After another disappointment in the playoffs, there are key questions that must be answered in the Jazz offseason. The Jazz has been successful in the regular season but they can’t crack the code on how to get past the second round.
Jazz offseason preview 2021
It has been a successful regular season for the Jazz—finishing first in the West and first overall. They have a great balance offensively (3rd in offensive rating) and defensively (4th in defensive rating) with a plethora of reliable role players such as Jordan Clarkson, Mike Conley, and Bojan Bogdanovic. At first glance, they look like a legit championship contender.
But, the same thing can’t be said in the playoffs. Utah always falls flat or comes up short since 2017. What could be the problem?
Now, let us look at the three key questions that must be answered in the Jazz offseason…
Who is Utah’s second star?
Donovan Mitchell had a monster performance in the playoffs—averaging 32.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. He’s clearly one of the best young players in the league and the face of the Jazz for many years to come.
The question is: Who is Utah’s second star?
Obviously, it isn’t Rudy Gobert. While he played consistently both in the regular and postseason, he isn’t that all-star caliber player. Rather, he is the ultimate role player. He may average a consistent double-double (14.3 and 13.5) and lead the league in blocked shots (2.7) in the regular season, but that’s it. It’s safe to say that at this point of his career, he reached his ceiling.
It’s also not Mike Conley. While he is currently the Jazz’s second-best player, Conley isn’t the same star that we saw in Memphis anymore. The 33-year old has been plagued by injuries as well for the past few seasons.
There are other guys like Clarkson, Ingles, and Bogdanovic who can score—but they are all role players.
As you can see, there’s no clear second star next to Mitchell who can step up big time, especially in the playoffs. Just check out other powerhouse teams— the Lakers have James and Davis, the Clippers have George and Leonard, and the Nets even have three stars.
If the Jazz wants to get past the second round, they need a legitimate consistent star (or a borderline star) other than Mitchell.
Should the Jazz re-sign Conley?
Conley has been a major factor in Utah’s success in the regular season and in the first round of the playoffs. Without him, they would’ve not made it as the first seed in the West.
However, the problem is his health. The soon-to-be 34-year old has been bitten by the injury bug for the past two seasons. Obviously, that is due to his age. And just recently, he missed a huge chunk of time in the second round due to a hamstring injury. If he played, it would’ve been a different outcome vs the Clippers.
Conley is still a great starting point guard who can provide a veteran presence in a championship team. However, should the Jazz re-sign him given his injury history and age? If yes, how much are they willing to pay him? Weighing the risks in signing Conley should be a priority in the Jazz offseason.
Who makes sense in a trade situation?
Should the Jazz run it back next season? If they made the WCF or reach the NBA Finals, they should.
But their recent second-round exit means that they should explore upgrading their roster. Changes must be made if they don’t want to get exposed again in the playoffs.
The Jazz doesn’t have the luxury to sign big free agents as they’re capped out. Thus, they should explore trading for players instead.
If they can package a deal with their plethora of role players, they can easily land a star or a borderline star type of player next to Mitchell. Finding a star beside Spida should be explored in the Jazz offseason.