Posted by: David J. Smith on February 8th, 2012The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Most fans (beyond the lukewarm ones) can see that the future is extremely bright for the Utah Jazz. ESPN agrees. Chad Ford and John Hollinger are, again, two or my favorite analysts/writers/reporters/basketball gurus. Both are very unbiased, use statistics to back their assertions, and know the NBA. Ford is a NBA Draft expert and Hollinger is one who makes statistics cool (which they are).
Ford and Hollinger regularly (three times a year or so) create their Future Power Rankings. In said rankings, the Utah Jazz moved from #14 (way back in March 2011) to #7. Here’s their explanation about how it all works:
The Future Power Rankings are ESPN Insider’s projection of the on-court success expected for each team in the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
Consider this a convenient way to see the direction in which your favorite team is headed.
Each of the NBA’s 30 teams received an overall Future Power Rating of 0 to 1,200, based on how well we expect each team to perform in the three seasons after this season.
To determine the Future Power Rating, we rated each team in five categories.
As you can see, we determined that the most important category is a team’s current roster and the future potential of those players — that category accounts for 40 percent of each team’s overall Future Power Rating.
At the same time, we looked at many other factors, such as management, ownership, coaching, a team’s spending habits, its cap situation, the reputation of the city and the franchise and what kind of draft picks we expected the team to have in the future.
One change for this edition: Now that so many big names have landed in more permanent places, we have increased the value of the Players category. This also rewards teams like Oklahoma City, Memphis and Philadelphia that have successfully built their rosters already with young talent. Of course, we still recognize that teams like Dallas, Houston and New Jersey (future: Brooklyn) have the money and the motivation to spend, and can make a lot of noise in the coming years — and we still reward teams for strong management, salary cap space and so on.
Here is their criteria:
HOW FUTURE POWER RATING IS DETERMINED
|PLAYERS (0 to 600 points): Current players and their potential for the future, factoring in expected departures|
|MANAGEMENT (0 to 200 points): Quality and stability of front office, ownership, coaching|
|MONEY (0 to 200 points): Projected salary-cap situation; ability and willingness to exceed cap and pay luxury tax|
|MARKET (0 to 100 points): Appeal to future acquisitions based on team quality, franchise reputation, city’s desirability as a destination, market size, taxes, business and entertainment opportunities, arena quality, fans|
|DRAFT (0 to 100 points): Future draft picks; draft positioning
Here was their top 10:
1- Oklahoma City
2- Miami HEAT
3- Chicago Bulls
4- Los Angeles Clippers
5- Indiana Pacers
6- Dallas Mavericks
7- Utah Jazz
8- Denver Nuggets
9- San Antonio Spurs
10- Houston Rockets
And here is what they said about the Jazz:
7. Utah Jazz | Future Power Rating: 723
The Jazz took a major hit in our rankings last March thanks to the loss of All-Star point guard Deron Williams and coach Jerry Sloan. But after a really solid offseason and an excellent start to the season, our optimism over the Jazz is swelling.
Perhaps the most underrated GM in the league, Kevin O’Connor has done the most with a very tough situation in a less than desirable market and built a strong foundation for the Jazz going forward. He’s continued to be proactive in rebuilding this roster in a way that keeps the team winning while adding young players for the future.
The Jazz not only have solid veterans, including Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, at virtually every position, but they also have intriguing young players being groomed at every spot except point guard. Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks have enormous potential. The fact that the team is winning while developing them makes us only more encouraged about their long-term future.
O’Connor has also been a master at acquiring lottery picks, and the Jazz are poised to grab another one from the Warriors as long as it’s not in the top seven. They do owe the Wolves a pick, however, but only if they make the playoffs. In addition, the team is poised to have some money to work with in the summer of 2013 when Jefferson, Millsap and Raja Bell all come off the books.
And with Tyrone Corbin showing he can have the Jazz playing above expectations, perhaps the drop-off from Jerry Sloan might not be as bad as we once feared. The Jazz are still a few years and a piece or two away from being serious contenders, but all signs are pointing in the right direction.
(Previous rank: 14)
So, there you have it. I think they are spot on in their analyses. We have solid players that can help us win now, while integrating our younger talent. They have a lot of faith in our coaching, as well as in team management. There are a lot of positives, with the upcoming Draft, free agency, and flexibility going forward.
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