The Spurs are world champions. Again.
The Jazz want to be the Spurs. Still.
I feel like everything I write about the Jazz these days is actually about the Spurs. We have Dennis Lindsey, former Spurs executive. We have Quin Snyder, new Jazz head coach who spent time in the Spurs organization. And now we have free-agent-to-be Gordon Hayward, openly declaring his love for the Spurs' seemingly ageless threesome of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
Here's a Manu-centric excerpt from Hayward's most recent post on his new blog, entitled "Spurs Trio Sets The Bar":
Manu speaks to the mentality all the Spurs have of doing whatever they are asked to do for the good of the team. They needed him to be a spark off the bench, so he said, ‘Okay, I'll do it,' and thrived in that position.
I love the way he plays the game. Manu is actually one of the reasons I chose number 20 when I was younger. I just loved watching him play.
When he was younger, he attacked the basket a lot more, and I liked the way he used different steps to get by guys and finished around the rim. He's one of the guys who introduced the Euro Step and all those types of moves into the NBA. He still uses those moves now, but obviously he's a little bit older and has had to transform his game. He's not afraid to take big shots, though, and is very capable of threading the needle to get the ball to a teammate. I love that about his game.
I had forgotten that Hayward specifically chose to wear number 20 in honor of Ginobili. Interesting.
What I take most from Hayward's comments here is that he and the Jazz seem to have the same mentality: They both want to be the Spurs, or at least have the same success the Spurs do. Given the personnel and organizational decisions the Jazz have been making, I feel like this post bodes well for Hayward's odds of re-signing in Utah.
Or at least, that's the intention. There's still a chance that some other team could offer Hayward way more than the Jazz are willing to pay -- and I do think that price exists. But at least for now, the plan to steal the secret of the Spurs' red fire, King Louie-style, continues apace.
Oh, did I mention we hired an assistant coach? We did: Mike Wells, formerly of Toledo University, the Lakers, Rockets, Wizards...and the Spurs. In fact, Dennis Lindsey knows Wells from their time spent together at both of those Texas teams.
I mean, at this point, I feel like we should start paying San Antonio a finder's fee, or like, damages for copyright infringement or something.
I know nothing about Wells other than his resume -- Amar's got a brief bit of comment, and the D-News' Randy Hollis has some additional background info -- but I do find it interesting that this seems to be more of a Dennis Lindsey hire than a Quin Snyder one. That's the way it looks, anyway.
Now, that's not to say that I think Snyder disagrees. On the contrary, I'm sure he approves, and he may have had a significant role in making the decision. I don't know and probably shouldn't speculate (although I just did).
I do, however, see something of a contrast between this hire and the previous coaching regime. It's no secret that Ty Corbin and former Jazz assistant Sidney Lowe had a close relationship dating back to their playing days. Former assistant Mike Sanders was another former Corbin teammate and NBA journeyman. Corbin's may not have been the only say in those hires, but it certainly played a large part.
Now, instead of stocking the sideline with former NBA players, the Jazz have Quin Snyder -- a four-year player at Duke, yes, but with no NBA playing time -- and Wells, who only played two years of college ball at the NAIA level. Clearly, Dennis Lindsey is placing his trust in attributes beyond NBA experience.
Whether that will pay off remains to be seen. But it's never been more obvious that this is Lindsey's show now. The Jazz will succeed or fail based largely on his decisions.
How does that make you feel, Jazz fans?
FanPost time! First up: Beeblebrox42 takes a big-picture look at the direction Dennis Lindsey has the Jazz headed:
...It seems like Dennis Lindsey has managed to tear down almost everything he started with, and now he's in the process of rebuilding it from the ground up.
Let's start by reviewing what Lindsey has already done:
For Lindsey's first season after being first hired to be the new Jazz GM, Kevin O'Connor was still in control. There are quite a few people who aren't happy with the way KoC ran things, but at least he cleaned house (as much as could be expected) for Lindsey. There were no bad contracts, and every player was either on his rookie deal or would be off the books within a season or two. DL has taken it even further this year, with only two players on non-rookie, guaranteed contracts (Favors and Evans).
Next, andy wyllie presents some research and scouting on Dante Exum:
Dante Exum is known as being the biggest mystery in the draft. Outside of a highlight compilation, most fans have never even seen him play. What is certain is that he has the measurements that equate to the buzzword 'potential'. And still only 18 years old, that 'potential' is what has him set to be drafted in the early lottery.
And Jordan Cummings examines the teams above the Jazz in the draft and what they might be looking for:
I think it's likely that at least one of Wiggins/Parker/Embiid/Smart falls out of the top 4, but predicting which one it is ... that's impossible to predict. But hey, if everyone goes with their darkhorse picks, we'll be able to choose from Wiggins, Parker, and Embiid at #5!
It's nice to have dreams.
Speaking of the top spots in the draft:
That comes via an interview on 1280 with Chris Sheridan. A truncated transcript:
Monson: Chris, are your sources telling you anything about the draft order at the top of the coming draft?
Sheridan: Well, my draft writer, Joe Kotoch -- you can follow him, he's @probballdraft on Twitter -- the interesting thing that he's been hearing that'll especially excite your audience is that the Jazz really wanna get their hands on Jabari Parker. That's the guy they've locked in on. I remember last year they locked in on Trey Burke, and they did what it took to get him. This year, it looks like they need to get into the #2 spot, because the Cavs are gonna take Joel Embiid unless they trade the pick, and at #2, the Bucks hold that pick, and that's where Jabari Parker's gonna go.[...]
Checketts goes on to question what a deal like that would require the Jazz to give up, and Sheridan says the "going rate" is a future first-round pick. (He doesn't say so, but I assume he means in addition to the Jazz's #5 pick this year.)
So. Two things to digest here. First: I'm not sure I believe the "reports" that the Jazz have locked in on Jabari. As My_Lo pointed out yesterday, at this point in the pre-draft process, almost everything is a smokescreen, and every situation is fluid. And while I'd be happy to pick up Parker, I really don't see any of the teams above the Jazz looking to trade down.
And even if they are, I definitely don't think they'd trade down for nothing more than this year's #5 and a future first-rounder. I've thought all along that moving up in this year's draft would mean parting ways with at least one young Jazz talent, most likely either Enes Kanter or Alec Burks. I really don't see any deal getting done otherwise. And I'm not even sure how much perceived value Kanter and Burks have outside of Utah.
Anyway. I'm skeptical about this whole report. Time will tell, I guess.
Here's another report for you, but this one's a lot more believable:
@slcdunk Just sat next to Johnnie Bryant and Raul Neto in SLC restaurant.Could Neto be coming over this year?Hope so!— Kipp Kovac (@KippKovac) June 17, 2014
Not to burst Kipp's bubble, but I'd wager Neto's presence in Utah has more to do with upcoming NBA Summer League activities than any impending contract negotiations. I'm still not sure Neto will be in Jazz blue this fall, especially if we end up drafting someone like Dante Exum to crowd the backcourt. Plus, I'm not sure Dennis Lindsey wants to overload the roster with youth, and with three upcoming draft picks, adding another rookie in Neto would probably be too many.
Still, it's good to hear about a Raulzinho sighting in our fair city. I'm looking forward to seeing more of his game during the summer.