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The Utah Jazz Are Cool ... And That's What Shut Everybody Up.

The hype train for the Utah Jazz is about to leave the station.

You know what's cool?
You know what's cool?
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Eduardo Saverin: "You know what, settle an argument for us. I'd say its time to start making money from theFacebook but Mark doesn't want advertising. Who's right?"

Sean Parker: "Neither of you, yet. TheFacebook is cool. That's what it's got going for it."

Mark Zuckerberg: "Yeah."

Sean Parker: "You don't want to ruin it with ads because ads aren't cool."

Mark Zuckerberg: "Exactly."

Sean Parker: "It's like you're throwing the greatest party on campus and someone saying it's gotta be over by eleven."

Mark Zuckerberg: "That's exactly right."

Sean Parker: "You don't even know what the thing is yet. How big it can get, how far it can go. This is no time to take your chips down. A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool?"

Eduardo Saverin [giving evidence at the deposition]: "A billion dollars. And that's what shut everybody up."

- The Social Network

In 2011, the Utah started their first major rebuilding process since the 1982-1983 regular season.  Sure, the Jazz had to reset the clock after the Karl Malone and John Stockton team, but with rebuild was swift with the free agents additions of Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur, the draft pick coup of Deron Williams, Paul Millsap, and Ronnie Brewer, and the rising defensive star Andrei Kirilenko.  From 1983-2011 the Jazz had only missed the playoffs a total of 3 times and had only had a sub-.500 record once.  Pretty impressive.

But in 2011 the Utah Jazz embarked on a new quest.  It had almost been 20 years since the team had tasted the NBA Finals and it had become a footnote on most teams' journey to the championship.  A perennial middle of the pack team.  A playoff team, but not a championship contender.

Faced with turmoil on the court and in Jerry Sloan's will to coach the Jazz acted quickly after Sloan's retirement.  Having the void of a Hall of Fame coach the Utah Jazz decided it was time to start a new chapter in its franchise history.  That chapter unfortunately would play out more like a choose your own adventure novel than an expertly crafted novel.

The Utah Jazz traded their best player, Deron Williams, to the New Jersey Nets in what many thought was a lopsided deal.  Looking at it today it appears the Utah Jazz came out winners seeing as they still have pieces from that deal contributing in major ways and Deron Williams now resides in Texas.  Immediately afterwards many thought the Jazz were going to start from the ground up.  But that would be wrong.

If you'd like to shamelessly play veterans and sacrifice player development for a hit of playoff money, turn to Chapter 2 - Duct Tape Dynasty.

Like a novice eating at Fogo De Chao for the first time, the Jazz entered the next season with a rather odd goal.  Through the Deron Williams trade and the subsequent draft the Utah Jazz had amassed two #3 lottery picks, a #9 lottery pick, and a #12 lottery pick.  The problem was the Utah Jazz either kept logjams at those positions by refusing to trade Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap or signed free agents to play over those players at those positions such as Randy Foye, Josh Howard, or insert aging veteran here.

With this splintered group of hired guns, veterans who just a couple years prior were seen as young guns, and rookies and sophomores took to the NBA to creep to an 8th seed playoff spot.  In the first year, this rag-tag team led by a coach whose on court strategy was questionable at times scraped into the playoffs.  Looking back on this strategy many teams were tanking during a lockout shortened season for a strong 2012 draft class that would include the likes of Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond, Draymond Green, and others.  This would have been the year for the Jazz to set the clock back, but they fought for playoff money.  For 2 home games and cash.

If you'd like to shamelessly play veterans and sacrifice player development for a hit of playoff money for a second season in a row, turn to Chapter 2 - Duct Tape Dynasty.

Different year, same verse.  The Jazz moved Devin Harris and brought on Mo Williams.  Tyrone Corbin relegated Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter to the bench.  The future was the bench unit and the past was on the floor.  The Jazz once again flailed, scraped, and clawed to get to the playoffs.  By the grace of the basketball gods above they missed.  Karma had caught up with the Jazz.  Soon the Jazz would realize they had an elite wingman in waiting with Gordon Hayward.  They would also see Derrick Favors rise to one half of the Block Brothers.  Alec Burks couldn't catch a break with Tyrone Corbin.  Kanter couldn't defend the hoop but he was an offensive monster and at the least he was a younger cheaper model of Al Jefferson.

Behind the scenes of this year was a new face though.  He hadn't been empowered nor given the keys to the kingdom.  He watched.  He watched as he saw a franchise that used to be known for its consistency, patience, and long-term goal strategies sink its money into quick fixes through neglecting player development, throwing money into free agency, and eyeing short term goals to pay the bills.  He watched as they had amassed talented youngsters through the draft (by far Kevin O'Connors greatest skill), but had failed to give them the tools to develop quickly and efficiently into NBA-caliber players.  He was behind the scenes most of the year, waiting for the right time to make his mark.  He let the trade deadline in 2013 go without as much as whimper.  Surprising, considering the Jazz were a Tuesday Morning of expiring contracts.  Many thought this was a terrible move.  But this inaction at the deadline would serve as an indicator of one of his hallmark strategies.

If you'd like to start rebuilding turn to Chapter 4 - The Dawn Of Dennis Lindsey.

Dennis Lindsey was trained in the ways of the San Antonio Spurs.  In a way Dennis Lindsey is a creation of the Utah Jazz since the Spurs were influenced by the original Jazz management and emulated the model.  Dennis Lindsey identified the flaws that existed with the Utah Jazz organization: player development, cap flexibility, and future assets.

He first let go of Tyrone Corbin.  Allowing his contract to simply expire.

In fact, Lindsey let go of every expiring contract for nothing.  Didn't bring a single cent back.  Many thought this was a terrible move.  But he had the opportunity to have something that most new NBA general managers only dream of: a blank slate.

