For all the things we love about Salt Lake City, the beautiful mountains, a close knit, eclectic community, a low cost of living with almost no traffic (I could list a million more things, honestly, I love you Salt Lake City), these are not things that are going to bring big time free agents to a city or influence them to re-sign.
You know what does bring free agents? Warm weather, big cities and ... other things... The Suns have all of this, but somehow continue to be worse than the Jazz both in record and in their future outlook.
How did it come to this? It was only a few seasons ago that Jeff Hornacek was coaching the suns to a surprising 48 win season. The reason comes down to this man.
The answer to why the Jazz are a better franchise is patience. Sometimes, almost to a fault, Lindsey has stuck to a plan of action. After taking over for Kevin O’Connor, Lindsey knew that changes needed to be made. He kept to his plan even when some of his decisions came under fire. When he allowed Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap to leave without having gotten anything for them in a trade there were a lot of angry Jazz fans. He picked a highly regarded assistant coach from Atlanta, Quin Snyder, to help develop a core of young talent. He didn’t panic by overpaying middle of the road free agents, and in so doing our young talent developed. Lindsey has also been a great drafter. Picking up Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood and Dante Exum (yes, Exum).
The fruit of that patience and determination is a team that is now competing for a top spot in the West. The Jazz are rolling.
The 48 win Suns, even though they had a dynamic backcourt of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, picked up Isiah Thomas. Even though it was a very reasonable contract, it set off a series of problems. Just months after signing Thomas, the suns traded him to the Celtics. Later on, not trusting the Suns organization, Dragic demanded a trade. It was a disaster and the Suns current record is the fruit of their impatience.
Now, the Suns have had to hit the reset button. They have a lot of young, promising talent but it will take years to get the experience and development needed to become competitive. The Suns have Bledsoe still, who is probably their best tradable asset, and could definitely garner them a nice pick in the upcoming draft. After all that, will they have have the patience needed to grow their young players into a winning team? There’s no telling.
And that’s what makes the Jazz so impressive. As fans, we went through three or so years of painful losing to get where we are now. And because Lindsey, and Jazz ownership, didn’t overreact to losing we’re now are one Golden State tweaked ankle from making some serious noise in the playoffs.
Thank you Jazz for being patient. Because of that, we’ll be good for years. And who knows, maybe we’ll have some luck and we’ll be the team pushing off for the game winning finals victory.