clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Downbeat #1375: All Your Idaho Is Belong To Us Edition

The Utah Jazz may not have a team, but they have a D-League team. So ... that's ... good ... right?

Rudy, Idaho is calling you.
Rudy, Idaho is calling you.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

As was reported by Jody Genessy and D-League Digest eons ago, the Utah Jazz will finally formally announce their exclusive partnership with the Idaho Stampede today.  In what is a surprising move for the Utah Jazz, they only vehemently denied this partnership happening for a month rather then the customary 4 months of public shaming and flogging of the individual who broke the news of their operation early.

Thank you Jody and D-League Digest for staying true to your sources.

So what does this mean for the Utah Jazz?  Details are scarce as to whether this is a marriage of sorts between two different organizations or if the Jazz are buying the stampede outright.  My bet is it is what Jody implied.  A marriage between two different organizations and ownerships.

This will mean the Jazz can control the system being played in Idaho.  Experience in the D-League will be much more beneficial.  The players that stand the most to gain from this are those who the Jazz draft this year, Ian Clark, Raul Neto, and Rudy Gobert.  Especially, Rudy Gobert.

The NBA is a brutal place for a developing big man.  That is why the dreaded words of potential drip with fear to the ears of GMs and coaches.  The NBA is a grown man's league and no one will do a player favors when they are developing.  Rudy Gobert can go to Idaho now and really get more comfortable in the Jazz's system when he is not seeing playing time.  This will allow him to KNOW HIS ROLE.

The same goes for Ian Clark.  He will now be able to go down to the D-League and learn his role within the Jazz's system.  Quin Snyder, the new coach of the Utah Jazz, has said it is important for each player to know his role and to trust his teammates.  Ian Clark rarely was afforded the opportunity to do so.  This D-League affiliation will help.

I said this year's draft picks because the Jazz are in a spot were they very well could be drafting potential over skill.  The candidates for the most part are young, raw, and did I mention young?  Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh, and Dante Exum are the players drenched in potential but lack experience and polish.

[Sidenote:  I've taken heat from a variety of places for saying Noah Vonleh is raw, but how else does one describe they youngest big man in the draft?  It's not a slight to the young man from Indiana.  It's an observation of a player who has a ton of potential as a stretch big, but struggled in his role in Indiana.  He struggled in taking leadership at a younger age than his teammates, and Indiana missed the tournament.  Did Indiana have a tougher hill to climb to make the tournament in the stacked Big 10?  Of course, they did.  Does Noah Vonleh have the potential to be something great?  Most certainly.  But he's going to need the right coach, system, and a couple years of patience to begin to chip at the surface of that potential.  Are the Utah Jazz the team for the task?]

The Utah Jazz if they are truly about development can now send these high profile players when they struggle to find minutes in the rotation to the D-League to develop.  Now that system will reflect Snyder's in the NBA.  It will be tailor-made for Jazz players to find success and get confidence.  Imagine that?  A real minor league system.

Yesterday, Clark highlighted how Draft Express has the Jazz passing on Exum for Vonleh.  Before everyone freaks out and thinks the sky is falling, look at your calendar.  It is June 10th.  We are in the height of smoke screen season.  As evidenced from Dennis Lindsey's draft last year in which he did not take one player at the pre-designated drafting position assigned to the Utah Jazz, Dennis Lindsey likes to wheel and deal.  He doesn't take best player available.  He gets the player he wants whether that is through trades, buying a pick in the 2nd round, or signing a player from the summer league.  He goes for what he wants.

So the Utah Jazz will be the main culprits of smoke screen season this year as the Jazz hold the swing pick in this year's draft.  The top 4, for the most part, is set with the top 4 players.  But Lindsey has the swing pick that can change the entire draft.  He knows that.  He knows that he wants in the top 4 and is willing to throw assets at anyone to move up.  He has ignored Utah Jazz history and precedent and done what is in the best interest in the team's future, not past.

Could the Jazz draft Noah Vonleh?  Sure.  Most likely it would be for another team.  Could the Jazz pass on Dante Exum?  Sure.  But that would mean Raul Neto could be a Brazilian secret weapon and the Jazz feel that Trey Burke is ready for big time.  Either way, trust in Dennis Lindsey.  Luckily, he hasn't done anything to shake our confidence ... yet.

[Sidenote to Dennis Lindsey:  Hey, Dennis.  What's up.  Just MyLo here with some friendly advice.  So help me if you draft some big man project and start this whole big man logjam issue of 2006-2013 all over again I'll flip out.  Don't make me remind you of the Pistons drafting Darko.  REMEMBER DARKO?  Don't make us the team in a loaded draft the gets remembered for drafting Darko.  No one says, "Remember how the Championship winning Pistons drafted Darko but it was okay?"  NO.  They say, "Remember how dumb the Pistons were when they drafted Darko?  They could have had Dwyane Wade or Carmelo.  But they drafted Darko.  How stupid, right?"  Okay, I'll leave you to your draft preparations.  Don't **** this up.  Thanks for reading.]

Andy Bailey does good work writing for Bleacher Report.  I consider me to be his patronus, his guiding light as it were.  When Andy Bailey looks in a mirror I'm sure he sees me.  But not like current me, but college me when I was in shape and stuff.  But seriously, he does good work.  He wrote about the Jazz's upcoming decision with Gordon Hayward.  Would the Jazz be better off allowing Gordon Hayward to sign elsewhere and giving the alpha dog duties to Alec Burks?

Should Utah Jazz Keep Gordon Hayward or Let Him Walk? | Bleacher Report

Following the season, the Deseret News' Mike Sorensen reported that Burks is ready to take on the role of the team's top scorer.

Burks said, "I definitely feel like I can. I've got the talent to be. I've got the competitiveness to be. I feel like I can become a great player in this league with my athletic ability and potential. I think I can be real good in this league."

He showed all season that he was Utah's most naturally gifted scorer, with a reliable pull-up jump shot, solid handles and top-tier explosiveness that made him one of the league's most underrated slashers. He often finished his drives with acrobatic finishes that prompted the bestowal of the nickname "Houdini" by Jazz play-by-play man Craig Bolerjack.

All his spins, reverses, crossovers and fearlessness at the rim translated into good numbers, as he put up more points per 36 minutes than anyone else on the Jazz.