The Utah Jazz released Jeff Green upon completion of the Jazz’s loss in Miami. Utah’s bench needed a remodel and Utah Jazz General Manager Justin Zanik isn’t wasting any time. Before the game, the Utah Jazz traded for Jordan Clarkson and now Jeff Green is on his way out from Utah.
Jeff Green has been a bad fit and an overwhelming net negative for a Jazz bench that has ranked in the bottom three in the league. Jeff Green’s $2.5M contract was guaranteed but I don’t think any Jazz fans nor anyone in the Jazz front office are going to bat an eye paying that money out to someone who bled points to the opposing team just by laying his sneakers onto the court.
Jeff Green was billed as an experienced veteran upon arriving to the Utah Jazz with some outside the Jazz billing it as a coup for Utah to sign him. His tenure was nothing as advertised or hyped; it was a complete trainwreck. Lineups featuring the 33 year old veteran score 101.8 points per 100 possession and give up 111.4 points per 100 possessions according to Cleaning the Glass.
I said earlier this month that Utah had to make a move to the bench in order to improve. Teams whose benches were as bad as Utah’s don’t become 50+ win teams that often.
This one actually surprised me. Since 2003-2004, there have been 80 teams that had benches with the same or worse +/-/min (-2.32/min) as Utah’s bench on December 5th. Of the teams that had a bench that poor performing (or worse), only 16 teams were able to scrape by with +.500 record. Out of those 16 teams, only one—ONE—went on to have 50 or more wins: 2013-2014 Memphis Grizzlies (50-32).
Of those teams that had benches that poor performing, only seven teams had an offensive ranking that could be considered a top 10 offense. The best offensive team with the worst bench? The 2017-2018 Minnesota Timberwolves (47-35).
In Jeff’s place comes Rayjon Tucker, a forward from the G-League. You can read more about him here. This move reeks of the Jazz removing a security blanket that isn’t for the Jazz’s good. A leaving the boats behind and burning them so as to never go back to a bench that time and time again proved that it didn’t belong on a championship contending squad. Jeff Green’s unreliability on offense and inability to be consistent on defense was the nail in the coffin.
This move will most likely mean Georges Niang will see increased time off the bench. It could also mean that Utah will be bringing up Jarrell Brantley or Juwan Morgan into more significant playing time. Juwan Morgan had 18 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals in the win for the Stars to win the G-League Showcase in Las Vegas while receiving 1st Team All-Tournament honors. Utah probably feels it’s time to bring them into the rotation. Jeff Green being released most likely avoids any locker room distractions and lets him try to find a new home where he can get some minutes and rehab his value.
[All those jokes about how the Salt Lake City Stars were better than Utah’s bench feel even more true now.]
Who knows what new Jazzman Rayjon Tucker is capable of providing the Utah Jazz, but in the meantime, Utah will be happy just to remove one of the millstones around their benches neck that is sinking them to the dregs of the NBA’s worst benches.