Offseason Plan: Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz: Run it Back

The Utah Jazz had a great season. They finished the season with 50 wins and 32 losses. That was good enough for the fifth seed in the Western conference. That is a very good record, but since the West is loaded with talent, it was only the fifth seed. That shouldn’t diminish the accomplishments that the team accomplished. Donovan Mitchell was able to increase his scoring and he was also able to get to the free-throw line more as well. Rudy Gobert scored a career high in points and also grabbed a career high in rebounds as well. The point is, the Jazz had a very nice season and their players were able to get better. But unfortunately for them, their offense fell short at the end of the day. If you watched the Jazz and Rockets series during the playoffs, the Jazz were terrible on the offensive side, but terrific on defense. Forcing James Harden to go 0-15 from the field at one point is amazing, but their offense couldn’t seem to get it going and they lost in five games. The Jazz need to give it another try because they have the pieces but they need a point guard to run the offense at a much more efficient rate.

Players to Let Go

The Jazz have five players that are set to be free-agents with two of them being restricted free-agents. Ricky Rubio, Thabo Sefolosha, Ekpe Udoh, Naz Mitrou-Long (Restricted), and Tyler Cavanaugh (Restricted). Ricky Rubio is an aging point guard from Spain. I have never been a fan of Rubio. He has always been a pretty inefficient shooter and he has also never really been that good of a point guard. I believe he would actually be a pretty good bench point guard that could run the offense but as a starter, he doesn’t fit well with Mitchell. Rubio cannot shoot and Mitchell is an okay shooter which can create some awkward offensive sets. They don’t really mesh well with their talents. Rubio does however fit very well with Gobert, but anyone capable of throwing smart lobs could be efficient with Gobert. Mitchell is more than capable of that as well. So in the end, the Jazz should let Rubio walk. Thabo Sefelosha has always been known as a great defender. He had stifling defense but he also had a decent three point jump shot int he past. Thabo didn’t get too much time to play this season. For this reason, I think the Jazz will let Thabo walk. Ekpe Udoh has never been a good offensive player. On the defensive side is where Udoh has typically shined. But this season, Udoh fell out of the rotation and never was able to get back into it. The Jazz will let him walk because he offers no real use because of the lack of offense. Mitrou-Long and Cavanaugh never really got a chance to play this season and for this reason, most likely they will be let go as well.

Players to Keep

The Jazz have no free-agents to keep.

Players to Sign

The Jazz have always struggled to get a good point guard. Rubio was supposed to be that answer but that clearly didn’t work out. They should focus on a good scoring point guard. They should think about signing Kemba Walker, Rudy Gay and Julius Randle (Player option). Get used to Kemba Walker being in more offseason plans. His play style fits with any team that needs a point guard. This could be similar to the Indiana Pacers situation. They are in dire need of a point guard and they rely heavily on the two guard to carry a bulk of the scoring. Kemba had a career year, I believe he is pretty much gone and he will be looking for a new home that needs a point guard. Kemba and the Jazz are a match made in heaven. They should do everything in their power to sign him. Kemba averaged 25.6 points a game, which was a career high and he also dished 5.9 assists a game. Rudy Gay may be an odd player to put here, but the Jazz need scoring. He may not be the most explosive, or the best scorer in free-agency but he is a veteran presence that should be able to help the Jazz and Donovan Mitchell on that end. Rudy gay averaged 13.7 points a game, and 6.8 rebounds a game. Julius Randle exploded this season for 21.4 points a game and he also grabbed 8.7 rebounds a game. He needs to be considered for Most Improved Player but nonetheless, he had an amazing season. He does have a player option which gives him the opportunity to stay with the Pelicans, but with the uncertainty that fills the air in New Orleans, Randle probably leaves. He should be a very active player that can score but also rebound at a high rate as well. This also lets Derrick Favors come off the bench and back up Rudy Gobert. The Jazz have some great youth on their team, and they should be able to build upon this season. If they are able to sign Kemba, they will be much more successful, getting the other two would just be icing on the cake.

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