Another day, another set of NBA Playoffs games to be entertained by. On one had it's nice to watch outcome-free basketball where there's no live or die moments during the course of a 48 minute game (which somehow takes 3 hours). On the other hand, as a Utah Jazz fan, not being in the playoffs is abnormal. Sadly, that abnormality has become the regular over the last few seasons. Hopefully things change soon. Of course, watching the first round of these NBA Playoffs has given me an idea that is galvanized by the Jazz' last 'trip' to the playoffs: it's one thing to make the playoffs, but it's entirely another thing to belong there. Last night the Golden State Warriors (1) swept the New Orleans Pelicans (8) out in unceremonious fashion. The Milwaukee Bucks (6) won Game 4 to avoid being swept out by the Chicago Bulls (3), who now head back to the Windy City for an elimination game 5. The Portland Trail Blazers (4) didn't put much fight, losing their third game in a row to the Memphis Grizzlies (5). In a surprising move, the Brooklyn Nets (8) beat the Atlanta Hawks (1). So the end result is that one team is out, another one is on the way, and the teams in the East are putting up a fight for their lives.
How is this going to change the outcome of the first round of the NBA Playoffs? We don't know just yet, but thankfully, there are another four games tonight:
- Cleveland Cavaliers (2) @ Boston Celtics (7) -- 11:00 AM MT [ABC]
- Los Angeles Clippers (3) @ San Antonio Spurs (6) -- 1:30 PM MT [ABC]
- Toronto Raptors (4) @ Washington Wizards (5) -- 4:30 PM MT [TNT]
- Houston Rockets (2) @ Dallas Mavericks (7) -- 7:00 PM MT [TNT]
The Cavs will look to sweep, and so will the Wizards and Rockets. If that happens then HALF of the first round series this season will have ended in sweeps. So, again, you can make the playoffs. But a number of these teams don't belong in it. I don't want the Utah Jazz to go "all in" and recreate the same mistakes of a few seasons ago ("Old vets in contract years to get us over the top? Where do I sign? Do you have a time share or two to sell too?" - Kevin O'Connor, probably). When your starting point guard is 19 years old there's no reason to be in a rush to make the playoffs, only to get dispatched early.
Organic growth means being good before trying to maximize wins. And being good means that when you are in the playoffs you deserve to be there. The first round of this playoffs have shown which teams are there because they're there to win games.
I want the Jazz to be one of those teams -- when the time is right.