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Monson: Is Kevin O'Connor building the Jazz into a title contender?

O’Connor has assembled a nucleus that is good now but can get even better.

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O’Connor believes, everything else being equal, growth from within is preferable because you have to give something up to get something back in trade. And, as he says it, with internal growth, "You know what you have, you know where they need to get to. Get somebody from the outside, whether it’s a drafted rookie or a trade, and you don’t know the person as well as you think you do.

"We know these guys."

Remaining Jazz schedule

Tuesday » Phoenix at Utah, 8:30 p.m., TNT

Thursday » Portland at Utah, 6 p.m., ROOT

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He adds that the Jazz will eagerly help their youngsters develop over the offseason: "We’re going to spend a lot of time individually with the players on how they can get better, like Enes Kanter. We’ve got to get him so he’s in better shape. We’ve got to get him so he recognizes defenses. There’s a list of things we’ll go down with each player. We’re going to have a hands-on approach.

"Derrick Favors is 20 years old. I look forward to seeing him in two or three years, Kanter in two or three years. That’s how you have to build through the draft and then add pieces. Are we going to be able to get a huge free agent? Probably not. But we have to get free agents who fit in."

Beyond that, the Jazz have a trade exception to use before next December, a midlevel exception, and can utilize their assets yet under contract.

O’Connor is optimistic about the Jazz’s opportunity for growth and their expansive upside, and he should be.

They’re decent now, and they can get better. They still need outside shooting, and he knows that, too. But the foundation is in place, especially with one more successful key move added in, for another solid, enduring run. Regardless of how this season ends, the Jazz are in the early stages, the early scenes of a good long script, absent now of any melodramatic organ music. And O’Connor is the author of it.

GORDON MONSON hosts the "Gordon Monson Show" weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on 97.5 FM/1280 AM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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