The test is tonight.
You play in L.A. against the world-champion Lakers. A Laker team who has had the #1 seed in the playoffs locked up for some weeks now. A team playing without Andrew Bynum. A team that clearly doesn't give a care until the aforementioned playoffs begin, because they've lost three of their last four games.
Meanwhile, you, the Jazz, are locked in a battle to keep that second spot. You have everything to play for, because one loss over this final stretch could be the difference between the second seed and the fifth seed.
You have to win this game. If you fail to, I cannot take you seriously in the playoffs. My stance has long been that no team with Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur manning the 4 and 5 spots can ever, ever win an NBA championship, but if you win tonight, I'll allow myself to believe a little bit.
Lose, and we're done until November.
So there you have it, the Jazz. No pressure or anything.
In other NBA news, the Knicks are a lot better than I hoped they'd be this season.
"[B]ut the Jazz are still virtually assured a bottom-three pick," I wrote back in December.
Well, a quick look at the standings shows that currently, SEVEN teams have worse records than the Knicks. That means if the laws of probability don't favor Utah over these next six games and/or when the envelopes are drawn this summer (see: Chicago in 2008), the best we Jazz fans can hope for is the 8th pick in the draft.
And like last year, there's a pretty clear line between the good and the bad of this draft. Remember those guys I was excited about potentially drafting? Derrick Favors, Evan Turner, etc.? Long gone by the time pick number eight rolls around. NBADraft.net has the Jazz taking Greg Monroe from Georgetown with the pick, and says he's comparable to Lamar Odom, only less athletic.
But hey, he is 6'10" and can block and rebound, so who knows? Maybe the Jazz will take him and he'll be a great young, defensive big man in Utah.
Either way, the Knicks pick is not as great as I hoped it'd be. Darn you, Nets. Darn you, Gilbert Arenas. Darn you, Joe Dumars, Minnesota's management and the Warriors.