Zach Lowe talked about this in his recent article:

Polk's mention of Deron Williams is instructive. Trading Williams for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, and two first-round picks was the opening salvo in what looks now like a wildly successful rebuilding job for the Jazz. Utah later gobbled up two extra first-rounders from the Warriors, including the pick they used on Hood, and a few weeks earlier had landed Rudy Gobert, the 27th pick in 2013, in a draft-night trade with the Nuggets.

The Hornets never drafted a Williams-level player that could kick-start a rebuild down the road.


When Jordan scooped up the Bobcats in 2010, he inherited a capped-out roster trapped in mediocrity.

Dennis Lindsey was presented with a way to get the Jazz cap flexibility and fast.  Trading Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson could have netted assets back but most likely at the sacrifice of cap space.  From Dennis Lindsey's salary acquisition past, it's easy to see if there is a salary dump that won't sacrifice future flexibility he will take it.  Unfortunately, it appears that option wasn't on the table for Lindsey.

So out with the old and in with cheaper, younger, and possibly more talented players.

He attacked the 2013 Draft like a kid hyped up on Mountain Dew.  He traded up for Trey Burke, bought Denver's pick at #27 for Rudy Gobert, then traded for Raul Neto.

With the newly acquired cap space he took on a salary dump from Golden State.  This netted them cash money that in prior years the Jazz were fighting for the 8th seed to obtain, future assets, veterans that simply were too terrible for Corbin to rationalize playing for wins.

He then reinforced the Player Development department within the Utah Jazz with numerous hires.  He strengthened the relationship with P3 and now the Jazz's training facility looks like a P3 facility.

The Utah Jazz would miss the playoffs but played their young core more than the prior two seasons combined.  Rudy Gobert would spend time in D-League developing which would help him with his national team in what would become the Summer of Rudy.

The Jazz ended the season with a sub-.500 record that netted them the #5 pick.  Thanks to Orlando fumbling the #5 pick, the Jazz drafted netted their first draft pick that had experts saying he had Superstar potential.  Dante Exum, though raw, was dripping with potential and length. And that salary dump pick from Golden State that many said would not amount to anything? Rodney Hood.

Dennis Lindsey then signed Trevor Booker to be a veteran presence, a young veteran at that.  He did it on a deal that compared to this free agency looks like dream.

With the Jazz nimble with cap space, focused on player development, and armed with future assets, they set their sights on the right coach to lead them through this.

A past player on the Tyrone Corbin regime would speak of the new to be Utah Jazz coach saying:

"I have to give a shoutout to coach.  This is the first year a coach really worked with me on my footwork, my shot, spent time with me. That's a credit to coach. That shows me that he cares about me as a person, cares about my career."

That player?  DeMarre Carroll.  That coach?  Quin Snyder.

If you'd like to see the signs of development turn to Chapter 5 - The Rise of the Stifle Tower.

If anyone was being honest they would tell you that Rudy Gobert wasn't supposed to be this good.  The hope was he could rekindle some of the magic that made some scouts believe he was a lottery pick.  But a player doesn't fall to #27 in the NBA Draft if most scouts trust in their gut that he is going to be a star.  Rudy Gobert, now?  Most likely top 3 in the 2013 draft.  But then?  He was the awkwardly tall, a little uncoordinated, mystery from France.  Maybe executives still had nightmares from Bismack Biyombo.  Whatever it was, Rudy fell.  And like the last exceptionally tall gift from France, he's poised to become a landmark in the United States.

Rudy Gobert got his chance to shine when Enes Kanter went down with an injury.  That was when the Jazz got a real glimpse into what their defense could become.  Rudy Gobert's meteoric rise made it possible to move on from a #3 lottery pick.  Consider how crazy that is.  He challenged Anthony Davis in blocks in less minutes.  A #27 pick did that.  He became their Spirit Animal.

While Rudy Gobert was becoming the Stifle Tower, the Jazz had stumbled onto another late 1st round find in Rodney Hood.  Rodney Hood started to blossom at the end of the 2014-2015 season in the absence of Alec Burks.  The Refiner's Fire was brining out the special player that played in the shadow of Jabari Parker.

Dennis Lindsey's D-League roulette also found Elijah Millsap, Bryce Cotton, and Jack Cooley.  He also found an idol of Dante Exum's, Joe Ingles, and brought him across the pond.  He soon turned into the veteran presence the Jazz needed.

If you'd like to see signs of a Championship Contender turn to Chapter 6 - You Know What's Cool?

In February of 2016 it will have been exactly 5 years since the trade of Deron Williams.  The Jazz now have a clear strategy of targeting lengthy players at their positions and kept that strategy by drafting Trey Lyles.  They have found their identity as a defensive minded team.  They have reinforced their player development by focusing more on analytics and purchasing a D-League team in Idaho.  The Utah Jazz finished last year going 19-10 with the league's best defense.  At one point that defense bordered on historic.

There will be lots of hype trains bolstered up by the National Media about the Utah Jazz and deservedly so.  Many will say the Jazz are showing the NBA a new model to follow when in fact the Jazz are following the model set forth by Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Golden State, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and themselves.  Few teams though follow through on the strategy because it takes luck in the process.  Ask the Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Bobcats about that.

The Jazz's offseason hasn't been full of fireworks and that's a good thing.  The Jazz have something special going on.  They have the pieces in place.  Bringing in a big time free agent means that the Jazz are missing something.  That they don't quite have everything.  Jazz fans should be excited by their inaction.  It means that the pieces are in place.

Sean Parker: "You don't even know what the thing is yet. How big it can get, how far it can go. This is no time to take your chips down. A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool?"

Eduardo Saverin [giving evidence at the deposition]: "A billion dollars. And that's what shut everybody up."

- The Social Network