It’s almost time to stop speculating and start getting some answers about this Jazz team. Media day has come and gone, the yearly scrimmage is tomorrow, and by early next week preseason games will have tipped off.
This may go down as one of the most pivotal summers in franchise history. It signaled a changing of the guard, a new direction. So it seems worthwhile to recap the top moments of the Summer of Jazz.
10. Heat winning championship
This may not seem very Jazz related at first glance, or any glance for that matter. But as long as Lebron is in the league, it will impact every other team. He has a Jordan-like hold on the championship department right now. And we might, unfortunately, be in the middle of his reign. Until that ends, the Jazz and every other NBA team have a very uphill battle.
9. New Jumbotron
When you upgrade to the most state-of-the-art video boards in the league, it deserves to make the list. Even if it’s at number nine.
8. Gordon and Derrick impress in Vegas
All the best young talent in the league gathered together for the Team USA minicamp in July. Two of the names that kept popping up were the Jazz’s very own Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward. Very promising for the two all-but-official leaders of this young team.
7. Underwhelming summer league
Trey Burke was lauded as the best overall player in college and the top PG in the draft. Many were even locking him in as the sure-fire ROY. As a result, the entire Jazz organization and fan base had some pretty lofty expectations for their newly drafted point guard. The results, however, were anything but promising. Luckily for the Jazz, no career is ever decided by a few summer league games.
6. Young guys working with old guys
This was by far the most entertaining of any of the storylines this summer. Big Turk hit the great outdoors with the Mailman, and the Burke/Burks name twins headed to the northwest to work with another Jazz legend. You wouldn’t know who from Trey Burke’s Instagram feed, however, since said legend asked him to remove a photo idicating he had arrived in Spokane. Either way, it’s a good sign that the young talent for the Jazz is eager enough to seek guidance from their elders, and that the elders are more than willing to lend a hand.
5. Malone hired as big man coach
Apparently Karl and Greg Miller have buried the hatchet. And although no one is exactly sure how much of a role he will play as an actual coach for this team, the work ethic of this Hall-of-Famer will hopefully rub off.
4. Golden State trade
No single move this summer made the official youth movement more evident than this trade. Not knocking Brandon Rush, Richard Jefferson or Andres Biedrins, but this was the nail in the coffin for any big moves in free agency. The Jazz front office made their intentions for this team obvious. For the first time in a long while, the Jazz were in full rebuild mode, something the fan base was enthusiastically ready to accept.
3. Jefferson AND Millsap walk
For over a year, people wondered how this logjam in the front court would shake out on the Jazz roster. Would they keep both Al and Paul? Would they sign one and not the other? If so, who stays? Who goes? We soon found out after free agency began. It’s hard to consider the offseason a “success” when your two best players walk away, but this winning the summer wasn’t the goal. Letting both the veterans sign elsewhere was about the future. But only big enough to reach number three on this list. Best of luck to both on their respective teams. Especially Millsap, who will always be the Subway Sub of the Game in my heart.
2. Sloan double dips
The best part about this story isn’t that Jerry Sloan rejoined the Jazz staff, it’s that he DIDN’T join another team. Similar to Malone’s role, I’m not sure how much direct impact Sloan will have as Senior Basketball Advisor, But I am sure of one thing—it would have hurt deep in my heart to watch him coach on another sideline. So welcome back, Jerry! Here’s to retiring where you belong. And enough for number two on the Summer of Jazz.
1. Drafting Trey Burke
This year’s draft is still a bit of a mystery to me. But Dennis Lindsey pulled off some wizard-like moves to land Trey Burke. I mean, that was Hogwarts level stuff right there. And to still land Neto and Gobert? Well played, sir. Even after a lackluster debut in Summer League (see #7), Burke still seems like a favorite to win the ROY. Utah likes its point guards, and everything seems like a good fit. With four other young lottery picks alongside, a PG was all the Jazz needed. So don’t make me regret putting you ahead of Sloan, Trey. I really don’t like eating my words.
Jeff Hornacek hired by Phoenix
Let’s hope this doesn’t come back to bite us somehow. Best of luck to Horny though. Classy guy.
KOC stepping down/side/left/right into advisory role
Whatever it was, I’ll always remember the twitter exchanges that took place.