Shaquille O’Neal even admitted that the Los Angeles Lakers participated in a version of it to avoid early playoff match-ups with the Utah Jazz.
During his regular TNT appearance, O’Neal shared this gem of an insight (via @UtahJazz): “When I was in L.A., we always wanted to stay away from Utah because of that pick-and-roll.”
That is as big of a compliment as John Stockton and Karl Malone can get.
When it comes to lottery picks, it’s looking like Utah might miss out on a pair of good first-round draft selections for two reasons:
1. The Warriors have wimped out on the season, disgracefully going a woeful 4-14 since owner Joe Lacob declared “We think we can get our pick back” from Utah. Because of the Deron Williams trade, the Jazz are due Golden State’s first-round selection this season unless it’s a top-seven pick after the lottery. It’d be shocking if the Warriors win another game, giving them a good chance to end in the bottom seven. (Utah can still get GSW’s first-round pick in the next couple of years with exceptions.)
2. The Timberwolves will receive Utah’s own first-round pick if it makes the playoffs, which will happen if the Jazz win their final three games. Minnesota and Utah worked that into the Al Jefferson deal two years ago.
“How would you explain to these guys on this team that? What would you say, ‘Hey, guys, we’ll get it next year?'” O’Connor asked. “Does that give them an excuse not to play and practice? Does that give them an excuse not to compete in games? Yeah, sure.”
O’Connor added: “To me, if you did that, I don’t know how you ever get a team back. You’d have to get rid of everybody and have another team come out.”
With that said, you can feel certain that if the Jazz end up with a lottery pick, it wasn’t because of something they tried to do through purposely losing games.
The Jazz might lose games, sure. But they’ll leave the tanking to organizations like the Warriors … and Lakers.