So the big news today is that the NBA Draft is fast approaching with the first major event of the season: The Draft Combine. It's in Chicago, and we'd be going there anyway, but I'm now back in Chicago so it's just around the corner. There's lots to cover, and to whet your appetite here are a few posts from last year and this year to check out:
- The Full stream from last year (21 stories)
- 2013 List and Stats
- Driving there
- Former player Shareef Abdur-Rahim on Sidney Lowe
- Rudy Gobert interview
- 2014 List and breakdown
I guess I should make a 2014 stream . . . something for me to do a little later on tonight.
The big story about this draft has been the talent at the top, and the big story about this combine is the lack of participation by the top guys. That's fine. That gives the Utah Jazz -- and me -- a chance to learn more about these other players.
I'm not going to be alone, SB Nation will have 2 other guys there, but they are with the mothership, only I will represent a team blog. Tonight I will be doing a Google hangout video of what happened during Day 1. I will also do one on Friday night, and Saturday night. (I know, Mr. Popular over here.)
This may be the most important draft since 2003, or it may just be another average one. We can't know until a few years from now. But for the Jazz, a franchise that scuttled the team and struggled to win 20+ games, this draft was supposed to be a big payout. A big part of learning about these guys will be the combine. And we'll be there to cover it.
The next NBA Draft thing on the schedule is the draft lotto. The Jazz have selected to send a young player to make fans excited, and it's going to be Enes Kanter.
Actually, all of that is false. They're sending Greg's brother Bryan.
Bryan Miller (President of Miller Inspiration & son of Jazz owner Gail Miller & the late LHM) will represent Jazz on stage for Draft Lottery— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) May 14, 2014
Jazz President Randy Rigby and GM Dennis Lindsey will also be in attendance for the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery.— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) May 14, 2014
Bryan Miller, son of Gail and the late Larry H. Miller and President of @MillerInspire will represent the Jazz on-stage at May 20 Lottery— Jonathan Rinehart (@jonrinehart) May 14, 2014
Hooray! Bryan will have big shoes to fill if he's going to be able to a) make it as fun as it would be if Enes was there, or b) Randy Rigby.
From Moni's Jazzfanatical site!
The next thing after the NBA Draft (June 26th) will be Summer league, which for the first time evar, will be in Las Vegas. SLC Dunk is going to covering that too. The question here is if the Jazz are going to have a head coach by then -- otherwise it's going to be, well, odd. If we do have a head coach in place -- does it behoove the Jazz to focus more on the players who will be with the team, or continue to play 20 people over 6-7 games, playing like 8 min each?
For example, should the team make cuts early and often, and play guys sooner to get a jump start on the new culture? In this way, the Jazz still bring in the Rašid Mahalbašić / Salah Mejri types, but the major minutes in summer league will go to the Rudy Gobert / Ian Clark types instead.
Also, and this is crazy, but if we do have our new head coach in place, shouldn't we also bring in Trey Burke to at least be around the team / practice with the team in Vegas? As it stands ... I'm liking our squad for July's summer league:
- Point Guard: Trey Burke (should be there), Raul Neto
- Shooting Guard: Ian Clark, Diante Garrett (combo guard)
- Small Forward: 2014 lotto pick, 2014 1st round pick
- Power Forward: 2014 2nd round pick, Malcolm Thomas
- Center: Rudy Gobert, Erik Murphy
The Utah Jazz unveiled a community art project. Really cool, and somehow AT&T helped. I don't know art, but I know what I like.
And I don't necessarily like this, but I love it compared to those creepy murals from the Denver airport.
The next thing that happens during summer league is NBA Free Agency. There are a few guys on our team who are going to be looking for new contracts and we talked about that here. Right now I'm one third through the entire list of possible free agents for this off-season and I have good news and bad news. The good news is that, well, the Jazz are most likely going to have money to spend on our own guys, like the extensions for Alec Burks, and Enes Kanter. The bad news is that the wing player pool is very shallow. There are a bunch of guys who are either not going to enter free agency, or have a very small group of teams that could possibly make a play for them -- further making the pool shallower. A guy like Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Vince Carter, Lance Stephenson, Mike Miller, LeBron James, Luol Deng, Trevor Ariza, Carmelo Anthony, Danny Granger, Caron Butler and Paul Pierce are guys who are not going to be on the open market for one reason or another. That means that this off-season, one where so many teams have capspace, will have lots of money to use and few players to throw money at. (Players that they could actually get -- a guy like Ray Allen isn't going to sign with a non-contender, no matter how much money they have.)
That means teams will be looking at high value guys of lower tiers. And that means Gordon Hayward will have a lot of suitors. Looking at the numbers it's very likely that some team will offer him a 'toxic' like contract, one that's just too high to pay. Last season Wade averaged 30.2 BARPS per game (BPG+APG+RPG+PPG+SPG), G-Time averaged 28.4. Hayward had a more productive season than almost all of the wings who are free agents this year. A big part of that is related to minutes (Hayward played a lot). But the bottom line is that because of the dynamics of this free agent class, and this off-season with plenty of teams with money, it may be very likely that the restricted free agent may have played his last game in a Jazz uniform.
Obviously we have mixed feelings about this. But we only need to go back in time and look at the contracts we gave to Andrei Kirilenko and Matt Harpring to know the folly of over spending. In fact, you can compare AK-47 in his contract year against G-Time and see some crazy things. I like Hayward. He's a guy we drafted. He's had some great moments here. But there is a real threshold that the team shouldn't pass, when it comes to his salary.