Today we wrap up the Northwest division in our Into the Future series by comparing the Sixers future to the Utah Jazz. Here's how the previous votes have shaken out:
(Based on the extremely biased votes of Sixers fans)
Better future than Sixers
Worse future than Sixers
I'm a big fan of Kevin O'Connor and obviously he has the edge over Stefanski and Thorn. Our front office is clearly in better shape than when we started the ItF series, but I still cringe at the idea of Stefanski being involved in any basketball decision, and Thorn will have to earn my trust before I go all in with him. He has an impressive track record, but what's he done lately? At least he didn't say anything too off the wall in his latest interview with the Daily News.
Andrei Kirilenko $17 million expiring contract - The Jazz could use AK47 to land an All-Star or a package similar to what the Rockets received for T-Mac last season.
Deron Williams - One of the better point guards in the NBA.
Al Jefferson - Not as good as Carlos Boozer, but only 25 and flat-out stolen from the T'Wolves.
Paul Millsap - Great role player at a reasonable price.
Gordon Hayward - 9th pick in the draft, fits team well, potential.
This is tougher call for me than you'd expect. The Jazz front office has me drooling after suffering through the Billy King and Ed Stefanski eras, and the Jazz obviously have a much better team than the Sixers. But can you win a title when you have 33 million dollars locked up to Deron Williams and Al Jefferson? I say no. The only shot the Jazz have to compete with the Heat, Lakers, Thunder, Blazers, etc. over the next five years is to trade for a legitimate second banana with AK47's contract, or land a big-time free agent in 2012 to pay alongside Williams, Hayward, Millsap and Jefferson. I'm skeptical of either happening.
I like the Sixers young potential much more than the Jazz -- specifically Turner and Holiday. All the Jazz really posses in the young potential department is Gordon Hayward. Millsap, Jefferson and Williams should all improve, but I wouldn't put any of them in the 'young potential' category.
It's very likely that neither team will win a championship anytime soon, but they'll go about not winning a championship in different ways. The Sixers will remain in the 6-10 seed range and redefine mediocrity while the Jazz will continue to make the playoffs, win a series or two, but ultimately lose to better teams.
All that said, I'll still take the Jazz future slightly. I like the Sixers young potential more, and also their potential to land another top 5 pick -- hopefully a superstar -- sometime soon, but I still trust the Jazz front office to make the correct decisions. I don't have that same trust with Thornfanski.