I *REALLY* want the Utah Jazz to win a playoff series
Here’s a list of reasons
Let me preface this post with a few disclaimers. I am not a Utah Jazz fan. I have no affiliation with the state of Utah, the city of Salt Lake, or really of any basketball team west of where I currently live. In a normal year, I couldn’t care less what happens to this team, but for reasons that I’m about to disclose, I’ll be cheering for them in the first round as loudly as I’ll cheer for any team outside of my Atlanta Hawks.
So without further preamble, here’s why I desperately want the Jazz to beat the LA Clippers in the first round:
They’re such a fun team
Cheering for the Hawks has given me a certain affinity for teams that are as good as they can possibly be without a superstar. Do you remember the 60-win Hawks from 2014–15? How they won so many games (and could have won more) with Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague, Al Horford, and Paul Millsap? To me, the Jazz are another version of that team.
Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert, and George Hill are — in my eyes at least—as good as any player can possibly be without breaching the “superstar” barrier. Hayward, in particular, gives this team so much offensive and defensive firepower. Together, this team forms an elite defense that is coupled with excellent offensive players. Imagine how good they would be in the Eastern Conference. Actually, just imagine how good they would be with better injury luck.
I love watching teams like this one, and I want them to be as good as they can be. Right now, that means beating the Clippers in round one.
There’s so much at stake for this team
As good as the Jazz are, the foundation of this team is much thinner than you might guess. Hayward and Hill are both free agents, and the team loses essentially all of its magic and skill without them. Utah isn’t going to attract a bevy of big-name free agents, so retaining its own stars is really the only way to stay relevant.
This summer, there are two paths — one is to resign both players and stay relevant for years. The other path is to lose one or both of them, and get significantly worse going forward. I honestly can’t say how much impact the 2017 playoffs are going to have on the team’s free-agency dilemma, but I imagine that staying put would look much more favorable to Hill and Hayward if the team proves itself in the playoffs this year.
I like Hayward a lot. He’s a fun, talented player, and I really want to see what he can be in Utah. Also, as a Hawks fan, I really don’t want him to go to the Celtics.
I would much rather see UTA/GSW than LAC/GSW
We all know how the second round of the playoffs is going to go for these two teams. Golden State will beat either one, but I would much rather see Utah in this position than LA. The Clippers have looked woefully incompetent against the Warriors in every one of their matchups this season, and I’m not terribly excited about seeing them in a playoff series.
While neither one of these teams has a reasonable chance of actually beating Golden State, I’ve seen the GSW/LAC matchup enough times, already. I’m ready for a new team, a Jazz team whose strengths match up perfectly with the Warriors’ weaknesses, to give it a shot in the second round. One of the most fun things about any basketball game is seeing new and interesting matchups, and Utah’s health situation means that we haven’t seen these two teams attack each other at full strength. I’m ready for something new.
It might break up the Clippers
I’m not one of those people who hates the Clippers, but it might be time to finally tear this team down. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are two very fun-t0-watch players, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that this team can’t compete at the top of the West anymore. If Utah stays together they may finish ahead of the Clippers next season, and it’s already nearly impossible for LA to finish ahead of SAS/HOU/GSW.
Is it really worth keeping this core around for fourth or fifth place going forward, especially when these players are only going to get worse? I have no problem with keeping a team this talented together in a vacuum, but the amount of money it would take to do so seems out of place for a team that can’t reasonably expect to make the Finals. The rebuild is already going to be long and painful, but it would be better to start it earlier. A loss to the Jazz might help push this team to the brink.
For any Clippers fans reading this, I’m sorry. I enjoy watching Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and I had high hopes for this team back in November. Now though, it’s time for some new blood in the second round of the playoffs. It’s time for the Jazz.