Brad Rock: Jazz in the near future hope to steal Oklahoma City’s thunder

Sports

OKLAHOMA CITY — Seeing how the Utah-Oklahoma City playoff series involves only small-market teams, can we speak in country talk? Toby Keith and Garth Brooks are Oklahoma natives. SHeDAISY is from Magna and Julianne Hough from Orem.

Jeans are fine for the theater in both places, especially if “Oklahoma!” is playing.

So here we go with the country-speak: The Oklahoma City Thunder are what the Utah Jazz want to be when they’re all growed up.

Trailing 1-0 in their best-of-seven series, the Jazz aren’t conceding anything. It’s just that OKC is what the Jazz want to be, i.e., a seriously strong team in a relatively underrated city.

Two decades ago, when the Jazz twice made the NBA Finals, there was suspicion this could never again happen with a small-market team. Then San Antonio won five championships. Oklahoma City has been to four conference finals, including one NBA final.

So take a close look, Jazz.

As they say in the weight-loss commercials, this could be you!

It might even happen soon.

“I think so,” said Jazz reserve Royce O’Neale. “I mean, we’ve got a great group of guys who work hard, love playing with each other, guys who want to be great. So they’re going to do what they have to. I think we’ve got a couple guys ready for that role in a couple years.”

It can’t come soon enough for Jazz fans, who haven’t seen a deep playoff team since the days of Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams. For now, OKC is a team with enough talent in its starting lineup to win a championship.

Currently the Jazz are a tomorrow team, with Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell rapidly evolving. If Mitchell’s foot contusion slows him in Wednesday’s Game 2, they’ll probably be a “gone team.” Oklahoma City is all about today. Carmelo Anthony is 33 and showing some mileage, but pairing him with 29-year-old Russell Westbrook and 27-year-old Paul George was a shrewd move.

Utah couldn’t be blamed for watching the Thunder from the corner of its eye. Every team wants draft picks that turn into stars (Westbrook, Steven Adams). It also wants trades that infuse superior talent (George, Anthony). Then it picks up some still useful free agents (Corey Brewer).

At one time, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Westbrook were on the same OKC team, drafted by the franchise, at Nos. 2, 3, 4, respectively (Durant and Westbrook were selected when the team was in Seattle). Teams mess …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

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