There’s another manner in which a Butler trade could dramatically impact the Jazz as well, although it wouldn’t take effect until after the conclusion of this season. If LA lands him and decides to invest in him long-term while also honoring his wishes of bringing in a second pricey star to pair him with, it could make it a little tricky for them to afford all their guys.
The Clipps owner can afford it
With all that being the case, there’s a certain Clipper that has been on the radar of Jazz fans, and I presume Jazz brass as well, for quite some time, that could very well become available in free agency. That man is Tobias Harris.
He might want to stay in LA if they have two stars
There have been reports that Harris has even expressed some degree of interest in joining the Utah Jazz, so if Butler and whoever else LA aims to bring in essentially push him out, it could increase Utah’s chances of landing the versatile stretch-four player who fits several of the coveted attributes the Jazz have been pursuing in a player for so long.
The Salt Lake City Stars were hoping for their version of that Cinderella story through open tryouts at Bruin Arena on the campus of Salt Lake Community College. “A Jonathon Simmons is what everyone is looking for,” said Bart Taylor, the Stars’ vice president of basketball operations. “We definitely challenge ourselves every year to try to find that guy.” – via Deseret News
“From afar, it’s such a great story, even coming from the University of Houston, with my ties to Houston and the way he came in,” Dennis Lindsey said of Simmons. “We actually had him in Utah Jazz mini-camp and he played very well and we hesitated so there’s a lot of pieces to Jonathon Simmons, but the San Antonio franchise should be proud that they helped him get in the league, although he’s now in Orlando.” – via Deseret News
“Every so often a club will catch lightning in a bottle with a Jonathon Simmons of the world or a David Nwaba, but a lot of good local, high school, college talent that these guys deserve and want a shot,” Lindsey said. “Even the guys that didn’t play at higher levels, that they now have had their opportunity to play in a pro camp and be evaluated here by professionals here with the Stars.” – via Deseret News
Lindsey still has a couple of training camp invites to hand out, but the Jazz's 2018-19 roster looks complete. Someone deserves a relaxing vacation on the beach after assembling the team.
No he doesn't
After adding Rubio last summer, the Jazz struggled during the first half of last season; so did Rubio. The Jazz clicked when Rubio did and went on to win 29 of their final 35 games. They jumped from 10th to fifth in the West and won their first-round playoff series. The entire team deserves credit for the turnaround, but Rubio played a key factor.
During this incredible stretch, Rubio averaged 16 points, five rebounds and five assists a game. He also had a fantastic playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, highlighted by his triple-double in Game 3.
Rubio is a great teammate, one of the best passers in the game and a pesky defender. But what he’s been really known for is being one of the worst shooters in the NBA. His improvement in this area under Quin Snyder has been remarkable. Lindsey will need to determine if Rubio’s improved shooting was just a hot streak or the new norm, which will affect how much he gets paid.
some of the ugliest passes you will see and a matador on D.
However, Lindsey just signed Exum (who plays the same position) to a three-year deal worth $11 million a season. If Rubio is extended for $15 million a year, Utah will have a bunch of money tied up in one position. Maybe this isn’t even an issue as the league is trending toward position-less basketball. If both of them improve their shooting, playing them together wouldn’t be a problem. If for some reason this pairing doesn’t work out, trading talented players isn’t overly challenging.
Exum is untradeable and Rubio was early last year.
There are no guarantees that the Jazz will land one of those names, so keeping Rubio now instead of hoping to sign someone later is the safer option. Because if Rubio bolts for another team (looking at you, Igor Kokoskov, and your Phoenix Suns) and the Jazz strike out in free agency, the team will be out of good options, much like the recent history of the Dallas Mavericks.
Exum, Mitchell, O'Neale and Allen. No reason to extend Rubio
The moral of this story is Rubio's contract should be extended. The Jazz have a history under Lindsey and Snyder’s leadership of players continuing to improve late in their careers; Joe Ingles is a great example. Believing in Rubio is a safe and smart bet.
