Posted by: Jason Crannell on August 13th, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
If the lockout ever ends, and we end up having some sort of an NBA season in 2011-2012, the landscape of the league will be quite different. There will be no Shaq O’Neal, or Yao Ming. There will be no Phil Jackson, or Jerry Sloan. Even players like Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett figure to get less publicity, then in the past, with young guys like Derrick Rose, and Kevin Durant taking over more of the spotlight.
In Jazz land, a sense of the change of the guard is quite evident. Tyrone Corbin will begin his first full season as head coach, and the roster is loaded with first or second year players. Even the core veterans on the roster (Jefferson, Millsap, Harris), are in their prime, and far from being over the hill. I would like to see the organization play the young talent as much as possible, and not be so concerned with the win/loss column. The victories will come in time, as the young guys develop chemistry, and learn the ropes of what it takes to be successful.
Andrei Kirilenko/Raja Bell/Memo Okur - It’s time for the Jazz to part ways with these three players. The Jazz are at least a season or two away from being a serious title contender, and playing these older veterans will only steal valuable minutes from young players we need to develop. The addition of Enes Kanter not only made Kyrylo Fesenko, and Francisco Elson immediately expendable, but also to some extent, Memo Okur. With a potential frontline of Jefferson, Kanter, Favors, and Millsap the services of Okur are really no longer needed. I guess I could see the benefit of having Okur tutor Kanter during his rookie season, or being kept around as an insurance policy in case of injuries, but for all intent and purposes, the Jazz no longer really need Memo. In the backcourt, and at the small forward, the Jazz need to find playing time for Paul Millsap, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, and C.J. Miles. I’d hate to see a player in the twilight of this career, like Raja Bell, eat into their time on the floor. Raja was brought in to play for a different team, and coach, then what we now have. I also don’t think he would respond well to finding his place near the end of the bench. With the draft addition of Alec Burks, the Jazz are going to need to open up some minutes for him in the backcourt, which means Hayward will need to split time between the shooting guard and small forward. If A.K. is still around, this will be hard to accomplish. Not to mention, the Jazz also plan on playing Millsap some at the three spot, and any time that Jeremy Evans will see on the floor, will probably be at this position as well. For the good of our future, Memo, Raja, and A.K. need to hit the road. We can develop a new identity faster as a unit, if those guys aren’t around.
I also wouldn’t mind if the Jazz elected to not bring back Earl Watson (though I like the guy), if they can find a younger free agent or rookie they can bring in to develop behind Devin Harris (similar to when the Jazz picked Howard Eisley off the scrap pile to play behind Stockton). I want to see youth. I want to see a young team grow before my eyes. But if that’s to happen, certain roadblocks need to cleared out of the path. Out with the old, and in with the new.
Feel free to chime in if you agree or disagree.
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