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As the 2022 NBA draft approaches, it is a good time for me to make my annual plea to analysts, scouts, executives and everyone in between to stop referring to college seniors as players who can’t change or improve.

Every single year the draft rankings and big boards will come out and will talk about a college senior as if they are a senior citizen. Usually, the difference between a one-and-done freshmen and a senior, or even a super senior is the separation of a 19-year-old and a 22-year-old.

If 22-year-olds are incapable of change, I have some really bad news for the rest of us.

Teams will prioritize drafting 18- and 19-year-olds over upperclassmen, treating the older players like they have the plague. But then, every single year, without fail, there are huge swaths of young players who, even though they had all that “raw talent” are just not strong enough and not smart enough to play in the NBA yet.

They end up at the end of benches or spending most of their time in the G League and they don’t develop into the phenoms that everyone thought they would be. Meanwhile, there are players who come into the league after three, four, or five years in college and were all but written off as ancient relics, and they prove that change and adaptability and improvement does not stop at age 22.

Jordan Usher’s desire shines through after Jazz host two pre-draft workout sessions

We cannot continue driving the narrative that younger prospects are more valuable and a better choice, just because of their age, if we then are going to continue expecting players to improve once they are actually veterans in the NBA. Those narratives don’t work together.

Do we expect Donovan Mitchell to improve? Absolutely we do. Do we expect Jayson Tatum or Trae Young or Luka Doncic to improve? Without a doubt. We don’t just expect it, we demand it. It is their job to continue improving, even though every one of them is older than 22.

My hope is that every upperclassmen that is doubted by an NBA team or analyst proves them wrong by having an excellent career. Many of them already have.

New with the Jazz

Opinion: The NBA’s final four teams proved how far the Jazz are from being a contender

Stat of the week

In the first quarter of Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals, Stephen Curry set the NBA Finals record for 3-pointers made in a quarter with six. The previous record was five, shared by Curry, Ray Allen and Kenny Smith.

From the archives

What Danny Ainge said about the Boston Celtics being in the NBA Finals
Quin Snyder’s future with the Utah Jazz reportedly remains ‘unclear’

This week in Jazz history

On June 7, 1998, the Chicago Bulls defeated the Utah Jazz, 96-54, in the most lopsided game in the history of the NBA Finals. The 54 points by the Jazz is also an NBA record for fewest points in a game since the inception of the 24-second shot clock.

How to pass the time in the offseason

Now that the Jazz season has come to an end, it means that I have some time to catch up on the things that I love but don’t have enough time for during the NBA season. Here I’ll suggest my latest way to pass the offseason time and also take your suggestions.

This week I’m coming at you live from Northern California, where I’m originally from. I know that not everyone is able to leave town for a week with job and life obligations. But, if you work from home, which so many of us do these days, I highly, highly recommend loading up the car and taking work elsewhere.

Go to a friend’s house for a few days, go visit your aunt that you never get to see, go see your parents. Take all your work stuff with you. Sure, it’s great if you can just take the time off, but even just working in a new environment can inspire ideas and perspective. Plus, I’m a firm believer that a long drive is good for the soul. Get out and go!

Extra points

  • Does a Rudy Gobert trade for Toronto’s OG Anunoby make sense? (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Jazz looking to find players to contribute at the end of the roster (Deseret News)
  • Would any past Jazz players have won Conference Finals MVP? (Deseret News)

Around the league

Nike founder Phil Knight and Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Alan Smolinisky have put in an offer to purchase the Portland Trail Blazers.

LeBron James becomes the first NBA player billionaire.

NBA announced that 112 early-entry candidates have withdrawn from the draft.

Best dunk, assist, handle of the year and more — the results are in.

Up next: NBA Finals

June 5 | 6 p.m. | Game 2 | Boston Celtics @ Golden State Warriors | ABC

June 8 | 7 p.m. | Game 3 | Golden State Warriors @ Boston Celtics | ABC

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June 10 | 7 p.m. | Game 4 | Golden State Warriors @ Boston Celtics | ABC

June 13 | 7 p.m. | Game 5, if necessary | Boston Celtics @ Golden State Warriors | ABC

June 16 | 7 p.m. | Game 6, if necessary | Golden State Warriors @ Boston Celtics | ABC

June 19 | 6 p.m. | Game 7, if necessary | Boston Celtics @ Golden State Warriors | ABC

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