I. TEAM REPORT:
|The Utah Jazz come off a disappointing season for the team and the fans. Projected to
take the title, the Jazz underachieved in the playoffs and barely snuck past up-and-coming
Sacramento, and got crushed by a bigger, deeper Portland team. Although they showed in the
regular season that they still had it, compiling a 37-13 record, and tying for 1st place
record in the league. Some say with an 82-game season, and time to weave the newcomer(Todd
Fuller) into the intricate system.
II. POSITION ANALYSIS:
John Stockton, the beloved
veteran point guard of the Jazz had some trouble with the back-to-back games. He still
made All-NBA 3rd team, and showed flashes of brilliance in a few selected games in the
playoffs, and had minor elbow surgery in the offseason. He had an incredible ending in the
4th game in Sacramento, which was do-or-die, where he hit the winning shot. Still an
effective player, he needs to be resigned, as he is a free agent. Howard Eisley played another solid regular
season for the Jazz playing 15-20 minutes per game. Although his Sacramento series was
stellar, his Portland series was disasterous where he seemed to shoot the ball too often,
and turn the ball over consistently. He has one more year left on his current contract. Jacque Vaughn rarely got off the bench, and
unless plays soon or if they trade Eisley does not look to have much playing time or
future with the Jazz, but he is signed for one more year.
Jeff Hornacek, another older
veteran superstar for the Jazz. He was troubled by his knees this year, but still
perservered to have a quality season. He is the master of the tough shot. He is a free
agent this year, and is expected to resign. Shandon Anderson, one of the most important free agents on this squad, came into his own
this year. An impressive post-up guard for the Jazz, he has become an improved shooter and
slasher. He is a definite must-sign for the Jazz, as he was incredible in the playoffs.
Bryon Russell had a breakout
year for the Jazz as well. His three-point shooting has improved greatly to go along with
his tremendous athletic ability. He is definitely a cornerstone for this franchise in the
future as he averaged 13 points on a very balanced scoring squad, the 2nd leading scorer
on the team. There are a few trade rumors involving Bryon, but his contract is wrapped up
for a few more years, don't look for the Jazz to trade away Bryon. Adam Keefe probably had one of his toughest
years as a pro. He fought injuries the whole year, but still contributed a few games which
included double-figure scoring and great "garbage" play. He is a definite role
player, and knows his role, to pick up rebounds, play good defense, and play within
Sloan's system. He is also under contract.
Karl Malone comes off a
productive year, but one of his worst statistically despite winning the MVP award. He was
also on the All NBA 1st team for the 11th straight year, an NBA record. He comes under
much criticizm after his playoff performance, especially in Game 6 of the Portland series
where he went 3 for 16, and didn't seem to want to go to the hole at all. He is a free
agent and is expected to resign. Thurl Bailey, the fan favorite on his second stint with the team. He was productive
for the Jazz in a role situation, but at the age of 38, and not in great physical shape,
he will probably retire.
Greg Ostertag had another
somewhat disappointing season. The most frustrating thing for Jazz fans, players, and
coaches was the flashes of brilliance he showed during this year, and the large salary he
carries. This salary is over 5 years as well, so the Jazz better become patient, or trade
him. Todd Fuller, came over in a
trade with the Warriors, and he was a good player, and definitely worth a 2nd round pick.
Having never been in the system, and not having time to practice with the team, or have
the benefit of training camp he looked lost often, but was a productive player. He is a
free agent and will probably resign. Greg Foster, probably had his worst year with the Jazz. His only weapon his outside
shot was awful and is not a quality big man in the league. He is a free agent, and even by
his own admission will not resign with the Jazz.
III. TEAM NEEDS:
- A post player to backup Karl who would likely be able to
backup at both the "4" and the "5" position.
- A perimeter shooter, who was athletic to fill in at the
"2" and "3" spots.
- A combo forward who would add athletic ability and
IV. PAST DRAFTING EXPERIENCE:
|The Utah Jazz have had mixed success in the draft. Their
player personnel man, Scott Layden, is one of the best. The Jazz have selected such gems as John Stockton with the 16th pick, Karl Malone with the 14th pick, Mark Eaton in the 3rd round, Shandon Anderson with the 54th pick, Bryon Russell with the 45th pick, Isaac Austin in the 2nd round, and as hard as
it hurts for Jazz fans, Greg Ostertag with the 28th pick was a steal for that late in the draft.
But they have had their downfalls in the draft. Luther ("Wrong") Wright was a bomb,
as he had psychological problems. Jose Ortiz was awful. Eric Murdock and "Blue" Edwards never really contributed in a Jazz uniform. These are all 1st round
selections which did not pay off for the Jazz.
V. MY PICK
|I have selected "The Alaskan Assassin", 6'
3", 200 pound shooting guard Trajan Langdon. An
incredible shooter, and good team player he would fit in well with the Jazz system. He has
played on winning teams with Duke, and wouldn't have too much trouble adjusting to Utah
because he grew up in Alaska.
selecting Langdon: Incredible shooting, good head for game, fills a perimeter shooting
need for Jazz, all top big guys in draft(i.e., Weis, Radojevic, McCullough, Booth, and
Eschmeyer) are gone, and my counterpart Kevin took Tim James so it wouldn't be real smart
to draft another forward.
VI. OTHERS CONSIDERED:
|This section will include the players I passed over, and
Glover: A good all-around player, but wouldn't play in
summer, questionable work ethic, and not often do the Jazz select underclassmen.
Lee Nailon: His character is in question, and also already selecting Tim James, took
him out of the running.
Kenny Thomas: He has to be one of the laziest players in basketball. Jerry Sloan would
Scott Padgett: Good shooter, but Tim James and he are quite identical.
Jamaal Magloire: If they wanted a Kentucky center who couldn't score they wouldn't have
traded Nazr Mohammed.
VII. OFF-SEASON MOVES:
|Obviously signing free-agents is a priority. Foster and Bailey will not be resigned, most likely. Malone, Anderson, Stockton, and Hornacek are the priorities. Todd Fuller will be re-evaluated, and most likely resigned.
Free Agents who might be considered by the Jazz.
Eric Piatkowski, Scott Burrell, Malik Sealy, Jon Barry,
Mark Bryant, Michael Stewart, Malik Rose, Scot Pollard. All
these players could only be signed under the 2 million dollar exception.
Some possible trades are likely considering the Jazz will
probably not keep 3 picks with guranteed money on their roster. Trades could including
trading up to get Andre
Miller, Elton Brand, James Posey, or Alex
These would have to include picks and either Russell or Eisley, and an sign and trade with Anderson. These are somewhat unlikely. The Jazz will probably just trade these
picks for 2nd rounders, pick a foreign player, or trade for future picks.