SALT LAKE CITY — With the news of Joel Embiid having surgery to repair a stress fracture to the navicular bone in his right foot, NBA teams were forced to alter their draft boards as many expected Embiid to drop. That potential shakeup may have a franchise- changing impact for the Utah Jazz.
Thursday afternoon, Joe Kotoch of SheridanHoops.com tweeted that he heard the Cleveland Cavaliers, which are set to draft the No. 1 pick in next week’s draft, had reached out to the Jazz for a potential trade for the top pick.
Hearing the Cavs and Jazz have discussed a swap of picks. Jazz would move up to take Parker and Cavs would likely get Favors and 5. — Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) Ju ne 19, 2014
Although many Jazz fans would contend that Derrick Favors is an untouchable player in any trade talk conversations, the decision to move Favors for the No. 1 pick is exactly what the Jazz need to do to be competitive moving forward.
Yes, Favors is a fan favorite and would be greatly missed, but he will never be the type of player to lead the Jazz to an NBA title, which is the goal of any team, especially the Jazz who flirted with that dream twice. Favors would be a great asset to help a team get to the finals, and could likely be an All Star, but the Jazz need a superstar. And the Jazz have the potential to get a superstar with Parker.
Favors may be one of the best players on the Jazz roster, but if someone like Jabari Parker, who is expected to be at the top of the Jazz draft board and a potential superstar in the league, is available, the Jazz should agree to any reasonable offer extended. And the Kotoch rumor is exactly the perfect scenario for the Jazz.
The supposed deal would work for both parties involved. The fact that Cleveland is looking to shop the No. 1 pick means it was looking for a power forward or center in the draft. Favors, who has proven his ability to play a significant role as a starter in either position, would fit that role for the Cavs. The Jazz would get a potential superstar for a team lacking a go-to guy and a necessary piece to assembling a team that could someday compete for an NBA title.
Additionally, the Jazz need someone who can consistently score and be the go-to player in clutch situations. In high school, Parker was thought to be the best high school athlete in the country. Parker followed it up by leading an always talented Duke team in scoring (19.1 points) and rebounding (8.7 rebounds).
By all accounts, Parker should be able to make that transition to the NBA, especially with former head coach Mike Krzyzewski — arguably the best coach in college basketball who has coached some of the best NBA athletes in the Olympics — as a mentor and educator of basketball.
Although it's possible Parker may not live up to the hype, the risk is one the Jazz can afford to take, even if it means giving up Favors. However, it’s reasonable to believe that Parker can make that transition to the NBA and lead a team almost immediately.
If Parker can’t learn an NBA-style game under the tutelage of Krzyzewski, it’s likely he would have been exposed already by scouts and NBA front offices. There is always inherent risk with any draft pick, but Parker appears to be one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft and an immediate impact player.
All of this doesn’t even take into account the obvious advantage of having a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the team — a massive upside for the Jazz front office looking to sell tickets. Although Parker may not be Jimmer, I doubt Jazz fans would be disappointed in “settling” with Parker.
Religion shouldn’t be a factor in this trade rumor, but it’s an obvious advantage for a state with a heavily populated LDS membership, many of whom will be buying season tickets, single game tickets, merchandise and apparel. Think BYU exposure, but with a professional basketball team. Yeah, it matters to fans and the Jazz front office.
If the Kotoch rumor actually transpires in a fortunate circumstance of fate, the Jazz would instantly sell out of Parker Jazz jerseys and would see an increase in season ticket and single game sales — even if the Jazz go through another losing season, which is an all-but-certain scenario.
The front office shouldn't necessarily be swayed by fan approval of incoming players, but it certainly helps the profits. And why not meet both needs — the talent and the profits — with a single decision: Trade Derrick Favors and draft the future of the Jazz organization.