Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Foundation: Utah Jazz

The 2013-2014 NBA season is now over for the Utah Jazz, and if you are completely honest with yourself, its exactly what was expected.  The Jazz went 25-57.  If I remember right that is exactly where Vegas had them.  There were ups and downs, Missing Trey for the first 14 games of the season really put the team in a hole and stunted the growth as a team and for players individually.  But its basketball and those are the breaks.  The Jazz had other significant injuries to the likes of Derrick Favors, Marvin Williams, Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans.  Missing any of those players on a team that has very little depth can be costly. The Jazz battled all season and we were able to see some tremendous growth.  I was quite pleased with the offensive strides of both Derrick and Jeremy.  Alec Burks was unbelievable all season and became one of the leagues more valuable 6th men.  Lastly, Trey Burkes progression as team leader and point guard.  The Development was slow and methodical, but it was clear the last 15 games of the season that the game was slowing down for him.  His vision was better, and he saw more opportunities not only for himself but also for his teammates.  Most importantly, he learned how to push the basketball and to be agressive.  This dynamic makes this young team so much better, as they are long and very athletic, giving them a chance to use those talents and make early, easy buckets.

Now on to the offseason....

With so many questions on the horizon, its clear the Jazz need to develop a "foundation"  It was pretty clear when Dennis Lindsay took over the majority of the duties last summer what that foundation would be, Defense.  The words came from the horses mouth. he wants an upper echelon defensive team.  He does not want a middle of the pack, adequate, defensive team.  He sees this as a key to building a contender and let his actions speak that by locking up arugably the Jazz best defender and defensive "corner stone", Derrick Favors, to a 4yr contract extention.
  But no stucture is complete with just a corner stone.  As is the Story with the Utah Jazz.  This summer the Jazz will be tasked with finding and developing those additional materials need to complete the structure that Dennis Lindsay has laid out before them.  I believe that starts with defensive schemes or concepts.  Now whether dennis is going to leave that up to the coaching staff or if he is going to use his powers of persuasion to assert a system is yet to be seen.  I believe that is of the utmost importantance this summer for the Jazz to find that concept.  In doing so, I believe there is a great deal of research that needs to be done to determine what concepts or schemes would be best suited for the players that are currently on this roster and are likely to be here for some time.  I believe the Jazz will go this route as opposed to finding the concept and then bringing in players to fit that concept, simply because at this point the Jazz do not have an identity as a defense and it is much easier to work with the pieces that you have as opposed to trying to secure new pieces for your scheme or concept. 

  Over the next couple of weeks I am going to try to "walk Through it" as a front office might.  The next segment in this small series will consist of some of that research in to the pieces that the Jazz currently have, some of their strengths, and unfortunately, their glaring weaknesses. 

  So stay tuned Jazz fans. this is going to be one of the most entertaining offseasons in Jazz History!

(P.S. The top 3 sounds really nice!)

Need good Karma, GO Jazz!

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