The Utah Jazz (4-4) lost to the Golden State Warriors (5-0) last night. It sucks. But you know what? Over the last three seasons, including the NBA Playoffs, the Warriors have won 243 games. That’s winning 81 games a year. They go to the NBA Finals quite a bit. They are a good team; no, they are a great team. And I’m not saying good things about them because I like ‘em. I hate them. But they are very good and in a different league right now.
Anything that isn’t a title is a failure for them. For Utah, and the Jazz fans all over, our team is on the way up. But there’s a long way to go still. Our Jazz aren’t quite contenders just yet. And that gives me a piece of mind in this series because it’s more like a measuring stick experience.
Take your swings, try to connect, maybe get the 2x West Champs to stumble a bit.
This season was all about doing what they needed to do in order to keep Hayward. They won the division. They won 50 games. They won a playoff round. I think the Jazz brass have done exactly what they needed to.
Operation Keep Gordon was more important and critical than the normative growth and organic development goals this year. They traded away a lotto pick. Rookies and young players were taken out of the #PlayoffPush rotation. Guys who could have been seasoned enough to help right now are seeing their first minutes in the post season in the second round. It time to give them some burn, some needed experience that will help them be useful in future important games.
In a way, this is like a very intense training camp. The team is finally healthy. Quin Snyder can finally try out any number of line-ups. Some guys may work better together, but we didn’t get to see them play together before. Now is the time.
That doesn’t mean play to lose. Not at all. It means to play loose. This isn’t a stressful situation because it’s up to Golden State to win every game. It’s up to Utah to get good experience from this so that they will be a contender sooner rather than later.
Go to win games. Play to win games. Realize that there’s no penalty to losing them. As a result, PLAY DANTE EXUM!
There’s some other things happening out there beyond the NBA Playoffs. First of all, we are all well aware that AFTER the playoffs teams have to make a lot of important decisions. The Utah Jazz knocked off the Los Angeles Clippers and they have a few starters that may not be there next season. In reality, that’s kind of where the Jazz are as well. We’re not the only ones who know that. The Vertical’s Bobby Marks broke down all the best Free Agent small forwards, that includes BOTH our wing starters: Gordon Hayward and Joe Ingles. (And Kyle Korver too!)
Marks writes about Gordon:
2. Gordon Hayward (player option)
Age in free agency: 27
The first-time All-Star is having a career year after leading the Jazz to their first playoff appearance since 2012.
Hayward could be eligible for the designated veteran player extension if he were to earn All-NBA honors and opt in to his $16.7 million 2017-18 player option.
The new CBA rule states that a player entering his eighth or ninth year and who meets the criteria would be extension-eligible. Hayward, in his seventh season, would not be eligible for the DVPE if he opts out and still earns All-NBA honors.
. . . and Ingles . . .
7. Joe Ingles (restricted)
Age in free agency: 29
Ingles has developed into one the top 3-point specialists coming off the bench.
He has cultivated a role in Utah, but his style of play and ability to guard multiple positions should translate to a new team if he signs elsewhere.
Utah will have the ability to match any offer sheet, but with a potentially high payroll because of the free agency of Gordon Hayward and George Hill, Ingles could become expendable.
We see that there’s some level of conditionality here. The Jazz are probably heading up for a pre-draft trade to free up some more space (so adios Alec Burks), even if they don’t re-sign all three starters (Hayward, Ingles, and point guard George Hill) they may need to free up space. If Hayward does not use his player option to become a free agent (and stays on for the $16 million) it’s still going to be a pretty funky off-season.
For fun, here’s what Marks wrote about Korver:
8. Kyle Korver
Age in free agency: 36
Is Kyle Korver a short-term rental or part of the future for a Cleveland team that once again will be in the luxury tax next season?
Korver is still one of the premier shooters in the NBA and has found a role coming off the bench since being acquired in January.
However, age and durability should concern teams about a long-term contract.
After missing only two games in 2015-16, Korver has missed 12 this season.
Korver and his agent, Jeff Schwartz, should have leverage when it comes to contract talks with Cleveland.
The Cavaliers, a repeater tax team, will only have the $5.2 million room mid-level exception to replace Korver if he leaves in free agency.
I think we all still love Korver, he’s a “Hawks” guy who played under assistant head coach Quin Snyder, knows how to pass, and knows how to hit open threes. He’s not nearly as versatile as Joe Ingles, but is most likely be much cheaper.
But let’s be real, Ingles is a must in my mind to bring back. We love him, so does the rest of the world:
I really don’t want to watch a Jazz team without this guy, even if he’s in a shooting slump.
Oh, yeah, second (after free agency) we have the NBA Draft. And at the risk of editorializing here, do we still hate the Los Angeles Lakers? Yes we do. Especially when it comes to the NBA Draft.
The Lakers' Luke Walton says that Magic Johnson has 'assured me that we're going to get our top-three pick this year' pic.twitter.com/HlyLDPbHRw— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 3, 2017
Yeah, nothing fishy there. Not at all like how LAST year Dikembe Mutombo congratulated the Sixers on their #1 pick hours before the lotto was “officially” held, which they would later win on TV.
Derrick Favors. Boris Diaw. Trey Lyles. Joel Bolomboy. Which one of these non-wings will be playing power forward for the Jazz next year? All of them? None of them? Favors is used more and more as a back-up center and hasn’t expanded his range to be able to space the floor. Diaw is only going to get slower and slower, but he’s still so smart and patient in the craziest of times. Lyles had a Sophomore slump all year long. Bolomboy is a garbage time all-star who hasn’t seen real minutes all season.
I like all of these guys. They all bring something different to the table. You just can’t play all of them, especially not with the threat that more and more of the PF mins will be going to Joe Johnson, Joe Ingles, and Gordon Hayward in the future.
That said, peep this:
Wall Street Diaw is on the Mt Rushmore of Diaw's pic.twitter.com/wa2r6s2Q9w— Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane) May 3, 2017
Who is your favorite Boris Diaw?
Eight games into the post-season where are you at?
Utah Jazz Fan Kool-Aid Meter (5/3/2017)
This poll is closed
10 / 10 - Cannot be possible to drink more Kool-Aid
1 / 10 - Basically just colored water with no sweetness at all