Determination Over Negativity

The past 24 hours for Jazz fans have been quite the adventure or rather like walking through a really dry brush area in Utah on July 5th. Tony Jones reiterated that the Jazz were listening to Donovan Mitchell interest but "there’s no intent" to trade him. Multiple reports and tweets coming after that made it seem like the Knicks finally made an offer that got close to what the Jazz want, which is like 10 picks, a couple rookies, and an expiring contract that gets the money to the right amount. This immediately got the Knicks to release through "sources" that RJ Barrett wouldn’t be apart of the conversation and here we are. Well Jazz twitter isn’t really here nor there but rather everywhere with a lot of freaking out going on, talking about feelings towards the current direction of the Utah Jazz franchise. I would like to preach a message that has been coined by the current star in trade talks (no not Mike Conley), D.O.N. which stands for Determination Over Negativity.

Donovan started this phrase early on in his career and used it to reward fans who represented a positive impact to their communities. A very good thing. Which is a very small accolade in Don’s time in Utah. Repetitively challenging Utah government and Utah citizens to be better, to show kindness, to show compassion, to show understanding for people that were different than you, to be that positive impact to everyone. For this reason, and many like it, many Jazz fans are upset at the idea of trading Donovan. Understandable, you should be. There is something to be said about being a positive person in a local society that mostly supports you, it’s much harder to be a positive impact in a society that actively repels the good you are trying to do. Kudos to him. If that is not a reason to keep him, or at least make you feel bad for pushing him out the door, I don’t know what is.

I would like to use this phrase for where the Jazz are obviously heading. A total rebuild, and not only that, but a total determination to it. This is the inevitable. It’s been inevitable ever since the Rudy Gobert microphone incident (which didn’t cause the pandemic and any player could have been patient zero, just happened to be Rudy with some unfortunate clips). It’s been even more inevitable since the Jazz took a 2-0 series lead against the Clippers, then proceeded to lose the next four with Kawhi out for most and add insult to injury blowing a 25-point lead in game six. It’s been inevitable since the first reporter saying Donovan would like to play for the Knicks or Heat a couple years ago if the Jazz didn’t have championship aspirations. It’s inevitable. But that’s ok. The future assets given up for win now moves didn’t work, whether it be from injuries or the team giving up on the season after giving up a 17-point lead to the Warriors. But that’s ok. It didn’t work, in fact it didn’t work for the 25ish teams that didn’t have tank aspirations. Thus, the Jazz had to make a change and that was the first domino to be pushed over, trade Rudy. Which ultimately hit the next domino, Donovan. The Jazz wouldn’t be as good as they were the last two years, and ultimately would be projected around play-in status with their current roster makeup. There is a path to re-tooling around Donovan, but ultimately the chances of it working are very slim. In order to not engage in the negative environment of being a perennial playoff team, one must have determination to commit to the cause.

The next thing we need to use the phrase for is the negativity. There is a lot of speculation that a rebuild won’t work. That the Jazz have tried it before (after D-Will and after Gordon) and it didn’t work. But I would pause and say that neither of those teams after the players actually committed to a rebuild, mostly to a retool. There is also prediction that the Jazz will forever be stuck in a cycle of drafting a star player and that star player looking to leave after signing a rookie max contract. To this, I say control what you can control and don’t worry about what you can’t. There is also a contingency of fans that are upset with Donovan for the Jazz getting rid of Rudy. This is dumb. No matter their relationship, their future was entirely out of each other’s control if they didn’t make a conference final, which felt like it was going to happen in 2021 and the wind abruptly was removed from the sails. Rudy was the first to go for an obvious reason. Rudy could lift Donovan’s trade value up, whereas Donovan would limit what Rudy could obtain. Hence the week long hold up for teams to determine what is KD’s value? With that value not being capable of being obtained, the Jazz can now pressure teams to come down slightly from KD’s value yet higher than Rudy’s value and obtain a younger player than KD that has been the Jazz leading playoff scorer every year since he was drafted. This was going to happen. Being worried about the future isn’t going to help. Just hope that the front office sets up the Jazz for a future that allows for mistakes as well as one that allows the Jazz to build a team concurrently with guys growing into their roles. Whether that be the super-star *cough*Wembanyama*cough* or star or starter or rotation player. A team is needed to win in today’s NBA and if you look at the Golden State Warriors it needs to be built off the draft.

We as Jazz fans must let go of the negativity that we have and let the cards play out. And it’s going to take a lot of determination. You really want your best player to hit their prime right as you want to win a championship. If that player comes from next years draft, expect them to be around 19 years old. That means it’s going to be about 7 to 9 years for the start of their prime. Meaning we will need more determination than you thought I was going to ask of you three sentences ago. Don’t be negative though, because if Don brings in a similar draft haul to Rudy, then the Jazz won’t have to be a losing team for too many years. Other teams might be doing the losing for them.

Here is a Knicks video that I quite enjoy that will be even funnier a few years from now (warning a lot of words get dropped):

Knicks Sidetalk Season Opener

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