The Utah Jazz Love Their Big Men, But So Does the Rest of the League
The Utah Jazz are continuing their foray into the NBA purgatory. They are not quite good enough to be contenders in the Western Conference, and they have not been bad enough to land a top lottery pick in order to build their team. However, they were able to acquire a glut of them over the past few seasons via nifty trades. The Jazz bilked the Nets out of a pick that eventually became Derrick Favors, who was traded to the Jazz in the Deron Williams trade in 2011 with the then-New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn Nets). The Jazz had already retained the services of F/C Al Jefferson for years, and they also have longtime big man, Paul Millsap. The problem for the Jazz is that they cannot play all three of those big men. They have tried and the three-headed point guard-by-committee that complements the front line has yet to yield anything but a bunch of quick peeks into the playoffs, before exiting quietly.
Al Jefferson is coming off a rather mundane season, and will likely explore offers as one of the prime free agents this summer. The Jazz have about $40 million in cap space (if F Marvin William opts out of his deal and voids the option that he has for next year at $7.5 million), so they could theoretically keep Jefferson and allow Millsap (who also has value) to walk. The Jazz have to give more attention to their wings, as they have gotten next to nothing in the way of consistent shooting and scoring outside of sporadic outbursts by players like F Gordon Hayward and PG Mo Williams. F DeMarre Carroll has promise, and so does big man Enes Kanter (who is under contract for the next three seasons), but the Jazz are very thin at the shooting guard and small forward positions. These are going to be areas of emphasis for them when relating to the 2013 NBA Draft, where the Jazz select at both 14th and 21st. There will be a couple of options for the Jazz in the draft, as they can trade either one or both of the picks. They can move up in the draft if they feel that someone will be available at, say, 10th, that they covet. They can also trade the 14th pick away and get a pick in a later draft. They can also package one of the picks with one of their big men in a sign and trade deal. Either way, the Jazz are definitely going to be looking at players such as Glen Rice, Jr., Tim Hardaway, Jr., Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and other players of that size and ilk. Additionally, they will have the cap space to lure two or three very good players. The Jazz must simply play their cards right on draft night, as well as during free agency in July, or else they will continue on the nomadic path to purgatory.
” It Is Only A Game, Until You Bet It “