The Utah Jazz put up a good fight against the Oklahoma City Thunder in their opening home game on Wednesday. But it was discouraging to see key players like small forward Gordon Hayward and power forward Derrick Favors coming up short with missed free throws as the Jazz would lose to the Thunder 101-98.
The Jazz gave Favors a four-year deal worth $49 million recently, and they are paying Favors to make his free throws late. Forget about the fact that Favors has shot 64 percent in his career at the free throw line. That is no longer an excuse.
Hayward is currently looking for a contract extension of his own. If you want a new contract, you don’t miss a wide open three-point jumper late in the fourth quarter against a playoff-caliber team in the Thunder at home. You just don’t do that. You also don’t miss your free throws the way Hayward did late in the game, as well.
The Jazz are a young team, and we all get that. But at the same time, the situation with Hayward for example proves that the Jazz need to save their money from here on out, especially with the situation with Hayward. He isn’t going to carry this team as a legit contender in the Western Conference. Sorry, that isn’t going to happen.
The way the Jazz roster shakes up right now, they are nothing more than a seventh seed at best in the Western Conference. So the organization should take their time with every player on the roster.
So at the end of the day, it is just one game when you put it in perspective. But last night’s loss to the Thunder was a sign that the Jazz need to pump the breaks on Hayward’s contract negotiations, and let things play out.