Home Jazz Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell is gone and Jazz rebuilding is underway

Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell is gone and Jazz rebuilding is underway


We knew this was coming.

As soon as the Utah Jazz sent Rudy Gobert to Minnesota, it was only a matter of time before Donovan Mitchell was also traded. There are still dominoes to fall, but the rebuilding of the Jazz is officially underway.

The Jazz entered the offseason with an aging roster, two All-Stars who were clearly not going to be able to win a title at the Jazz, few young players with an advantage going forward, and they were scraping the bottom of the barrel when he came to write assets.

After finalizing a deal to trade Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers, trade Gobert to the Timberwolves, Royce O’Neale to the Brooklyn Nets and Patrick Beverley to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Jazz have already amassed a crazy amount of youth and recruiting capital.

Through those three deals, the Jazz acquired six players 25 or younger (Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, Talen Horton-Tucker), draft picks No. 14 and No. 22 in 2022. (Ochai Agbaji and Walker Kessler), eight future first-round picks and three future pick trades.

This is the foundation upon which the future of Jazz rests.

There are more building blocks to come. Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson are all still valuable business assets who could bring in more youngsters and more picks, and the Jazz has plenty of interested parties who seek the services of strong, reliable and proven players.

But any trade involving the rest of the Jazz playoff squad will only serve to reinforce what has already begun.

After six straight years of playoff appearances, the Jazz are tearing it all down in hopes of building it back better. Although the playoff berths were promising, that promise never materialized into anything more, and the Jazz became a team heading into the middle of the playoff pack without a chance to play. to really be in contention for an NBA title.

A complete rebuild of the NBA is not easy for a fanbase. The Jazz will rack up more losses than anything else this season in an effort to increase the odds of turning their own 2023 draft pick into a top pick.

There will be young players going through growing pains and developing on the pitch, in front of everyone, under the lights, rather than behind the scenes with player development coaches.

New head coach Will Hardy will be tested. Not only will his job require him to find sustainable talent for the future and develop those talents, but he will have to find ways to keep a young, losing team motivated and hopeful for what could be.

Jazz’s front office will need to navigate the 2022-23 season and the seasons to come with a sense of patience and poise before choosing the perfect time to step into the fold. Timing will be everything.

There will be fans whose support wavers throughout the rebuilding process, but players will never forget the fans who stand behind them when things aren’t easy and it’s hard to see the light at the end. of the tunnel.

Every game can be seen as a scheduled defeat, but there will also be games where a young player shines brighter than expected and puts on a show that gives a glimpse of what might happen.

Progress is going to be measured differently. For years, the Mitchell and Gobert-led Jazz tried to go from good to great, but it won’t be that team anymore. The NBA playoffs can no longer be used to measure this team’s improvement.

Instead, progress will have to be based on whether one player can reduce his turnovers, whether another can improve his passing, can learn to defend flawlessly. Learning to celebrate small moral victories will be absolutely necessary.

It’s the beginning of a new era of Jazz basketball. Under new owner Ryan Smith, with Danny Ainge and Justin Zanik leading the front office, with Will Hardy in charge of team development, the rebuilding of the Jazz is officially underway.

Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, left, Jazz General Manager Justin Zanik, new Jazz head coach Will Hardy and Jazz owner Ryan Smith pose for a photo during a press conference to introduce the Hardy at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 5. 2022.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News