FanPost

Why the Jazz are in a Playing Time Predicament

The Jazz are in a tough spot. Everyone knows we have great, young talent that needs playing time to be fostered. At the same time, we also have some really good veteran players, who have not quite reached the time in their careers where they can be moved to the bench. So while we would love to start Favors, we also have Millsap, who is a starter-quality PF, and Big Al, one of the better (underrated) centers in the league. We have the same problem with Kanter. With Burks, we realistically could find time for him as a shooting guard (he's not a point, we should stop hoping for that), but our coaching staff seems unwilling to do that. Instead we sign Randy Foye. When we get rid of CJ, we sign Starvin' Marvin. We are seemingly stuck in a state of static. Oh, and Kevin Murphy? We'll be lucky to see him get any minutes that aren't in an Idaho Stampede jersey (or whoever our d-league team is now).

The problem is we have a whole list of players that are either starter-level players or players that should be starters for the playing time. Of those who are talented enough to be starters already, we have Mo Williams, Gordan Hayward, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, and probably Randy Foye. That's seven players, one PG, one SG, one 2/3, one SF, one PF (who plays some SF), and two centers. And then on top of that we have Burks (a SG) and Kanter (a PF) who should be starting at least a handful of games while grabbing decent minutes. And hell, I'd even throw Jeremy Evans (3/4) into that mix as well, because while he never be a great player, he has the potential to make an impact, especially on defense. That requires playing time too of course. And we're not done yet! Now we have DeMarre Carroll to complicate it even more! DeMarre is interesting, he's not a young player we really need to develop, he not one of the five best players on the team (at this point he's probably not in the top five SFs on the Jazz), but he was one of the more important parts of the Jazz's winning at the end of last season.

Now, there is no good way to get out of this situation. We have a few options, but they wouldn't be popular, such as trading Millsap or trading one of the young guns. Either of those options would clear up space, but would have half the fan base in an uproar. Most fans would be okay with trading Big Al, but that is easier said than done due to his contract, and probably complicated by the fact that the Jazz are apparently uninterested in transactions if anyone in the media catches on before it's done.

Another way this clears up (although, a far less appealing route) would be an injury. Let's say Al or Millsap tears a bicep in training camp and they're out until the all-star break. Suddenly someone is thrust into the starting job and are forced to produce. This is often how team build young talent or discover superstars they didn't know they had. Tom Brady, for instance, was a nobody backup QB until Bledsoe went down with an injury. And now he's a top-3 QB in the NFL. I'm sure there are plenty other cases just like this, but that's the one that comes to mind for me. Of course, nobody roots for an injury, and while it would clear up space, I'm definitely not hoping that happens.

The front office no doubt is aware of the same things we are, but every time they make a move we are confused by it. The only reason I can see for this is that we aren't trying to create a Tom Brady, we're trying to create and Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers was of course Brett Favre's backup. Everyone knew he was talented, everyone was getting tired of Favre and his offseason antics, but Green Bay made Rodgers ride the pine for far longer than most Packers fans wanted. That worked out for them in the end though. Green Bay got rid of Favre when they were ready, and Rodgers stepped in without missing a beat, and led them to a Super Bowl victory in his second season as a starter (I think, to lazy to fact check). This could actually correlate to the Jazz, although slightly altered of course. We don't have a hall-of-famer holding back the future of the team, and none of our starters are close to retiring. But perhaps when the time is right, in a few seasons, when Al and Paul are beginning to start their decline (they are both at their peak age right now, the decline should start soonish) the Jazz move them to the bench, or trade them to get a missing piece, and in step our C4 guys. That way we get our young, core players entering the peak time of their careers, our veterans just coming off their best days (and hopefully willing to take a bench role now), and thanks to our cap-space savvy, we should be able to afford that missing piece if we need to (I'm still hoping DeMarre or Jeremy is our hustle player off the bench, getting steals, rebounds, and timely hustle plays).

This is what I hope the Jazz are doing, because if it's not, I really have no idea what the hell's going on anymore.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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