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The Fake GM of the Jazz Explains Himself - The Downbeat #784


Good Morning Jazz fans! This is your favorite GM of all time, the fake Kevin O'Connor here to let you in on some of my drafting strategies and what went right and what went wrong last night. You are the best NBA fans in the world. The fact that some of you stuck around the Energy Solutions Arena for 4 hours to find out who we drafted, just humbles and amazes me. I wish I could give you all more than the two tickets to a preseason basketball game I gave you. You are the best. Thank you again. Your dedication will not go unrewarded.

Many of you on twitter saw the picture that was publicly "chirped" on twitter last night. I suggest you do look at it, because I am going to explain to you about the photo.

Click on it here, because your blog leader Kumar said I couldn't post illegal pictures here.

As you can see in this photo, I am extremely excited. The reason I am excited is because at this point, I had learned from Pat Riley and Donnie Nelson that their first round picks were very available for a fairly low price. So I started to text those guys that I wanted to trade for their picks and draft some guys we really liked. Unfortunately, I am not a very good texter. I only do it during the draft and trade deadline. My text took 85 minutes to compose and send with my unconventional "one-fingered" tapping style and my inability to see those small screens on these damn new phones. By the time I reached Pat and Donnie with my text, they had already traded their picks. This was a big let down for me, as I imagine it was for you loyal Jazz fans.

As far as trading into the lottery, I tried. I really, really did. We loved a couple of those prospects, but we really didn't have the ammo to make a trade that high. Let me rephrase. We could have easily traded into the lottery, but we weren't happy with the asking price and frankly, Jazz fans wouldn't have been either. Trust me. Giving up those assets that were required would have set us back and except for the Ronnie Brewer trade, the Eric Maynor trade, and the Deron Williams trade, I will only make trades that will improve the team.

As you may have noticed, other teams had a hard time moving up in the draft. Rookie contracts are extremely valuable, especially with the new CBA with it's harder penalties on spending. And teams were asking for a lot in return to draft a cheap player that can often outperform their contract.

On top of that, this all started when Golden State lucked into their pick. If we could have landed the 8th pick, we would have had the necessary assets to trade up and get our man. But it was almost impossible to trade into the 1st round with no pick to trade.

As they say in the chef business, "Give me eggs, and some onions and tomatoes, ham, and I'll make you an omelet. Without those things, I will have to go to the store and that is much more difficult."

In short, we didn't have those ingredients or the time and money to go to the store.

Luckily we were able to draft a guy that we had very high up on our board in Kevin Murphy. If you look up his name on youtube, you will find a bunch of videos of a hairdresser named Kevin Murphy. To my knowledge, we did not draft that guy. Enjoy this video of the player we did draft.

The things we like about Kevin: he can really score and shoot the ball. He has legitimate size at 6' 6" in socks. He isn't as long in the arms as we'd like, but he has good size and strength. He can shoot from all over the gym. He can shoot off the dribble, or off the catch. He can hit from 15 feet, he can shoot from 3. He can actually hit a lot of half court shots. We don't anticipate him shooting many of those, but it's great to know he can hit that shot. He has a lot of Morris Almond in him, with his ability to create his own shot and dominate the ball. Things didn't work out for Mo, but we have hope that Kevin will pan out. He needs to learn to play in a team structure, but we can start teaching him that in a few weeks in Orlando. We look forward to signing him to a summer contract and having him play in Florida. Bottom line: as much success as we've had with #47 picks, it was the #47 pick and if he even makes the team next year, that will be considered a win for us.

I'm sure you would all love to hear me talk about the rumored Mo Williams trade. I will not talk about it. I am not allowed to talk specifically about other teams' players. I will say this: the longer this stuff gets dragged out, the less likely it is to happen. I ask my trade partners to deny and keep things quiet. If some people want to be jerks, that's their deal.

Instead, I would like to lay out my plan for this team. As the entire world knows, we only have Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks, and Gordon Hayward under any type of contract after this season for a total of about $16.1 million. Starting next season teams will be required to employ at least 12 players and spend at least 85% of the salary cap, which will be about $58 million. So we will be required to spend about $50 million on 12 total players. So we will be forced to sign 8 more players for $34 million total. We love and value our financial flexibility. Any team would kill to be in our position. But it will take a lot of work to find the right players to pay that money to.

If you look at the list of NBA free agents for 2013, you will see some coveted names. Many of these guys will have their contracts extended this summer and won't be available to us like James Harden, Stephen Curry, or Paul George, but some others will be available. And by next year our four young guys should be ready to be the main attraction and we can build around them. Guys like Jarrett Jack or Beno Udrih or Jameer Nelson make some sense. Maybe we could swing for the fences and sign a guy like Josh Smith. Doesn't Dorell Wright get you a little excited?

Anyways, you get the point. And you will understand better when we come to agreement on an extension with one of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap this summer. We have to spend some money over the next 2-3 seasons, before we give big bucks to our young guys and frankly, we would rather spend money on a guy we know and value, rather than on an unknown commodity. So stay tuned.

I can start negotiating with free agents in less than 48 hours. We may or may not have cap space depending on what happens with the player I cannot talk about, but we WILL have the full mid-level exception to give to somebody if we go over the cap. In short, we can pay one or two players a total of $5 million a year for up to 4 years to come play for us. Take a look at the free agent list for this offseason and see if there are guys on that list you would pay some or all of the MLE to.

Here is a guy to think about. Take a look at the picture above.

That is Golden State restricted free agent Brandon Rush. He would be a nice fit with the Jazz. Offensively he is a spot up shooter from distance. He took 3.5 three point attempts per game this last season and made 45% of them. He made 44% of his corner threes and 47% of all other threes. Overall he scored 1.12 points per possession this last season which was good for 7th best in the league. On spot ups, which took up about a third of his possessions, he was the 16th best scorer in the league. On cuts he was 13th best. He was even 42nd best in isolation offensive plays.

Defensively, Rush is above average. He is 6'6", but has a 7' wingspan. He could start as our defensive stopper at the small forward position from day one alongside Gordon Hayward. Overall, he held his man to only 37% shooting from the field and was especially good at defending the post, the pick n roll, and off screens.

You can't convince me that Brandon Rush isn't worth an average salary in this league. The problem is that he is restricted and the Warriors can match any offer he signs. They might match a full MLE offer. But even if they did, the worst case scenario is that we would force the Warriors to spend more money on him. At best, they could pass on matching him, especially since they just drafted small forward Harrison Barnes, and we could get our starting small forward for the next 4 years.

Watch out free agency, here comes fake Kevin O'Connor!

Clark represents the fake Kevin O'Connor and has great respect for the real Kevin O'Connor and the job he does to keep the Jazz relevant, although it is easy and fun to tease the front office by having a little fun with a fake Kevin O'Connor. If you are offended, Clark's almost sorry.