Opposing teams may be better prepared this year for Mitchell, who will need to get his teammates involved more as he receives more attention. Mitchell’s scoring average may dip slightly, but his assists (4.2) and shooting numbers (42.0 FG, 31.3 3-pointers) should both improve and make the Jazz a better team.
It's going to get tougher without shooters
Until he got traded last February, Hood was a solid second scorer for Utah, averaging nearly 17 points per game, even though he played a similar position to Mitchell. But Hood is long gone and the player they received in the trade, Jae Crowder, is not known for his scoring prowess.
a solid 2nd scorer that made the team much worse
Rudy Gobert isn’t likely to improve much on his 13.5 ppg average, nor is Ricky Rubio (13.1 ppg), who had several big scoring nights as well as some single-digit ones. Derrick Favors, who has twice averaged more than 16 points a game, would seem to be the most likely candidate, but he’s not likely to be playing 30-plus minutes a night like he used to. Joe Ingles can light it up, but he probably won’t ever average more than a dozen points a game.
Rudy put over 17 a game when he had guys that could spread the floor around him. Should be Burks.
So it’s obvious that the Jazz should win several more games with a healthy Gobert in the lineup — perhaps as many as 55 this season.
A lottery team without him
The guess from here is that Allen will play most games, average around 5 or 6 points a game, but fill up the stat sheet with a couple of rebounds and assists per game. And don’t be surprised if he picks up a handful of technical fouls during the season.
Should start in the G-league if he doesn't earn it
However, keep your eye on Thabo Sefolosha, who a lot of folks forgot about after he went out with a season-ending injury in mid-January. The 6-7 forward is known for his defense, but he also put up solid numbers for the Jazz, averaging 8.2 points on 49.2 percent shooting and 4.2 rebounds per game. If the 34-year-old can produce similar numbers, which were all above his career averages, the Jazz would be thrilled.
and everyone forgot he was platooning when he got hurt! COTY!
With Butler now available, of course we have to ask, would the Jazz be interested in a trade? The quick answer to that would be “no”. The long answer would consider the chemistry the Jazz currently have, as well as the cost of acquiring Butler. The Jazz probably do not have any assets they would be willing to give up for Butler, especially when there is a strong likelihood of Butler leaving in the upcoming 2019 free agency. Based on Jimmy Butler’s three preferred destinations, it doesn’t seem like he is all too worried about winning a championship any time soon, and would probably prefer a landing spot where his numbers will look good for the next contract, netting him some extra money in the following contract. At the very least, that is the mentality his actions are portraying. With all things considered, Jimmy Butler would be a perfect fit for the Jazz on the court, but off the court he may simply carry too much baggage and too high a price tag for it to be worth the rental.
The only question for me is would you want to pay him into his mid 30's. I't trade everyone but the big 2 for him otherwise
About three minutes into Jazz's dispiriting Jan. 22 road loss to the Hawks, Ricky Rubio missed a layup. He was 0-of-5. Quin Snyder, Utah's coach, removed Rubio and sat next to him for a chat. Snyder suggested those five shots had been something less than good. Rubio countered that he was open. Snyder put Rubio back in 45 seconds later.
Therein lies the problem
Rubio had trouble adjusting to Utah's equal opportunity offense. What was the point of stashing a passing wizard with a rickety jump shot away from the ball?
there is no point. What's the point of playing defense behind your opponent?
Rubio discovered sharing the ball concealed his weakness -- that jumper -- instead of exacerbating it. When Mitchell started possessions with a pick-and-roll on one side of the floor, he bent the entire defense toward him. They could not gird themselves to duck under a Rubio pick-and-roll, because they did not know if Rubio would get the ball. "The beauty of our team is that anyone can shoot," Ingles says. "Especially Donovan. He always shoots." (Note: Ingles was teasing. He is always teasing.)
but only Ingles can shoot. another problem
He throws conventional passes from unconventional angles, timed to inflict maximum pain; look how this corner-to-corner beauty approaches Ingles' hands while his defender, Corey Brewer, is still drifting into the paint:
plenty of unconventional ons that were way off target
"I had those things in my game, but I was just scared before," Rubio says. "I don't even know why. In my head it was always, 'Do the right thing and don't make mistakes.'"
right there is his biggest problem. mental weakness
Rubio has to sustain this for Utah to continue climbing. It won't be easy. There will be nights when Rubio spends too much time in the corner, a passive decoy defenses ignore. His jumper will hit troughs. The Rubio/Gobert/Derrick Favors trio needs to show it can survive on offense over a full season; Favors' improvement on corner 3s and as a playmaker in space will be crucial, too.
good luck with that!
