One Movie Line That Could Change History for the Utah Jazz

September 15th, 2013 | by Kyle Hunt

The movie I’m thinking about is definitely one of the most popular sports flicks of all-time, though If you’re like me, you probably haven’t watched it more than once or twice in your entire life. Even if you haven’t seen it, I’m certain you’ve at least heard the most famous line—the line that echoes throughout the story—a line that could set the Utah Jazz on a course for bigger and better things in the future if they heed its underlying message. The line goes like this—“If you build it, he will come.”

The line is simple, somewhat vague, but strikes straight at the heart of anyone who has watched the popular baseball film, Field of Dreams. In the film, a voice repeatedly utters that phrase to Kevin Costner’s character to urge him to build a baseball field so his father, along with the old Chicago White Sox, can have a place to play baseball. At the surface level, it doesn’t seem like this quote could possibly mean anything for a Jazz team that is not even slightly concerned with the world of baseball. However, I’ve determined the repetitive message in Field of Dreams can apply to the Jazz just as well. If I was in fact interpreting this quote for the Utah Jazz today, I would say—If you can continue to build on the talent already present on your roster, eventually you will land a true superstar that can take the franchise to the top. After all, every team needs a superstar to win.

The thought first hit me while I was tuning into SportsCenter the day Dwight Howard fled Los Angeles for Houston. I suddenly realized that every team needs a superstar to win. And not only to win championships—just to make the playoffs year in and year out. You can apply that knowledge to any situation in professional sports, including the situation the Jazz are facing at this very moment. Let’s be honest—the Jazz haven’t consistently won games since the Williams and Boozer era, when they had not one, but two superstar players on their roster.  Looking back at history, can you think of any teams that have come close to a championship without at least one unbelievably talented player with all-star credentials on their roster?

Every team on the list had at least one future Hall of Famer, and in many cases two or three. On the other side, the Jazz have struggled to find their identity after losing Malone, Stockton, Boozer, Williams, and more recently—Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, who left as free agents just a few months ago. That being said, being forced to move on without veterans in the here and now does give the young talent an opportunity to build something special, and hopefully down the road, acquire some better talent. I hear Lebron James becomes an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of next season. You never know. “If you build it, he will come.” Right?

Now comes the point where I might take some flak from hardcore Jazz fans. I’ve dreaded saying this, but I don’t think we have any potential league superstars on the current Jazz roster. Keep in mind this is not the fault of the Jazz front office. They do manage to attract talented players here and there, despite Salt Lake City’s utter lack of appeal in the eyes of the NBA’s elite. But if the franchise really wants to win in the long-term, management eventually needs to bring in something better. Who do the Jazz have on their current roster?

Gordon Hayward—An extremely talented player who still seems to struggle taking over as a leader.

Enes Kanter—Unproven and already dealing with injuries.

Derrick Favors—a defensive juggernaut who has yet to prove much offensively.

Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams—Nearing the tail-end of their careers and will likely contribute close to nothing this season.

Alec Burks—Has potential, but probably not superstar potential.

Trey Burke—Can he really carry a team without a legitimate superstar in the mix?

I know it might be a little early to tell what this young Jazz team can really do, but I think it’s safe to say they’re still missing a few pieces to the puzzle. The best thing the team can do next season is play well enough together to make waves. Once the waves begin, maybe the whole team in unison will hear that soft, muffled voice, “If you build it, he will come.” I’m still not exactly sure who “he” is, but I sure hope it’s someone who can be that superstar to take the team to the next level.

Kyle Hunt

Kyle Hunt

Kyle Hunt is an avid sports fan who follows college and pro basketball extremely close. He is a regular college basketball contributor for the Deseret News and runs his own sports blog in his spare time. During the day Kyle works as a digital marketing analyst, improving the credibility and web presence of more than 25 high-spend clients.
Kyle Hunt

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  1. larry kern says:

    watching kanter last year, i think everybody is underestamating him. give favors more playing time and watch what he does. Jeremy evans never got a real chance to play and look what he did in the summer league where he got that chance. alec burks is good and then there is hayward who can steal the ball, dunk and shoot. bring in ian and see what he can do. I think lucas is a good addition to the team. we will see what will happen.

    • Mark says:

      I agree with developing Jeremy Evans. There is potential in him we have yet to see. HE is more than a dunker.

      • Darren says:

        I love how we fans (I’m guilty of this too from time to time) think we can accurately assess a players talent based on brief observations. If Evans was more than a dunker, the coaches would be the first to see this. This is a guy who couldn’t average double-digits scoring in college and doesn’t have a true defensive position. He can’t guard starting 3’s on the perimeter and any post player who has ever hit a weight room manhandles him in the post. Jeremy Evans is a dunker and a weak side shot blocker. Don’t ask him to be any more than that.

  2. Grant says:

    What injuries is kanter dealing with other than one that wasn’t his fault! Have a huge guy land on your arm and see ifu get Injured. Favors u could make that argument about tho. Kanter will be a superstar I guarantee it

  3. Geezer says:

    As I remember the quote it was “if you build it THEY will come”. Possibly not a superstar, but certainly lots of Jazz fans who will identify with these young promising underdogs, who will likely do a lot better than the most experts anticipate. Looking forward to a GREAT season. You and THEY will be there!

  4. Laura says:

    Boozer was a superstar?

  5. Clint Johnson says:

    I agree with Laura. If we’re defining “superstar” in such a way that both Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer qualify, then I believe we almost certainly do have at least one future superstar on the Jazz. As overall players, I would be surprised if Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are not at least as good as Boozer at his best.

    I think it’s unlikely that any of Burke, Burks, or Hayward become as good as Williams. But I think Hayward might become as good as Boozer, given his very different game playing a different position.

  6. jason says:

    Funny, Boozer a superstar. I miss Paul and Al, but they really weren’t that good. In a year, Kanter will be putting up jeffersons numbers and favors will replace pauls numbers this year. If trey works out along with hayward and we pick the right players in the draft, playoffs are a lot closer than all the haters think.

  7. Dave says:

    I’m a Jazz fan and I agree with everything you said and have been preaching this for years. Unless we get a “real” superstar, the Jazz are destined for mediocrity.
    I can’t even make fun of my wife for being a San Diego Chargers fan anymore because she can just throw the Utah Jazz in my face!

    Its cuts…it cuts real deep.

    I’ve also preached that they needed to get rid of Jerry Sloan if they were ever going to move forward. I got my wish (However I steel feel guilty as wanting the ousting of Sloan and being a Jazz fan is total blasphemy) but they just hired him back anyways as a consultant.

    And Boozer was never a superstar in my mind.

  8. Booo Czar says:

    Boozer WAS a superstar….. in his own mind!

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