Should the Utah Jazz really tank for Cooper Flagg?

Is Cooper Flagg really worth the risk?
Countdown to Craziness
Countdown to Craziness / Lance King/GettyImages

Cooper Flagg is the talk of the 2025 NBA Draft, and we haven’t even had the 2024 NBA Draft yet. The 2024 NBA Draft is not seen as being a major draft compared to past years, but this year could still feature some real talent. It’s impossible to know what these young men will turn into on the NBA stage, and with how many times people miss on can’t-miss-prospects (James Wiseman and Scoot Henderson), it’s fair to say no one really knows what these prospects can do. 

Maybe Reed Sheppard is the next Steph Curry. Maybe he’s the next Sebastian Telfair; we have no idea. We don’t know what this draft can be. Heck, we don’t even know what the 2023 NBA Draft Class can be just yet. Everyone is sure Victor Wembanayama is about to be the next Tim Duncan, but he could just as easily be the next Yao Ming and have his career derailed due to his lengthy frame succumbing to injury. 

There is never a guarantee in drafting and the possibility things go wrong will always be there. So when I see outlets pushing the idea of tanking for Cooper Flagg, who hasn’t even had a single season at Duke yet, I have to shake my head. After all, while the idea is fine in theory, there is no guarantee that Flagg is going to become a franchise-caliber player who can carry the squad to the next level. 

We see guys flame out all the time when they move up in competition and that could happen to Flagg.  Flagg could also turn into the single-greatest prospect in the history of basketball, but we don’t know if he can do that either. Risking your future on potential is a great way to not only get everyone fired but also set back the team years. 

That’s why it doesn’t make sense to tank for Flagg. If the Jazz have a shot at Flagg in the draft through prior trades, sure, draft him. But don’t trade away your best players and sabotage a third straight season just for an outside shot at him. Because even if Flagg is everything everyone says. Maybe he’s the next great player. Maybe he is. The Utah Jazz will still only have, at best, a 14% chance of landing him in the Draft. 

So it makes no sense to mortgage your entire future by going after one prospect with next to no real competition to his name.