The Utah Jazz made a splash just before tipoff of their game Wednesday, trading Alec Burks and a pair of second round picks (their own in 2020 and Washington’s in 2021) to the Cleveland Cavaliers for former Jazz man Kyle Korver.
The consensus around the web is that the Cavs came out on top of this trade. It makes sense considering they acquired a 27-year-old guard with playmaking potential for a 37-year-old in a lost season.
For our purposes, though, we’ll focus on the commentary surrounding what this means for Utah’s season moving forward. I will include a link to each article (which you can check out for the complete analysis) along with their biggest couple of points.
CBS Sports: B+
Acquiring Korver doesn’t automatically close the gap on the elite teams of the conference and it doesn’t solve the fact that they don’t have anybody outside of Donovan Mitchell really adept at dribble penetration. However, Korver will improve their shooting, which should result in better offense and more wins.
When you factor in that they filled a shooting need by merely giving up two second-round draft picks and a player who didn’t seem to have a future in Utah beyond this season, this is mostly a win for the Jazz.
Hoops Habit: B-
Sacrificing the team’s best bench scorer and second-best 3-point shooter feels as much like a lateral move as a legitimate step forward. Korver’s 46.3 percent conversion rate on 3.4 long range attempts per game obviously dwarfs Burks’ 37.2 percent shooting on 2.5 attempts per game, but Burks is a better all-around scorer and defender.
It won’t come back to haunt Utah since Burks was almost certainly gone after the season and the 3-point boon will be appreciated, but it doesn’t drastically move the needle for one of the NBA’s most disappointing teams either. Keeping Burks and Korver obviously would’ve been better, especially with two second-rounders stacked on top.
Sporting News: B+
Simply putting Korver on the floor should give his new teammates more breathing room. Korver is a 43.2 percent 3-point shooter for his career, but he is somehow hitting at an even higher rate this season (46.3). Jazz head coach Quin Snyder can use Korver’s movement with pindown screens and cutting actions to draw defenders away from the basket.
In the short term, the Jazz are taking a risk in assuming Korver will remain healthy and perform at a high level. Considering the miles on his body, there’s always the possibility he could see a sudden and steep decline. And while he is a nice addition, Korver won’t fix all of Utah’s problems.
Still, Korver should provide more spacing for a rising star in Mitchell and generate opportunities for others because of how much opposing defenses fear his shooting ability. The Jazz saw a huge weakness emerging as they stumbled out of the gates to a 10-12 record, and they didn’t wait too long to address it.
The Ringer: Incomplete
It’s no secret why the Jazz were quick to jump on Korver. Entering Wednesday night, the team was 29th in the league in 3-point field goal percentage, converting only 31.9 percent of its attempts from behind the arc, way down from the 36.6 percent it shot last season. Adding Korver should immediately assuage one of the team’s most glaring issues.
It’s been an odd season for the 37-year-old Korver: He probably wasn’t expecting to have stayed with Cleveland for this long. The three-year contract he signed with the Cavaliers in 2017 was, in part, contingent on LeBron James: It was understood that if the King left the team, Korver’s departure wouldn’t be far behind. He would either be bought out or traded. It took 19 games for the trade to happen, but both parties likely saw the writing on the wall after their 0-6 start.
At the time of the Utah deal, Korver was hitting 46.3 percent from deep, but was also averaging the fewest minutes (15.7) and 3-point attempts (3.4) per game since his 2009-10 season in—you guessed it!—Utah. That year, he set a career mark from 3, shooting a staggering 53.6 percent, which the Jazz coaching staff and fans would welcome with open arms. At his age, Korver doesn’t have the footspeed to be even a passable defender, but it’ll be worth watching how Jazz coach Quin Snyder opts to hide him within what has been an underwhelming defense thus far.