hilarious article on the Best destinations for the Top 5 draft picks: Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Dante Exum, Jabari Parker, and Julius Randle. Why did I find it hilarious? Well, first of all he lists our Utah Jazz as one of the best possible destinations for Wiggins, behind Philly.
In Philadelphia, ironic as it is to say this given the reputation of the city's fans, there'd be organizational patience and a clear eye on the future. Wiggins would be a part of an incredibly young core that features a solid distributor in Michael Carter-Williams and a potential rim protector in Nerlens Noel, two things every wing wants next to them.
The fast-paced style Philadelphia plays should also suit Wiggins extremely well, as he often had limited room to work with in Kansas and was unable to really attack the rim and let his athleticism flourish. The numbers would look good right away, and Philadelphia's notable assets going forward (tons of cap space, another lottery pick in this draft) should have them hitting their stride just when Wiggins is beginning to.
This is a perfect fit in a major media market for Wiggins to become a star.
Utah doesn't offer as many of those advantages, but Wiggins could really form a dynamite combo with Gordon Hayward, another big wing who can play either the 2 or 3 and do a lot of different things on the floor. Utah is probably one scorer short of having a pretty good offense, and Wiggins could provide that while also pitching in elite wing defense, something the Jazz are also in need of.
Okay, the Jazz have youth, cap space, a rim protector in Derrick Favors (and Rudy Gobert), and TWO distributors right now in Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward. Utah isn't as big a media market, but there's no telling how slow or fast the Jazz will play with a new coach. But yeah, Utah "doesn't offer as many of those advantages."
The real hilarious part is that our team (one bereft of a real scoring option unless it's Alec Burks) isn't even mentioned once for Jabari. At all. For anything. I'm not the leader of the Jabari Safari, but I could definitely see a few on the court and off the court reasons why you would at the very least mention our team when talking about him.
You know who DJ lists? The Los Angeles Lakers.
Bravo. Way to troll the Jazz fanbase.
Someone at the Salt Lake Tribune put up an article listing "Five reasons a coach would choose the Utah Jazz." It's an interesting read and I can't fault much of it. (Click on the link for the full article) The nameless author lists:
- Cap Space
- No Shadow
- and Fan Base
Which of those five do you think is the biggest pull factor for a coach? Personally, I think the fact that we could have the #1 draft pick is the real pull factor. It would be fun for a coach to be handed a roster of young studs and little immediate need for wins. It's a personal challenge to make this group into a winning group. It's also excessively 'hard mode' if you do it starting John Lucas III like our former coach was relegated to having to do.
Cap Space is nice, but a) other teams have it as well, and b) we don't use it to bring in big free agents. (We did a post on this earlier in the week). Loyalty is huge, and not having to follow in Jerry Sloan 's footsteps are plusses as well. I don't know if coaches are crazy about our fans. Sure, you don't want fans who don't care, but reported attendance aside, there were lots of empty seats last season. Perhaps that was conditional and the fans will come back this year.
Ultimately I think the Jazz have demonstrated undying loyalty to their coaches since moving to Utah. That's probably the biggest pull factor.
Speaking of Jazz players, it may or may not be a huge surprise to you to find out which players had their jersey sold the most at Fanzz stores this past season -- it wasn't Brandon Rush, if you were worried. You should speak to someone at Fanzz to find out the answer if you couldn't guess who they were already.
This was the 40th season of the franchise (n.b. not the 40th year in Utah; hence, the reason why the Jazz didn't celebrate this milestone). There have been seven Jazz players to don the #40. Without cheating -- how many can you name?
Here's a hint: this guy wasn't one of them.
(Or his twin brother)