Can the Utah Jazz find a path to NBA greatness?

Can the Jazz find their own road to glory, or should they study the blueprints of other successful teams?
Collin Sexton celebrates as the Utah Jazz face off against the Phoenix Suns.
Collin Sexton celebrates as the Utah Jazz face off against the Phoenix Suns. / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages
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Step 2: Player Development

If I may talk about Jokic and Giannis one more time, these players didn't enter the league as superstars--they entered the league as projects. Jokic was seen as unathletic and out of shape (this doesn't seem to matter anymore). With great physical tools, Giannis flashed immense potential, but draft experts had their concerns. Take a quick look at some of his weaknesses, noted in his draft profile:

"Without question he has a large basement to go with his large ceiling … Despite his athletic abilities he lacks elite explosiveness … He has to bulk up, working especially in the lower body since he’s definitely too skinny to face NBA opponents at the moment … On the defensive side, he needs to learn the basis, since he’s beaten by the opponents due [to] a lack of proper positioning and comprehension … The overall impression is of a raw prospect from [a] basketball comprehension standpoint, whose is based on instincts, talent, physical gifts and natural feel for the game"


With as much disposable draft capital as the Jazz possess, it could be smart to take a calculated risk by digging for diamonds in the rough. Some of the best players in the NBA are often selected after a few duds, so carefully select players that will fit in your team's system and culture. Only take projects that have the drive to close the talent gap between themselves and the rest of the league. If handled properly, players can reach their potential. If developed poorly, a player's tenure in the NBA can be tragically cut short.

The Jazz's player development program has been very good historically. Donovan Mitchell was picked at the back end of the draft lottery, yet he quickly became one of the best players in his draft class. Rudy Gobert was selected at the end of the first round due to being an extremely raw talent who needed to improve greatly to become the 3-time Defensive Player of the Year he is today.

Markkanen and Kessler were standouts in the first year of the rebuild, and Collin Sexton and Simone Fontecchio are blossoming this season. As the Jazz build their team's foundation, the development of their young players should be the top priority. Keyontae George has shown flashes of brilliance as a primary ball handler, and Taylor Hendricks has played very well in limited minutes.