In the Promontory Sports Summit, writers collaborate to answer questions on a subject – And one. This week Dan Lewis (@trueDanLewis), Braeden Jensen (@CanadianBraeden), John English (@jermsguy), andSpencer Durrant (@Spencer_Durrant) join forces to tackle a subject that weighs heavily on the minds of Utah Jazz fans – when will the Jazz win their first championship?
When will the Jazz win their first championship?
Dan Lewis: They will win their first championship when a David Archuleta operated robot leads the Jazz past the Ryan Gosling led Los Angeles Clippers robot basketball squad. We’re talking about 20 or 30 years into the future, because after torturing through the LeBron era, the Kevin Durant era, the Kyrie Irving era, and the Andrew Wiggins final run, athletes will probably be replaced by robots. Thus the robots joke.
See, without real star power that, unfortunately, comes through the draft, which the Jazz haven’t been able to win since D-Will, the Jazz won’t be able to win a championship. Especially with the talents currently in the NBA, as well as on track to enter the league in a few years.
Braeden Jensen: Honestly? We could still be a decade away from being a serious contender. Who knows. LeBron James, the best player in the world, won a ring in his ninth season, only after teaming up with two (!) other All-Star caliber players. These things take time. Jazz fans don’t want to give it time, but it’s going to be a while. If we win in Favors’ and Hayward’s ninth years, we’re still looking six years down the road. It wouldn’t surprise me
John English: Seeing as how winning an NBA championship is one of the hardest sports accomplishments out there for a franchise, and it’s proved to be nigh unto impossible for about 20 of the franchises, Utah’s being one, I’d have to say their first one won’t come until the 2017-18 season. As long as CP3-Griffin and Durant-Westbrook are playing in the West, the Jazz aren’t getting through. The Lakers’ current talent experiment is imploding, but that’s a resilient franchise that will figure it out and get the best players. The Jazz can only the NBA Finals if they have a perfect storm like the 2004 Pistons or the 2011 Mavericks.
Spencer Durrant: If things go incredibly well, I think that in the next 5-7 years the Jazz will have a legitimate title shot. However, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, and Enes Kanter will have to develop into the players they have the potential for this to happen. I believe in a “core 3″ concept. I’m not entirely sold on Alec Burks. That aside, any Western Conference team wishing to get to the Finals in the next decade will have to go through the Thunder. Beating Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook in a seven-game series is a tall order for anyone, especially a Jazz team without a superstar. However, if the Jazz draft right over the next few years and keep the core 3 together, I fully expect some Conference Finals trips out of this squad. If a Deron Williams-Carlos Boozer-Memo Okur led squad can get to a Conference Finals, I fully expect this current team to as well.
Who will the Jazz face in the Finals?
Dan Lewis: See previous answer. I think we could see the Thunder winning a championship in the next six years though. Just count on LBJ winning three or four in the same period.
Braeden Jensen: Interesting article on Yahoo! today about the new CBA making it really tough on teams to have more than two max guys, which means Miami and LA are going to be in tough places really soon. Miami and LA may not exist as we know them in the near future. Wherever LeBron is, whether in Miami or back to Cleveland (say what?!), his team is going to be in the mix. I think Indiana has some nice building blocks as well, but who knows what the East will look like in a few years. Maybe they will finally stack up top to bottom with the Western Conference, but I’m not counting on it (BURN!).
John English: With delicious irony, it will come against the Chicago Bulls. A slower, more cautious Derrick Rose is partnered with traded-this-year Anthony Davis, and they’ve gelled perfectly. Unfortunately for the Bulls, they’ve cycled through their thin-bench deep-bench status at a bad time. It was good enough to get past LeBron and the retiring Wade in the Conference Finals, but not quite for a ring.
Spencer Durrant: Because I believe that the basketball Gods will one day atone for their egregious tampering with Dick Bavetta’s whistle in 1998, the Jazz will face the Chicago Bulls. To make matters even better, Gordon Hayward will push off Derrick Rose in the final seconds and sink a dagger 17-foot jump shot. Honestly, if the Jazz do make it to the Finals in the next 5-7 years like I predicted, they’re likely going to face LeBron James. That puts the Jazz up against either Miami or Cleveland. Even though LeBron will be older, he’s still going to be LeBron. Jordan was just as potent in his old age as he was in his younger days, and I fully believe that LeBron will be the same style of player going forward. While getting to the Finals will certainly be an achievement, the Jazz will have a tough time facing a LeBron-led team.
Will Tyrone Corbin still be head coach of the Jazz when they win a championship?
Dan Lewis: No. I think the Jazz are 5-7 years from truly competing in the west, and Corbin will have left town for another team by then.
Braeden Jensen: That’s an interesting question. I think that Ty could get the Jazz closer to a championship than a lot of fans, but I don’t think that he’ll be around the organization for 25 years like Jerry Sloan was. If he’s going to win a ring, I think it will have to happen in the next ten years, when he either moves on to greener pastures after winning a lot, or is let go by the Jazz after not getting to the level they would like to see.
John English: Ty Corbin will be let go after the 2013-14 season. We wish him well on his future endeavors. (Side trivia: in 2015, Dennis Lindsey wins Executive of the Year).
