clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Why the Utah Jazz are made for Kevin Durant Edition: Downbeat #1895

New, comments

If Kevin Durant wants a championship he'll go to the bay. The Great Salt Lake Bay.

Could Kevin Durant at Vivint Arena become a regular occurrence?
Could Kevin Durant at Vivint Arena become a regular occurrence?
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Dallas Mavericks last night and the Golden State Warriors barely snuck by the Houston Rockets.  This prompted a tweet from one of Sheridan Hoops' writers, Jim Park.

If it were me I would have put an asterisk on Utah just because a healthy Utah would have laid waste to Golden State last night.  But a Utah with a hobbled Derrick Favors, hurt Rudy Gobert, recovering Alec Burks, and missing Dante Exum?  No.  While it may feel great to Monday Morning Quarterback this loss, point to it, and say, "The Jazz would have been great against them."  The fact is they wouldn't have.  The Utah Jazz's Little Engine That Couldn't finally ran out of steam against a Dallas Mavericks team that proved that they belonged in the playoffs.  The Dallas Mavericks proved that they belonged in the playoffs again by beating a formidable Oklahoma City team in Oklahoma City.

I made a tongue in cheek comment last night about Kevin Durant and the more I think about it, the more it should come to a reality.

Aside from the obvious reason of signing Kevin Durant because it's Kevin Durant, let's talk about why the Utah Jazz are a perfect fit for a player looking to finally get a championship in Downbeats 3, 4, and 5.

Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City teams have been average when it comes to defense.  They were in the top 10 in defense only 2 of the past 7 years.  The Utah Jazz have only been a top 10 defensive team since the All-Star break of last season, but that staple isn't going away anytime soon.

The Utah Jazz are also known for a certain defensive strength at every position that few teams can boast: wingspan.

The Utah Jazz have so much length that if Jay Bilas ever talked about Utah's starting lineup with Kevin Durant in it, you'd die of alcohol poisoning.

The Utah Jazz have a point guard the size of a small forward (6'6") with a 6'9" wingspan.

With Kevin Durant on the team, that would move Gordon Hayward to shooting guard. A 6'9" shooting guard.

Kevin Durant would be a 7'1" Small Forward.

Derrick Favors is a 6'10" power forward with a 7'4" wingspan.

Rudy Gobert is 7'1" center with a 7'8" wingspan.

The Utah Jazz next season will already be a terror on defense.  Kevin Durant would just turn the Wasatch Front into nightmare fuel.

If Kevin Durant ever feels like he needs a break from all the work you put in on the offensive end, guess who has his back?  Two of the best defensive bigs in the NBA ready to lay waste to his defensive assignment if they dare try to blow past him.  In addition, with Kevin Durant in the lineup the Utah Jazz can endlessly switch on defense.  Kevin Durant got moved on to Rudy's man? Good thing Durant is still 7'1".  Exum got switched onto Kevin's man?  Dante is the size of most small forwards.

The Utah Jazz's offense is made for Kevin Durant.  The Utah Jazz's offense loves playmaking wings.  The Utah Jazz's offense also draws players inside to consistently guard Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert in the paint.  If Kevin Durant wants open 3 pointers then he should want to go to Utah.  Last year the Utah Jazz had 758 WIDE OPEN 3 point attempts.  Now that's not even close to Golden State's amount which was 1319.  But they shot a 3 on almost 20% of all shots.  If you adjusted Utah's amount to fit that figure their amount of WIDE OPEN 3 point attempts jumps to 1,273.  Oh yeah, remember how Utah plays a slower tempo?  The slowest tempo in fact.  So let's adjust that number to Golden State's pace.  What's that final number?  1,387.  68 more WIDE OPEN 3 pointers a game when adjusted for pace and percentage of 3 pointers a game.  That's right Kevin Durant, you would be arriving in an offense that is just waiting for you to score 50.

If teams start to focus on Kevin Durant then they will see Gordon Hayward systematically pick them apart and a never-ending procession of alley-oops to Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors.  Kevin Durant is made for this Utah team and this Utah team is unknowingly designed for him.

The Utah Jazz have ~$30MM dollars in cap room to sign a free agent.  Signing Kevin Durant is not out of the realm of fiscal reality.  Shorter contracts are becoming more and more popular.  The Utah Jazz could sign Kevin Durant to a two year contract so that he hits the market again when he is 29.  This would give the Utah Jazz added flexibility when their other younger players are ready for a new more expensive contract.

There have been rumors that Kevin Durant could sign with Washington D.C., but with their demise this season and lack of key role players he'd be doing Washington a favor, not the other way around.

Kevin Durant could go to Golden State and most likely win a championship, but is becoming the villain part of his legacy?  What can a player possibly add to an already record setting NBA team?  If the Golden State Warriors are even 1% better next year does anyone notice?  Does that really create a legacy for Kevin Durant?

If Kevin Durant comes to Utah he has a chance to create a legacy.  If he brings a championship to Utah, that's the first one for Utah.  He creates a legacy.  One of a kind.  If Kevin Durant were to come to Utah he would instantly be Karl Malone / John Stockton caliber.  This city won't just love him, they'll worship him.  The relationship would be mutually beneficial.  The Utah Jazz need a star to take offensive pressure off of Hayward, Favors, and Gobert in order for them to thrive.  Kevin Durant needs a team that's ready to compete for a championship on day 1.  What better team in free agency can boast two Team USA possible selections (Derrick Favors & Gordon Hayward)?  What team in free agency can boast a possible Defensive Player of the Year (Rudy Gobert)?  What team can boast a better up and coming coach than Quin Snyder?   What team in free agency can add a lottery pick level talent to their role players and be ready to compete in the playoffs next year other than Boston and Utah?  What team could boast a better bench than Utah with Shelvin Mack, Raul Neto, Alec Burks, Rodney Hood, and Trey Lyles?

I sent out the tweet last night slightly joking.  But today, I'm not.  If Kevin Durant is serious about winning a championship and carving out a legacy, there's only one landing spot: Utah.

via Reddit  /r/UtahJazz