Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Jefferson is movin' on up and out.
2012-2013 record: 43-39
The good: Uh...you caught me at a loss for words. I mean...they gave a noble effort. Al Jefferson is a monster, who put this team on his back during their ill-fated drive for the eighth seed. Paul Millsap had another fine year. Gordon Hayward was just this side of spectacular at the 3 and can hit the three. He's a guy you can build around. Alec Burks showed promise. DeMarre Carroll is an Energizer Bunny.
Derrick Favors had some spectacular games while working to earn time against the superb Millsap. Randy Foye is a solid perimeter threat. Enes Kanter, in his very limited minutes, looks like the center of the future. Mo Williams is in decline, but assayed another solid year at the point.
The bad: Just look at their contracts for next year and I swear you can hear the locker room clearing out. Led by Mr. Jefferson, who has every reason in the world to be movin' on up to a contender, here are the other expiring deals: Williams, Millsap, Foye, Carroll—who had his best season as a pro but won't make anybody forget Andrei Kirilenko—and assorted debris (an already-waived Raja Bell and the ghost of Jamaal Tinsley).
Who's left? Derrick Favors, Kanter, Hayward, Burks, Jeremy Evans and a grossly overpaid Marvin Williams, who will gladly pick up his player option.
Said as kindly as I can, that's not a playoff roster.
Bad to good: As Willy Wonka would say, "Strike that...reverse it." It should read good to bad. Utah fans, you've never seen a spell of futility like you're about to see—because the late time the franchise missed this many playoffs in a row, they were in New Orleans.
You want my advice? Grab your MP3 player and click on Thelonious Monk's Straight, No Chaser.
That's as close as you'll get to good jazz for a while.