Commentary: Utah Jazz G.M. Dennis Lindsey's moves reflect Captain Jack Sparrow's mantra
Expect Jazz brass to turn the keys to Burke (as the Deseret News’ Randy Hollis suggested) for his rookie season and then pursue a Bledsoe or Lowry if Burke doesn’t develop as quickly in his first year as they expect.
If Vegas opinion matters, though, don’t expect that or a re-signing of 2012-13 starter Mo Williams to happen. The sports betting service Bovada has Burke as its preseason leader (4/1) in the Rookie of the Year race. (Perhaps a return of Jamaal Tinsley for veteran leadership from the reserve point guard position the wings and posts will get from Biedrins and Jefferson? Otherwise, Burke may be alone with inexperienced Jerel McNeal, added late last season.)
With among the longest wingspans (7-foot-9) and standing reaches (9-foot-7) in NBA combine history, Gobert has immense potential and will, like Biedrins (a fellow 7-footer), at least provide immense length against Favors and Kanter in practices. They may already provide a greater defensive preparation than Jefferson (a green light on defense) and the 6-foot-8 Millsap.
If anything, the two draft selections probably come recommended from legends who are more trusted than anyone from the organization — those who Lindsey have been quick to credit in assessing the reputation of the Jazz franchise. As the Deseret News’ Doug Robinson wrote, “John Stockton reviewed video of point guards and provided his opinions on the prospects. Jerry Sloan, the former head coach who returned to the team as a consultant, spotted Gobert during pre-draft workouts and reported, ‘The big guy plays hard; you need to look at him.’ ”
It was probably a better look than Millsap could be interpreted to be giving Favors on the EnergySolutions Arena’s artwork this past season, where the veteran forward peered over his shoulder at the third overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft.
Now that perceived present vs. future drama is over, the moves in recent weeks are making that a surety. For all the praise here for Lindsey, it would not be appropriate to not pay credence to another Jazz veteran: Kevin O’Connor. Lindsey told Robinson that O’Connor’s advice proved valuable with Stockton’s and Sloan’s, as the former-general-manager-turned-vice-president provided “key draft information” that indicated Lindsey needed to trade up to nab Burke.
Lindsey says it all figured into key long-term roster development: “We are not skipping steps in rebuild,” he affirms. “We will be patient and have a pain tolerance.”
That’s as honorable as Gibbs, Captain Jack’s own insider whom “Pirates of the Caribbean” writer Terry Rossio has said he considers as the most virtuous character in the series. Like Sparrow does right after asserting the mantra with the quartermaster, Lindsey has chartered a new course — on the uncertain modern NBA seas whose tides of personnel change often shift seemingly at whim (see Dwight Howard). Undoubtedly, following these roster shifts, he’s now hoping for calm waters in coming years in Salt Lake City.
Rhett Wilkinson is a project manager for utahpolicy.com and hails the true-blooded Aggies from Utah. The co-founder of magazine Aggieblueprint.com, he's been an intern for the Deseret News and other publications. firstname.lastname@example.org | @wilklogan
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