This year will be painful to Utah Jazz fans, like getting a root canal without anesthetic. (Or listening to David Locke instead of Hot Rod Hundley.) Make no mistake about it, the Jazz are in rebuilding mode.
Anyone who disagrees is either an idiot, or a diehard Jazz fan like our friend the Non-Believer. He doesn't believe that the Jazz won't win games, much like the snot-nosed punk kid with unruly hair who believes in a Santa Claus who doesn't exist.
Oops, well, if you're under the age of 10 and you just read that last paragraph, your day just went from bad to worse. Happy Holidays!
And for those of you who believe that the Jazz will win more than 30 games, you need to get some religion, like the Believer.
He has faith in certain things -- but he's not stupid. He knows there is a light on Santa's sleigh carrying eight tiny reindeer that is parked on top of his house -- but that gravy train left a long, loooooong time ago.
Since that time, the Believer is only steeped in reality, which is this: the Jazz stink. They're not going to win many games, and in fact are going to be locked in a battle to see who has the worst record in the league, thus winning the "Suck for Andrew Wiggins" contest, unofficially.
If there is one thing the Believer believes, it's that Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey may have been the guy to tell ESPN columnist Jeff Goodman the following:
"Our team isn't good enough to win and we know it. So this season we want to develop and evaluate our young players, let them learn from our mistakes -- and get us in position to grab a great player."
That statement was given by a GM from an NBA team, anonymously. Whether that was Lindsey is up for a lengthy debate, but one thing is clear: He fire-saled almost all of the Jazz' top talent in the off-season, re-signed just one player (Derrick Favors) -- and didn't re-sign Gordon Hayward who has one season to prove he can be like Wiggins, or Gordon's out too.
I'm sure that the possibility of leaving for Boston and his old college coach Brad Stevens won't keep Hayward up at night -- but one thing is certain: the writing was on the wall when the Jazz and Hayward couldn't strike a deal.
And so, that brings us to Wiggins...
If you don't know who Andrew Wiggins is, he's like Jolly Ol St. Nick, the Keebler Elf and the Four Horsemen riding into the Salt Lake Valley on Budweiser Clydesdales. He is the answer to the Non-Believer's prayers -- if he has any of Oreos and Bud Light Lime, that is -- and frankly, to answer those of the Believer, and the great state of Utah.
Wiggins can do things with a basketball that conjure up visions of Michael Jordan, they say. And even though he's just a man, er, a boy, who is in his freshman year at Kansas he is a can't-miss, bonafide, NBA superstar straight out of the womb guaranteed to make it rain three pointers, perform death-defying acrobatic slam dunks, play great defense and do it all with a smile on his face.
This kid doesn't play games; he tells reporters he is going to enjoy his one year of school, this child of a former six-year NBA pro and two-time Olympic track athlete -- and brother to Wichita State guard Nick Wiggins.
Guess that means he's turning pro. Did I mention he was Canadian?
That mere fact means he won't be like other would-be Jazz members who, for whatever reason decided that unlike our forefather Brigham Young, Utah was not the place for them.
They did not stand atop the mighty Wasatch Mountains blowing a sweet, mystical serenade into a bugle horn that wisps its merry way through the lightly salted valley.
Wiggins might not only stand atop the mountain playing a wistful melody, he might do a 360 tomahawk slam off of a snow-crusted peak after jumping over 10 UTA buses, a TRAX train and the LDS Church Building.
This according to the many insiders who already predict this dude will be bigger than Jesus and more death-defying than Evel Knievel -- provided you don't hear a tweak from his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee (which everybody has, even him) -- cause that might derail his plans to leave school after one year and become the biggest name in the NBA since before LeBron even existed.
As for the Jazz, they just have to play crappy enough to get the No. 1 pick -- or actually, have more ping pong balls in the spinning glass bowl of fortune to get the No. 1 pick -- in the lottery. That's all; nothing more, nothing less.
In the meantime there is basketball to be played, and lots of it. Like 82 games of it. This probably gives the Believer some serious acid indigestion as the Non-Believer belches and goes about his day.
Here's how these two numbskulls see the Jazz at each position in 2013-14...click on the photos for more ecclesiastical goodness...