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Utah Jazz Downbeat #2046: The #PlayoffPush, The Draft, and The Jazz

The season is heating up, but are the Jazz?

2016 NBA Finals - Game Seven Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz are still headed to the NBA Playoffs, but it seems like it’s going to be the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals no matter what. Our boys are in a skid right now but should be able to get out of it. But for those of us who think the sky is falling, well, there’s the NBA Draft to look forward to. And it doesn’t look that great right now for the late 1st round.

But don’t pout. There’s always Jimmer-mania to wonder about as the team engages it’s #PlayoffPush

The Utah Jazz attempt to avoid losing three games in a row, with their big epic match-up against the Brooklyn Nets tonight. We get to see Trevor Booker again - and he gets to see Rudy Gobert again.

For me it’s not so much about redemption or getting the wins you have to get. We already know the Utah Jazz are good against the East: 16-7 (.6957 win percentage) overall, and 16-3 (.8421 win%) against the East minus the Boston Celtics (Isaiah Thomas) and Toronto Raptors (Kyle Lowry).

For me it is going to see how Gordon Hayward leads this team. In the wins he is great. In the losses, less so.

  • (OKC Game): 19 points, 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 rebounds, but shot 41% and got to the line twice
  • (MIN Game): 13 points, 2 assists, 2 steals, 4 rebounds, but shot 40% and did not get to the line at all

A big night is needed, and a win is needed. Anything less is something to really worry about. Especially against Rondae Hollis-Jefferson / Caris LeVert / Joe Harris / K.J. McDaniels etc.

No matter how bad it gets, remember this thing: It’s March. Which means everyone is going to be dividing some of their time to watching the NCAA players who may be making the jump to the NBA. The last thing we want to do right now is talk about the NBA Draft. But the Utah Jazz currently still have a bunch of picks. They may be moving some (like they did last season) (and man, the draft should happen AFTER Free Agency the more you think of it), but right now the Jazz are going into June with two 1st rounders. And people are speculating:

Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp writes:

25. Jazz: Tyler Lydon, F, Syracuse | Sophomore

He's a good shooter at 6'10", and for a good team, he's worth an investment as a stretch–four project to help off the bench.

30. Jazz: Josh Hart, G, Villanova | Senior

Four-year senior, not great at anything, good at everything. Extremely Jazz.

I don’t know if another 6’10 face up stretch big or a guard named J. Hart move the needle for us ravenous Jazz fans.

ESPN’s Chad Ford suggests:

23. Jazz: Isaiah Hartenstein, F, Germany | Age 18

The Jazz don't have any real needs right now, which gives them flexibility to either take a project or to find a player who can fit into the rotation some way.

While Hartenstein might be the least ready of the 4s we've ranked, there is a high ceiling with him. There aren't many 7-footers with his combination of athleticism, elite skill level and motor. He can be volatile, but he should be worth a gamble at this stage of the draft.

30. Jazz (Via Warriors): Luke Kennard, G, Duke | Sophomore

Elite shooting will always be a long-term need, and Kennard has a claim to being the best shooter in the draft.

Is this better or worse?

For what it is worth, has the Jazz selecting:

24. Jazz: Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville | Sophomore

30. Jazz (via Golden State): Alec Peters, F, Valparaiso | Senior

Because the draft is before Free Agency, and because the Utah Jazz have so many free agents (Gordon Hayward, George Hill, Boris Diaw (non-guaranteed), Shelvin Mack, Joe Ingles, Jeff Withey, Raul Neto (non-guaranteed)), they may elect to keep two guys if they can be rotation players. But my idea is to trade one of them in a package to make more room to re-sign Hill, Ingles, and Hayward -- in that order.

First rounders, even at the end of the first round, are guaranteed contracts. Utah’s GM Dennis Lindsey may see more benefit to having cap space than having another low ceiling project.


Is this what having a star player in the information age feels like?

Jimmer Fredette . . . is he the key to the #PlayoffPush ?

73 points in China, with the current Yuan to US Dollar exchange rate, is still only 10.58 points in America.

So with the NBA Trade Deadline come and gone, and the veteran players waived and signed, it really looks like the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have reloaded for a re-match. It’s kind of stale when the same two teams make it to the NBA Finals three years in a row. But that’s the NBA right now. So which roster do you hate more?


  • PG: Kyrie Irving, Deron Williams, Kay Felder
  • SG: J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Kyle Korver, DeAndre Liggins
  • SF: LeBron James, Richard Jefferson, James Jones
  • PF: Kevin Love, Channing Frye, Derrick Williams
  • C: Tristan Thompson, Andrew Bogut


  • PG: Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston
  • SG: Klay Thompson, Ian Clark, Patrick McCaw
  • SF: Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Matt Barnes
  • PF: Draymond Green, David West, Kevon Looney
  • C: Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee, James Michael McAdoo, Damian Jones

It’s still so easy for me, the Dubs are crybaby jerks.