Leading the best teams in the NCAA and NBA

Jalen Suggs, Mike Conley, speed, and the future of basketball

BY DAVID THORPE

If you run an NBA team and you want it to be great, you probably dream of signing up the next Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, or James Harden.

Good luck with that! Once in a blue moon when those players come along, 30 teams want them. 

Meanwhile, the NBA’s best team, the Utah Jazz, is run by 33-year-old guard, Mike Conley. He is short, doesn’t dazzle with his handle, and won’t win any power-lifting awards—but he’s MVP-level in the advanced stats.

It’s a strategy. The Jazz, by design, spread the defense tissue thin with shooters, including Conley. But here’s the key: He’s super quick, has the smarts of every efficient dribbler, and deadly surgical. He’s nothing like the league’s dominant scorers—James Harden, Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry—who dribble into brilliance. Conley is quick with the ball, without an extraneous bounce or step.

Conley’s a throwback to Maurice Cheeks or Dennis Johnson, and—in the way history repeats itself, with wrinkles—Conley’s the future. 

A steady diet …

This post is for paying subscribers