09 August 2012
Utah Jazz Fan GM (Over)-Analysis
WRITTEN BY PETER J. NOVAK | August 10, 2012
New General Manager Jazz Fan Orientation
“The King is Dead, Long Live the King”
Thank you for all your hard work Kevin O’Connor, now please take your red stapler and the rest of your belongings and move your stuff to the office in the basement. Welcome aboard Dennis Lindsey, are you all settled in yet? Have you gone through the office supply catalog and picked out your calendar, your pen caddy and your new Utah Jazz business cards? Good. Time to get to work.
By now Mr. Lindsey, as the brand spanking new General Manager of the Utah Jazz (at least in title), you’ve made the rounds in the Jazz offices, you’ve shaken everybody’s hand, you’ve kissed all their babies, you’ve schmoozed the media (a job well done I might add), you’ve met with the information technology department and received a tutorial on your 1990’s Windows 3.0 based computer, and you’ve filled out all of your human resource forms. You should be all locked in and ready to transform the Utah Jazz into the championship contender the fan base is confident you will deliver.
However, Mr. Lindsey before you are set completely loose, please take a moment of your time and try to understand the desires of the Utah Jazz fan base. We all know that Gail and Greg Miller will keep you for life so long as you work hard at your job but please just humor us a bit and consider our needs as the loyal fans of Utah’s only professional sports franchise. After this brief orientation we will leave you alone to do your work and only return to raise our voices again when you do something really dumb…or if you do something really smart…or when you don’t do anything at all…or when you do something that should have been done before…or when you order Café Rio for lunch… or…well…you get the idea.
So without further adieu, here are your first five assignments from your loyal Jazz fan base:
#1 Acquire a Future Point Guard: Jazz fans love our point guards. We’ve been spoiled. For 28 out of the past 31 NBA seasons the Jazz have been guided by either Rickey Green, John Stockton or Deron Williams. All of these point guards have had all-star caliber careers and one of which is the greatest pure point guard of all time (Off-Topic : by adding the word “pure” it takes Magic Johnson out of the conversation). Since Deron Williams was traded, the Jazz have yet to fill the void. We thought Devin Harris might be that guy. He had an all-star year previously for the Nets, but he was not the right fit in Utah. O’Connor has brought back Mo Williams to try to fill the spot, but Mo is coming off the worse season of his career. A season in which Mo was not a starter not to mention that he will be turning 30 later this year.
The Jazz need a young point guard to groom with our Core Four (Off-Topic: “Core Four” is our catchy/corny little nickname we’ve come up with to refer to Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. Off-Off-Topic: if you trade one of those four guys you may have some crazy Jazz fan threaten to cut you with a knife). The average age of the Core Four is 21 years old. Regardless of how well Mo Williams plays next year, he will be long retired once the Core Four hits its prime.
There are some people who may argue that an elite point guard is no longer needed to win in the NBA. LeBron James didn’t have one last year. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant never played with one. Regardless, the Jazz fans need one. It is kind of our thing. We like to see unselfish guard play set up the rest of our team. So we beg of you, please trade for a point guard we can peg our future to. Or please sign one. Or at the very least please be seen in college arenas this year scouting out top college point guard prospects.
#2 Trade Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson or Both: This suggestion may help you with #1 above, but we as fans are ready to transition to the Derrick Favors era. It is time. You said in your introductory press conference that Derrick Favors “made six or seven plays in the San Antonio series that we were shaking our knees that there’s very few guys that can make those types of plays” (Off-Topic: Jazz fans will not forget that quote, we will hold it over your head forever). A player of that ability needs to start and he needs to play the bulk of every game he is a part of. However, as long as Millsap and Jefferson are on the team, Favors will differ to their veteran presence and not demand more. That is just part of his good southern values, something I am sure you know all about. While it is noble for Favors to defer to the veterans in front of him, it is holding back his development long-term. He needs court time and he needs to be given more touches on offense. Until that happens we won’t know if Favors is the next Dwight Howard or the next Emeka Okafor.
Now do not get me wrong, Jazz fans love Millsap. O’Connor stole him in the second round from the same university where we drafted our all time best player, Karl Malone. Furthermore, Jazz fans respect Jefferson. We may not all be so fond of his game, but he is a good guy and gives maximum effort. However, with both of these guys playing their final year in their contracts, there is a good chance that one or both of them walk away next off-season and leave the Jazz without anything to show for it. So please, get on the phone and make some calls. Go get us our future point guard or get us some future draft picks.
#3 Don’t Re-Sign Josh Howard: For the love of all that is holy, do not re-sign Josh Howard. He was terrible last year. Furthermore, his history of knee injuries crept up once again and put him on the sideline for a big chunk of last season. The Jazz have depth at small forward now. Marvin Williams is a serviceable starter. DeMarre Carroll plays with hustle that Jazz fans truly appreciate. Gordon Hayward and Paul Millsap (if you keep him) can all log minutes at small forward. The Jazz are four deep at small forward right now, there is no point adding a fifth.
I understand that one of the modus operandi of the Spurs was investing in veteran reclamation projects. What you guys did with Boris Diaw and Stephen Jackson last year was amazing. You must know however, that if you re-sign Josh Howard, Coach Corbin will play him heavy minutes, all to the detriment of the development of the Core Four. So please repeat with me “I WILL NOT RE-SIGN JOSH HOWARD”. Thank you!
#4 Find and Name a Team Captain: Last season Corbin went the whole year without naming a team captain. I would hazard a guess that Corbin did not think that any of the players on his roster would command the respect as the team leader over the rest of the crew. He may have been right.
As Gandhi once said “…a rudderless ship, [is] bound to break to pieces on coming in contact with the very first rock.” While the Jazz may have bonded together and earned a playoff spot, the lack of leadership played a role in our embarrassing 4-0 first round playoff sweep to the Spurs. It was in the midst of that series that Jefferson, our alleged best player, was quoted as saying that the Spurs were unbeatable. It is times like that that team leadership is needed the most to stay the course and bring everyone back on board.
That being said the Jazz may have their leader this year in Mo Williams. Or perhaps Gordon Hayward takes another step in his development and becomes more assertive in a leadership role. Either option may or may not pan out, but until this team has a confident take charge leader like Stockton and Malone or Duncan, Ginobili and Parker, we will be lucky to escape the first round of the playoffs.
#5 Put on a Smile: Lastly, Jazz fans are excited to have you here. We love your Spurs pedigree. We hate the Spurs organization, but only because they are so good a beating us. It is laudable what the Spurs have accomplished as a small market organization. Jazz fans respect that. We understand that part of what has made the Spurs so successful is the cohesiveness of the organization and their ability to keep their business in house. We understand that as our General Manager you will keep many secrets from us until the very last minute. We are ok with that that is part of your job. However, please at least make us believe that you enjoy your job and all of the duties that come with it, even speaking with the media. Following the Utah Jazz as fans is an outlet for us, a form of entertainment and it should be fun. It is fun! Are you having fun yet?
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