Utah Jazz Tinkering with Starting Lineup Means They're Uncertain of Future
The Utah Jazz's two starting big men—Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson—were forced on the sidelines due to ankle injuries. That allowed Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter the opportunity to step into the spotlight.
Millsap has returned from injury, but has been inserted into the starting lineup alongside Favors—which is one of the more puzzling moves head coach Tyrone Corbin has made this season. They could easily just insert Kanter into the lineup like they did before, but they decided to go with Millsap instead.
In the first game against the Milwaukee Bucks where Millsap and Favors started in the frontcourt together, they looked like they meshed well on both ends of the floor.
The Bucks are a respectable defensive team, as they rank 11th in defensive efficiency among every other team in the NBA (per Hollinger's Team Stats), so it wasn't like they just rolled over a bad team.
Millsap put up 22 points and 14 rebounds, while Favors matched him with 23 points and 15 rebounds. It's just one game, but it may be a sign that the athletic Favors and the undersized Millsap could work well as a duo for the Jazz's future.
However, in the second game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the duo didn't fair too well, but it was primarily due to foul trouble.
It has only been two games so far, so we can't really make a clear judgment of how well the Millsap-Favors combo could play out in the future. But it does suggest that the Jazz are still uncertain about who to keep and re-sign in the offseason, if they even do re-sign Millsap or Jefferson.
Perhaps playing Millsap and Favors together is just a test, but it's definitely something worth experimenting.
Who knows? If the the frontcourt duo could work out, maybe the Jazz could look to sign Millsap to a long-term deal this summer, which would mean that Jefferson is most likely going to leave.
This is definitely something noteworthy to watch as we approach the playoffs. Coach Corbin also replaced Marvin Williams in the lineup with DeMarre Carroll, which probably should've been done months ago.
One thing is for sure, and it's that the Jazz are prepared for the future. Whether or not they decide to keep their two starting big men is all up in the air, but it certainly wouldn't hurt them too much if they lose both of them.
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