As Jazz fans, we’re not used to having this much time off in the offseason. For more than a decade, we were used to going well into the postseason, almost always into May, and often into June. But in the last several years, we’ve been experiencing something a little different than we ever had before: more free time. I wouldn’t say we’ve gotten used to it, necessarily, though at times it feels like we’ve resigned ourselves a bit to this fate. Theoretically, by this point we should have some sort of a system down for handling this many months in between missing the playoffs and training camp, right?
I guess, for one thing, we never cared all that much about the draft in previous years, because picks 18-26 were never going to move the needle that much, so we’d pay attention to the draft on draft night, but never during the draft lottery. Even on draft night, I would pay just enough attention to know our first and second-round pick, but really only paying attention to the second-round pick because that one seemed to stick better (Paul Millsap, anyone?) and it’d help to know a couple of the new names who were going to be on the team.
But this offseason has been very different. We had the potential for a top-3 pick in a four-deep draft and ended up with the fifth pick. Our coach was told he wasn’t going to be re-signed. We finally got the Golden State pick and we know where it is. Our #1 option from last year, Gordon Hayward, is a restricted free agent and we’ll see how much other teams value (overvalue?) him.
So, how have we spent our time in the offseason so far?
- Coveting players from still-in-contention teams? Seeing which players we thought we wanted, but maybe don’t anymore? (Lance Stephenson? Paul George?)
- Coveting coaches and systems from still-in-contention teams? Like Gregg Popovich. How do they DO this every year, running an offense with such precision, even as two of their big three—Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan—are in the twilight of their careers. With the remaining four teams, we’re seeing the importance of a superstar, and we’re seeing the importance of defense, passing, three-point shooting, and having a(t least one) superstar.
- How many times did you play Chad Ford’s mock lotto? An unhealthy number of times, hoping that if you got a Top 3 pick, it was going to portend good things for the Jazz? Le sigh. (Seriously, I’d like to know who wins for playing the mock lotto the most. How many times did you play? Anyone willing to fess up?)
- Paying an inordinate amount of attention to every coaching rumor you can find? Or asking questions like, “How is Messina’s team doing?” We can always count on Dan Clayton to provide us with timely updates there. Or, “Okay, the Spurs are still in this thing, so management isn’t talking to Boylen, right?” RIGHT?
- Paying attention to draft workouts like nobody’s business? Did Dante Exum say anything about wanting to play for LA this week? How’s Embiid’s back? Did Jabari look more toned in recent workouts? Twitter creates a place where whatever’s going on gets amplified times 10. Maybe even 100.
- Paying attention to rumors with the Cavs, Bucks, 76ers, and Magic? Who do they have on their team? Who are they wanting? Who would they want in a trade? Do we have anybody they’d want—packaged with #5—for their pick?
- I’ve seen quite a few rumors floating around offering all three of our picks, plus Derrick Favors and Alec Burks, and the Warriors pick in 2017 for a chance to move up to #2 or #3. That seems like an awful lot to me, and the thought of giving up Burks right as he’s scratching the surface of his potential—possessing such a unique skill set—is painful for me to even think about.
- Have you been watching the coaching carousel, seeing who’s hopped on and who’s been picked off by teams? Stan Van Gundy went very quickly, as did Steve Kerr. Otherwise, not too many dominos have fallen yet, though the drama in Memphis has my head spinning.
- What about Gordon Hayward’s contract situation? Will he get a max offer sheet from another team? Doubtful. Will he get a big contract from another team? Very possible. Will the Jazz match? Also very possible.
- So . . . how are we going to fill out time between now and the draft? Between the beginning of July when free agent signings and trades start happening, and then training camp?
- Watching old John Stockton videos?
- Watching Twitter, hoping that Enes reverts back to his early-career epicness?
- Scour Instagram for more details on Hayward’s wedding and married life?
- Maybe you’re finding every article you can on Dante Exum and finding that, someway, somehow, he ends up at #5?
- Are you counting down the days until the Las Vegas Summer League?
All right, Jazz fans. How have you been filling all this time in the offseason within Jazzdom? And how are you going to fill it between now and the draft? The draft and free agency? Free agency and training camp? (That’s when it gets really slow.)
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