The Utah Jazz have bounced between wins and losses the last few games as they attempt to climb the standings into more stable playoff spots. Tonight the Jazz host the Dallas Mavericks who will be making the trip without star guard and MVP Darkhorse, Luka Doncic.
Perhaps it’s for the best that Doncic doesn’t play as the last two star guards Utah faced — Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard — put up a combined 108 points in those two games. Of course, there’s always a chance the Jazz go for their “let lesser-known player go off in place of sitting stars” tendency, but the Mavericks will also be without Maxi Kleber and Christian Wood so they’ll be running low on guys capable of going off for huge nights.
While Luka will sit tonight, the Jazz could be getting a boost to its rotation. Kelly Olynyk is available for the first time in eight games. His return will not only give the team back Olynyk’s potential production (12.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 41.3 percent 3-point shooting), but give more depth to the center rotation.
Speaking of the center rotation, even though Olynyk is capable of returning tonight and seems likely to play, he may not return to the starting lineup despite being the starter in all 39 games he’s appeared in this year. Will Hardy told media members that rookie center Walker Kessler would “likely remain in the starting lineup” which likely precludes Olynyk starting unless Hardy wants to play Olynyk at power forward (according to Basketball Reference, Olynyk has played 19% of his minutes at PF so it is a possibility)
Will Hardy told media just now that Walker Kessler will likely remain in the starting lineup even as Kelly Olynyk returns — likely keeping Jarred Vanderbilt on the bench. Not definitive, but he indicated that was the likely direction.— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) January 27, 2023
In the eight games Kessler has served as the fill-in starter for Olynyk he’s averaged 11.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks.
When: January 28th, 2023, 7:00 PM MT
Where: Vivint Arena | Salt Lake City, UT
Radio: 97.5/1280 The Zone
- Kelly Olynyk (Left Ankle Sprain) - QUESTIONABLE
- Luka Doncic (Left Ankle Sprain) - OUT
- Maxi Kleber (Right Hamstring Tear) - OUT
- Christian Wood (Left Thumb Fracture) - OUT