Posted by: Steven on July 11th, 2012The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
After missing the basketball season already I thought I might be able to get my fix from the summer league games and watching the development of the young guys.
Sadly though I can’t get into it. I cannot take it seriously when there is next to no atmosphere. When there is next to no one taking interest in the games on a live basis I find it difficult to believe that too many of the guys on the floor are taking it seriously competitively speaking either. Most of the guys that these players will be playing against, and with, are not on the floor with them. Instead these guys need to use this opportunity to work on parts of the game but at the same time not develop an injury that may make them miss part of the season – so I’m not expecting any break out moves for any of our players.
I think the only thing we can say for certain so far from this years summer league is that Burks is not PG material. It was always a long shot, much like it was a long shot that Kanter at 19 would be ready to play in the NBA like a guy chosen 3rd on the draft when he missed out on playing in college and had a lockout to contend with and was competing with so many Bigs just to get into the team. There is nothing wrong with Burks remaining in the position he plays. He penetrates like few in the team can and as long as he makes the right decisions he will be an asset for this team as he stretches the opposition and scares defenses, but we will have to look for a long term PG prospect elsewhere. I think at a push if Watson or Tinsley ended up injured or was moved on in the coming season Hayward could play some backup PG for the second unit better than Burks as he is good with the ball in his hands and sees his teammates better than Alec. I wouldn’t look to develop Hayward’s game for PG skills beyond backup status as I believe the Jazz would miss what he would bring to the floor in the 2 and 3 position. Ultimately we just have to be patient waiting for our future PG to arrive as the John Stockton’s and Deron Williams’s do not appear very often. Plenty of teams don’t have those guys on their roster and it doesn’t hurt them if they have great players elsewhere in the team.
I’ve seen so many times on this forum, and elsewhere, this Jazz team being compared to OKC. Sadly I don’t see this team anything like OKC other than the stocking up in youth. The Jazz are stocking up on young players that are totally different to that of the likes of Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka and Harden. Westbrook ain’t no PG in the Stockton or DWill but he still a nice special player to have and there is not too many teams that can say that they have a Durant on their team. We certainly don’t yet. Of our young players Hayward and Favors are our most developed but they aren’t Durant or Westbrook. Favors is more like a Howard, he has everything in his game to be defensive man of the year in a few years or so, but he is yet to develop the offensive game of Dwight.
That said, looking at the team that the Nets are developing I can’t help thinking that they made a mistake of shipping out Favors so early in his career. He has the potential to be every bit as good as Dwight, without the drama that he brings or the massive paycheck for some considerable future. Imagine Favors on the floor with DWill and Joe Johnson and how quickly he would learn.
Hayward has a lot of skills and he is maybe ahead of the curve when comparing him with Favors currently but he’s not going to have the impact on the floor nightly in the way that Durant and Westbrook do, until he becomes more selfish and less of a team player and I’m just not sure that that is going to happen.
We need to get away from the idea that we are the next OKC. We are not. We did have one bad year where the team capitulated after losing our long term head coach and our one star player and we got lucky by picking up Favors to complement Hayward and picked up Burks and Kanter soon after, but one year of missing the playoffs does not make us an OKC. The development of this Jazz project is a totally different entity. This development although continuing this summer with the arrival of Mo Williams and Marvin Williams that addresses needs now will probably really take off in the next 12 months.
With the new CBA and the contract situation of some of our highest earners up in 12 months the Jazz are actually in a good situation to make some moves by next summer. I’m just hoping they don’t do a Dallas and wait for the player or two that doesn’t materialize.
There has been a lot of talk over the years that the Jazz are a small market team that isn’t attractive to big market players but the truth is with the big contracts that were given to Dwill, Boozer, Ak, and Okur there wasn’t a lot of room to put that theory to the test. It was in essence more an excuse by lazy journalists not realizing that the Jazz didn’t have the cap room to go after big players that would make the team jump up into a contender. The team has been hampered for years when going after players that might make this franchise better. Worse it was a struggle just to keep good squad players around. For every Milsap that was kept there was a Wes Matthews who left.
Right now though we have one individual that is on what you would call star player money – Big Al on $15m – and he isn’t what you might call a star player. He’s a player that puts up his numbers and compliments a star player. Say what you like about statistics and his numbers but he isn’t an impact player like a Durant, a Wade or a Nowitski. Sadly the star player he was supposed to compliment left less than six months after he arrived. However I actually think moving DWill on when he did was a good piece of business by KOC.
Does anyone seriously believe that the Jazz could afford to give Deron $98million over 5 years? Where would that leave the rest of the squad? Supposing we were able to beat off Dallas for his continued services, which I doubt, what sort of money would be left over for the rest of the squad. Remember there would be no Favors around. I think this squad would be just as hampered contractually wise as we had been for many seasons. There would be no if’s, buts, and maybes regarding Al leaving. There would be no Joe Johnson’s coming here, or much talk of Dwight joining Deron, we’d be going after second tier players in the hope that they blossom into something better than what other GMs saw in them. It might lead to another few years of saying that we can’t get big players to come here, whereas now for the first time in a long time we will be able to put it to the test.
Now though this team is building into something good and KOC might have the tools to build something better over the next 12 months. If the Jazz continue to develop and players around the league see something good is happening here in SLC then it will become an attractive place to play basketball. Some players aren’t motivated solely by the biggest contract(they already get big money), or big city lights (who has time throughout the season anyway), some just want to win. If that winning potential is developed and contractually the room is there to go after up and coming star players then this Jazz team will become an attractive destination again but the room and the talent has to be there.
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