Among the big losers in summer free agency are the Utah Jazz. Which sucks to write because the organization did everything right, from building a team that was becoming a real threat to making its biggest star feel welcome and wanted. This was a team that was fun to watch play last season.
Then Gordon Hayward went to Boston anyway.
Don’t expect the Jazz to feel sorry for themselves, they plan to retool fast around Rudy Gobert, something GM Dennis Lindsey made clear reports Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune.
“We feel like we can build defensively around Rudy Gobert,” Lindsey told The Tribune. “We look at him, and he’s a top 10 player and unique defender. So we wanted to build a team around his talents.”…
But Lindsey met with his staff and delivered a strong message (after Hayward left): The Jazz weren’t going to feel sorry for themselves. They weren’t going take a step back. The organization describes the last two weeks as a pivot more than a restructure.
“We just felt like we had too much talent to tear it down to the foundation,” Lindsey said. “The main thing with Quin and Rudy is what do we stand for? We feel like we have a great player in Rudy, and we want to showcase his ability.”
The Jazz added Ricky Rubio, Thabo Sefolosha and Jonas Jerebko this summer, and rookie Donovan Mitchell has been a standout at Summer League who looks like he can add steals to a team that should still be one of the better defensive teams in the league. That will not replace Hayward, but it’s not the sign of a team that’s tearing things down. Nor should they.
The question will be where the points come from, Hayward scored 22 a game but more than that he was the shot creator for others (along with George Hill) and the Jazz don’t have a ready replacement. Guys such as Rodney Hood need to step up.
The Jazz are one of the best run organizations in the NBA, if anyone can bounce back, it’s them.