Welcome to my weekly post, SLCDunkers!
We are now less than a fortnight from the NBA draft and smokescreens are coming from every angle of scouts and GMs trying to throw off the scent for who they're high on drafting.
Dennis Lindsey has now been GM for the Jazz for 2 NBA seasons. However, I believe starting from the time that Corbin's contract ran out last month, that he finally has the reigns and is no longer bogged down by the less than desirable scenario that KOC left behind.
I did some digging to see what Lindsey has done prior to his time as GM for the Jazz. Below is a summary.
Dennis Lindsey Pre-Jazz:
- Played college basketball at Baylor from 1988-1992
- Assistant coach at the high school and junior college level from 1992-1996
- Entry level video scout for the Houston Rockets starting in 1996
- Impressed the organization and slowly worked his way up to director of basketball development to director of player personnel until finally he became the vice president of basketball operations and player personnel for the Houston Rockets from 2002-2007.
- He then went on to become the San Antonio Spurs' vice president/assistant GM from 2007-2012
- Started being pursued by teams looking for a GM. Orlando hired youngest GM in the NBA Rob Hennigan (who had 4 years of experience with Spurs and 4 with the Thunder) over Lindsey.
- Then hired by the Jazz as GM in summer 2012.
I think one of the few ways to predict what Lindsey is planning for the Jazz can be seen by what his past moves has been. He has been in some sort of managerial role (at least vice president) on the NBA level since 2002. So let's see what the teams he's been on since then have done roster-wise in his times there.
Notable Rockets Moves (2002-2007)
- Drafted Yao Ming number 1 overall
- Extended Steve Francis
- Sign Mark Jackson for his final NBA season
- Mega trade for Tracy McGrady (goodbye Steve Francis)
- Traded for over-the-hill Dikembe Mutombo
- Signed Chuck Hayes
- Traded for Shane Battier (traded 8th pick overall Rudy Gay for him)
- Drafted Aaron Brooks
- Rockets made it to the playoffs 3 times in 5 seasons during this span, never advancing past the 1st round.
Notable Spurs Moves (2007-2012)
- Drafted Tiago Splitter
- Extended Matt Bonner
- Extended Bruce Bowen
- Extended Tim Duncan
- Drafted Goran Dragic
- Drafted George Hill
- Traded for Richard Jefferson (back when he averaged 20 points per game still)
- Drafted DeJuan Blair
- Signed Antonio McDyess
- Extended Manu Ginobilli
- Signed Danny Green
- Traded George Hill for 15th pick Kawhi Leonard
- Traded Richard Jefferson (10 point scorer at this point) for Stephen Jackson
- The Spurs made the playoffs every year during this 5 year span, reaching the Conference Finals twice.
Notable Jazz Moves (2012-present)
- Waived Raja Bell
- Traded 14th and 21st picks for 9th pick Trey Burke
- Also traded picks and cash to acquire Rudy Gobert and Raul Neto
- Traded for Golden State's trash for 1 year for 2 of their draft picks. (also to ensure that the team would stink in the year before a strong draft).
- Jazz narrowly missed playoffs in 2013, and were last in west in 2014.
Predicting His Next Moves
Our 45 year old GM Lindsey cut ties with Corbin this summer to hire 47 year old Quin Snyder. They have the Spurs connection and Snyder has been praised in the past for his passion for player development as well as defense. Looks like Dennis Lindsey still is serious about the 3 D's of Defense, Discipline, and Development.
Some trends that I noticed from Lindsey's previous tenures is that while he was with those teams, for whatever reason, they would get their key big men from the draft or from free agency (Ming, Hayes, Splitter, Blair, McDyess,....Gobert). In contrast, they would frequently trade for key wing players (McGrady, Battier, Jefferson, S. Jackson, Leonard). Maybe it's just small sample size that leads me to see this trend, or maybe it just shows how big men aren't traded as frequently as wings. Tough to say...
The McGrady trade involved trading for a star who was disgruntled with his team. The trade basically had the Magic cashing their dollar in for 4 quarters of Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley, and Kelvin Cato (while taking on some lesser players from the Magic so they could free up cap space). I see many parallels here between this trade and the James Harden trade that I discussed about last week. Also notable is that Steve Francis was in this trade a year after starting his post-rookie contract extension (aka what Hayward and Favors will start getting next year). Is this foreshadowing of the Jazz trading Hayward next summer along with other pieces for some disgruntled star?
Besides extending players on the Spurs, I would say the best thing that happened for the Spurs during Lindsey's time there was trading borderline starter George Hill for Kawhi Leonard. As you can see from the NBA Finals this week, this has paid off incredibly for the Spurs.
So what to make out of all his past?
Dennis Lindsey orchestrated this bottom out season in 2013-2014 while stockpiling assets. As of today, the Utah Jazz have a brand new head coach, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, Enes Kanter, Trey Burke, the rights to match any Gordon Hayward offer, Rudy Gobert, Jeremy Evans, and the 5th, 23rd, and 35th picks in the NBA draft in 2 weeks, (as well as Golden State's unprotected 2017 first rounder).
That is a great stockpile of assets that rivals any team in the league who doesn't have a superstar yet.
Dennis Lindsey drafts best player available at the 5th spot in this draft as no trades to move up are in play without setting the team back too much. The Jazz go for at least 1 diamond in the rough big man with their 2 later picks, and will very likely be moving picks around to get who they want and/or acquire more future assets. Expect the Jazz to come out of the draft with 1 starter and 2 backups to bolster the roster.
The Jazz match any offer (even a max offer) given to Hayward this summer.
The Jazz extend both Burks and Kanter this offseason.
The Jazz sign a couple mediocre-level veterans at the same level as but not specifically Marvin Williams.
2014-2015 season: Jazz stick with their core through at least the first half of the season and start gauging their values at the trade deadline. They stick with the core for the rest of the season but at least 1 of the F5 become disgruntled with having to come off the bench yet again. Quin's ceiling is a Hornacek-like season but in the end the likely scenario is that they finish with moderate gains from last season and finish 34-48 for 12th in the west.
2015 offseason: This is when the Jazz make their splash as they see their current core having a 3-year playoff window and possibly contender window from the 2016-2018 postseasons. They trade the disgruntled played of the F5 (possibly Hayward and/or Burks), the 2015 draft pick, and the future GS pick for a borderline superstar player (Davis/Love/George/Aldridge/Griffin) to put the Jazz in the playoff conversation for the next season.
2015-2016 season: Jazz record is 48-34 for 8th seed in the west, Jazz begin to improve more and more every season to become respectable again.