"Season Of Discovery" | Justin Zanik And Danny Ainge Express Optimism As An Offseason Of 'Fun' Approaches

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

When the Utah Jazz entered the offseason last April, fans had more questions than answers.

Fast forward one year later, and when Utah GM Justin Zanik and CEO of basketball operations Danny Ainge sat in front of local media for their annual end-of-season media availability, the organization was once again faced  with the unknown. 

Except, instead of concern, there was hope — and fun.

"Yeah, this is gonna be fun," Ainge laughed. "We have a lot more draft picks, more money to spend. … A shopping spree. This will be more fun, much more fun than last year."

After the season Utah just had, overachieving by nearly every standard, the Jazz had already answered many questions. 

"We thought that this season would be a journey, a season of discovery," Zanik said. "We got to find out a lot of different things about our players, things we really needed to know as we try to open up a championship window. The flexibility we were able to create for now and going forward, along with all the ability to go and target different things, that can take form in many different ways."

The Jazz now have limitless opportunities to accomplish the organization's  ultimate goal.

"The optionality that we've created with the roster, the possibilities are endless," Zanik said. "There's just multiple ways for us to continue to move forward with this team, and continue to try to open that championship window. … There could be a lot of change this summer."

Regardless of the team surpassing expectations, Jazz brass recognizes they will need more to reach the top of the mountain. The good news is that they will have three first round draft picks to use in June to help with some of their needs. 

"We weren't a very good shooting team at the end of the year. … We need to get better defensively," Ainge said. "Those are the two areas of focus."

Just because they have three picks and a  healthy amount of cap space to fill in some gaps, it doesn't mean that the Jazz will put all their stock into this summer. Instead, they will wait and see what/who becomes available and go from there. 

"We're not going to put a timeline on it because the very next thing is always the most important thing. … It's just a continuous timeline of us trying to make really good decisions," Zanik said.

"You guys aren't the only ones asking us when we're going to be good, how good we're going to be this year," Ainge added with a smile. "We get asked that question by Ryan (Smith) all the time. … He's anxious to spend his money, and we're anxious to spend it."