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New Year’s Resolutions for the Utah Jazz Roster

What each player should work on in 2024

NBA: Miami Heat at Utah Jazz Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

Happy New Year fellow Dunkers! The Utah Jazz are in the middle of an interesting season, where they started off terrible but have since won 7 of their last 10 and are playing significantly better basketball.

We’re approaching the mid-way point of the season as well as the NBA Trade Deadline and things are already heating up across the league (see OG Anunoby trade). Combine that with putting another calendar year in the rearview mirror, and now is as good a time as any to review the roster and set some goals for each player on the Utah Jazz roster.

Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabaugh

Resolution: Playing Time

Setting a goal that isn’t fully within your control is always a terrible idea, but I’ve lumped these two together because this really will be the most important thing for them in 2024. Unfortunately the way things are trending, this may not happen until next season. Hopefully they’ll see more opportunities to grow their game and be ready to contribute sooner rather than later. Both have shown flashes in the G-League and Hendricks has been an impact defender when given the opportunity in NBA minutes.

Luka Samanic

Resolution: Get another NBA contract

Getting to the NBA is hard enough, but sticking in the NBA poses another difficult challenge for fringe players. Samanic is still just 23 years old and has gained the respect of Coach Hardy for being ready to play whenever his number is called, even when those opportunities come only sparingly. His priority will almost certainly be to do whatever he can to land another roster spot for next season, whether on the Jazz or elsewhere.

Omer Yurtseven

Resolution: Shoot 3’s reliably

Yurtseven has been a pleasant surprise this season, filling in nicely when the Jazz had a few injuries. He moves well for his size and gave great effort. The easiest way for him to stick around may be becoming a reliable 3 point shooter. Centers expanding their game to open the floor continues to be an emphasis in the NBA game. He’s shooting a couple three pointers a game per-36 minutes, but at just 23% this year. That needs to improve.

Kris Dunn

Resolution: Stay patient

I feel like the worst kept secret this year is that the Jazz want to trade at least one of their excess guards. In the meantime, said guards that are likely to be traded will continue getting minutes over Dunn until that trade occurs. Kris has been solid for the Jazz this year, especially with his defense and lack of turnovers. I think his role will increase quite a bit once we’re past the trade deadline and minutes open up for him.

Walker Kessler

Resolution: Get through the sophomore slump

Sophomore slumps are a real thing in professional sports. Once teams have enough film on you, they can game plan for you and take away your strengths or exploit your weaknesses. With Kessler, it seems most of it has been a mental thing. He had an odd summer USA basketball experience and started this season off barely even catching the ball. His confidence seems to be coming back and his defensive impact is being felt again. Hopefully we see him continue to progress and show that he’s a part of the Utah Jazz future again.

Simone Fontecchio

Resolution: Maintain current form

Fontecchio must’ve had the yips or something to start the season. The translation of his game to the NBA took quite a while, and it was quite frankly sad to watch at times. He played so skittish and his shot was lacking confidence. But now he’s a 40% three point shooter and his effort on defense is much needed on this roster. He’s played well enough to earn another NBA contract and is a nice depth piece for any roster.

Talen Horton-Tucker

Resolution: Higher basketball IQ

THT will wow you with something athletically impressive on one play, then wow you with a bewildering failure on the next. I think a lot of this comes down to general basketball IQ and just a poor feel for the game. Even on plays where he wows you, the decision he made was arguably worse than what should have been done in the moment. I’ll be honest, his interview earlier this season was alarming to me. This quote in particular: “I don’t want to take any shot out of my game, honestly. Every shot that I shoot is something I work on.” I refuse to believe some of the horrendous shots he decides to take are things he works on.

Take the highlight posted above. Was it a cool layup? Sure. Was it the right basketball decision? Absolutely not.

Kelly Olynyk

Resolution: Help a contender (and give the Jazz good value in return)

Don’t get me wrong, I actually really like Olynyk this year. His passing and playmaking is a vital part of the current roster because they lack so much of that. But he’s also the most valuable realistic trade piece they have (aside from maybe Sexton). His game could absolutely help a contending team and his contract is extremely tradeable. At this point, I’d be fairly surprised if he isn’t moved by the trade deadline.

Jordan Clarkson

Resolution: Remember how to shoot a basketball

I was close to just saying that his resolution should be to just get on another team. It may be blasphemy among some Jazz fans, but I’ve personally seen enough of Clarkson in a Jazz jersey. JC is in the middle of the worst shooting season of his entire career. And if you’re like me, you’ve felt every bit of that watching this year. It’s been brutal. But worse than his poor shooting might be his attitude and on-court demeanor that’s been way different from years past. I’m not sure what the root cause of that is, but honestly he’s another one that I would be surprised if he’s on the roster past the trade deadline.

Keyonte George

Resolution: Be a sponge

Helping a team win as a rookie in the NBA is rough. Being a rookie point guard and contributing to wins nearly impossible. A LOT is being asked of George to run the offense on a team with almost no playmakers. If he approaches this correctly, it will be great for his long term development. His shooting form also needs to come around, which may not happen until year 2 or 3 based on the progression of a lot of successful guards. Hopefully his performance against the Miami Heat was a sign of things to come.

John Collins

Resolution: Continue to rehab value

After several years of constantly being in trade talks, the Atlanta Hawks finally moved him for essentially nothing. The Jazz took a flier on him and his bloated contract after his usage continued to decline for the Hawks. He’s been a pretty consistent piece in the starting lineup and has played the most minutes of any Jazz-man this year. He’s averaging about 14 and 8 and shooting nearly 40% from 3 again. This after shooting under 30% last season due to that terrible finger injury a couple years ago. His advanced stats would say he’s having a bad year, and that may be true. But his veteran presence has been good for the roster and I think he’ll continue to improve as the roster around him improves.

Ochai Agbaji

Resolution: Assertiveness

Agbaji has the body and athleticism you dream of in your 3 and D wing. He’s a blistering corner 3 shooter and has had moments of fantastic defense this year (just ask Devin Booker or Tyler Herro). But what I’d love to see more than anything is more fight and aggression. I wish he’d play like an enforcer that the Jazz have missed since Jae Crowder. I still have high hopes that he’ll be Wesley Matthews 2.0 for the Jazz someday.

Collin Sexton

Resolution: Stay in the starting lineup

Sexton was pretty vocal about wanting to be a starter coming into the year. Will Hardy ultimately went a different direction. Injuries and continued tinkering forced some lineup changes and Sexton has been a revelation in his last 10 games. And the Jazz are 7-3 over that stretch as well. As a starter he’s averaging 23 points and 4.5 assists on 50/39/88 shooting splits. That’s compared to the 13 points and 3.2 assists on 45/33/88 shooting splits coming off the bench. And the Jazz were 7-16 in those games. His starter numbers is the Collin Sexton I was hoping the Jazz had traded for once he got fully healthy.

Lauri Markkanen

Resolution: More field goal attempts

Resolution 2: Find a playmaking star

Coming off an All Star year, Lauri Markkanen is shooting less than he did last season. Yes, you read that correctly. He’s getting almost a full shot attempt less than he did a year ago. As one of the game’s most efficient scorers, that seems like an unacceptable result to me. That said, he’s also not a huge self-creator. And given Utah’s almost complete lack of playmaking, the #1 goal for the Jazz in these next 12 months should be finding a #1 guy to slot next to the absolutely perfect #2 in Lauri. Whether that’s through trades, the draft, or free agency I don’t care. Just get this man someone like Luka Doncic, Tyrese Haliburton, or Trae Young to play off and enjoy the results for the next 6 years.