Great roster depth is a great thing to have in the NBA, and a "problem" many coaches would love to have.
Though depth is undoubtedly a strength, it does create problems with deciding who gets the lion's share of the minutes. No where is that more evident than in the frontcourt of the Utah Jazz, where quickly rising stars Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter languish on the bench behind established veterans Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.
Favors' not starting is especially frustrating for Jazz fans and undoubtedly for Favors himself. A defensive disruption machine on the interior, Favors has Dwight Howard-like ability to create havoc in the middle and has the potential to be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
Potential is the key word there, as Favors would certainly not be considered for the award if he only averages backup minutes for the rest of the year.
There is a strong argument to be made for Favors starting over Paul Millsap. Thus far in the very young 2012-13 NBA season, one of Utah's biggest issues has been interior defense. In its loss to the New Orleans Hornets, the Jazz gave up far too many points in the paint, even after Anthony Davis was knocked out of the game.
While this can't all be blamed on Millsap, it's fairly evident that starting Favors would greatly reduce this problem, if not solve it completely. The swap would also give Utah's second unit a more potent offensive punch, as Millsap would be a huge mismatch for virtually any backup post player.
The situation with Enes Kanter is different, but the argument for giving him more playing time is still there.
Kanter had an electrifying preseason, showing off a significantly slimmed down body and demonstrating that the lead-footed Kanter of last year is long gone. He showed tremendous development on both ends of the floor in the preseason, but has not yet really shown any significant production in the regular season.
The argument could be made that Kanter's production was a mirage created by Kanter abusing defenders unlikely to make the final cut for their respective teams. While this might be a partial explanation, the eye test showed there was definitely more to it.
Kanter's box score wasn't the only thing that was impressive in the preseason. His offensive arsenal has expanded, and his impressive rebounding skills are on their way to being dominant. Kanter's main issue seems to be maintaining his high level of confidence even in sparse minutes and translating his impressive skills into an actual game situation.
So what should be done about Favors and Kanter? Based on Utah Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin's philosophy in regards to this situation thus far, it's unlikely much of anything will change unless necessitated by injury, trade or a significant losing streak.
The boldest option would be to deal Jefferson or Millsap to a club in need of a post presence and insert Favors into the starting lineup to replace the departed player. Going by nothing but logic and reason, Houston would make a lot of sense as a potential trade partner for Jefferson or Millsap.
Houston has an increasingly amazing backcourt of Jeremy Lin and James Harden locked up long term. The Rockets also paid a hefty price for young but unproven free agent center Omer Asik. If the Rockets want to make a run in the Western Conference this year, they could give the Jazz a call about Jefferson or Millsap to fill their most obvious weakness at the power forward position.
However, if neither a trade nor catastrophic injury occurs, Jazz fans should make peace with the current roster arrangement and playing time distribution of the Jazz, as it is unlikely to change.
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