Spencer Durrant: First off, Tyrone Corbin is not Jerry Sloan. He’s not going to be in Utah for as long as Sloan was, and he’s certainly not going to see the same level of success that Sloan did. Sloan was a one-of-a-kind coach that the NBA will never see again. Considering the carousel that has become the head coaching job in the NBA, I don’t think Corbin’s around in 5-7 years. He’ll have another offer from a different team or be let go by the Jazz in 2-3 years. Now, don’t get me wrong – Corbin could probably coach a championship team, he’s showing the potential to be a solid coach. However, I just don’t see Utah hanging onto him if his lineups continue to be a problem. My guess is that Jeff Hornaceck gets promoted from within the organization and leads the Jazz to their first title.
What role, if any, will Derrick Favors play in winning a championship?
Dan Lewis: Favors has the potential to be like Tim Duncan, in that his playing time will be limited by plantaar fascitia. Until Favors is able to really develop into the franchise cornerstone the gypsy fortune tellers in the front office say that he is, I’m going with the opinion, “Backup forwards don’t win championships.”
Braeden Jensen: Derrick is a tough one to nail down, because sometimes he looks like he could become Amare Stoudemire if given the chance and the roster around him, but sometimes he feels like he’s not going to be any better than Tyson Chandler (who is great now, but took a decade to really flourish for the Mavs after bouncing back and forth in mediocrity). In fact, that’s the comparison that I’ll make. Favors would play a great Tyson Chandler role on a championship team, but needs another scorer (Like Nowitzki) and another ball handling wing (Jason Terry) with a point guard smart enough to play to everyone’s strengths (Jason Kidd). That would be nice…
John English: Derrick Favors will re-sign an extension with Utah after the Corbin release, and be in the starting lineup for that 2018 championship.
Spencer Durrant: the NBA has transformed into a point guard league, something I consider to be incredibly detrimental to the game of basketball. In the golden days of yore, big men won championships, aided by their trusty sidekicks that liked to hang out on the 3-point line. Nowadays, if a team doesn’t have a speedy quick guard that can slash his way through a defense to the basket, as well as play solid defense on the other end, that team is going nowhere. Here’s the interesting thing, though: teams have forgotten how to play defense on a true big man. Derrick Favors has the potential to turn into a true big man, and own the post whenever he steps on the court. For the Jazz to win a title in such a small market that big-name point guards won’t flock to, Favors is going to have to transform into a superstar and carry this team in the post. If the Jazz win a title with this current group, Favors will be very instrumental in making that happen.
Will the Jazz get to the Finals as heavy favorites or will they be underdogs?
Dan Lewis: Favorites. If they make it, they will have a dominating home court advantage, and with that, should be able to gain the advantage. Durant and the West should win the All-star game the next few years, so that should give Utah home court in the Finals. Thus, they should be favorites.
Braeden Jensen: If the other team has LeBron, they’re underdogs. (I just realized my answers have always banked on LeBron staying in the Eastern Conference, but if he comes out West the Jazz may have to be putting their parade plans on hold for a few additional years after running into a freight train of Michael Jordan’s caliber…)
Obviously home court advantage could play a large role, as the Jazz would surely captivate the hearts of SLC and pack the place like the days of old. That could really swing things in their favor.
John English: The Jazz will be the underdogs to the media, despite going through the Thunder, the Clippers and the T-Wolves to get there. (Hey, the T-Wolves are great in 2018). But since the Jazz have three home games in a row, they’re worried more about just splitting in the first two games. They take Game 2, then Game 3, Bull tie it with Game 4 after a last-second botched call by the cyborg Dick Bavetta, but the Jazz take Game 5, then end it in Game 6.
Spencer Durrant: The Jazz weren’t exactly favorites in ’97 or ’98, but they had some stellar regular-season records and would’ve been favorites if His Airness hadn’t been the reigning NBA monarch. Getting back to the Finals will take that same level of excellent play, and I think if the Jazz can rack up 60+ wins and get to the Finals, they should be favorites to win. If they have home court, then I think the Jazz all but have it in the bag. Despite this year’s home woes, the Jazz have historically had an electric crowd, and if the Finals ever return to Salt Lake City, Jazz Nation will prove a huge asset in winning a title.
Will the Jazz face a LeBron-led Eastern Conference team?
Dan Lewis: Yes. He and Kyrie Irving are going to be a mean, lean, scoring machine after he signs with Miami in free agency. Those two should be able to secure a few championships, at the minimum a few Finals appearances.
Braeden Jensen: If he’s in the Eastern Conference for the rest of his career, then chances are he could very well be in the Finals. Honestly though, in his 10 year in the league already, he could be retiring by the time the Jazz get to a level that would allow them to compete with a LeBron led team. He’s been in the Finals the last two seasons, and in 33% of seasons during his career. I don’t think he’s going away anytime soon!
John English: No. The Heat make the Finals through 2016 (winning two more rings in there), then falter in two Eastern Conference Finals in a row. ESPN is put on suicide watch.
Spencer Durrant: Honestly it depends on when the Jazz get to the finals. 5-7 years from now, LeBron will be on the back 9 of his career and may not have the supporting cast to get him to the Finals for a last hurrah. However, I think it’s a safe bet to see LeBron in a Finals matchup nearly every year for the next 10 years. He’s just too good to count him out. I don’t think his career will finish in Miami, however, so don’t count on the Jazz matching up against the Heat.