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The Downbeat #1387: Closers Edition

A-Always B-Be C-Closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING.

These two could be gone by Thursday.
These two could be gone by Thursday.
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

So as we talked about last week in this writer's Downbeat, everything is a smokescreen right now.  BUT ... seeing as this is the 2nd rumor coming from the direction of Utah and Cleveland this has some credibility to it.  Now is this the official package the Jazz are sending or is this the counter offer that Cleveland wants?  Favors and #5 are definitely available right now to anyone who has a chance of relenting and allowing Utah to draft Andrew Wiggins.

I will miss Favors deeply if this is true.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders says this about the Utah Jazz's pursuit of a top pick.

Utah Jazz:  The Utah Jazz are not going to sit quietly and wait for their turn. They have been extremely active. The Jazz have not been overly excited to be sitting on the fifth pick in this draft class and have been at all three teams sitting at the top. Their target surprisingly is not Jabari Parker, as much as fans may want to see Parker in Salt Lake City, sources say their ideal target is Andrew Wiggins.

As covered above, the Jazz are believed to have made a whopper of an offer to Cleveland looking to pry the top overall pick lose. It’s believed they have a similar offer on the table to the Milwaukee Bucks and to the Philadelphia 76ers assuming one of them can deliver Wiggins. Parker is not completely out of the discussion for Utah, neither is Australian guard Dante Exum. In addition to the fifth pick, the Jazz also hold the 23rd pick, which they have been actively shopping. When you hear about teams trying to obtain a first rounder this is one of the picks that could be had.

Typically when a team is this aggressive about trying to make a deal, they usually make one, so do not be surprised to see Utah move out of the number five spot. The question is what will they really give up to do it?

Honestly, I admire Dennis Lindsey's tenacity to go after a top pick.  Will it hurt to give up the Jazz's top prospects?  Most certainly.  But Dennis Lindsey knows that to be great a team has to take a serious risk.  This is one of those big risks.  Kudos to Dennis Lindsey.

I tell you what.  The Milwuakee 1st Ward is going to be excited to have such a stellar home teacher.  I really think this guy has serious home teaching potential.  He has the skills to become the GOAT.

Kevin Pelton had some great things to say about Trey Burke.

Trey Burke, PG, Utah Jazz
(4.5 projected WARP)
Of the top three finishers in ROY voting, Burke rated as the least valuable last season (0.8 WARP). His long-term potential is better than that for a couple of reasons. First, at 21, Burke is the youngest of the three. Second, he logged an impressive 32.3 minutes per game. Only Carter-Williams played more.


In all of the rumors involving Utah none have made mention of future draft picks.  Dennis Lindsey may have sold the Utah front office on a long term rebuild that actually reflects a REAL rebuild.  *Insert 'Where was this guy 4 years ago????*  But if this is the case Dennis Lindsey is looking at this current roster and does not believe nor does many in the Utah front office that this current core of young players can improve enough to become a playoff caliber team.

This is heartbreaking.  The Utah Jazz knew the day of reckoning would come with drafting all of these young players.  To have mortgaged their future for superficial wins and falling short in playoff races or being swept by San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs for this present is unacceptable.  I believe this is the surgery required to set Utah on the right foot.  It will be painful, but making the right choice hurts.

There were arguments and seeds of arguments between Utah Jazz fans about the future of this franchise.  There was the ridiculous Oreo theory that was concocted by David Locke, the Utah Jazz play by play guy, in a terrible effort to defend Tyrone Corbin's decisions to play less talented, over-the-hill, mercenary soon to be free agents over the future of the franchise, on contract, more talented young players.  What is even more mind blowing is it is statistically and mathematically untrue.  Yet, this was the war drum that was beaten to death like a derby horse that was in the dog house.  It was even proven untrue by Kevin Pelton.  But ignore that guy, he's smart.

"So, which players from the 2013 draft might someday help it escape ignominy? Answering that question required me to study the relationship between individual rookie performance and value going forward. I focused on the next three seasons, the remainder of the rookie contract, and found three predictive variables: Age, performance level (measured by win percentage, the per-minute component of WARP akin to PER) and minutes per game. Together, those three factors explain about half in the variation in average WARP over the following three seasons."  -- Kevin Pelton

It's a lie.  The too many minutes while a rookie, 2nd year player, 3rd year player, or beyond is a lie.  It's like your boss saying you need to spend more time in the stock room if you want to become a better salesman.  Did Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross go into that struggling room of salesman and tell them, " A-B-W. A-Always, B-Be, W-Watching. Always be watching. ALWAYS BE WATCHING. A-I-D-B. Attention, Interest, Decision, Bench."  HE TOLD THEM ALWAYS BE CLOSING.  Do the job yourself.  Follow the leads.  No one can listen to Blake's speech in Glengarry Glen Ross and feel like they want to sit and mire in inaction.  Or as Blake put it:

"You want to know what it takes to sell real estate? It takes BRASS BALLS to sell real estate. Go and do likewise gents. Money's out there. You pick it up, it's yours. You don't, I got no sympathy for you. You wanna go out on those sits tonight and close, CLOSE. It's yours. If not you're gonna be shining my shoes. And you know what you'll be saying - a bunch of losers sittin' around in a bar. 'Oh yeah. I used to be a salesman. It's a tough racket.' These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you they're gold, and you don't get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. They're for closers. I'd wish you good luck but you wouldn't know what to do with it if you got it."

Now 4 years later the Utah Jazz are having to restart the process like a struggling baker on Cupcake Wars in the 11th hour because they used salt in their dough instead of sugar.  The process was laid out in front of this team as easy as it could have been but no one was willing to commit to the rebuilding process.  Those who were quickly made their way out to better opportunities to teach and help.  Jeff Hornacek, anyone?

So here we are two days away to what could be the biggest draft in this franchise's history since the Karl Malone and John Stockton drafts of great prospects falling in their lap.  This franchise is throwing away Glengarry's leads at the chance of hitting the big one.  Throwing them away BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO.  The Utah Jazz squandered the leads.  The team could not commit to the sit and be patient.  Instead they attempted to do two things at once.  It failed.  So here we are.  At the heels of a losing season and with the rumored moves, the Utah Jazz are on the precipice of another dismal season.  All because the prior regime thought the leads were weak.

So as you see teams in love with Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, and Enes Kanter, remember this.  They were the "weak leads".  Just imagine the trade value of the prior leads: Josh Howard, John Lucas, Raja Bell, Randy Foye, DeMarre Carroll, Earl Watson, Jamaal Tinsley, and Marvin Williams.