Can Utah Jazz Build Dynasty With Draft Picks?

Feb 25, 2023, 1:51 PM | Updated: 1:56 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz are in a weird spot this season. The team is hovering around .500 and at the trade deadline they moved key players in Mike Conley, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt.

One could assume with those veteranes gone — specifically Conley — the Jazz would fall deeper into the lottery while piling up losses. That is not exactly the case as the Jazz are in the thick of the playoff race to be in a play-in game and are within shouting distance of home court advantage in a very crowded Western Conference.

The odds of the Jazz getting home court or avoiding the play-in game for a playoff berth are low. Danny Ainge and the other higher-ups need to look long-term. The Jazz have 15 first-round draft picks at their disposal, including two this upcoming year with one of those being from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The rest of the Jazz’s schedule ranks as the 19th-toughest to close out the season. Utah’s opponents’ winning percentage averages out at .496. The Timberwolves have the fourth-toughest remaining schedule and they could drop into the lottery helping the Jazz’s chances of moving up in the draft as the ’23 pick is unprotected.

Count in KSL Sports Live’s Jeremiah Jensen, who thinks the Jazz’s best chance to land a star player is to make sure the team gets a lottery pick.

“I think you want them in the lottery,” Jensen said. “I am not going to rationalize them being in the lottery and it being a valuable experience…Where this franchise is right now, the decisions made at the trade deadline signaled where they wanted this to go. I think it’s all about the future.”

Jensen also went on to say that the team needs to find a true No. 1, although he believes that Lauri Markkanen is a really good player.

Markkanen can be an upper-level No. 2 player on this team but the Jazz need to find a superstar and that might come by landing a top pick.

Utah Jazz Dynasty Through The Draft?

The draft does seem to be the way that the Jazz are going to build but they are expected to have around $60 million in cap space. However, building a title through free agency is tough.

Draft capital is very valuable and the Jazz have so many picks that they can us to make trades, add players, or keep them in hopes to improve this team fairly quickly.

RELATED: Stay up to date with all of our Utah Jazz coverage

Unrivaled’s Scott Mitchell is hesitant to say but he thinks that it might be possible for Ainge to build a dynasty with the many draft picks that the Jazz own.

“You have a lot of young players that can grow and develop. Then you have all of these draft picks,” Mitchell said. “You can keep adding to it year after year. You literally then can end up creating — I hate to say it — but a massive window, maybe even a dynasty in Utah. All of a sudden Utah becomes a sexy place.”

Mitchell’s reasoning is that the new way to build teams is through the draft. Ainge is hoping to have the same success in Utah that he did with the Boston Celtics. Ainge made shrewd trades to help win the 2008 title for Boston and his presence was felt this past year when Boston returned to the NBA Finals in part because of the deals he made.

Building through the draft, plus using these picks as leverage in trades, is going to be the best chance that the Jazz have to win its first NBA title in franchise history.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m. on 1280 AM and 97.5 FM, or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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Can Utah Jazz Build Dynasty With Draft Picks?