The Utah Jazz will enter the 2018 season with one of the deepest rosters in the league. Picking Grayson Allen at #21 meant the Jazz have a player with experience that could possibly enter the rotation right away. But with such a deep roster how much play time will he receive, if any at all?
The starting lineup for the upcoming season will most likely stay the same:
G Ricky Rubio
G Donovan Mitchell
F Joe Ingles
F/C Derrick Favors
C Rudy Gobert
But where Allen may see productive time will be with second units.
Here are the players Allen will be competing with to get minutes.
Dante Exum: With a new contract in hand and more time under his belt in Quin Snyder’s system, Exum should be a major part of the Jazz rotation. His quickness and speed will be a weapon in transition and against sub-par defenders. Exum’s defense really blossomed in the playoffs, particularly against MVP James Harden, and could be a real weapon against opposing scorers.
Royce O’neale: O’neale became a big part of the Jazz rotation at the end of last season and the playoffs. When Rubio missed games, O’neale stepped in as the starter. What helps O’neale is tenacious defense and shooting. He’s also a capable ball handler and passer. O’neale will be a big part of the Jazz rotation going forward.
Thabo Sefolosha: One of the most interesting players to return to the lineup this season will be Sefolosha. He can play the 3 and the 4 which means he may take some wing minutes from Allen. Sefolosha is a plus/minus monster who helps in all facets of the game. But even though Thabo can play the 3, he’s much more interesting playing out of the 4 spot with the spacing,passing and defense he provides. Either way, Sefolosha may be too good for Snyder to keep off the floor too long.
Alec Burks: It’s feast or famine with Alec Burks. There were times last season that his scoring was a big part of the Jazz success. There were also times that his mistakes combined with porous defense, made him unplayable. Can Burks find consistency this season?
Raul Neto: Neto provides solid production in spot minutes whenever his number is called. He knows his role on the team and maximizes it whenever he plays.
Fifteen players on the Jazz roster received minutes last season including Joe Johnson and Rodney Hood. Much of those minutes that went to Rodney Hood will go to Exum and O’neale and it’s unlikely that Allen will earn any of those minutes next year, unless he shows to be a better defender than expected.
It’s more likely to see Allen beating out Alec Burks and Raul Neto.
Though Burks provides solid offense for the Jazz, he’s inconsistent. His defense also tends to negate whatever offense he brings. Burks also doesn’t move the ball as well as is needed in Quin Snyder’s offense.
In Summer League Allen racked up a lot of assists, but it was the passing within the flow of the offense that was even more impressive. With Allen on the floor the ball will move and it’s easy to see how he’ll build trust with Quin Snyder and get the nod over Alec Burks.
Though Neto has proven to be an adequate shooter, his size makes him a liability on defense even against second units who usually have a size advantage against him. Allen’s size in Summer league showed up big time. It’s why he averaged so many rebounds and was a triple double threat each game he played.
Allen most likely won’t see a huge amount of time to start the season, but he should see the minutes that would have gone to Burks and Neto and that should average out to around 5-10 minutes per game.
Being a versatile combo guard, Allen should only see his minutes uptick as the season rolls on, especially if he can prove to be a plus defender. Snyder will find different lineups that get Allen on the floor. Plus a three-guard lineup could be really fun!
Either way, Allen is a proven spot up shooter that passes and rebounds and will help the Jazz bench become one of the best in the league. I for one can’t wait to see him play.