Rejoice Jazz fans, the mail is about to be delivered.
The Utah Jazz have officially announced that ten years after he left the team, Karl Malone will once again have a role with the Jazz. The 2nd all-time leading scorer and hall-of-famer will work with young big men Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors as a special assistant during the upcoming season. A sentence that was absolutely magical to write.
“I’m excited,” Malone told 1280 The Zone yesterday as he and Jazz owner Greg Miller told fans the new agreement. He’s excited? So are we. If The Mailman can instill even half of his work ethic and commitment to basketball into Kanter and Favors, the future is suddenly blindingly bright. Obviously, these things can’t always be taught, but it doesn’t hurt to have one of the greatest power forwards to ever play basketball guiding you along the path.
After a disappointing season in which the Jazz barely missed out on the postseason, this refreshing news has reinvigorated hope for next year. While it remains to be seen what kind of difference he will make, the psychological impact has me excited to watch our young players grow and develop. In no time Malone should have them running the hills of The Avenues and working on a basketball body that is worthy of the WWE. (Insert Enes Kanter) More than anything I’m hoping Malone will instill his insatiable desire to be the best that he could be. We’ve clearly seen the god-given talent and size that both Kanter and Favors posses, now it’s just a matter of harnessing that skill into production. Something that Malone mastered in his playing days. Production.
Not many NBA basketball teams have hall-of-fame players requesting that they be included in helping the team out in any way they could, but the Jazz have had this option for a few years now. Malone has never been shy, and was very vocal that he wanted to be included. There’s never been a better time in the last decade for Karl to finally be step in, especially because of the makeup of the young lottery picks that have been accumulated.
As mentioned before, it will be up to Favors and Kanter what they do with the knowledge that Malone bestows upon them. He can’t force them to train as hard as he did or study the game religiously or relentlessly adapt, but he can try. It’s up to them whether or not they give it there all. And after hearing that Favors requested Malone’s presence, I think he might be ready to make that final jump into the reliable starting power forward we’ve seen glimpses of the last three seasons. For Kanter, the same. Can he live up to the number three overall pick potential? These questions remain to be seen. They may never be answered. But Karl Malone most certainly can help.
He won’t be a full time assistant coach, and will fill a similar role to Jeff Hornacek did when he helped Andrei Kirilenko with his shooting a few years back. Nonetheless, it’s refreshing that he’ll be around at all. It’s refreshing knowing that the greatest player to ever suit up for our organization is back where he belongs.
And now that we’ve taken care of our big men, I’ve got one final question: “Stockton, you bored yet?”