Mar 9, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton (2) drives against the defense of Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15) and shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Help Wanted: NBA All-Star


 

The Utah Jazz are coming off a season in the worst possible position.  They are the best team that didn’t make it into the playoffs.  Being the best team that doesn’t make the playoffs means you get the worst draft pick in the lottery and you didn’t earn any extra money as a franchise by making the playoffs.  What is this team missing to make them a mediocre team and not being able to get over the hump to a solid playoff team?  The answer is simple.  The Jazz have a bunch of really good players but they don’t have anyone who is great.  The NBA is a league ruled by stars and there are very few teams who can compete without having someone on their roster that can make regular NBA players look stupid at times.

There are exceptions to this as there were teams in the playoffs that didn’t have an all-star.  The Hawks, Bucks and Nuggets all made the playoffs and didn’t have a player on their roster that made the all-star game this season.  The Hawks and the Nuggets both had players on their rosters that have made the all-star game before and were heavily considered for the all-star game this year.  I’m leaving the Bucks out because the only reason they made the playoffs is because they play in the much weaker Eastern Conference and would have finished 11th in the West with that record.  The fact is that most teams cannot compete in this league without having an all-star on their roster.

The Jazz had one player on their roster who had previously made an all-star game and that guy was Mo Williams.  Mo made the all-star game when he was playing alongside the best player in the NBA.  Mo was also hurt for a significant amount of the season.  The point I’m trying to make is that the Jazz are a good team but to become a great team the Jazz are going to have to have an all-star player or two before they will really start to compete in the Western Conference.  Looking at the current Jazz roster there are potential all-stars on it.  Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors are probably the two best shots the Jazz have for players to make it next season.  Both of these players have shown a ton of potential but still have to progress to have a shot to become an all-star.

I’m going to single out Derrick Favors because I believe he is a future all-star in this league.  He is a top-tier defensive player and hopefully if he lives in the gym can become an offensive force for the Jazz.  The only issue is that I’m not sure which forward you’re going to take off last years all-star game roster to replace with Favors.  Here’s a list of the forwards that were selected this past season.

Dwight Howard
Kevin Durant
Blake Griffin
LaMarcus Aldridge
Tim Duncan
David Lee
Zach Randolf

If Favors wants to make an all-star game he’s going to have to become better than at least one of these players.  We also have to remember that there are players like Kenneth Faried who didn’t make the all-star game and Kevin Love who is an all-star that was injured this past season.  Favors is going to have to improve a bunch this next season if he is even going to be considered for the all-star game.

It looks to be a long shot that anyone on the current Jazz roster makes the all-star game next season their only other options are the draft, free agency and via trade to acquire an all-star caliber player.  The biggest names in free agency are Dwight Howard and Chris Paul but those guys have slim to none chance of signing with the Jazz.  The draft doesn’t look to have an all-star in it and if there is he is probably going to go in the top five picks.  Trade seems like it may be the only option for the Jazz to acquire a guy at the all-star level.  Since the 1976-77 the Jazz have never gone longer than 2 seasons without a player making the all-star game.  The table below lists every player the Jazz have gone to the all-star game since then.

 

2010-11

Deron Williams

2009-10

Deron Williams

2007-08

Carlos Boozer

2006-07

Carlos Boozer
Mehmet Okur

2003-04

Andrei Kirilenko

2001-02

Karl Malone

2000-01

Karl Malone

1999-00

Karl Malone
John Stockton

1997-98

Karl Malone

1996-97

Karl Malone
John Stockton

1995-96

Karl Malone
John Stockton

1994-95

Karl Malone
John Stockton

1993-94

Karl Malone
John Stockton

1992-93

Karl Malone
John Stockton

1991-92

Karl Malone
John Stockton

1990-91

Karl Malone
John Stockton

1989-90

Karl Malone
John Stockton

1988-89

Mark Eaton
Karl Malone
John Stockton

1987-88

Karl Malone

1985-86

Adrian Dantley

1984-85

Adrian Dantley

1983-84

Adrian Dantley
Rickey Green

1981-82

Adrian Dantley

1980-81

Adrian Dantley

1979-80

Adrian Dantley

1978-79

Pete Maravich

1977-78

Pete Maravich
Truck Robinson

1976-77

Pete Maravich

Table provided by http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/UTA/all_star.html

 

If I’m reading all of this information correctly then what I’m gathering is that if the Jazz do not have an all-star next season then they will have the biggest drought in franchise history without one.  To me this is a pretty significant thing for this franchise as it seems as though we have always had a face of the franchise or someone who this team can bank on as their best player.  The Jazz are in a great position financially and have a ton of flexibility with next years team as they only have a hand full of players from last years team under contract and the rest of them set to be free agents.  The Utah Jazz know they are at a crossroads for this organization and they need to make some sort of move before the season starts.  Hopefully the Jazz do something to keep the streak of no more than 2 season without an all-star alive.