Okay, by now we all know that the Utah Jazz have now accomplished pretty much zero of their goals for the 2013-2014 season. Downer, huh? Well, the quicker we accept it the quicker we can move forward. The team didn't make the playoffs, didn't have a winning record, didn't play .500 ball, didn't win a home, wasn't particular fun to watch, the younger guys didn't take over, once again free agent vets in contract years had big roles, the coaching situation fractured the fan base, and . . . they didn't get a Top 3 pick in the draft despite having the second best odds in franchise history to move up in the lottery.
It's a downer, but it's temporary. In a few weeks we'll have a few more young, exciting rookies to root for. In a month or so we'll have a new coaching staff. Then the team will be playing in the Las Vegas Summer League for the first time ever, allowing Jazz fans to drive down to watch the team play. The Jazz also have cap space with which to work with on July 1st, and by the time August rolls around our franchise will have a completely different look, situation, outlook, and direction. Sure, a guy like Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker would make things great -- but even if we don't get them in the NBA Draft (which is likely) then things will still turn out okay.
Realistically it can't be worse than last season. Last season was among the worst in franchise history, the team was last in the Western Conference, and both the offense and defense were at times dead last in the league. Again, we're sad now, but it's not going to be worse next year.
For the record, the Utah Jazz will be picking at #5, #23, and #35 in the upcoming draft. (Full draft order here) I'm thinking we see a trade at some point on draft night, Dennis Lindsey has a quick trigger finger. Even though the #5 pick in this draft doesn't appear to be someone who is going to knock our socks off the historical roster of #5 picks is one of the stronger lotto picks to have. A breakdown of the last four decades of #5 picks (and some of their career stats and adv stats) can be found here. Very few end up being bad players. So while the Jazz may still be looking for that Top banana, it's likely that the team is going to maintain flexibility by having so many assets on the roster.
The "fruit salad" method of championship building rarely works, but we may already have a "top banana" player on the team, but just don't know it yet.
Of course, we're sad about getting the #5 draft pick weeks before the draft even happens. It will take years before we can judge how good (or poorly) that #5 draft pick played. History shows us that the #5 draft pick has actually been pretty good. Weeks before their respective drafts no one thought that Charles Barkley or Scottie Pippen would be HOFers, but years later that's exactly what they became. And they did it from the #5 draft spot.
Click on this breakdown, or just know that according to the data, it's going to be pretty okay.
You guys still look down. Here's a fresh new Raul Neto pick to help you survive.
I worry so much about the NBA Draft every year I almost forget about one of the key ingredients to success: fit. We like to assume that had the Jazz gotten a Top 3 pick that we would have gotten a guy to 'fit' with what we're doing. Maybe we would have, maybe not. It's hard to say when you don't know who will be on the team next year, and right now we don't even know if the front office is interviewing head coaches.
The greatest example I think of a player who should have fit, but for whatever systematic reasons did not, is Morris Almond. He still plays though, even if he's off the NBA radar. Like so many pros he has made a living doing this, just not at the NBA level. And like so many pros, he's moving on beyond the game to help people / train people / mentor people. I think that's pretty cool.
He sent me this via e-mail and I needed it share it with you all. It's cool how he gets everyone from former coaches to NCAA ballers who are ladies to Josh Smith to help him out with his leadership program. That's a real assist from a guy that did not get a huge rep for them as a player. Check it all out here: http://almondathletics.com/
Keep it up Morris! #OnceAJazzman #AlwaysAJazzman
So, now that we know where we're going to pick . . . and know what kinds of players the NBA produces at the spot, who are we going to take? The next group of guys after Wiggins / Parker / Embiid / Exum are:
- Julius Randle, the PF from Kentucky
- Marcus Smart, the PG/SG from Oklahoma St
- Noah Vonleh, the PF from Indiana
- Aaron Gordon, the PF from Arizona
- and Gary Harris, the SG from Michigan St
Out of these five players, who are you most excited for?