When it comes to Utah professional sports, the popular word around town seems to be patience rather than win. Unlike some fans in Utah, I don’t think patience is a bad thing.
It seems as though the win-now mentality train has left the Union Station, bound for places like Miami, Brooklyn, L.A. and Houston.
This idea has caused teams to go crazy, overloading their financial books to build what they consider to be a championship team. There are many issues with this, but it comes down to the idea of long-term loss, short-term gain.
There is no guarantee in winning a championship, and with other teams following suit, this makes the risk extremely high. Many teams are following the idea of the Miami Heat, which has worked out great for them, but in five years, where will these teams be?
Unfortunately for Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Houston and other teams in the NBA, this will result in strapped books and old player contracts they cannot unload. Their investment, if it does not turn a championship, will be considered a failure.
I know that patience is hard, but let’s look at the Jazz from a standpoint of starpower. ESPN analysts agree that Derrick Favors could be a lot like Dwight Howard.
Players like Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter also have plenty of intrigue, according to analysts. Each of these players have unique abilities.
Trey Burke (point guard)
This rookie was drafted by the Utah Jazz, who traded two first-round draft picks to Minnesota to get him. According to NBAdraft.net, he is a point guard with “a natural killer instinct. He is a clutch performer. And can take club on his back. He has a great ability to score, run the team, and make plays for others. He is also tremendous in pick-and-roll situations.”
Alec Burks (shooting guard)
Alec Burks is well known for his ability to get to the basket. He is extremely quick. He can end up leaving his man, or leaving the defense to foul him. His shot has improved since he first came into the league in 2012. Burks is an advanced ball-hander who uses his athleticism and feel to finish in the paint. He has a rhythmic bounce to his step that allows him to pull up off the hesitation dribble. He is very versatile. He can play both slasher off the ball or a combo guard with the ball. This can make him very tough to defend.
Gordon Hayward (small forward)
Gordon Hayward is quick, and very athletic. If the ball is in his hands, there must be a defender on him at all times. He is physical, which makes him dangerous if he drives to the basket. He has a great jump shot that makes him dangerous behind the 3-point line. Gordon is also an excellent defender. Kobe Bryant was quoted saying, “This kid is tough.” He is what coaches in the NBA call a triple threat. When he is on the floor, it means that defenses have to stretch and double-team him. This wears defenses thin, which allows for other players to score. His assist percentage has doubled since he came into the league. He has developed a great ability to distribute the ball.
Derrick Favors (power forward)
When Derrick Favors was traded from Brooklyn, many fans became excited. He is a physical defensive player. Derrick is becoming famous for his ability to block shots. He is quick and strong. He can, oftentimes, push his man out of the shooting spot.
This makes it tough for defenders to score down low. His offensive game is starting to develop. He trained with Karl Malone this summer. When you watch him, you can see the jump shot starting to form. This will make the front court of the Utah Jazz extremely tough to defend, and extremely tough to score against.
Enes Kanter (center)
Kanter is a lot like Favors. He is strong, physical and athletic. He pushes lesser defenders out of his way to score. At 6 feet, 11 inches, 250 pounds, he is extremely hard to defend. He can shoot from more than 15 feet, and this makes him extremely lethal. He can also play with his back to the basket. This means that his offensive game, as it develops, will become vital. Most offenses in the NBA work from outside the key into the basket. This makes the Utah Jazz unique because they can work the opposite direction, which leaves a subpar defense like Miami confused and broken. Kanter is also an above-average defender. He has an enormous ability to rebound the ball because he can flat-out jump.
These are your starting five for the Utah Jazz this season. I, for one, am excited as I see these players develop. I am excited to leave the station of mediocrity, and come on the large city of playoff and championship contenders. Let’s go, Jazz.