The Utah Jazz will be
going for the 8th pick resting half of their players as they take on the Denver Nuggets, who are also looking to rest players as they prepare for the playoffs. It’s a dichotomy between two teams that have different goals as the season comes to a close.
For the Jazz, it’s been a successful season in the sense of development and a rebuild that has gone much faster than expected. With the emergence of Lauri Markkanen to stardom this season, the Jazz will likely have one less season of sitting at the bottom of the standings to hopefully draft a future star since they already have one now. On top of the rise of Markkanen, the Jazz have two rookies from their big offseason trades that have also panned out in a big way. Walker Kessler will likely win 3rd place in the Rookie of the Year vote, and he deserves every vote he gets. His defensive presence has been remarkable. While on offense he’s been an offensive rebounding monster and a big-time finisher as a roll-man. Much more subtle improvement has come from Ochai Agbaji. With the Jazz securing their lottery standing the last month we’ve seen many players traded or resting and Agbaji has taken full advantage. These opportunities might never have come had the Jazz still been looking to make the playoffs. Agbaji has always shown a catch-and-shoot ability, but now he’s showing an impressive pull-up game even while running some pick-and-roll. That development will hopefully continue tonight and tomorrow as the Jazz finish up their season.
As interested as the Jazz are at developing young players, they’re not interested in winning this game and are siting half their team.
The following are out tomorrow afternoon for the Utah Jazz— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) April 8, 2023
With those players announced out yesterday, the Jazz also decided it was time to rest Kelly Olynyk.
In addition, Jazz just told us Kelly Olynyk is out (rest). https://t.co/AVY5Uy01jl— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) April 8, 2023
The reason why is likely because the Washington Wizards won last night, which opened up a real possibility for the Jazz to jump to the 8th spot in the lottery. Now just one game behind the Wizards, who will face the Rockets in their final game, the Jazz can get one spot higher if they win a coin toss if they tie with the Wizards at eight. Considering the all-nba season that Markkanen has had, along with the rise of Kessler, the fact the Jazz will have a possible 8 spot in the lottery, with a 20% chance to jump into the top 4, that’s a solid outcome.
For the Nuggets, they’ve locked up the one seed and will rest half their roster as they prepare for the playoffs.
This game will be a contest of who’s bench will win the night, and the Jazz are surely hoping the Nuggets come out on top.
When: 1:30 PM MST
Where: Vivint Arena