This summer has not brought many changes to the personnel of our Jazz. Mychal has shared throughout the summer why the Jazz are not making changes. The Jazz have a plan and they are sticking to that plan, come hell or high water. Its comforting to me that they have a plan again. My mind's at ease with what is happening with our team. I know we are in good hands with Dennis Lindsey and Quin Snyder.
Thanks to the plan, we as fans are now able to feel comfortable enough to *gasp* actually start loving our players again and welcoming them into our family.
As part of the plan, the team has a vision for every player. It is no longer just "young guys, blergh". There is a clear vision of what is expected of each player, how they are going to get there, and how each player fits in with the team.The coaches are working with the players to fulfill their greatest potential. We are a real team again.
Quin Snyder recently said this about developing players: (via Jazzfanatical)
The process by which this occurs is best when it operates as a partnership. We as coaches need to listen, and to help our players improve. This is more than skill development, although that is an important piece.
Sometimes that may mean having a vision for a player that could exceed their own hopes and expectations, whereas [it] also leads to the affirmative that practice is everything.
Now that our team has a plan and now that there is a vision for every player and how they fit with the team, it is safe to say that Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert, and Derrick Favors are the players that this team will build its foundation. The injury to Dante Exum hurts our team this season and more so next season but I do not believe he is yet to be part of the team's foundation. If the Jazz make it to the playoffs this season it will be on the backs of Hayward, Gobert, and Favors that they get there. It will in all likelihood be in spite of our point guard play if we make the playoffs.
When we look at Hayward,Gobert, and Favors we see vastly different personalities. They will be the leaders of this team but each will lead in a different way. Hayward is the Chosen One. Hayward is being promoted by the Jazz, like no other Jazz player, in the last ten years, has been promoted. Hayward is the defacto leader of this team. With the exit of Jeremy Evans, Hayward has been on the team longer than any other player. Hayward is the leader of the offense on the court, he is the player that will have the most media surrounding him in the scrums, Hayward looks the part of a Jazz leader. Thanks to comments from teammates we do know however that Hayward is not a vocal leader. Hayward leads by example.
Rudy Gobert is the Jazz's fiery leader. Gobert is passionate. Gobert is the player that will leave it all on the court, he wants to win all 82 games. Gobert is the defensive leader on the court. Remember when he physically moved Enes Kanter into the correct defensive position? Gobert brings energy and fire to the team. A Gobert block and salute can instantly change the direction of the game. The Jazz have not had a player as passionate as Rudy Gobert in a long time. Rudy Gobert is like Deron Williams (non-moody). He can take over a game by his emotion alone. All teams need a leader like Gobert, that player who will kill to win. Remember Gobert was planning championship time-lines, with Dennis Lindsey, his rookie year.
Now our third leader, Derrick Favors.There is not a Jazz player right now that epitomizes more of what it means to be a Jazz player than Derrick Favors. Favors seems to go under the radar in the NBA and even in our own Utah Jazz community.
Derrick Favors is a leader in large part due to his loyalty. Favors did not go out and test the waters of free agency. Favors did not make comments about only signing for three years, or saying he'll get a "raise irregardless". Favors has never made comments such as "its a business" or "we'll have to see what happens'. Favors has always said that he wants to be here.
Favors shows his loyalty through community service. Favors welcomes himself into the community by doing service. Despite having had a very pregnant girlfriend this summer, he was still in Utah. He worked out, he supported the Jazz's summer league and he gave community service. Favors not only gives service but it is apparent by his comments that he enjoys it. It is not the grin and bear it kind of service that we have seen from past players.
Derrick Favors is also a leader on the court. At one point in the last two seasons the Jazz were 1-12 when Derrick Favors did not play. Favors makes an impact on the court. Last season Favors was one of only five Jazz players ever to average 16+ points, 8+ rebounds and at least half a block per game for a season. Favors is the anchor that allows every other player to do their job. Favors is the quiet constant that fills the stat sheet and gets the defense done. Favors will never talk about his contribution or success, with Favors it is always about the team.
Favors is a player that could be the face of the franchise. He brings loyalty, consistent play, an even-keel disposition and yet he also brings pride every night. Favors is proud to be on the Jazz and we are proud to have him here.