By Ryan Chan
At this point, everyone knows about Victor Wembanyama. The 18-year-old Frenchman center is said to be the single greatest prospect of all time. Standing at 7’4”, Victor Wembanyama is skilled with his dribbling, shooting, and defense. Once he has the ball in the paint, it’s over. He’ll either dunk all over the defender or effortlessly shoot over them. As the talented Frenchman prepares to enter the 2023 NBA draft, half of the league will attempt to tank for the #1 pick.
Yea… this kid is insane.
One of the teams that many NBA fans considered would tank would be the Utah Jazz. After having many successful regular seasons, the Jazz couldn’t achieve any success during the playoffs. Eventually, their failure to operate in the playoffs led to the departure of the All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell and All-Star center Rudy Gobert. During the offseason, the Jazz traded these two All-Stars for a plethora of draft picks and are looking to rebuild. That’s the reason many fans thought that tanking the 2022-2023 season would be an excellent way for the Utah Jazz to potentially acquire a franchise cornerstone such as Wembanyama.
To our surprise, the Jazz have started off the season red hot. Led by their newly acquired young forward, Lauri Markkanen, the Jazz are 11-6 and possess the second record in the Western conference. What’s most surprising is that the Jazz’s victories have been against good teams such as the Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans, and the Memphis Grizzlies (twice). So far, the Jazz have been playing with chemistry and selflessness, which is most likely the product of their new head coach, Will Hardy.
Despite having a blazing hot start, the Jazz roster is not constructed for championship hopes. And so, the Jazz GM, Danny Ainge, is in a tough spot. As the Jazz are neither championship contenders nor bottom feeders, Ainge will have to make some tough decisions that will ultimately improve their chances at Victor Wembanyama. Hopefully, as the season continues, we will get a better understanding of what direction the Jazz will be heading.