Potentially the biggest Jazz Lakers game in their history, will be between two teams with less than 50 combined wins at the end of the season. The Utah Jazz (24-56) host the Los Angeles Lakers (25-54) Monday night at Energy Solutions Arena.
What’s at stake?
With two more Jazz losses the Jazz at worst will have the fourth worst record and potentially tied for the third worst with Orlando. This means when when the Jazz go to lottery night they will have roughly a 30% to land in the top 3.
Scouts have said many times that there is a big drop off after the top 6 (Wiggins, Parker, Embiid, Randle, Exum, Vonleh), notice Marcus Smart is not in this.
Jazz lose and likely tie Orlando for the third worst record as Orlando will play a struggling Pacers team in Orlando on the last night that might not mean anything for the playoffs. The Jazz would then have a coin flip for the third pick. The Lakers winning would put them in the sixth position and unless Boston wins in Philly tomorrow night could potentially knock the Lakers out of the coveted top 6.
Jazz win and move into a three way tie with the Celtics and Lakers. Does anybody really think this will be a fair coin flip? Two of the biggest market teams versus one of the smallest. I can just picture Adam Silver in his office alone, flipping a coin. We know how this goes,
teams that bring in the money get all the players whether legal or not. Let’s be real though this coin flip will be more of a 45/45/10 split rather than a 33/33/33.
The next 15 years depend on this game
The draft is not a sure thing, never has been. Two years ago the best two players went 1st and 6th (Davis and Lillard). Last year it’s looking like the best players went 11th, 9th and 2nd (MCW, Trey and Oladipo). The best way to look at this though is to compare it with the 2003 draft where the top 6 were 1. Lebron 2. Darko? Really Detroit?! 3. Carmello 4. Bosh 5. Wade 6. Kaman 7. Hinrich
You want to know how many NBA starters there were after those 7? 3… David West, Mo Williams and Kyle Korver drafted 18, 47 and 51 respectively. And you could argue the latter two aren’t good enough to be starters. Looking at this draft I think of players like Aaron Grodon, Nik Stauskas, Doug McDermott, Adrien Payne, Kyle Anderson and Gary Harris and think that this draft has plenty of starters, but that’s what they thought in 2003 as well. Anybody remember Michael Sweetney or Troy Bell? I do in college and thought they both had a solid future in the NBA but wasn’t the case.
My point is the Jazz NEED to lose to the Lakers just for that off chance that if we did tie the Lakers and Celtics and lost the coin flip, that the Jazz don’t also fall in the lottery and end up picking 7th.
Yes a top 3 or 4 would be great, but guess what so is picking 5th. Getting Randle at 5 would be huge for the Jazz’s organization and future as would obviously getting Jabari. What potentially would not be good is drafting Dario Saric or Clint Capela at 7.
If the Jazz get the 5th pick because they get leapfrogged in the lottery, be happy Jazz fans because that still means this was a highly successful year.
Follow me on Twitter @Jazz9titans