NBA TV Analyst Stu Jackson on the State of the Utah Jazz


Part II of our interview with former NBA coach, executive and current NBA TV analyst Stu Jackson, who is bullish on the future of the Utah Jazz.

NBA TV analyst Stu Jackson will be part of the network’s week-long NBA Draft coverage, including Draft HQ (Monday, June 20 at 9 p.m. ET), Mock Draft 2016 (Wednesday, June 22 at 9 p.m. ET) and live draft day coverage beginning at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 23.

I spoke to the longtime NBA personality about a myriad of topics this week. In Part I, he examined potential scenarios with the No. 12 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Today, we’re picking his brain on the state of the Utah Jazz.

Jackson’s prognosis–although it was “heart-wrenching” for the team to miss the Playoffs in 2015-16, “you are who your record says you are.” However, things are looking good for the franchise, which is on a path that could lead to future success.

“It’s no big secret that the Utah Jazz have a terrific collection of talent that they’ve amassed,” he said. “Their future, to me, is a bright one.”

The NBA TV studio analyst admires the way the Jazz have been handling their business, specifically with regards to developing their young core and supporting head coach Quin Snyder.

“They’ve made a commitment to those players, they’ve made a commitment to their coach and they have all the ingredients and the basis to continue growing in the coming years. So I think bright things are ahead.”

Of course, the great debate with a team like the Jazz, who are on the cusp of big things with a young group is whether they should make moves to expedite the process with veteran talent. Jackson sees this dilemma as a good thing for the team’s decision-makers.

“Let’s look at it from a positive standpoint. Having a good core of young players is one thing on the court, but they also have a core of assets that, if they decide or have an opportunity to trade for that one player that may put them over the top, they have the assets and the cap room to do just that. So, the flexibility to go either way is one more reason I’m bullish on the franchise.”

In looking at some of the areas of need for the Jazz, Jackson, who coached point guards like Mark Jackson, Rod Strickland, Maurice Cheeks and Greg Anthony, wonders about the team’s situation at the one spot.

“It could be and it couldn’t be [a need], but they have to get their point guard situation solidified. And listen, it may Dante Exum, depending on the status of his injury. But if you’re going to truly win in the NBA, my observation is that you need to have an elite point guard. So that would be a need.”

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If Utah can get that point guard production, from Exum or otherwise, Jackson likes how the roster shapes up.

“I love Alec Burks, I love Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Trey Lyles, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert; these guys are all, to me, high-level players on a championship-level team. But the one thing that hasn’t been settled yet is that point guard position.”

Of course, the old adage in the NBA is that stars win, specifically in the Playoffs. So, does Jackson see any of Utah’s current core of players joining the ranks of the league’s elite?

“I think it’s a little early to tell and I don’t mean to dodge the question, but Burks is a guy who has missed an entire year. Hood, could be just because he strikes me as the guy that has that kind of disposition to dominate; he could be potentially.”

While Jackson doesn’t see him as the guy, he envisions Gobert as the star on the defensive side that will set the tone for the Jazz franchise.

“I think, without a doubt Gobert, he’s not going to be the superstar, he’s gonna be the defensive superstar you need to anchor your defense.”

Next: Interview: Stu Jackson on the Utah Jazz and the No. 12 Pick

Still, as relates to stars, team need and taking the next step in the Western Conference, Jackson emphasized the need for point guard production, be it from Exum or a veteran player acquired via trade or free agency.

“They’ve got some possibilities, but again, I can’t emphasize enough the need to somehow acquire a high-level point guard.”