Utah Jazz: The Time to Cash in on Future Picks Is Now


With several future draft picks in their coffers, the time has come for the Utah Jazz to swing some of those assets for roster upgrades.

Despite the injuries they endured this season, the Utah Jazz proved that they’re a pretty good team by persevering and becoming a factor in the playoff race in the Western Conference. While it’s something for the team and its fans to hang their hats on, “pretty good” has never been the goal in Jazzland.

We, as fans, want the Jazz to be great. We expect division titles, extended playoff runs and, one day, the Larry O’Brien trophy on display at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

If those things are going to happen with the current iteration of the team, Jazz brass needs to add a few more pieces to the puzzle; another egg or two to complete the dozen. Moreover, they need to do so sooner rather than later. Which is why the time has come to cash in on some of the assets the team has accrued over the years.

I’m with this guy.

Through careful maneuvering, the Jazz find themselves with no less than seven draft picks owed to them through various trades throughout the years. In addition to the team’s own picks, Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey will have the following selections at his disposal–

2016: second round draft pick from the Boston Celtics (No. 52), second round draft pick from the Golden State Warriors (No. 60)

2017: first round draft pick from Golden State, second round draft pick from the Detroit Pistons, second round draft pick from Golden State, second round draft pick from the New York Knicks

2018: first round draft pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder (lottery protected through 2020. Should it not be conveyed, it becomes second round picks in 2020 and 2021)

Extra draft picks are always great to have, but Lindsey should look to turn some of these picks into real difference makers.

With core players like Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Alec Burks entering their primes, and a bevy of young guns in Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood and Dante Exum (you could probably mention Trey Lyles in that conversation as well) already in place, the time is nigh for the team to bring in quality talent.

Preferably of the veteran variety.

The first round picks owed to them by the Warriors and Thunder are unlikely to yield significant players in the draft–Golden State will be on top of the west for the next decade and the OKC pick is too protected to do so.

With that being the case, the team’s best bet to get something out of them is to include them in packages to either acquire known commodities or move up in this or future drafts if the chance to select a franchise changer presents itself. Middling picks and marginal talents need not apply.

In the NBA, the clock is always ticking. Championship windows come and go. If a team won’t seize opportunities when they knock, they’ll miss their shot every time. If the Jazz don’t want this to be their fate, they need proven players or potential superstars–not long-term projects or more “assets.”

Next: Four Under the Radar Draft Prospects

Fans have been patient in recent years as the franchise has done its best to rebuild itself into a winner. That patience is wearing thin. If the Jazz don’t surround their core with the pieces necessary to take the next step as a team, they do so at their own peril.

Pretty good is no longer good enough.