Compared to most teams in the NBA, the Utah Jazz have a big advantage.
Not only does the team have two proven veteran post players in center Al Jefferson and power forward Paul Millsap, but the Jazz also have a pair of promising post players in youngsters Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
One popular opinion in Utah this offseason is that the Jazz should trade either Jefferson or Millsap to procure a much-needed shooter or pass-first point guard and to give Favors and Kanter more playing time and experience.
That isn't how Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor sees it.
"What we've got to do is add to (our core)," O'Connor said after his team was eliminated by the Spurs in the first round. "I don't think we've got to blow it up and start over again, and I don't think we've got to be in a position where we're looking at it and saying we've got to trade some people."
Jefferson is hopeful the team remains together.
"If I had it my way, yes, I'd love to see everybody come back, because this is a team that we did well," Jefferson said. "All of us have the same goals and all of us have the same mindset just getting better as a team. We got a little taste this year. Now we're greedy. We want more."
Jefferson plans on working out this summer with Favors and Kanter at a Santa Barbara performance clinic, showing solidarity with the two young players who'd like to earn some of his minutes in the future.
Big Al believes that can help them improve and continue to gel.
"It's a wonderful business. It's a blessing to be here," Jefferson said. "I'm not going to not help someone because they might take my job. I don't look at it like that. I look at like I'm helping another brother succeed."
Both Jefferson and Millsap said they hope to stay in Utah past next season when their contracts expire. For one thing, Big Al is excited to see what Favors and Kanter turn into.
"I could see (Kanter) and Derrick dominating the league like Tim Duncan and David Robinson at one point in time if they could stay together," Jefferson said. "I would like to see that. It's amazing just to watch these two boys just grow in front of our eyes, and I feel like I had a little part to do with that."
With Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan and All-Star point guard Deron Williams no longer with the team, most people didn't expect much from the Jazz this season. But they defied most people's cynicism and overcame injuries to key players and a mix-and-match roster to persevere and make the playoffs.
The Jazz lost 11 of 14 games during a particularly ugly stretch in February, making a playoff appearance look unlikely. But Utah bounced back with an 11-8 March despite a road-heavy schedule, and then the Jazz began a critical five-game winning streak to push their way into the postseason with a triple-overtime win over Dallas.
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