Lindsey altering Jazz's look

Jun 18 2013 - 11:39pm

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Not counting the guys they're bringing in today, the Jazz have eyeballed more than 70 potential new employees since the beginning of May. This has all been done as homework for the upcoming NBA draft, which will take place later this month.

If there's any question who's calling the shots down at Jazz headquarters, you haven't been paying attention.

Larry H. Miller kept the franchise alive here in Utah.

Larry's son, Greg, is now writing the checks he hopes will carry the Jazz to the next level.

And Dennis Lindsey has been charged with creating an action plan to take them there.

This is Lindsey's team and his fingerprints are starting to show.

Former GM Kevin O'Connor - now the Jazz's executive vice president of basketball operations - still has a key role with the team, but it has been amended to give Lindsey a more front-and-center function.

A former executive with the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs, Lindsey has been Utah's general manager for less than a year. During that time there have been more than a few telltale signs announcing his presence, indications there's a new way of doing things.

* For example, early last season the Jazz arranged to have a well-planned, healthy breakfast prepared for their players on gameday mornings. Also, there were a few subtle tweaks in when, where and how players were made available to the media before practices.

* During the run-up to this summer's draft, the Jazz have evaluated, worked out and interviewed more players than ever before. And in addition, they recently held a three-day mini camp for 24 free agents at the Zions Bank Basketball Center, a move Lindsey learned from his days in San Antonio.

With three draft picks - including the Nos. 14 and 21 selections in the first round - the Jazz need to do all that extra homework. However, the heavy volume of players coming through the practice facility also belies

Lindsey's new edict.

Essentially, it's this: The Jazz aren't the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers or Miami Heat; there's little margin for error and the best use of their resources is to uncover talent other teams have missed.

And if that approach sounds familiar it's because it's the same one employed by the Spurs.

If the Jazz really are Lindsey's team, they're in good hands. He understands the requirements of a smaller-market franchise and he knows what it takes to assemble pieces the right way.

By all indications, he's overseeing the Spursification of the Jazz at this very moment.

But, please, let's not get carried away here. In no way am I saying the Jazz will at some point become what the Spurs are or have been.

On the contrary, it was the Jazz who first established the blueprint for small-market success. But even with a couple of future Hall of Famers on the court (and another coaching on the sidelines) they never did win a title.

The Spurs followed Utah's lead and took it even farther, which is nice and all, but their success is based almost entirely on the good fortune of winning the 1997 NBA lottery and landing Tim Duncan.

Finding Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in unlikely places certainly helped, but the Duncan pick is the lucky linchpin in the entire scenario.

I hate to use the cliche "catch lighting in a bottle" here, but that's exactly what the Spurs did.

The question is, can the Jazz ever do it, too?

That obviously remains to be seen, but they've got a former San Antonio exec running the show and if he's got them undergoing a full-scale Spursification, that can't be a bad thing.

Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner's sports columnist. He can be reached at or at jburton@standard.net. He tweets at http://twitter.com/jmb247

 

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