5 Best Situational Lineups for the Utah Jazz in 2012-13

Denim MillwardContributor IIISeptember 10, 2012

5 Best Situational Lineups for the Utah Jazz in 2012-13

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    The true genius in Utah's offseason acquisitions is the tremendous flexibility and depth it gives the roster.  The lack of drop-off from player two to player 10 makes the insertion of a certain player into the lineup over another much more feasible. 

    Lacking a bona fide NBA superstar, Utah will look to use their tactical advantage of depth and flexibility to counter advantages other teams with NBA First Team-caliber talent may have and create mismatches. 

    Here are Utah's best five situational lineups that can be wielded in battle against various NBA foes. 

Big Lineup

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    Point Guard:  Mo Williams

    Shooting Guard:  Gordon Hayward

    Small Forward:  Paul Millsap

    Power Forward:  Al Jefferson

    Center:  Derrick Favors

    This lineup was very successful last season, albeit in fairly limited minutes.  Though it was attempted out of desperation due to numerous injuries, it's drawn rave reviews by Jazz fans and NBA aficionados alike. 

    This lineup uses Paul Millsap (normally a power forward) at the small forward position, and bumps 6'9" Gordon Hayward up to shooting guard.  Immediately, we can see the matchup problems both offensively and defensively that opposing shooting guards and small forwards would have against this squad.

    Utah's big lineup also makes switching on defense much more possible, as Millsap switching onto a post player or Hayward switching onto a small forward would not be a monumental mismatch, if any at all. 

    Millsap showed sufficient quickness to hold his own against athletic swingmen, and Hayward's excellent passing and court vision allow him to fit in nicely at the off guard position. 

Defensive Lineup

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    Point Guard:  Randy Foye

    Shooting Guard:  Gordon Hayward

    Small Forward:  Marvin Williams

    Power Forward:  Derrick Favors

    Center:  Enes Kanter

    This lineup would be utilized in late-game situations when Utah is protecting a small lead.  Millsap may get the nod over Kanter if one of the opposing post players could shoot the three well. 

    The combo guard Foye would play the point in this lineup, as he's the tallest and longest player Utah has who could also run the point on the offensive end.  Obviously, this unit may struggle offensively, which is precisely why it would be only used in limited situations. 

3-Point Lineup

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     Point Guard: Mo Williams

     Shooting Guard:  Randy Foye

     Small Forward:  Gordon Hayward

     Power Forward:  Marvin Williams

     Center:  Paul Millsap

    Like the defensive lineup, this is another experiment that would be not used for a huge amount of minutes, but could prove to be very valuable in the closing minutes of close games when the Jazz need a three. 

    This is really where the additions of Mo Williams, Marvin Williams and Randy Foye will come in handy. 

    Last year, Utah didn't have a single player finish in the top 75 in three-point percentage.  With newcomers Marvin, Mo and Randy, they will have three that finished in the top 40. 

    One perceived matchup issue Utah could have in this lineup would be putting Millsap, whose outside shooting has steadily improved over the course of his career, at center, thereby putting him up with the Dwight Howards and Andrew Bynums of the league. 

    However, if Utah needs a three and have all four players (minus the in-bounder) running around the perimeter, the opposing team would likely have a smaller and quicker player guarding Millsap anyway.  If the opposing team didn't get a chance to sub in the correct players, a slow, lumbering center trying to chase Millsap all over the court would actually be an advantage for Utah. 

Small Lineup

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    Point Guard:  Mo Williams

    Shooting Guard:  Randy Foye

    Small Forward:  Alec Burks

    Power Forward:  Marvin Williams

    Center:  Derrick Favors

    This lineup would most likely be used on fewer occasions than any of the previous lineups, but could be used for more minutes at a time than the three-point and defensive lineups. 

    The primary strengths of this lineup would be the ability of Alec Burks to torch slower small forwards by utilizing his biggest strength; getting to the rim.  With Williams' and Foye on the floor, the option to kick it out for a wide open three should open up once defenders start helping on the driving Burks.

    Opposing power forwards would also have a hard time closing out on Marvin Williams when he's in the corner firing off a wide-open three. 

    Favors, not a "small" player by any means, would help make up for the possible defensive inefficiencies of this lineup with his stellar help defense and shot-blocking ability. 

Scoring Lineup

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    Point Guard:  Mo Williams

    Shooting Guard:  Alec Burks

    Small Forward:  Gordon Hayward

    Power Forward:  Paul Millsap

    Center:  Al Jefferson

    If Utah needs a bunch of points in a hurry, this is their optimal lineup.

    The defensive stalwart Favors is benched in favor of Millsap and Jefferson, two veterans whose offensive games are light years ahead of Favors'. 

    Mo Williams has proven that he can fill up box scores quickly when he gets hot, and Burks' ability to either get layups or get to the charity stripe almost at will is only going to get better with age and experience.

    Hayward really showed his offensive prowess towards the end of last season.  His shooting should continue to improve as he logs more NBA minutes, and his superb court vision and passing skills will make life much easier for everyone in a lineup.  

    I don't expect to see this lineup much, except when Utah is down big in an important game.  With Favors' emergence as a dominating defensive presence, Coach Corbin and Co. will need an excellent reason to take him off the floor.