Utah Jazz: 3 Players Who Must Be Gone Before Next Season

Andy HuSenior Writer IIMarch 23, 2013

Utah Jazz: 3 Players Who Must Be Gone Before Next Season

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    Ever since the Utah Jazz traded Deron Williams to the then-New Jersey Nets, they have been a middle-of-the-pack team with pocketfuls of youthful talent waiting for their opportunity to shine.

    They have been contending for that eighth spot in the Western Conference for the past three seasons, and that's all that they could do with their current team. Even if they do secure the eighth seed, how meaningful would it be if they just get swept in the first round again?

    This slideshow will list three players that the Jazz must let go during the coming offseason in order for this team to take a step towards prominence.

Marvin Williams

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    Marvin Williams has a player option for next season, and it's likely that he would exercise it if he enjoys his time with the Utah Jazz.

    Furthermore, he would be difficult to move because he's set to earn $7.5 million next season, and his play definitely doesn't matchup to his salary.

    However, if the Atlanta Hawks found a way to get rid of Williams and Joe Johnson's albatross of a contract, then it's possible for the Jazz to do the same. 

    Williams is averaging a career low in points per game (7.7), rebounds per game (3.8) and field goal percentage (41.9) this year and is playing the lowest number of minutes since his rookie season.

    He's eating up minutes from Gordon Hayward, who's quickly rising to become one of the most versatile two-way swingmen in the league. Even if Hayward continues to play off of the bench, DeMarre Carroll has shown promise as a great defender and provides more valuable minutes than Williams at the 3.

Mo Williams

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    Mo Williams recently returned from injury earlier this month, but he's never been the type of point guard who could lead a contending team. For every good game he records, he has two or three bad ones, and that's been evident during the Jazz's current struggles.

    He's set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season is over, and the Jazz should not look to re-sign him. Williams is making $8.5 million this year, and that'll probably be the highest he would ever make from now and until the end of his career.

    The Jazz could use the extra cap space to sign a young point guard for their rebuilding efforts. Every position from the 2 to the 5 is covered already with young, promising talent, but it's hard to see Mo Williams being the future starting point guard for this squad.

    He's a scoring point guard, but his inefficiency this season has been rather alarming. Recently, he registered 20 points and 6 assists in a win over the Detroit Pistons but then posted just five points in the following game against the Oklahoma City Thunder—a team that they would probably face in the first round of the playoffs if they enter as an eighth seed.

Al Jefferson

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    Let's make this clear: Al Jefferson is one of the most skilled, low-post big men in the league. He has had six or seven seasons in his career where he could have probably made the All-Star team, if not for the fact that he's played on weak, bottom-dwelling teams for most of his career.

    With that being said, Jefferson hasn't shown that he has the ability or will to lead any team further, which is probably why he's never mentioned as one of the NBA's most elite big men. 

    He's been posting another great season for the Jazz, but his game is very limited and won't get much better from here on out. 

    Jefferson needs the ball in his hands to be effective on offense, and the offense usually dies out when he does get the ball. While he's added a decent mid-range jumper into his game and improved his spot-up shooting, he's not a very versatile offensive player when not in the post.

    Although he's a prominent offensive player in his own right, his defense has never been one of his strong suits. He's never contributed to a defensive rating higher than 103 in a season (per Basketball Reference).

    Additionally, opposing power forwards are averaging a PER of 22.6 against Jefferson, and opposing centers are registering a PER of 17.7 this season (per 82games.com). It's time for Jefferson to go, and the Jazz won't lose much of their future with Enes Kanter developing into a more solid player everyday.