Utah Sports Ruckus: The future of the Jazz rests on Larry Krystkowiak, Eric Murdock and the No. 14
That feat is to become head coach of the Utah Jazz and build up a championship culture, championship toughness, championship character and a championship roster.
Then, fate will free the land and allow Krystko to lead the Jazz to the promised land.
If you find it hard to believe in curses, consider this about the No. 14:
Krystkowiak retired from the NBA in 1997, 14 years before he was hired at Utah.
Guess what Eric Murdock’s jersey number was with the Utah Jazz? Wait for it ... No. 14.
The birthday shared by Murdock and the boy whose tears begat the curse was June 14.
The boy shed 14 tears under the birch tree the day his true sports love was traded.
The boy was 14 years old before he forgave the Jazz and cheered for them again.
The year right now is 20 14.
Doubt the curse at your own risk, if you will, but you can’t doubt this: In light of the curse the Jazz’s present coaching situation actually makes sense.
It turns out the head coaching job in Utah was never Corbin’s to lose after all. And even if it had been, Corbin has accomplished nothing to warrant increased faith in him to lead the Jazz to an NBA championship.
The good news for the Jazz is that Krystko is just down the road, on “The Hill,” being unknowingly prepared to fulfill his true destiny beginning this offseason.
In the movie "The Sandlot," Benny had a dream in which "the Sultan of Swat," Babe Ruth, told him that in life “everybody gets one chance to do something great.” For Benny, this was to hop the fence and steal a baseball signed by The Babe from the Herculean dog known as "The Beast."
For Krystko, his fence, baseball and beast are just a few weeks away.
The Jazz franchise has some decent pieces in place with a potential starting five of nothing but young lottery picks. This season, frankly, they were ineffective. As the core of the team they found few wins and few positives in a season largely wasted.
The new players the Jazz end up with on the roster after the upcoming NBA Draft, whether through trades or draft selections, will determine whether this season for the Jazz was merely a failure or a horrible failure.
On the court the Jazz accomplished close to nothing this season. If anything they lost confidence in themselves. Their defense, as a whole, was nothing short of unprofessional and disappointing. Defense, remember, was what Jazz management promised would become the foundation of this team this season, even if and when they struggled.
Grade on establishing a defensive identity and culture this season: F.
But this is where Krystkowiak comes in and makes things right with the effort, strategy, culture, roster and with the stars of fate and destiny on his side.
In the upcoming draft, Krystko should enjoy not only a top five pick, but also an additional first-round pick from Golden State.
By combination of playoff seeding, trading and fate, the Jazz will end up with pick No. 14.
Sometime later, that player selected by Krystko with pick No. 14 will make the winning shot in the clinching victory of the NBA Finals, and the Utah Jazz and its long-suffering fans will finally experience a view from the mountain top.
At 6:14 the following morning, I will pull out my old Murdock rookie card, return to lie underneath the birch tree in my old front yard with my dog, Murdock; And if the new homeowners don’t call the police first, I will shed 14 more tears — this time in happiness.
It’s all riding on Krystko.
Nate Gagon is a published sports, music, and creative writer. He is also a wholehearted father, grateful husband and ardent student of life. He shoots roughly 94% from the free throw line and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or @nategagon.
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