The Utah Jazz are going to Miami to finish off their road trip against the Miami Heat and, with 14 games left, it’s time for the Jazz to decide what they want for the future. After tonight, the Jazz are sitting in the last place in the lottery and are in the final spot in the play-in tournament. If you decided what would be the worst spot to finish the season for the future of this team, that would be it.
And this is where decision time has to happen for the Jazz. Do you want to get the 14th pick and miss out on a better shot at franchise-changing talent, or are you wanting to get bounced in a play-in tournament that no one expected you’d be in when the season started? Yes, you could argue that the play-in tournament is good experience for this team but that comes at the cost of talent. This Jazz team is looking at scales right now and you have to weigh talent vs immediate experience. Having traded all of their veteran role players, talent has to be the decision at this point.
But what can the Jazz do that they haven’t already done? At this point, resting Lauri Markkanen more is the move. He’s having a monster season and is locking himself into all-nba consideration as well as the MIP. But even if the Jazz start resting Markkanen more, will that be enough to lose more games? In their last game, Markkanen had one of his worst shooting performances and the Jazz got an incredible performance from Talen Horton-Tucker who nearly broke the regular season triple-double drought for the Jazz. So for fans hoping the Jazz get the tank going is there any good news? Yes, actually. The Jazz have the most difficult schedule to end the season according to Tankathon. That should make things more difficult. But with so little time left the Jazz need to consider taking their destiny into their own hands. If they’re losing to the better teams, they need to consider resting their best players when they take on the worst teams in the league. There’s too much to waste at this point to chase meaningless bragging rights that no one will remember if the Jazz are sitting at the 13-spot come lottery night.
The Miami Heat should be hungry in this one. They’re coming off a loss to the Magic and have Kyle Lowry back from injury. They’re also fighting for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference and should have the ability to take out the Jazz if they just play well and slow down the Jazz offense.
In some ways, this is the biggest game of the season. If the Jazz win again, they solidify their play-in positioning. That said, a loss could mean the beginning of a very important losing streak to end the season. It’s up to the Jazz to make the right decision, which isn’t always an easy one. Luckily, the Jazz have someone in charge not afraid to make tough decisions.
When: 5:30 PM MST
Where: Miami-Dade Arena, Miami, FL
TV: ATTSN-RM (AT&T Sports Net-Rocky Mountain)