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The Downbeat #2002: The Replacements Edition

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Gordon Hayward’s injury opens the door for some fun experimentation with the Utah Jazz’s starting lineup. Here’s our top 5 replacements.

NBA: Preseason-Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

It isn’t a Utah Jazz season without a starter getting hurt before Opening Tip-Off. This year’s sacrifice was Gordon Hayward. Hayward who has been the Utah Jazz’s healthiest player during his entire career finally fell victim to a dislocated finger (non shooting hand). So today we’d like to go through 5 lineups the Utah Jazz can use to cover for Hayward.

Lineup #1 - The Most Likely Solution

NBA: Preseason-Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

PG - George Hill

SG - Rodney Hood

SF - Joe Johnson

PF - Derrick Favors

C - Rudy Gobert

This seems like the most likely substitution for Gordon Hayward. Joe Johnson is a proven veteran who can command that position. It will leave the Jazz without athleticism on the perimeter, but on offense Joe Johnson provides valuable spacing for Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. Take a look at Joe Johnson’s stats from last season:

With Miami he shot over 40% from 3 and became a more effective player in the offense.

The other great thing about Joe Johnson is he’s got the experience. That starting lineup will be able to learn from him and not miss a beat.

Lineup #2 - The Second Most Likely Solution

NBA: Utah Jazz-Media Day Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

PG - George Hill

SG - Alec Burks

SF - Rodney Hood

PF - Derrick Favors

C - Rudy Gobert

This is the next most likely only if Alec Burks is ready to go by the season opener. Right now his health is in question as he still is recovering from his injury the past season. Now the Utah Jazz might be playing being cautious because it’s preseason, but this would be a fun one seeing as Alec Burks has improved his outside shooting and hasn’t had a lot of time to play with the starting lineup. Two seasons ago, it was the #ReturnOfAB, last season it was the #ReturnoftheReturnofAB, and now we’re at #JustGetHereAlreadyAB. So hopefully he’s healthy so it can be Joe Johnson and Dante Exum off the bench.

Lineup #3 - Let’s get a little crazy

NBA: Preseason-Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

PG - George Hill

SG - Dante Exum

SF - Rodney Hood

PF - Derrick Favors

C - Rudy Gobert

Now we’re starting to have some fun here. Dante Exum in his last game against Phoenix started at the SG for Rodney Hood alongside George Hill. That was some fun. Dante Exum had a fantastic game with 5 points, 4 assists, and a rebound in just 13 minutes of play before a hyperextension took him out for the rest of it. This would be my pick for the Utah Jazz. It allows them to keep Burks, Johnson, and Ingles coming off the bench and to utilize their uncanny strength at point guard to fill the hole at SG.

Lineup #4 - Let’s get CrAzY

NBA: Utah Jazz-Media Day Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

PG - George Hill

SG - Rodney Hood

SF - Trey Lyles

PF - Derrick Favors

C - Rudy Gobert

The two areas in which the Utah Jazz have the most depth are the point guard position and PF/C position. Moving Trey Lyles into the SF position allows the Utah Jazz to continue their experiment from NBA Summer League with Trey Lyles. They were working with Trey to become more of a playmaker with the ball. This is just the next continuation. This still allows the Utah Jazz to give Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert their needed rest with Boris Diaw and Jeff Withey coming off the bench to give them a break. If they can’t spell R-E-S-T for Favors/Gobert, Joe Johnson can fill in at the 4 or Trey Lyles can slide down.

While this lineup may not be the most likely, it would be a fun one to watch.

Lineup #5 - LET’S GET CrAzY wEiRd

NBA: Utah Jazz-Media Day Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

PG - George Hill

SG - Rodney Hood

SF - Boris Diaw

PF - Derrick Favors

C - Rudy Gobert

This won’t happen. I repeat, this one won’t happen. Don’t @ me. BUT I WANT IT TO HAPPEN SO BAD. Just to see this giant lineup out on the court and hear announcers try to explain the logical reason why Boris Diaw is out there at the Small Forward position? Just to have the sideline reporters FORCED to give Boris Diaw anecdotes in pre-game? I want this more than I’ve wanted anything.