One of the greatest stories in the NBA this past season no doubt has to the success of the Utah Jazz. After losing Gordon Hayward to free agency las summer, and being under .500 mid-way through the season, coach Quin Snyder’s team still found a way to not just make the playoffs, but advance to the semi-finals.
With free-agency period right around the corner in the NBA, even though big names probably won’t consider the Jazz, they should probably think again.
Utah is a young and growing team. Nothing was more obvious of that than to see the rise of rookie Donovan Mitchell this past year. Rookie of the Year candidate out of Louisville, this guard took the NBA by storm, and is already a star in Salt Lake City.
Though its not just Mitchell whose young talent is being used to perfection. Royce O’Neale, an undrafted free agent helped Utah especially in the playoffs, averaging 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds during the Jazz’s post-season run.
Mitchell, O’Neale, along with other young talent, its obvious that Utah’s success is here to stay.
Also, the Jazz have been able to transform veterans careers.
Look at Ricky Rubio, who came over to the Jazz last summer. Though he started off the season a bit rocky, the point-guard managed to fit Snyder’s system like a glove. Most fans just knew him for his fancy passing, but Rubio drastically improved his game, and he’ll tell you himself that it was the best season of his career.
Jae Crowder is another player who saw his game change with Utah. Acquired mid-season from the Cavaliers, Crowder’s defense and three-point shooting helped Utah make a late season push.
Rudy Gobert, a product of the D-League, has now emerged as a premier defender in the NBA, and will stay in Utah for the foreseeable future.
Also, Utah and Salt Lake City is incredible. They don’t have the crazy and unbearable media markets of New York and L.A. (cough cough Paul George) and the fan base is the best in the NBA, trust me on that one.
Players like Kevin Love, and especially Paul George could benefit from the Jazz. Its obvious that Love isn’t working in Cleveland, and George just doesn’t fit in Oklahoma City, so why not consider Utah?
George in particular, why not join the team that knocked his Thunder out of the playoffs just a few weeks ago? Playing alongside Mitchell, the two would create a duo that would benefit Utah’s offense in a variety of ways.
Jazz, without the offensive threat of George managed to win 48 games, knock out the “big-3” of OKC, and were one win away from grabbing the 3rd seed in the crazy-talented Western Conference.
Now, what could that team accomplish with one more piece to the puzzle? I’m not saying they’re going to end Golden State’s dynasty, or dismantle the Rockets, but its clear that the Jazz are here to stay around for a while.