This Utah Jazz season is the most important since the Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer days. Everything is at stake and that’s what sets this season up for a storybook year.
For the die hard fan, the season is about so much more than checking boxscores and having a winning record, but everything else that comes with it. Yes, the casual fan will be happy when they find out the Jazz are having a winning record and likely going to the playoffs. But for you and me, the ones who wait for the beat writer’s to tweet out who’s healthy, use the Jazz game hashtags incessantly, and trash talk other fanbases and beat writers on Twitter.... basically Jazz twitter... we live for so much more. The side stories of the season that drive the game within the game are like the little bits of goodies we stick in our metaphorical Jazz frozen yogurt.
For today’s article, I wanted to write about the different story lines everyone should be paying attention to and I wanted to compare it to one of the greatest movies of all time, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Don’t at me...
We’re playing to win now!
Since that fateful season where Jerry Sloan retired and Deron was traded, the Jazz have been in a transition. They’ve been hiding in a metaphorical forest of capping out, tanking and developing talent. Success was not defined by wins for the past few seasons, but not this year. This year the Jazz have set the playoffs as their goal. It’s not about providing minutes to young talent to develop. We’re here to make the playoffs.
And some will look at the Warriors and their acquisition of Kevin Durant, or look at Cleveland still having the best player on the planet and react just like Bull, “They got armor!”
Robin is right when he says that he would rather be free then spend any more time in the forest. Here here!
It’s a great feeling, but also a scary one. Will the last few years, a lot of them painful, be for not or will it all be worth it? Everything’s at stake and that’s what makes this adventure so fun.
But don’t worry, Dennis Lindsey understood this so, to help balance out the roster, he made a lot of off-season additions that have gotten everyone excited, and rightly so.
How will the new additions fit in?
The Jazz are filled with size, length and talent but they’ve been stuck in the forest for a long while, not quite able to get over the hump and into the playoffs. We’ve had injuries and setbacks, but there have been chances to make it. I was there the night we lost to Brooklyn last season. If there was ever a night we saw the Jazz inexperience it was that night. And you could argue it was the night we missed the playoffs. It certainly felt like it as everyone somberly filed out of the arena.
The story this off-season we’ve heard a thousand times was how the Jazz brought in some veteran merry men in Joe Johnson, George Hill and Boris Diaw. All of whom have a wealth of not just talent, but experience. They know what it takes to shape the talent the Jazz have into a real weapon. We already saw it with George Hill and Joe Johnson against Portland. Hill was the two way point guard presence we’ve missed since Deron and we saw what Johnson can do in the third quarter of that game.
The additions are fitting in nicely, and we really will challenge for a top spot in the playoffs, especially when Gordon comes back. Which brings us to our last point of interest...
Will Gordon Hayward Leave?
It’s the question that will loom over the Jazz the entire season. Some may be afraid of it, but I actually think it will be good for the team. They need reasons to give everything they have. Losses need to be painful. The Jazz have had too many games in the past where we took one in the loss column but called it a moral victory.
If that happens this year we not only will miss the playoffs, but Gordon will leave.
Will Scarlett is the perfect representation of Jazz fans. When he reveals himself as Robin’s half brother, he articulates so many frustrations Jazz fans have, especially the distrust of our own players. We’ve been burned before by players leaving/or threatening to leave for other teams, the national media ignores us annually and we never get a sniff at top free agents like Durant, Lebron Steph etc. But Gordon Hayward is the star we’ve always wanted and we need to embrace him. And if we win this year, and even go deep into the playoffs, he will embrace us as well.
It’s our year, guys, finally. Let’s enjoy the adventure while we can.