The Rebuild — It was all for Gordon

In the year 2013, Gordon Hayward was the star of the Utah Jazz. The only problem was that he wasn’t very good yet and his teammates were actually really bad. To make matters worse, his coach, Tyrone Corbin, was completely clueless running the team and wore way too big of suits.

Gordon was starting to look like a promising figure for the team to build around, so us Jazz fans stayed hopeful.

My good friend Richard and I were up at Utah State during this painful year. We watched every game that year, sitting around my crappy 20" box tv that I had had for 10 years. We were fueled by Totino’s party pizzas and Dr. Pepper. However, night after night, we were disappointed as John Lucas III, who I think is the worst PG to ever put on a Jazz uniform, would throw the ball away over and over again. It would take the Jazz 9 games to finally get their first W, and at the 16 game mark, they were 2–14.

Rudy Gobert had been drafted at this point, but he was just a clumsy 7 footer who couldn’t catch the ball yet. There was promise in Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and Trey Burke (we all know how that turned out), but the one guy that gave all Jazz fans hope was Gordon Hayward. He looked like he was ready to take his game to the next level.

For the next couple of years, Richard and I continued watching the Jazz. They were really bad, but we still planned our lives around the Utah Jazz. We paid over $100/month for a ridiculous cable subscription even though the only thing we wanted to watch was Jazz games. If one of was wanted to ask a girl out, we’d make sure there wasn’t a Jazz game the night of the date. We would buy cheap tickets and drive from Logan to Salt Lake on a Tuesday night just to watch them get killed by the Thunder, or the Rockets, or the Clippers. We were fanatics, but we believed.

Through this rebuild, the one thing keeping us sane was the idea that Gordon Hayward would eventually lead the Jazz to the playoffs and they’d become a threat once again. Last year, Gordon Hayward did it. He led a team that was once run by John Lucas III, and turned it around and led them to the second round of the playoffs.

If Gordon Hayward leaves, the whole rebuild was in vain. All those frozen pizzas we consumed, the money we graciously handed over to Comcast in order to get Root Sports, the Jazz apparel and tickets we purchased, it will all feel like it went to waste.

Gordon is the Utah Jazz rebuild. Why would he leave when the dark days are finally over? Why would he trade being a Utah legend just to play in Boston for a few years with a ball hog point guard and a big man that isn’t even in the same tier as Rudy Gobert? Why would he choose Brad Stevens over the astute Quin Snyder? Gordon belongs in Utah, where he suffered through a 25-win season and then turned that into a promising playoff run just this past season.

The Utah Jazz are ready to be elite. Please Gordon Hayward, you’re our only hope.

Colten Van Tussenbrook, a hopeful Jazz fan.