Face it. Utah Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey has never been one to do what you want him to do, Jazz fans. You didn’t in a million years believe he’d find a way to trade up last year to get Michigan guard Trey Burke--but he did.
You don’t, for all the mangosteen flavored drinks in Lehi, want to believe the report coming out on Tuesday, June 24. That the Jazz would trade--or mortgage, in your words-- some combination of Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and the No. 5 or No. 23 pick for Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jarrett Jack and the Cavs’ No.1 pick is all too much for you.
Let the boos commence, raining down from EnergySolutions Arena like seagulls zeroing in on their next meal as seats empty and you flood onto John Stockton Drive. On radio shows and in newspapers, you’ve said you long to go back to the good ol’ days, to have former GM Kevin O’Connor back in the fold, a guy who rarely made a decision that would supposedly hurt his team--though in his years behind the scenes, the Jazz never, ever took the next step and won a title.
You believe in your heart of hearts that O'Connor would take Parker if given the opportunity--but what you don't know is that Bill Self, who was Deron Williams coach at Illinois when O'Connor moved up to draft him, was also Wiggins coach at Kansas. With Lindsey around, you think life is not as certain as it was with Larry H. Miller; you don’t KNOW this guy, this wheeler-dealer from Texas and that frightens you.
Now that faux-curse words like “ship” and “freak” are being thrown about the room like cheap IKEA furniture meeting its particle-board like demise as it smashes against a wall in some Ivory Homes community, we all know you want more than life itself for Duke star Jabari Parker to be the one who plays in a Jazz uniform worse than you want a lifetime subscription to food storage items.
That Parker also happens to be a member of the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints--whose religion is also headquartered in Salt Lake City--only adds to the allure and prestige. We get it.
We all know you want Parker’s name and likeness to be splattered all over paper and electronic billboards along Interstate 15--as well as on buildings--while he hawks locally produced items you sell to your friend who sells it to your friend’s friend and so on--the latest MLM/ pyramid scheme/evil, nasty concoction of a health sports drink phenomenon to sweep the Wasatch Front and save lives until its CFO is arrested for tax fraud.
You would also have Parker star in a slew of films and TV productions bearing his likeness, his depth of character and--most important--he would represent you, and your way of life, to the fullest extent. He’d co-star with David Archuleta in a series of sports-meets-Hollywood fare that would make High School Musical 1, 2, 3, 4 and whatever seem like it was something you’d never heard of.
Mollywood would never be the same again--and Utah would have its next series of uplifting, religion-themed cinema for critics to poke holes in and laugh at outside of Utah--which in-state residents would cherish within its invisible borders.
There is an allure to being in Utah, with a devil-may-care attitude and a me-against-the-world mentality as you devise ways to both make money on the side and live up to the lofty and somewhat unrealistic expectations you’ve set for your lives.
But what if Parker doesn’t live up to the lofty and somewhat unrealistic expectations you‘ve set for him on a basketball court and on the court of life? The Jazz are still reported to have interest in Parker--maybe just not as much as they have in Wiggins.
Even if you don’t say it out loud, you want more than anything in the world for Parker to succeed on the court and in life--no matter what jersey he ends up wearing. But what if Parker isn’t even the best player--let alone the best defender--in the 2014 NBA Draft?
What if the Jazz never planned to draft Parker, the player you coveted? Would you be angry? Would you throw your hands up in disgust and vow to never buy tickets to another game at EnergySolutions Arena? The idea has been suggested in comments sections pertaining to this draft day conundrum with which the Jazz are faced.
Of course, you felt the same way when the Jazz passed on Jimmer, a man who local fans adored and bought tickets to see in college, creating a cottage industry of teens in braces who treated a Jimmer sighting like they’d seen the next Beatle--but even that party died down after awhile. All phenomenons eventually do.
When you saw a spindly legged Canadian son of a former NBA player who was once arrested for cocaine possession, you didn't see a son of an Olympian, or a once-in-a-lifetime talent who was 6-8 yet had a 7-foot wingspan.
You didn’t see Andrew Wiggins as a "Maple Jordan," a one-and-done superstar who was on the pages of Sports Illustrated even before he stepped foot on the University of Kansas to serve his NBA-imposed one year of college. You didn't even see an NBA superstar in the making--all you saw was a potential problem waiting to happen. You thought you'd seen and heard it all--then this potential superstar from another world came along.
You’ve seen a few things in your time. When Luther Wright came here out of Seton Hall with the No. 2 draft pick and all the promise in the world of becoming a great Jazz player, he still lost his way along Interstate 80, dazed and confused as he squawked like a chicken, or a rooster, or just some lost, mentally disturbed child in a grown man’s body on drugs on a dark road west of nowhere about midnight.
You saw it with Kirk Snyder and with Robert Whaley; you even saw glimpses with DeShawn Stevenson, Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, the latter a Duke alum. You’ve been burned before by promise, by potential and by the allure of greatness.
You understand what it’s like to have your small town hearts ripped out by a big city guy named Michael Jordan, who obviously pushed Bryon Russell aside with a forearm, and arched skyward this shot from some place beyond as he nailed the game-winner, the series-winner and the obvious dagger of all daggers to lift his Chicago Bulls to another NBA title--and you to another heart break.
We all know you see Wiggins as another Jordan but a Jordan who is bad and possibly unhealthy for your persona--but what Wiggins really is, is a spindly legged, game-changing athletic freak of nature who is just 18 years old and has yet to reach his potential. He likes to play video games, is well-mannered and shy and averaged over 17 points and six rebounds for Kansas last season--not other-worldly numbers but solid nonetheless.
All of this scares you. We all know you don’t like change, or possibility--or California transplants forcing their ways into your Ivory Homes because they too are searching for a better life.
But what if Wiggins isn’t from California, is looking for a better life and is happy playing in Utah?
Did his brother Nick--a senior guard from Wichita State--snort cocaine, avoid going to school and otherwise commit the sin of all sins? Nick went to school and will earn his degree. Just because you’re cut from the same cloth doesn’t mean the pattern will turn out the same in the end. Wiggins father paid for his mistake with cocaine, just as the Mormon founder/CFO of a certain MLM/pyramid scheme dealt with his.
In the end, you were convinced, downright snookered into believing that just because a player like Parker could score 20-plus points a game, and read his scriptures every night, well, he could be the next Michael Jordan. You were wrong.
Parker’s lateral quicks are more like Jimmer’s--slow as molasses--and his defense is about as non-existent as the former BYU star. That volatile combination has given Jimmer a short stay and even fewer minutes in the NBA as his career appears to be grinding to a halt.
On the other hand, what do you have to lose by giving Wiggins a chance? He’s already a better defender than Derrick Favors with a greater wing span and oodles more potential. Although he has holes in his game, there appear to be fewer than Parker.
Jazz fans, if you really want to lift the burden of doubt that Michael Jordan has cast over you, the answer is clear. As one Cavaliers fan so aptly put it in the comments section of another article, the reported deal that the Jazz have on the table is too good to pass up.
In return, the Jazz get Wiggins, and while there is never any certainty of greatness, it's best for you to warm up to this guy real quick if he is indeed heading to Utah. Were Jazz fans overjoyed when either Karl Malone or John Stockton were drafted by the Jazz? Of course not. That’s why in any NBA Draft, you never know. Someone you pick might become a Hall of Famer--or they might become a total bust. And the same goes for anyone selected in the NBA Draft Lottery.