The dust from free agency has almost settled. Bobcats are now Hornets. And Hornets, Pelicans. If there is one constant in the NBA landscape right now, it’s change.
The Jazz took Adidas’ advice. They are all in: All in for youth. All in for the future. All in for…well…I guess we’ll see.
It’s everything Jazz fans have been clamoring for since the days of limbo between Jerry’s retirement and D-Will’s departure back in 2011. For nearly two and a half seasons, the youth movement has been knocking at the Jazz’s door. Quite loudly, for that matter.
It was only a matter of time, right? The Jazz front office couldn’t hold out much longer. Not with the amount of athletic potential festering on their roster. Nor with the rumblings of disapproval from the fan base.
Needless to say, this off-season has been an exciting one. But with every ounce of excitement, comes a liter of fear.
First, by drafting Trey Burke, Jazz execs signaled that Mo Williams wasn’t the point guard for the revolution (No small secret). Then, Big Al started contract negotiations with Charlotte. Millsap and Carroll went on to form yet another “Jazz East” squad. And suddenly, the crutch this franchise was leaning on was yanked out from under it. Like the first time you removed training wheels from your bike.
At this point, it’s sink or swim. That can be a scary thought.
No Jazz fan, if given the option, would elect to remain as a middle-of-the-road Western Conference team, battling for the last seed in the playoffs. There’s no glory in that.
The obvious hope is that the young talent develop into stars in this league, and return the franchise to prominence. That’s what everyone has been talking about. But what if it doesn’t happen?
What if Favors never fully reaches his supposed potential? What if the appeal of big city lights lures Kanter away? Or Hayward gets home sick for his Hoosier state?
By no means am I suggesting any of these will happen. I simply think it’s worth noting the risk. It is a testament to the organization that they have stayed afloat for so long without ever becoming one of the bottom dwellers in this league. Separating themselves from the lottery all-stars like a Charlotte or Washington.
And as much as the whole thing scares me, I also recognize the necessity of it all. I, for one, am ready for the gamble. More than anything, going young should erase any and all doubt that the Jazz aren’t trying to win a championship. It just won’t happen this year.
The only way to win big is to bet big first.
The Jazz are all in. Are you?