The Utah Jazz are rumored to be talking seriously to the Cleveland Cavaliers about moving up in the 2014 NBA Draft Order from No. 5 to Cleveland's No. 1 spot. Utah's plan is to reportedly take Duke star Jabari Parker with that pick. There is also the possibility that Andrew Wiggins of Kansas is Utah's target--but the smart money is on Parker because he seems to fit more with what the Jazz need.
Wiggins isn’t a pure scorer like Parker--and he’s a bit of a mystery in terms of his work ethic. With Parker, what you see is what you get. Parker is a bonafide scorer, and that's what Utah needs more than anything in the world. Parker is the kind of player the Jazz don’t have on their roster--and one they’ve desperately needed since Karl Malone and the rest of the core that made two NBA Finals bid adieu in the late 1990s.
The Jazz haven’t been the same frnachise since, undergoing rebuilds with players like Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, players who were All-Stars--yet never panned out to be as special as Stockton-to-Malone. Boozer never had a Malone-like presence in Utah--and D-Will, well, let's just say he wore out his welcome.
Drafting either Parker or Wiggins gives the Jazz that unique opportunity to get a player that is essentially a once-in-a-lifetime player--but at this point it's a player that the Jazz should gamble their future on. It's been almost two decades since the Jazz were championship contenders, so if not now, then when?
Here are five reasons the Jazz should move up to Cleveland’s spot, as rumored, and draft Duke star Jabari Parker.
As we’ve already seen from Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart, coming to Utah even for a pre-draft workout is not for everyone. Even though the Jazz hold the No. 5 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, you don’t see players in the Top 5 falling over each other to play here--or even break a sweat here. Parker didn’t schedule a workout here either, but he not only has family ties in Utah, he also happens to be Mormon. Although such religion-based logic has held as much clout here as a wet noodle in the past, it might hold water now. Parker could literally become as popular as the Great Salt Lake.
Anyone who pens an open letter to not only announce he’s leaving school early, but thanks the people who have been involved in his development all the way down to his youth league coaches is someone who has his head on straight. He's not a petulant teenager and he understands that the Jazz have work to do. What's more is he comes from Duke, the same school where new head coach Quin Snyder played under the legendary Mike Kryszewski.
Look, everyone likes Derrick Favors and he is a hard worker. But, did the Jazz make a mistake letting Paul Millsap go? All you need to do is look at Millsap’s stats compared to Favors, and you have your answer. Millsap went to Atlanta, and in one season he became an All-Star. His assistant coach in Hotlanta? New Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. Yes, it is clear that the Jazz let Millsap get away--and Favors still has lots of work to do to even get to Millsap‘s level. It might be easier to get there with Parker.
Since Dennis Lindsey has arrived, players who did not fit within the Jazz system--or in the case of Millsap were let go because the team was rebuilding--have been sent on their way. Favors was never general manager Dennis Lindsey’s guy. Favors came over in the Deron Williams deal before Lindsey even got his crystal ball out. And yes, Favors was in the Jazz’ long term plans--when Kevin O’Connor was GM. But that was then, and this is now and if the rumors are true that Cleveland wants Favors, that’s a deal the Jazz should make to get Parker.
The Jazz haven’t had a star player to market since Stockton-to-Malone. You can say that D-Will and Booz were somewhat marketable--and you could even give a favorable nod to AK-47--but even they never commanded the kinds of attention and notoriety as the Mailman. Bringing in Jabari is an easy sell to Jazz fans because of the kind of player and person he is. In many ways, he’s actually better than Malone from a marketing standpoint because he instantly becomes the face of the franchise. While his arrival does make Gordon Hayward expendable there are other pieces the Jazz can use from such a deal to bring other players here to complement Parker.