The rebuilding process for Utah is taking its course for a team that was one of the best in the Western Conference a few years ago. High draft picks have been used (ninth in 2010, two top-14 in 2011), and the team is far from the Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer era. Despite another losing season, the Utah Jazz have an interesting young care that they will lead into the future. Led by Gordon Hayward, who is entering restricted free agency, and expected to be re-signed, the Jazz also have a tandem of big men in Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors. Trey Burke, their 2013 NBA Draft pick (ninth overall), acquired via trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, was able to start 68 games this season. With experience and NBA minutes, maturation can emerge from the struggles.
Finishing the year at 25-57, the Jazz have a 10.3 percent chance at the top pick in the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft. Assuming that the Jazz are comfortable with their front line going forward, the team should focus on pairing another dynamic guard/forward. The top two prospects on the wing are recent draft entries Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Each offer a team athleticism, and scoring prowess that could prove to be a smart selection heading into the next NBA season. Having depth and talent on your perimeter are imperative to your success in today’s NBA. The league is driven by duos on the wing, such as LeBron James/Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook/Kevin Durant, Lance Stephenson/Paul George. These players have propelled their teams to some of the best in the NBA, and have experienced much success in the postseason. The Jazz have not been in the playoffs since the 2011-12 season, and the pick of one of these players will be a step into that direction.
If the Jazz happen to fall out of the top three spots, where many draft experts are expecting the aforementioned Wiggins and Parker to be drafted, then it could get interesting with their draft pick decision. The Jazz are currently slotted at the fourth spot on the NBA draft boards. Should they remain there, the Jazz could realistically look at moving the pick to a team with an asset or two to offer. A top-five pick would be an attractive centerpiece to the right deal, and the front office could be fielding calls leading up to the draft. Many teams, like the Cleveland Cavaliers or Boston Celtics, could be looking to move a veteran, or All-Star, depending on the direction that the team would like to take.
Hopefully the ping pong balls will land in favor of the Utah Jazz, and they have an opportunity to land a big name prospect. Bringing meaningful basketball to the Salt Lake City would mean so much to their fan base, as they have always been a great crowd for the team during their successful runs. The Western Conference is full of young, exciting teams, and adding Utah to the mix could make things interesting in the NBA. Time will tell for them, and their situation is one that many will keep an eye on.