The Utah Jazz will play the Charlotte Hornets tonight and it’s an interesting matchup of two teams in different stages of a rebuild.
The Charlotte Hornets are arguably in one of the worst situations in the NBA. Ever since drafting LaMelo Ball it seemed like all arrows were pointing up for the Hornets. After a truly terrible situation with Miles Bridges (who is rightfully out of the league), some missed draft picks, and continued health problems for Gordon Hayward, there doesn’t seem like a lot of light at the end of the tunnel for a Hornets team that seems to be starting from square one yet again.
For the Jazz, the rebuild is in great shape. Before the season, the Jazz set their team up for the future with two wildly successful trades. First, the haul they received from the Minnesota Timberwolves will go down as one of the greatest heists in league history. Walker Kessler is likely going to be top-3 in Rookie of the Year voting and the Jazz haven’t even cashed in on any of the picks. Additionally, the other players they received were used in a trade that netted them another lightly protected first round pick from the Lakers. Then there’s the Cleveland Cavaliers trade. Donovan Mitchell netted them another treasure trove of future picks as well as Collin Sexton and Lauri Markkanen. Speaking of Lauri Markkanen...
Two intriguing All-NBA/tanking collisions to watch.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) March 9, 2023
1. SGA has a legit chance at 1st team All-NBA guard.
2. Markkanen is an easy choice for 2nd team All-NBA forward right now.
OKC + Utah are 31-35. Pretty easy for either to stealth-tank for a top-7 lottery spot.
Essentially, the Jazz traded everything they had from a disastrous end to their latest timeline and are now younger, flush with picks, and with better core pieces to build around.
Simmons is also right in that the Jazz have an intriguing opportunity to help the rebuild by improving their draft position. Having traded every non future piece away, the Jazz have the chance to lose enough games to land somewhere in the 6-10 range of picks if they lose enough. The issue is that Lauri Markkanen is a legitimate All-NBA guy and it’s hard to lose when you have someone like that on your team.
Tonight the Jazz will likely deal with the Hornets, much like I did when I hit my head on the shed last summer. (It shook a wasp nest that I didn’t know was there and I got stung by many wasps and I thought it was a pine tree branch that fell on my neck. So I discarded them in anger with a tennis racket. Hows that for analysis?) It won’t help with the rebuild, they’re not making the play-in, but at least they got rid of the Hornets? I’m not sure this analysis works in any way because getting stung by hornets is not fun.
When: 5:00 PM MST
Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
TV: ATTSN-RM (AT&T Sports Net-Rocky Mountain)
Here are the latest updates on who’s available. It doesn’t appear that Collin Sexton will play but there’s a possibility that Jordan Clarkson will play since he’s been upgraded to questionable.
Jordan Clarkson is QUESTIONABLE for tomorrow’s game in Charlotte.— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) March 10, 2023