Just a handful of games into the season, it seems I, along with several league-wide writers, got things wrong: the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs aren’t what we thought.
Still, at least.
Both 5-2 in seven games apiece, Spurs and Jazz have looked terrific among some of the league’s top teams so far.
Utah forward Lauri Markkanen, flanked by Jordan Clarkson and the resurrected Colin Sexton, looks like a rising star. And Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson are carrying the load better than many expected so far.
For now, it looks like Utah and San Antonio are no match for the Magic and the Rockets, who again hold the worst records in their respective conferences. (Insert a joke about the Lakers and the Nets)
But that may not be the case for too long, especially in the case of Utah.
General manager Danny Ainge, who arrived in Utah after undergoing a complete rebuild in Boston, can’t be upset with the results so far. But he’s unlikely to be happy either.
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Jazz has great pieces, but not lasting in the way of long-term success. In order to contend for the Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson of the draft, he will likely have to offload even more players in exchange for future assets.
And Ainge just might.
San Antonio is a different case. They’ve suffered a long time in the middle ranks of the NBA, and it looks like they could be ready for another season.
While San Antonio has opted to go further for a full reset this season, they’ll likely be less shredded than the Jazz to tear away even more pieces of the culture they’ve built over the past few seasons.
Of course, both teams could fully rely on the cores they created. But as noted earlier, it’s clear that these lists are far from sustainable long-term success. Even if they are fun in the short term.
This is certainly a conundrum for CEOs. For now, we are enjoying the success of two teams that have outdone themselves. And that may not be for too long.
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