Who Will the JAZZ Draft? No Clue. But Here’s Who They SHOULD Draft….

 
 
ESPN’s John Hollinger recently named the Utah Jazz as the 7th Greatest NBA Franchise of all time. They found themselves in the mix with Jordan’s Bulls, Russell and Bird’s Celtics, and the much-hated Lakers.

This year? They were NBA’s 12th worst.

Many fans are wondering/worrying/speculating about what our team will look like heading into next year, and some fans as well as “experts” are claiming that we may be in for a long and painful rebuilding process. The type of rebuilding process that an entire generation of Jazz fans (including myself) has never endured.

How long do I think it will take us to rebuild?

Let’s put it this way: One year from today, I see the Energy Solutions Arena rocking, packed with rabid Jazz fans celebrating a team playing 4 of 7 at home! Yes, that’s right, the Utah Jazz WILL be a top four team in the Western Conference at the end of next season. Believe that!

Why the optimism on my part? Let me paint a picture for you. A beautiful, legitimate picture.

Money

In 2010-2011, the Jazz payroll was roughly $74 million (wow, that hurts just to say.) Coming into this year, the Jazz are looking at a meager $51 million and change. That leaves a $20 million gap to be used wisely during the draft, free agency and trades. $20 million. As I’m about to show you, that’s MORE than enough to fortify our team into a serious playoff contender.

Draft

If the Jazz sit where they are currently slated, they will have the #6 and #12 picks in this year’s draft. You already know that. Who will the Jazz pick? The numerous draft boards indicate that the Jazz will be in the mix for the following players at #6 (Kemba, Brandon Knight, Bismark, and Terrence Jones) and the following at #12 (Alec Burks, Kawhi Leonard, and Jordan Hamilton.) I would be THRILLED with at least two of each of those choices. The remaining, not so much. You’ll find out which picks I’m high on in just a moment.

Players

Right now the Jazz have Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Paul Millsap, Gordon Hayward, Memo Okur, Raja Bell, and Jeremy Evans under contract for the upcoming season. Add in CJ Miles (whose team option would bring us up to about $55 million, ) and that is nine players, the same number we had when we beat the Lakers in the season’s closing week. While this roster may not strike fear into your hearts at first glance, these players represented 92.5 ppg, 37 rpg, and 4 bpg this past season. Those are pretty strong numbers for a lineup consisting of only 9 players. If you factor in how much more productive Favors, Gordon, and Jeremy could be with a season under their belt (as well as a healthy Memo,) the numbers begin to look even better….

Now for the REAL beauty. Introducing your 2011-2012 Utaaaaaahhhh Jaaaaaazzzzzzzzzz:
(If you didn’t hear the ESA announcer’s voice in your head, you missed it)

Possible Lineup #1

Center: Al Jefferson, Memo Okur
Power Forward: Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap, Jeremy Evans
Small Forward:  Andrei Kirilenko, Terrence Jones (R) or Kawhi Leonard (R)
Shooting Guard: Gordon Hayward, CJ Miles, Raja Bell
Point Guard: Devin Harris, Brandon Knight (R) (yeah, that’s right, TWO separate videos. And I didn’t even include the stone cold McDonald’s All-American game winner)

Projected Cost: $66 million

Possible Lineup #2

Center: Al Jefferson, Memo Okur
Power Forward: Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap, (Jeremy Evans)
Small Forward: Gordon Hayward, Andrei Kirilenko, (Jeremy Evans)
Shooting Guard: CJ Miles, Alec Burks (R), Raja Bell
Point Guard: Devin Harris, Kemba Walker (R)

Projected Cost: $66 million

Each of the above lineups gives us 12 players; 5 guards, 2-3 wings, and 4-5 bigs. Add in an additional free agent big from this list (Josh Powell, Louis Amundsen, Kurt Thomas, Leon Powe, DJ Mbenga) and a free agent backup wing (Rasual Butler, Brian Scalabrine, Josh Howard) and/or replace AK (you’ll notice I have the Jazz re-signing him for around $5 million) with a player like Shane Battier and we have a full 14-man roster that should make you absolutely salivate!!

Is this scenario too good to be true? Heck no!! Imagine a healthy Okur, Millsap, Kirilenko, Terrence/CJ, and B. Knight/Kemba as our second unit! I’m talking guys within our budget and within our draft range. I’m talking wing defenders. I’m talking wing SCORERS. I’m talking size on our front line, shooting in both units, and a young, athletic group of talented players that knows about winning.

If you aren’t absolutely freaking out right now, you need help. Don’t you remember how winning FEELS?? It feels like this (come back when you’re done.)

If you’re seeing what I’m seeing in the lineups above, then you know that the Jazz are headed for one HECK of a future.

And the future is now.

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  1. #1 by kelly (Dignan) on April 24, 2011 - 11:32 pm

    I really like line up 1! I am huge on T. Jones! He is a tean guy, taking on a PF role at UK when he could of shown his elevation as one of the nations top wings.
    Big on Leonard too. Feel like he is a little slower, and less of a leader but still can be an “everything” SF.
    B. Knight in my opinion may end up being the best PG in the draft… I know, Irving. Long shot, but Knight might just be the bees knees of the 2011 group.
    good stuff here.

  2. #2 by JWinski on April 24, 2011 - 11:43 pm

    Hey thanks, I mean if we could get that first lineup, man we’d be on a GREAT track. I’m really hoping we can get Knight and Jones, but I would still be happy with Kawhi if Jones was snatched up. Now, if the point guards are gone BEFORE the 6th pick (or wherever we have our first pick) I’ll be SUPER sad, because that means that while we may get some European whom I’m not sold on (unless it’s Kanter, that wouldn’t be so bad…) then play the SF lottery at #12. Sigh. We’ll see. Thanks for the comment!

  3. #3 by Jared on April 25, 2011 - 11:45 am

    I think that SF is the real hole in the Jazz lineup. Gordon Hayward seems to be much more comfortable at the two, and did a great job there the last couple of games. I hope that we don’t re-sign AK. but that leaves us CJ and whoever we can draft. I am not high on Terrance Jones. We need a shooter at the SF, and anyone who can’t hit 35% from 3 in college isn’t going to be much of a deep threat in the NBA. His FT percentage isn’t good either, which tells me he is athletic with no shot. IMHO, we don’t need another Ronnie Brewer that defenders can help off of. Kawhi Leonard is another SF I wouldn’t touch. Yeah, he has an NBA body, but he can’t make shots. I would love to trade up and get Derrik Williams.

    • #4 by JWinski on April 25, 2011 - 12:31 pm

      I don’t have any problem with Derrick Williams, I’m just worried what we would have to lose to get him…and would it be worth it to lose what we would lose in order to gain one guy.

  4. #5 by Lance on April 25, 2011 - 4:03 pm

    Now imagine a world where the ping pong balls are friendly and the impossible (0.0567% chance) happens. The Jazz land the first and second overall picks.

    Center: Al Jefferson, Memo Okur
    Power Forward: Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap, Jeremy Evans
    Small Forward: Derrick Williams (R), Andrei Kirilenko
    Shooting Guard: Gordon Hayward, CJ Miles, Raja Bell
    Point Guard: Devin Harris, Kyrie Irving (R)

    I will wet myself if this happens.

    • #6 by JWinski on April 25, 2011 - 6:26 pm

      I think I just shed a tear. That would be so beautiful….Jazz Nation would rejoice as one!!

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