When Joel Embiid went down with a navicular stress fracture in his foot, it looked like having the top overall pick had lost its luster. The Cavs were left with the decision to draft Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, or trade the pick. But things just a bit more interesting with the news that the Jazz have offered a monster deal for the top pick. They are reportedly offering Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, and the fifth overall pick for Jarrett Jack and the first overall pick. The Jazz have struggled ever since they broke up their playoff team led by Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer. The Jazz got a war chest of assets for Deron Williams from the Nets, but have failed to capitalize on the picks they acquired. They turned the assets they received into Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, two young and slightly-promising-but-not-amazing big men. For years now, they’ve been searching for a legitimate scoring wing. Gordon Hayward is a good player, but not transcendent. Apparently, the Jazz think there is a transcendent player in this draft though: Jabari Parker.
They’re offering Favors, the guy they’re essentially building their future around, as well as Alec Burks, a surprisingly good prospect, and the fifth pick for the right to take Jabari Parker first and Jarrett Jack. Let’s begin with what the Jazz are offering. Did you know that Favors and Burks are both 22 years old? There are players in this year’s draft who will be selected in the first round that are older than Favors and Burks. You probably didn’t know Alec Burks averaged 14 points per game off of 46% FG last year. And that Favors nearly averaged a double-double a game, at 13 points and 9 rebounds. He was also 14th in the league in blocked shots. Why give up on two very young, promising pieces for Jabari Parker? Sure, trade away Favors and Burks. Hell, deal them with fifth pick too. But don’t do do it for Jabari Parker. That’s a package that could come damn close to netting an All-Star. Say the Jazz make the trade. What exactly are they building on, then? Jabari Parker, Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, and Enes Kanter. Tell me what I’m missing, but that’s not a better nucleus than Favors, Kanter, Hayward, Burke, Burks, and Aaron Gordon, or whoever else they could take with the fifth pick. It’s not that the latter nucleus is great, or even that good. It’s just that Jabari Parker is not that good. The only understandable, yet still questionable, motive for the trade offer is to rejuvenate a boring team. Favors and Burks are solid players that don’t get the fans’ attention. They’re not superstars. They don’t have big names. Jabari Parker is a big name. And he’s Mormon. That certainly plays into Utah’s interest.
What small-market NBA teams seem to forget is winning trumps all. The ‘he-puts-butts-in-the-seats’ reasoning for a trade or draft pick is almost never a good way to reason things. You want to know what fills seats? Winning. And this trade would bring the Jazz no closer to that.