There is a ton of hubbub centered on which players the Utah Jazz will select in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Some say ex-Kentucky guard Brandon Knight is a shoo-in at No. 3, while others say the Jazz are going after a big man, possibly Arizona’s Derrick Williams–if he falls that far to the third pick–or former Kentucky center Enes Kanter or even Lithuanian sensation Jonas Valanciunas.
In fact, some mock drafts are already predicting that Knight isn’t whom the Jazz covet; it’s Williams, Kanter, and Valanciunas, in that order. One likes Williams, another Kanter, and yet another the unproven Valanciunas.
Whatever’s going down or may go down on Thursday, the Jazz aren’t saying a word.
Not even about Jimmer.
In fact, most specifically not about the former BYU star, and college Player of the Year, because saying so would draw the ire of other teams who might want to pick him.
Jimmer strolled into town on a white pony, er, White Nikes last week, and wowed the 100 or so coaches, well wishers, media–and most importantly–team sponsors gawking down on their wonder boy from a 2nd story window in shirts and ties.
To say that Jimmer would mean millions of dollars in advertising and marketing revenue to the Jazz is a giant understatement, and you would be foolish to think any other way.
If picking players had everything to do with marketing potential–and it does, in some parts of the country–it would be a slam dunk choice to have Jimmer put on his Jazz cap, shake Commissioner David Stern’s hand and ride into the sunset with his name plastered on everything Jazz-related.
You have to think that somebody is considering picking the guy; he has been officially invited to the Draft’s Green Room, which means the NBA believes, or has reason to believe, that Jimmer will be chosen in the Top 14.
That means Jimmer may be a lottery pick, folks. Barring some potential, unforeseen disaster, Jimmer will probably have his name called between Nos. 7-14 (Sacramento, Utah and Phoenix seem the likely destinations) and so Jazz fans–or at least Jimmermaniacs–will keep their fingers crossed that the Maloof brothers (Sacramento owners) don’t have something up their sleeve at No. 7.
The other team for the Jazz–and you–to keep an eye on is Indiana, who reportedly thought Jimmer had a great workout. Larry Bird was the last great white hope in the NBA; does he see Jimmer in a similar light?
Nobody knows, but everybody will be on the edges of their seats–especially if you’re rooting for Jimmer–like you were watching a Hollywood blockbuster film.
Will this kid from Hickory, er, Glens Falls, see his name in lights on Thursday night? Will the girls go ga-ga over a guy who has boyish good looks and a squeaky clean personality? In turn, will the sponsors be able to capitalize on that name?
Gah, the storylines alone are never-ending.
The Jazz, on the other hand, are playing their cards close to the vest. They’re bringing in more players who could potentially go at No. 12, on the most orthodox of days, the Sunday before the draft.
While Jimmer–and most of the rest of the state–is at church Sunday, the Jazz will be working out six players, mostly big men, in a strange, almost eerie set of circumstances.
The timing of this sudden workout–which came together in less than two days–almost tells you that Paul Millsap may be part of some impending deal, and it also means Jimmer may not be part of the Jazz’ plans at No. 3, or at 12.
It may also mean that the ex-Kentucky Wildcat Knight is very much on the minds of Jazz brass, despite the arrogant comments he made to the media after his solo workout.
Again, the Jazz aren’t necessarily looking for a guy who can sell tickets and shoes–well, in a way they are, but that’s another story–they are looking for somebody who can win games.
So it goes in a year when so much is riding on one draft for a Jazz team unaccustomed to being in such a spot.
Looking at mock drafts on a day-to-day basis is like going to Wyoming Downs and knowing which horse you should pick every day; it’s all a crap shoot, really, and sometimes, you just get lucky.
To call this year one of rebuilding for the Jazz is a gross understatement; it’s possible–if ESPN’s Chad Ford is accurate–that you could see Jazz players Devin Harris and Millsap become trade bait, which may even give the Jazz more draft picks, or less, depending upon who is involved.
That’s not even including Andrei Kirilenko, and his expired $17 million contract, which will be no easy task for any NBA team–particularly during a year in which a lockout is looming–to pick up.
Drafting players on the whole is like playing Texas Hold-Em; there is a specific strategy that each team will employ to make sure they get–or try to get–the player or players they want.
This year, it’s like playing Russian Roulette, because you really don’t know what player you’ll land on.
2011 really is the most up-in-the-air draft for the Jazz since who knows when, possibly the same year Deron Williams was drafted. Even then, however, there were two or three lock picks. This year, there is one: Duke guard Kyrie Irving. The rest of the field is wide open.
You all know how the Williams draft turned out; Williams eventually became an All-Star and then last year happened, which sent the franchise into the same tailspin under which they barely treaded water back when Williams played in his first year.
Now that confusing turn of events is all water under the bridge; the state underwent tremendous flooding this year, and so, it’s also time for the Jazz to plug some holes in a few leaks.
That’s what this year’s draft is for; bring in some new guys and, possibly, get rid of some players who still have value to an NBA team.
In the meantime, there’s still talk about Jimmer this and Jimmer that, and frankly, whom the Jazz might select this Thursday. Get ready for a bumpy ride, folks, because nothing in this 2011 NBA Draft is for granted, especially not for the Jazz.