The Utah Jazz are going to be without their star point guard Mike Conley for multiple games. As reported by The Athletic, it could possibly even be more depending on how his hamstring heals. Even though Conley is having his worst shooting season of his career so far (36% FG), the Jazz are a much better team with him available on the floor. Having Conley enables Quin Snyder to stagger he and Donovan Mitchell with the second unit, keeping a scoring guard available on the floor at pretty much all times.
Conley missed a handful of the past few games due to the same hamstring injury, but the Jazz stayed afloat due to some favorable games as of late, as well as some tremendous play from their main guys. Donovan Mitchell has been playing like an All-Star. Bojan Bogdanovic has exceeded expectations and is playing like a borderline All-Star himself. Rudy Gobert is, well, Rudy Gobert, dominating the game the way only Rudy can. At this point of the season and their respective careers, you know what you’re going to get out of those three. They are doing their thing. But in order to hit their stride as a team and really start playing consistent winning basketball, the Jazz are going to need more from their role players.
Much to the delight of every Jazz fan everywhere, Joe Ingles is looking like his old self once again. After a pretty awful start to the season, Ingles has been back to his jinglin’ self the last couple of games. Through the first 20 games of the season, Ingles shot 35 percent from the field and a depressing 30 percent from three. The last seven games Ingles has shot 51 percent from the field and 51 percent from three. Joe’s been great the past few games.
What the Jazz need from Ingles, is consistency. He can’t let up. He’s got to keep being aggressive. He needs to keep making open threes like he’s done lately. If Ingles drops back into the slump he was in the start the season, the Jazz will be in trouble.
The Jeff Green experience in Utah has been an interesting one. We’ve seen flashes of scoring, big dunks, insane three-point shooting, some head-scratching turnovers, and some bad shot selection. A bit of everything, if you will. But if you’ve watched Jeff Green over the years of his career, especially the last two or three, you probably saw this coming. When Jeff Green has been good for the Jazz this season, he’s been pretty dang good.
He’s scored 19 twice, and hit double digits in nine games. He’s had games where he’s come in off the bench and done some really good things. But for the majority of games this season, you really have no idea what to expect when Jeff Green comes onto the floor. It would be huge for the Jazz if Jeff Green could hone in and find some consistency to his game. He’s shooting the worst field goal percentage of his career this season, and it hasn’t helped the Jazz with their big issue of depth and secondary scoring.
Royce O’Neale is having another really solid year. He’s setting himself up for a nice contract extension with the Jazz, assuming Dennis Lindsey doesn’t let him leave his grasp. O’Neale has been everything the Jazz wanted him to be this offseason. He’s shooting 45 percent from three, which trails only Bojan Bogdanovic for the best on the team. He’s a legitimate lock-down defender, and is guarding the best player on the opposing floor majority of nights. So what can O’Neale do better to help the Jazz win? Score. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that O’Neale needs to shoot the ball more. He’s shooting 3 three-pointers a game, and that number should probably be more like 5 or 6. Royce is a capable scorer, and with a little bit more assertiveness on offense he could really help the Jazz when they need scoring without Mitchell or Bogdanovic on the floor.
Much like the Jeff Green experience, you literally have no idea what’s going to happen when Emmanuel Mudiay takes the floor. Some games, he’s actually pretty good. He manages the offense well, and makes things happen for other players. Other games, he can’t dribble the length of the floor without turning it over or bricking a contested midrange fadeaway. I really like Emmanuel Mudiay. I think he can do good things for the Jazz. But, much like the other Utah Jazz role players, he’s got to find consistency. He needs to find his groove in Quin’s offense. Right now especially with Mike Conley out, consistency from Emmanuel Mudiay is going to be crucial.
The Rest of ‘Em
What in the world happened to Ed Davis this season? This was supposed to be one of those super solid, championship-type lowkey signings, but Davis hasn’t shown anything this year so far for the Jazz. Breaking his leg early in the season probably didn’t help. The backup big position has been bad for the Jazz this season, and Ed Davis really needs to show up to help them out.
Dante Exum, anyone? Exum hasn’t played in the last three games as a coach’s decision. Things are getting weird.
Georges Niang will randomly enter the game and hit back-to-back threes, and then gain the confidence of a prime Kobe Bryant. Niang, just like everyone else, hasn’t been able to find his groove yet this season in the rotation. He’s good enough to be an NBA rotation player, he just needs to show it.