Mark Jackson finally gets his shot at a head coaching position in the NBA, landing a spot with the Golden State Warriors. He's been interviewing for positions for a while now. The Warriors have had a bit of a conundrum with their current back court of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. I guess if you need someone to divide two guards, Jackson is your man.
The biggest impact this has on the Jazz of course is the 2012 draft pick next season. It's top-7 protected meaning that if the Warriors finish in the bottom 7 of the league next season or win the lottery, then the Jazz lose the pick. So we want the Warriors to be awful, but not too bad nor too lucky. It is possible that they finish at 7th but a team behind them wins the lottery and jumps them thus pushing them to the #8 pick.
So where are they going to finish next season? Last season they finished with the 11th-worst record in the league at 36 wins. Will they win more than that next season? That's hard to say. They'll have pretty much the same team and another year's experience. They should be a bit better. But would a new system cause them some problems? We don't know how Jackson will do as a head coach, but they also brought in the highly-regarded assistant Mike Malone from the Hornets. So let's just say that they stay at 36 wins for argument's sake.
The teams below them last season that should improve are the Bucks (35 wins, injuries), Clippers (32 wins), Nets (24 wins), and the Kings (24 wins). The Bucks should pass them if they stay healthy. The Clippers should be better as well. The Nets and Kings will improve, but 12 games seems like a stretch.
The teams right ahead of them in the standings are the Pacers (37 wins), Jazz (39 wins) ,and the Suns (40 wins). It's not impossible that they could jump all of those teams in the standings. So if they jumped two but had two teams jump them, they would stay right about where they're at now, 11th-worst in the league.
Next year's draft is supposed to be deeper, so a 10-12 pick wouldn't be bad at all.
One other thing that I've wondered is what happens if we lose the whole season? What will the draft order be for 2012? It's hard to imagine that they would keep the draft order and give the Cavs two more top-4 picks. Yet there's no way to determine who should go where. They can't really open it up for everyone; you wouldn't want the Heat to have a chance to land a top pick on the cheap.
NBA Draft workout updates:
Jimmer heads home on the 15th,
Former BYU guard Jimmer Fredette and ex-Connecticut guard Kemba Walker are scheduled to work out June 15 for the Jazz, a league source said Monday. The duo could also be joined by guard Brandon Knight (Kentucky).
Chad Ford also tweeted that the Jazz are pushing for a Walker/Knight head-to-head workout. Throw the Jimmer in there and that's a workout. It will be interesting to see if Knight comes.
Enes Kanter working out against real, live opponents
Enes Kanter will workout against Tristan Thompson & Marcus Morris in Cleveland tomorrow. Kanter's 1st workouts against competition
The Jazz won't be there but they'll no doubt hear something about it.
Ryan Feldman from TheHoopsReport.com was on ESPN 700 (mp3) yesterday to defend his mock draft where he has the Jazz taking Kemba Walker over Brandon Knight at #3. He caused a bit of a stir on twitter with that selection.
You may disagree with his selection at number three, but he backs up his argument with a source that stated that the Jazz favored Walker in Chicago. He also believes that he is the better PG right now. Knight may develop into a better PG down the road, but he gives the current edge both in being a pure PG and scorer to Walker.
He also talks about taking one of the PGs over Enes Kanter at #3. His reasoning is that the Jazz have more need for a PG than they do another PF/C. That may be the case but as Kevin O'Connor has repeatedly stated, he'll draft talent over need regardless. KOC may still draft Knight or Walker over Kanter but it will be because he considers them to have more talent.
Feldman's thoughts to differ from the norm a bit, but he does back up his arguments rather than just spewing opinion.
Greg Miller was on ABC 4 over the weekend and dropped a couple of interesting notes. He's been doing a lot of media interviews lately. Here's a couple of the highlights with the video below,
On Andrei Kirilenko coming back
"I wouldn't rule it out." He also stated that AK "seems to be fragile" and that the Jazz team needs to get "tougher" and "durable. Contrast that statement to when Memo's name was brought up. On Okur he stated that he definitely wants him to be part of the team.
On succeeding and making money in a small market
"Our family doesn't own this team to make money. As long as we can break even or shoulder a small loss, then we're okay doing that. I don't ever see it being a huge profit center.
If the model was ever such that owning an NBA franchise was a real money-maker in a small market, I would like to find some way to actually pass some of those savings back onto the fans and lighten the burden on them."
He also stated that they would be willing to go over the luxury tax again so long as he thought it would field a competitive team. Of course, there probably isn't going to be a luxury tax next season going forward.
The latest from ESPN the Magazine's NBA Player X (Insider)
ON JULY 1, THE NBA WILL LOCK OUT ITS PLAYERS. That is for sure. And it may do more than wipe out next season. I've been told to prepare to miss the following one, too. The owners and players are that far apart.
Well, I can tell you that the players are ready. For more than a year our union reps have been advising us to save money. All my friends have cut back -- on cars, bling, you name it. Me too. I won't need another paycheck until 2013.
But the problems between the two sides are real, and they've got to be dealt with. Here's my chance to do my part. I'm not a lawyer or an accountant; I'm not even a union rep. So I can't speak about numbers or CBAs. But I can present to my fellow players and our owners a road map that will not only end the battle but also prevent any further troubles.
I don't think things are going to go on for two seasons but despite recent optimism, the sides are still far apart. he gives some of his ideas on how to bring the negotiations to a close. You'll have to click through to read them all but I don't think that any of his ideas address some of the limits that the owners are pushing for.
One thing I do agree with though is that there are a lot of teams that need to clean house with their GMs. A lot of the owners are not as basketball-savvy as the GMs and other front-office staff. It's the GMs that take their proposals for player signings, trades, drafting, etc. and convince the owners why they should make a move. So it's primarily the GMs that give out exorbitant contracts to players that shouldn't be earning that much. The owners are still going to have to sign off on transactions but the GMs are the ones that are making most of these decisions.
There's not going to be a magic bullet to solve these negotiations. There are a layers and layers of issues that both sides want resolved.
On a side note, I'm surprised we haven't found out who NBA Player X is yet. We know he's a star in the league. He's been giving out some pretty big clues if you've read his previous stuff. This time we learned that he's not a player rep. Most team's stars aren't but he's given enough clues to where you might be able to narrow things down to a few players. Also, if he's written anything else, you should be able to match up his writing style by now.