I’ve read a lot of NBA Draft projections, and a whole slew of them have Butler’s Gordon Hayward going to Utah with the ninth pick.
I’m no hoops expert. Hayward looks to be a very solid player who, best case, might score 15 ppg in a couple of years. He reminds me of … eh, uh, hell, I don’t even know.
What I do know is that Gordon Hayward to the Jazz doesn’t strike me as odd, because certain teams—led by Utah—seem to specialize in white players. Maybe that’s unfair, but I don’t think so. Back in the day, the Celtics ruled the landscape of white ballers, from Larry Bird and Kevin McHale to Danny Ainge and Jerry Sichting and Greg Kite and Brad Lohaus and Mark Acres and Rick Carlisle and Scott Wedman and on and on. Could this be mere perception? Perhaps. But the Celtics were, factually, v-e-r-y white, at a time when Boston was still an awfully racist town.
Looking over Utah’s roster, well, it’s pretty white. Kyle Korver is the quintisential white player from back in the day—an outside gunner with so-so speed. They also have Kyrylo Fesenko, Andrei Kirilenko, Kosta Koufos and Mehmet Okur—all foreign-born, all Caucasian. Is this sort of thing intentional? Hmm … hard to say. On the one hand, Utah’s two stars (Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer) are African-American, and their greatest all-time player (Karl Malone) is, too. But I do believe markets influence makeup, to a certain degree. And if there’s a whiter place in the world than Salt Lake City, I have yet to see it.
So do teams try and bring in whites over African-Americans? I’m guessing yes. What’s your take?