Now factor in the return of a healthy Paul Millsap and that dynamic wing core of Jamal Murray and Gary Harris, and it seems all but certain that all this optimism will prove to be well-founded. But how good can they be? Title contenders, according to Malone, in the not-so-distant future. “Teams do it in different ways,” he continues. “And what I like about us is I never mortgaged our future for instant success. We didn’t trade a core young piece for instant gratification, for a season where maybe it would’ve helped us.
But big picture, long-term, was not going to allow us to have sustained success. And by keeping Jamal, Nikola, Gary, Trey (Lyles), our young core, re-signing Will, we feel that we have a chance to be competitive and ultimately a championship contender at some point. I give our ownership credit. And I’m not just blowing smoke, because we haven’t made the playoffs in five years, and we all want to make the playoffs, but we know that the importance of ‘Let’s look long term. Let’s not be a checkers player. Let’s be a chess player and look two, three steps ahead of everybody.’”