Utah Jazz: Plan's playing out, but plenty of questions heading into offseason
The exciting part about that for him is that the Jazz are going to have the opportunity to add another highly regarded young player to the mix through the draft. Utah is currently positioned fourth heading into the May 20 lottery. Best-case scenario, the Jazz will win the big prize and pick first — or maybe second or third. Worst-case, Utah will get leapfrogged by one to three teams and end somewhere between fifth and seventh in the draft. This is the year when any of those spots could yield a franchise-type player.
The Jazz also have the 23rd pick in the first round and the fifth selection in the second round, giving them three of the top 35 players in a supposedly loaded talent pool.
“We’re in very good position with our own picks,” Lindsey said. “ A lot has been talked about the draft, and the draft is just one piece of what we want to do. (There are) a lot of internal questions that we’re getting to right now: Do we take all three of the very good draft picks in this strong draft and go get our vet and speed up the timeline? Or do we just add another really good young piece to an already young base and slow growth it?”
The Jazz didn’t have a lot of wins this past season.
But they sure have a lot of options this offseason.
A lot of questions, too.
Will they re-sign Tyrone Corbin to be the head coach after his three-plus season tenure? Or go a different direction and get a Lindsey-picked bench boss?
Will they come to an agreement with restricted free agent Hayward? Or maybe allow Burks to play shooting guard and add a potential star like Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins or Dante Exum in his place?
Did the Jazz see enough to continue down the path with the so-called “Foundation Five” — Hayward, Favors, Kanter, Burks and Burke — who all played 2,100-plus minutes but surprisingly only 123 minutes on the court together the entire season? Or will they be dangled out there for potential trades?
Should the Jazz offer contract extensions to Kanter and Burks, who showed flaws but had moments when they flourished in their third seasons? Or let their contract situation play out another year?
Did Favors, Hayward and Burke show enough leadership potential and enough firepower to be considered a true go-to guy on a team that only averaged 95 points? Or does Utah need one or two more high-load scorers to carry the offensive burden? And how will they get that league-worst defense to improve?
Can Rudy Gobert find a more consistent role his sophomore season after his 7-foot-1 frame spent most of his rookie campaign on the bench? How about the athletic Jeremy Evans and fringe players with non-guaranteed contracts like Diante Garrett, Ian Clark, Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy, can they find a niche?
And, with the amount of salary-cap space the Jazz have (only $32 million accounted for now with non-guaranteed guys), could the team attract a game-changing, max-contract-type free agent to "speed up the timeline," as Lindsey mentioned?
While questions are flying, who should the Jazz pick come June 26?
Lindsey, who spoke to media for 42 minutes about these topics and more Thursday, doesn’t know all of the answers yet. But he’s looking forward to working toward a solution for these questions and more during what promises to be a busy and intriguing period before training camp for the 2014-15 season opens next October.
“I’m really excited about the offseason,” Lindsey said, “but I’m also excited about what we currently have and our ability to move that forward.”
Which brings up the biggest question: When will the Jazz win again?
“We’ll see. We’ll see,” Corbin said when asked if Utah will return to its tradition of winning sooner than later. “It’s a good group of guys. They have great character. They have a chance to be pretty good if they continue to work together.”
Burke and Favors both said they want to get to the playoffs again this time next year.
“That’s the goal,” Burke said.
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