Its time for a mid-season check-in with your Utah Jazz and there isn’t any better way to do this than to get the voices your know best in the market to help analyze how they are doing. We’re grateful to have linked up with Amar, Clark, Diana, and Jon from SLC Dunk, Grant from Torn By Sports, Allen and James from The Dog and Deuce Show, and of course Mike and Matt weigh in as well. If you haven’t been reading SLC Dunk or TBS or listening to D&D, you really need to check them out.
8. What is or are the one or two pieces the team is missing to take them to the next level? Could that need be filled by someone on the roster now that isn’t necessarily being provided the opportunity right now?
Amar: The Jazz need to have that “point guard of the future” in order to advance. All the teams better than us in the Western conference have theirs. Hayward is a good facilitator. Burks is a good penetrator. But both are not that guy. We need to find that guy still.
Clark: For the Jazz to take the next step in improving, I believe they need to become an average to above average team defensively. We have the players on the roster to make that happen, even though they don’t have prominent roles right now. We could also use a point guard eventually, even though an average point guard who can play good defense would probably suffice. The Jazz do need somebody who can create their own offense eventually, but Gordon Hayward may be that player down the road and I still have hopes that Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter will become good offensive players who will shoot lots of free throws in their careers.
Deuce: A pass first PG, and I don’t believe the Jazz have that player on their roster. I’m not sure what the rookie, Murphy, who just got recalled from the D-League has to offer but when you got big men as the foundation of your team, you need to have the corresponding PG who can get them the ball in scoring situations.
Diana: We need a star and we need a different coach. Well I guess I shouldn’t judge Ty completely until Al is gone. Teams don’t get far in the NBA without stars. The myth that the 2004 Detroit Pistons won without a star is misleading. (Read Amar’s post on this subject.) Detroit had stars.
I would like to know if any of the C4 is that star (we need two). We don’t know because they haven’t been given that consistent opportunity to shine.
Dog: The Jazz needs more shooters. When Mo Williams and Gordon Hayward come back they will help in that area but I’d still like to pick up another deep threat.
Grant: The Jazz need a distributor; a point guard to fill their system. News Flash: Mo Williams isn’t it and neither is anyone else on this team. Many fans are looking to see Burks as the future, but he doesn’t fit the mold. The unfortunate thing is that teams don’t like trading away stud point guards. My personal preference would be for the Jazz to take their 2 first round picks and package them into a pick good enough to get the point guard for now and the future.
Jon I’m calling “the next level” a team that has a reasonable chance to gain home court advantage to the playoffs and win a series or two. With this definition, I don’t think they are necessarily missing pieces, but rather the team’s decision-makers have to change what skills they value.
They simply will not become a better team until the defense improves. They have the players on the roster right now to accomplish this. Hopefully they decide to give them a shot before the year 2018.
Matt: Two-part answer: First, a true point guard and second, improved defense. As previously discussed, Tinsley is not an option and Mo Williams is not the answer; he’s just the next stop gap measure from Kevin O’Conner. There aren’t many of this sort of PG in the league and there aren’t many coming out. The Jazz will likely have two mid-teens picks in June’s NBA draft and they’ll need to pachage them in some fashion to trade for a better PG who will be here for a while or for the rights to draft one. Defensively, the team just needs a true defender. I really feel that Millsap and Big Al try hard, but neither is super capable of defending their position and it hurts the team. Get a point guard and learn how to defend better. I like Trey Burks out of Michigan (if he goes pro.)
Mike: The current Jazz pick and roll hybrid still needs an A List shooting guard. As it did in the 90’s. I personally think a Paul George or James Harden type. As you look at the elite teams most have the cold blooded scorer at the 2.