After thunder, magic and spurs, the previews complete in american basketballAnd today we’re heading to Utah, to examine the ever-changing state of jazz.
A major issue as the new 2022/23 season approaches, Salt Lake City has been central in recent weeks in the news of the NBA summer.
In fact, Danny Aing, who became the club’s general manager last December, made the decision to radically change direction over the summer. Thus, from a team that had topped the table in the Western Conference for several seasons, but according to the club president reached its collective ceiling, the Jazz moved to a complete rebuilding, centered around young players and several future draft picks.
Smash everything, then rebuild
To signal the entry of this new era, Danny Inge chose the most radical option: blowing up the workforce, by transferring his best players in exchange for long-term compensation.
First, there was Rudi Gobert’s transfer when the free agency opened on July 1, sent to Wolves in exchange for owner Beasley, Patrick Beverly (then sent to the Lakers in exchange for Tallinn Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson), rookie Walker Kessler, Leandro Bolmaro and Jarred Vanderbilt and several first draft rounds (in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029), including a “swap” in 2026. Two months later, Donovan Mitchell was then sent off the stack, on September 1, to Cleveland in exchange for Laurie Markkanen, Collin Sexton, rookie Ochai Agbaji, three preliminary rounds (2025, 2027, 2029) and two “swaps” (2026, 2028). The jazz head also chose to separate, at the end of June, a few hours before the “Free Agent” market opened, from Royce O’Neill, who sent him to Brooklyn in return…in the first round of the draft.
And with that big clean-up perspective, the former Celtics head-thinker has not provided any of the club’s “free agents”, five in total.
In short, with many young (new) players and above all a set of future draft options (about two dozen through 2029), Jazz is in full position to rebuild for the long term, even if it is necessary to manage other important files in the coming months, especially Regarding the remaining veterans in the workforce (Bojan Bogdanovich, Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Rudy Jay).
– Access : Ochai Agbaji (Draft), Malik Beasley (Wolves), Leandro Bolmaro (Wolves), Simon Funtecchio, Tallinn Horton Tucker (Lakers), Stanley Johnson (Lakers), Johnny Guzhang, Walker Kessler (Wolves), Laurie Markkanen (Cavaliers), Colin Sexton (Raiders), Jared Vanderbilt (Raiders), Cody Zeller (Blazers)
– departing : Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers), Rudi Gobert (Wolves), Hassan Whiteside, Eric Paschal (Wolves), Juancho Hernangomez (Raptors), Danielle House (76s), Trent Forest (Hawks)
Player to watch: Laurie Markkanen
A vengeful and ready to return to the front of the stage after a lengthy injury last season, Colin Sexton was at first glance the obvious choice for this column. But on reflection, it’s his teammate Lauri Markkanen who has caught our attention the most, as the Finn’s last dynamic is more compelling than that of Young Paul.
Indeed, after a good recovery last year with Cleveland (14.8 points, 5.7 rebounds), and then having signed a high-quality campaign at EuroBasket this summer with a nice Finn selection (27.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists), the new strong winger appears to be Jazz, 25, is ready to take a step forward.
Within a workforce that is almost entirely modified, and above all largely renewed, Lauri Markkanen could easily establish himself as an offensive captain for his new team.
Even if he was allowed to rebound, the Cavaliers’ two-in-one system where he found himself in the role of “instant” shooter on the center wing wasn’t really his, and “Finnisher”, in Utah, will likely find a playing system akin to that in which he develops with his national team. A role similar to that of a “point forward”, this tall winger is able to handle the ball, both in transitions and in the half, where he can use his size to attack the circle or take advantage of mismatches in the low position.
Of course we also imagine Will Hardy as the new coach non-veteran du Jazz, he will not fail to exploit the quality of his shot, both in dribbling and in “pick-and-shoot” behind the arc, in “pick-and-pop” situations. In that regard, having a seasoned leading manager like Mike Conley, if he’s still in the jazz workforce at the start of the season, could prove beneficial to the Finn.
Average age: 25.9
Salaries: $154.3 million (nineteenth)
The perfect scenario
Consisting of an amazing but endearing mix of young players with long teeth and veterans who are serious about their approach while awaiting their transitions, the Jazz Team plays a fun game during the early months of this first year of Reconstruction.
Of course, Utah is no longer in the top four in the West, but rookie Will Hardy’s team at least has the advantage of giving everything he has on every outing, and often even manages to get a cold sweat in the “money time” of his opponents.
The club’s new strongman, in the continuity of his EuroBasket success, Lauri Markkanen has surpassed an individual milestone, making efficiency gains and approaching the 20-point average level. In his wake, Colin Sexton secures his role as a lieutenant, and several “role players” also show themselves to their advantage, such as Jared Vanderbilt, captain Jared Butler or rookie Ochai Agbaji, who has proven useful from his first year. to his “3 & D” profile.
The Veterans also managed to maintain their strength, without compromising the development of their young teammates: Mike Conley continues to provide a stable presence in attack, especially in the “pick-up and roll” of young hubs Walker Kessler and Udoka Azubuike, when Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson bring the shots and points out as is. Always the case. As the trading deadline approaches, they are rewarded for their patience and professionalism, and are transferred to top-tier teams for several future draft picks.
And so the season could go on and end quietly around the youngsters, who accumulate defeats but store valuable experience. Luck smiles even on jazz in ‘The Lottery’: Club regains top 4 option from 2023 draft, adds Prospect One of the great talents of his young project.
worst case scenario
With a workforce unbalanced from a profiles standpoint, with young players needing to play to develop but veterans not really inclined to cut back on their playing time, Jazz struggles to present a cohesive face, both on the court and in the locker room.
Fitness Trainer non-veteran, Will Hardy is a little overwhelmed by events and can’t work miracles, and tensions begin to escalate. Especially with Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson, who are starting to get upset because wins are rare, while their coach prefers to unleash the club’s young shoots. In general, everyone is waiting for the final explosion of manpower but Danny Aing does not want to rush into anything, and therefore feels it internally …
With Christmas approaching, jazz is already far away in the Western Conference, and veterans are calling for a move before the February deadline. The youths can then fully express themselves but Laurie Markanen becomes the ghost of Chicago once again, showing that he is completely unable to take on the status of a “franchise player”.
Finally, it ends up relocating older players, but not against the expected consideration as they fell in value at the start of the year. The good news is that the entire youth process can finally be deployed, until the end of the season. After a first year of eventful reconstruction, Danny Inge will be able to tackle what really interests him: the draft.
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