Patience will be key in the Jazz achieving everything it wants this season
Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge and owner Ryan Smith spoke about the upcoming season, which begins for the Jazz Wednesday night against the Nuggets
The to-do list for the Utah Jazz this year is pretty extensive.
They need to figure out how they are going to measure success, make sure that they evaluate the growth and development of all their players and give new head coach Will Hardy the autonomy to play the group he feels is most competitive while also being able to give the right amount of opportunity to the younger players.
Concurrently, the front office also needs to be continuously evaluating prospects that will be available in the upcoming 2023 NBA draft and for many to come, while also making sure that they are making the most of their future assets and flexibility and have their ear to the ground for any opportunity that could present itself.
No big deal, right?
The balancing act that needs to happen over the next few months is not lost on the Jazz’s brass. They know that it’s in the best interest of the team to get a reasonable look at some of the more green players, and that the best way to evaluate those players is through real NBA competition.
But, there is also a real need for Hardy to be able to implement his style to establish himself and to feel as though he is the captain of his ship. But an 82-game season is long, and will provide ample opportunity for everyone to get what they need out of the team.
“It’s called patience,” Jazz CEO of basketball Danny Ainge said with a smile. “I’m excited to work with Will this year, and I think the objectives that we have are pretty clear in our conversations as we prepare to go forward. But I really want to see him grow as a coach and I think that this is an amazing opportunity for him.”
Delegation of tasks is going to be paramount for the team’s success this season, in whatever way success is being measured.
The Jazz announced that they extended the contract of general manager Justin Zanik on Tuesday, and Zanik will have his hands full surveying possible transactions between now and the trade deadline while also preparing for the draft.
“Basically, any conversation that goes on in the league regarding transactions, we’re going to be a part of because of the currency and assets that we have both on the court — guys that are playing — and obviously all the future assets that we have,” Zanik said. “Those are great tools for us.”
The Jazz have other front office executives that will also deal in scouting and negotiating and evaluating in-house talent.
But on top of all the basketball-related goals and tasks that lay ahead over the course of the NBA calendar, the Jazz are also preparing to host the 2023 All-Star Game.
“I’ll tell you one thing,” Jazz owner Ryan Smith said on Tuesday. “Our team, Salt Lake, the group and the city, we are not mailing it in. That would be an easy thing to do ... but the team has been working tirelessly.”
But we can all take a deep breath. The trade deadline and All-Star week are both in February, so there’s still some time.
Meanwhile, there’s undoubtedly going to be twists and turns and more changes and curveballs this season for the Jazz. After all, nothing ever goes exactly according to plan. But the Jazz feel that they are ready for everything, which is good because the NBA season officially begins tonight.