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To Be Good, the Utah Jazz May Have to Be Bad

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | After years of mediocrity, years of being playoff-caliber but not good enough to actually contend for a title, the Utah Jazz are trying something new -- full-on rebuilding mode.

The product may not be pretty at first. Especially when you consider that the average age of this season's projected starting lineup is 21.6.

But, eventually, it should be oh-so-sweet.

Getting the ball rolling

General manager Dennis Lindsey began jazzing up the roster a few weeks ago when, during the NBA draft, he used Utah's two first-round picks -- Nos. 14 and 21 -- to trade up and acquire Big Ten and consensus National Player of the Year Trey Burke.

Later, Lindsey sent the 46th pick and cash to the Denver Nuggets to get back in the first round, where he selected French center Rudy Gobert (No. 27), and then gave the Atlanta Hawks a future second-round pick for their 47th selection, which he used on Brazilian point guard Raul Neto.

Busy night, right? Turns out, Lindsey was just getting started.

See ya, vets

Once free agency commenced, Lindsey did not re-sign the team's top two scorers, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, allowing them to join the Charlotte Bobcats and Atlanta Hawks, respectively.

Subsequently, Lindsey made a deal with the Golden State Warriors that involved sending Kevin Murphy to the Bay Area for Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, Brandon Rush, draft picks, and cash.

The benefits here are fourfold: (1) Jefferson & Co.'s expiring contracts will help the team meet the $52.8 million minimum payroll without committing money beyond this season; (2) The trio, unlike Jefferson and Millsap, won't steal minutes from the youngsters; (3) The Jazz got two first-round picks, one of which is in next year's deep draft; and (4) Rush, who owns a career 41.3 3-point percentage, should provide Utah with some much-needed shooting.

What's next

Now that four-fifths of last season's starters are gone, the Jazz will finally find out what their collection of lottery picks can do.

Will Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Trey Burke grow together and develop into the players they were projected to be?

If yes, perfect. The team will have the funds to extend their contracts.

If not, that's OK. A rough 2013-14 could result in a top five draft pick, maybe even Andrew Wiggins or fan-favorite Jabari Parker.

Jared Bray, a graduate of Brigham Young University's broadcast journalism program, has followed the Utah Jazz since 2008, when he covered the team as a sports correspondent for KBYU-TV's Daily News at Noon.

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