With the most recent article from
Luke Walton ESPN chronicling the turmoil inside the Los Angeles Lakers over the last few seasons, it’s hard not to appreciate the stability and strength of the front office in Utah.
With the abrupt departure the Jazz were not prepared to enter the modern NBA without Sloan. They were also without Larry Miller to help guide them through the coming rebuilding process. Because of that, hasty decisions were made creating problems that would last for the next few years. Much like you read in a Goosebumps “choose your own adventure” there are a lot of scenarios for the Jazz where everything goes very badly.
Luckily, the Jazz turned the page and hired a new general manger, Dennis Lindsey.
From the moment he started, Lindsey began implementing stability within the organization while also building the organization into one of the most advanced front offices in the league.
As Johnson and Pelinka foreshadowed, change would follow. At least two dozen staffers throughout the organization would depart, a figure that includes not only basketball operations and coaching staffers but also athletic training officials, analytics staffers, administrative assistants, the team’s equipment manager and the head athletic trainer.
In the Lakers’ 2016-17 media guide, the directory lists 72 staffers who aren’t a part of the ownership group. That figure does not include players, cheerleaders, security members, ball boys, interns, outside consultants, team broadcasters, players and coaches of the team’s development league team, among others; nor does it include the six Buss family members listed in various positions throughout the franchise. Of those 72, at least 27 are, as of this date, no longer with the organization, a turnover rate of 37.5 percent.
There are so many aspects to managing and NBA franchise. It’s not just making trades and draft picks but managing everything that goes into running a team. Whether it’s equipment, facilities, doctors, coaching, drafting, player relations, Dennis Lindsey, with the support of Gail Miller, has strengthened each division of the team to become the best possible.
While the Lakers are firing, Lindsey has been hiring, even filling his own spot with the widely respected Justin Zanik to make sure everyone in the organization is doing their best work possible.
Speaking of Gail Miller. I’m not sure if you can pinpoint exactly when, but at some point Gail Miller took hold of the top-down decision making and has empowered Lindsey to make, or not make, moves that would strengthen the franchise. A credit to the Miller family’s willingness to win, they allowed Lindsey to grow the front office exponentially. One example of that was the growth of the scouting department. The fruits of that investment can be seen in players like Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Royce O’neale etc.
Much has been said about the most recent trade deadline and what could have been done to land Mike Conley. Lindsey aired on the side of stability. What may have seemed too conservative was probably more a sign of discipline. Dennis Lindsey isn’t going to let this franchise fall into the problems it was facing just a few years ago. Jazz fans should look at teams like the Suns, Lakers, Kings and Celtics before thinking that quick moves that mortgage picks and cap space will always work out for the best.
Because the trade did not happen, many wonder what the Jazz will do to bring a free agent to Utah to make up for the missed opportunity. It’s a tall task for Lindsey to do something that has only been done a handful of times in the past. Whether the Jazz are able to bring in a big name or not, it’s clear that Lindsey has set them up with the best chance possible. July is shaping up to be filled with a lot of changes for a team looking to overcome its current ceiling.
Today the Lakers reminded us that impatience and shortsightedness leads to turmoil and perpetual losing. If there was anything that you could do to describe the Utah Jazz since hiring Dennis Lindsey it has been stability and discipline. That stability and discipline is what will make the Jazz a contender soon and a perennial playoff team for years to come.