Rubio is a free agent this summer, and not yet 28. The Jazz could have a bonanza of cap space. If the Rubio-Mitchell partnership thrives, they will sacrifice a lot of it to keep building.
and if it doesn't they have Mitchell, O'Neale, Allen and Exum.
This is a 10-man rotation, probably deeper than a lot of teams throughout the regular season. And definitely deeper than most playoff rotations.
I see 9 guys. Allen probably 10. Maybe Niang?
And I’ve already completely eliminated Raul Neto, Ekpe Udoh and Georges Niang from consideration (at least in this “fully-healthy” hypothetical). All three of those guys could play decent minutes for lesser teams.
Until Niang and Bradley actually get a quality minute you can't say what they could do.
Gobert is obviously a center. Favors is a power forward who will get most of his minutes at center (and might just be a straight-up center on a lot of teams). And Rubio is a point guard.
Favors is more of a center depending on who he's playing with. Unfortunately he's playing with Gobert. Rubio the pg that spots up in the corner!
I mean, Neto/Rubio minutes just aren’t happening, barring injury-related disaster.
Why isn't it? Rubio is long enough to defend 2's backs. Beto and him both play with and without the ball. Neto defends and can shoot
If he was able to maintain that level of production for an entire season, it would probably be hard to justify keeping him at just 28 minutes. But, at some point, Utah needs to figure out just how good Exum can be. Especially now that he’s on a three-year, $33 million contract.
Rubio plays with a lot of energy. Keeping his minutes down makes sense
Last season, Stephen Curry, James Harden, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Kyle Lowry, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook were the only players who matched Exum’s per-possession averages for points, rebounds, assists and steals. And Exum defended Harden as well as anyone in the postseason.
Exum was unplayable against OKC
Granted, all that evidence comes from an extremely small sample, but if Exum takes another step forward this year, he’s a player that will be hard to keep at 20 minutes a game.
Right now he is a defensive specialist and shouldn't be in a rotation. A long ways from demanding more minutes but with his contract he is sure to get plenty
The return of Sefolosha will allow Utah to play more of those small-ball lineups. He was a top-100 player (82nd, to be exact) by Real Plus-Minus. And he was one of the team’s bright spots during a tough start. From the start of the season till Sefolosha got hurt, Utah’s Net Rating was -0.8. It was plus-4.7 when Sefolosha was on the floor.
and yet COTY platooned him
And that brings us to Burks, the last player I have getting some minutes on the wing. Plenty of Jazz fans and writers have him out already. And I get it. But there are still those intoxicating Burks stretches that keep me on board.
Plenty on board. Snyder is not
If he can stay healthy, anchoring a team with this much depth, Utah has a chance to rise as high as second in the Western Conference this regular season.
and if he doesn't hello lottery
This is one reason I expect a trade this season. I think the Jazz gave Derrick Favors a perfect contract to be traded (along with other players) for a star. I love Derrick but I think this is his last year with the Jazz.
The fact that he is back this year I wouldn't count on it. Hopefully him, Rubio, Neto, Burks , Thabo and Bradley or Udoh are gone.
For example, I’d be surprised if we see Thabo Sefolosha play anything other than power forward where last year he played between the 3 and the 4 spot. And I’m curious to see where Dante Exum gets time as he could probably play any of the 1,2 or 3 spots while on the floor. Are there any potential surprises at any positions?
positionless basketball. Thabo can guard anyone.
We can’t lay all the scoring pressure on Mitchell.
yet bringing back the same team has done just that