The Utah Jazz have acquired plenty of young talent. Now it’s time to go after some veteran experience.
There is still time in the free agent race to pick up a good player or two, salary cap willing. Not only is the ability there, but also the opportunity.
There are some quality players still left on the wire. Among them: Eric Bledsoe, Ray Allen, Shawn Marion, Jameer Nelson, Mo Williams, Jordan Crawford and Jerryd Bayless. One or two of these would go far for the Jazz if acquirable—the Jazz are only lacking in veteran presence. Given the right recipe of leadership and ability, the right veteran player could guide the Jazz’s young guns into a deep playoff run in the next two to three years.
There are still players on the wire that the Jazz should avoid, too. They shouldn’t waste their time with poor big men, and I think the Jazz have learned their lesson in that regard, having decent big men ever since Ostertag left over a decade ago. Greg Monroe is available, but as broken as professional athletes come. Emeka Okafor (remember him?) is around, but missed the entire last season, disappointing Phoenix Suns fans around the nation. Andray Blatche is a free agent this summer, but isn’t much good on any team that has a serviceable six or seven men. The Jazz should pass up on him too.
The Jazz have too many young guards, and are in desperate, desperate need of a quality SF or PF. That’s where Shawn Marion comes in. He is older, but still a defensive machine and can produce offensively as well, exploding for 20+ points on occasion. He isn’t mistaken to think he’s too good for Utah, and has his ring. If the price were right, I could see Marion coming to Utah until he goes out to pasture.
Dante Cunningham is probably going to prison after being charged with multiple felony counts, but he is a solid choice for a true forward. If reined in, he could provide a good anchor for the team to rally around, both on and off the court. This could be his chance to salvage his last year in the league and bring something meaningful to a franchise. Something tells me that the Jazz aren’t looking to draft someone like him, but you never know what Dennis Lindsey has up his sleeve.
The last option in my mind is to draft someone more useful at a SG or G position like Mo Williams, Crawford, or Al-Farouq Aminu, all free agents, and trade them with draft picks or cash for something a bit more meaningful—Kevin Love, maybe? (A man can hope). Realistically that would buy you a guy like Brooke Lopez or Nikola Pekovic, given the right circumstance, and how desperate the Nets or Timberwolves are.
All things considered, the Jazz are in good shape. They have a lot of talent and Rodney Hood has looked like an artist at Summer League. If the Jazz can lock up one or two even average yet hardworking veterans, the future of the Jazz is looking very bright.