The first round of the NBA playoffs are now over, the Jazz are now where they would have been anyway, so um... silver lining I guess.
I don't think I ever saw this covered here, so here is a bit of late news: Gordon Hayward is one of the 31 finalists for team USA basketball for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The other finalists are:
Point Guards: Westbrook, Wall, Paul, Lillard, Irving, Conley, Curry
Wings: Harden, Thompson, Leonard, Iguodala, George, Gay, Durant, DeRozan, Butler, Beal, Barnes
Big Men: Aldridge, Anthony, Cousins, Davis, Drummond, Faried, Draymond, Griffin, Howard, James, Jordan, Love
Only 12 of those 31 players will make the final roster.
If I got to choose the best of the best, my team would probably look like:
Point Guards: Curry, Westbrook, Paul
Wings: Leonard, Durant, George, Thompson, Harden
Big Men: James, Davis, Aldridge, Anthony (He thrives in the olympics), Cousins
That said, we know many players opt out of the olympics for many reasons, injuries could happen. Hayward could impress the heck out of the coaches if he does well in the early practices/scrimmages.
Frankly I'd put Hayward as a long shot at this point to make the team, but it is still early to rule him out.
In a recent David Locke tipoff, he let the cat out of the bag that it was a hustling Elijah Millsap who inadvertently injured Rudy Gobert in a freak accident in early December during a practice. No more than 5 weeks later, Elijah was waived from the team.
Although it was likely that the lack of coherent offensive talent from Elijah was what led to him being waived, him injuring the cornerstone of our defense probably didn't help his case.
Elijah's fate this year paralleled our team's, a bit of bad luck and not quite enough grit to succeed at modest goals this season.
Oh well, maybe next year.
Boy does our franchise's fate unfairly lay in Dante Exum's hands right now.
He is currently the point guard who could help make or break our next string of seasons.
His defensive prowess will be a key asset to this team but will he be able to stay afloat offensively to our starting lineup to make this team a dark horse borderline contender next year?
That's quite the pressure for the soon to be 21 year old who seemed overly timid at times in his rookie campaign.
I am in the boat of wanting the Jazz to acquire another point guard who helps alleviate the pressure and mentor Exum over the next couple seasons rather than allow this weakest link risk let another chance at glory go down the drain.
What do you all think? Am I overreacting? Does Exum, Mack, and Burke (unless he gets traded and some other 3rd point guard on our roster next year) help dissuade your anxiety regarding our weak PG position since DWill got traded? Should we re-bolster that position this summer or feed Dante to the inferno for a while?
The next "key" date for the Jazz unfortunately is the draft lottery once again. This year it is on Tuesday May 19th.
The Jazz are highly likely to have their draft pick end up at the same 12th spot at last year.
To break down the odds, The Jazz have 7 out of 1001 combinations in the lottery and have a 0.7% chance at the #1 pick, 0.8% chance at the #2 pick, 1.0% chance at the #3 pick (2.5% combined top 3 pick chance).
The likely scenario is the 93.5% chance at staying at the 12th slot while there is a 3.9% chance the Jazz actually fall back to the 13th slot.
I'm holding out for the Jazz to get another asset at least as promising as Lyles again this draft who can round out our bench.
One parting tidbit to leave you on today:
Kids who turned 6 years old yesterday or later have not been out of the womb since the Jazz won their last playoff game— Justin (JuMu) (@JuMuJazz) May 2, 2016