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Ricky Rubio showing signs of improvement

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Rubio is getting better plus more NBA Trade Deadline talk.

Utah Jazz v Detroit Pistons Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

Ricky Rubio has been under scrutiny for much of the season so far, and that’s not without reason. The front office was hoping Rubio could become Jason-Kidd lite, so they gave up a first rounder to bring him in from Minnesota. Unfortunately he hasn’t lived up to expectation so far, and this illustrates that well:

This mismatched trio has had a hard time meshing, with Rubio as the common denominator to the struggling. Fortunately Rubio has slowly improved over the season and may be rounding into form at the right time. For January, he is averaging 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. More importantly, however, is that he has shot 34% from 3. Hopefully that game winner in Toronto boosts his confidence and keeps him going in the right direction. His play is tied very directly to the success of the Jazz this season:

If the Jazz are to make any sort of playoff push for the season, then Rubio needs to keep shooting better. Or the Jazz may have made a move to improve at the position.

Speaking of making a move, here’s a few Trade Deadline trades I’ve seen out on the world wide web in the past week.

David Aldridge from NBA.com just dropped this one yesterday in his trade ideas:

1. Utah Jazz trade F/C Derrick Favors to Cleveland Cavaliers for F Channing Frye, F Jae Crowder

Favors has been a good soldier in Utah since 2011, when he was part of the Deron Williams trade with the Nets, but it’s time to move on. The Jazz can’t re-sign him for what he’ll likely be seeking next summer, and the Cavs are, as we can all see, in some need of new blood, especially off the bench. That’s where Favors could provide some low-post pop to compliment Kyle Korver and Jeff Green. Favors could well be a rental for Cleveland, but the Cavs can’t be picky with their season slipping away.

Crowder’s simply better than he’s shown in Cleveland; whether he’s still understandably grieving the loss of his mother just before the start of the season, or just is struggling finding a niche playing off of LeBron (it’s been known to happen), this isn’t who he is as a player. He’s always thrived playing with uber-tinkerer coaches like Rick Carlisle and Brad Stevens who max his skills moving without the ball. Jazz coach Quin Snyder is in that mold, Utah is egalitarian on offense and the Jazz would certainly rather cover Crowder’s $15.1 million due through 2020 than go deeper into its pockets to keep Favors.

The Ringer put one out in regards to the Wizards and Alec Burks:

Alec Burks is the type of player Washington should target. The former lottery pick can barely crack the rotation in Utah, but he’s a high-level talent who never clicked with Quin Snyder and needs a fresh start...

The deal summed up was this: Alec Burks and Royce O’Neale for Marcin Gortat and a 1st rounder. I’d have to believe that Gortat would be bought out following that move.

Frank Urbina over on Hoops Hype put out 3 potential packages for Ricky Rubio here’s one of the ideas:

Along with the Jazz, one of the teams expected to be big-time sellers at the upcoming trade deadline are the Orlando Magic...

The name who is of most interest for our exercise is Evan Fournier... So to make the transaction more feasible in a basketball sense, Orlando could add veteran floor general DJ Augustin to the deal, who is still proving to be effective in his age-30 campaign. To tie things up, Utah could add Alec Burks and give the Magic more wing depth.

And the last one for today is this crazy 4-team package from the Pelicans version of SLC Dunk The Bird Writes:

Any deal you like more than the others?

And to wrap things up I’ll give you Alex Kennedy’s insight into Rodney Hood’s market:

For what it’s worth, I’m kind of sick of fake deals and trade rumors. I’m ready for the deadline to just be here and all of this madness to go away. It’s always fun for a few days, but now I just want to see the direction this team will take moving forward.

We had plenty of action on the Fan Posts this time around, so let’s get to it.

Bucks fan R983 came over to ask some trade questions:

Hello! I’m a fan of the Milwaukee Bucks, and was hoping to get some feedback on how Jazz fans and in your opinion, how the team would view Jabari Parker...

jazzexile talks about the trade deadline and basketball “business”:

Jazz Nation seems torn between #takenote and #tanknote, as they seem to perpetually be the same number of games from the final playoff spot and a top five lottery pick. It remains to be seen whether Dennis Lindsey will make a few tweaks, totally reboot, or stand pat. Seems like just about anything is possible.

No matter what happens, I can’t help but think how Jazz fans will respond to seeing any traded players in a new uni.

MoChuk discusses the Quest for a Primary Scorer:

The Utah Jazz have had a difficult time scoring the ball this season, consistently ranking near the bottom of the NBA in offensive efficiency throughout the year. While our offense has been generating open looks, we haven’t been able to knock them down. If we can find another primary offensive option, it would go a long way towards getting us back towards the top of the offensive rankings.

But what is a primary scorer and how can Utah get one?

Yer Mama taks about cap flexibility and what to do with it:

Jazz Management is trying to maintain salary cap flexibility for this summer. I recognize the Jazz have to make decisions and may use some of their money to re-sign a couple of their own free agents. I also recognize salary cap flexibility is helpful if the Jazz work out a trade during the off-season. But I am curious what unrestricted free agents are available in the summer of 2018 that meet the following 3 criteria...

For the others that are also curious how the future of the Jazz might look, this spreadsheet from Keith Smith is probably right for you:

It gives great insight into the salary situations of every team. If you’ll notice, there isn't a ton of cap space to go around this summer. Those nonguaranteed contracts that Dennis Lindsey signed over the summer could become incredibly valuable here in a few months. I can’t wait to see what DL has planned in an offseason when he isn’t held hostage by a soon-to-be-gone free agent.

Somehow I’ve made it through this downbeat without mention of Donovan Mitchell. That is unacceptable and I apologize. I’ll try to make up for it with 2 separate posts from this week alone:

Shaun Powell from NBA.com wrote about how the league is taking note of Donovan Mitchell:

(Gordon Hayward) leaving for Boston was made more painful when you consider Hayward was drafted and carefully developed by the Jazz, groomed for big things ... and then all the hard work and patience went poof...

But that angst lasted only about three months, or roughly when the Jazz began to feel the excitement and the hope again, all of which was all generated by a rookie.

Dan Feldman from NBC also said the Jazz found a prize in Donovan Mitchell:

Between his athleticism, smooth shooting stroke and 6-foot-10 wingspan on a 6-foot-3 body, Mitchell oozed promise. His future was undeniably bright...

Most rookies who averaged 18 points per game won Rookie of the Year. Mitchell is averaging 19.1. He might not catch the 76ersBen Simmons, who appeared to be running away with the award earlier in the season, but Mitchell’s candidacy should be taken seriously.

Not that Mitchell is giving it much thought.

“We’re trying to make the playoffs, make a playoff push,” Mitchell said. “I think if I focus on that one award, it’s kind of selfish on my part to be like, ‘Alright, this is why I’m playing.’ We have bigger things in mind.”...

Mitchell shoots 16.1 times per game. The only team in the last 20 years to make the playoffs with a rookie taking at least 15 shots per game: Carmelo Anthony‘s Nuggets in 2004. Even at just 20-28, Utah has the best record of any team since with a 15-shot-per-game rookie.

Both are decent reads if case you needed a reminder that Donovan Mitchell is really good at basketball. And for another reminder, he’s still just a rookie and will be a Jazzman for a very long time.