Should the Utah Jazz Call It Quits This Season?

Andy HuSenior Writer IIMarch 27, 2013

Mar 25, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) is defended by Philadelphia 76ers small forward Thaddeus Young (21) during the second half at EnergySolutions Arena. The Jazz won 107-91. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

No team would want to forfeit the rest of their season, especially if it's a team like the Utah Jazz—who still have a shot at securing the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

However, being a middle-of-the-pack team in the NBA is probably the worst. A team should be either contending for a title, or rebuilding around young players, not fighting for the eighth spot in the playoffs and then get swept again like last year.

The Jazz are lucky that they've been able to stockpile a handful of young prospects over the last few years, because all of the young players on the team could play when they're given the opportunity to demonstrate their talent.

With the season concluding and the Jazz are still struggling to reach that eighth seed, maybe it's best to just look towards the future right now.


Developing the Youth

Although the younger players on the team—Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward—have seen their share of minutes this season, none of them are registering consistent minutes other than Hayward.

Favors is sitting at just under 23 minutes per game, while Kanter and Burks both average less than 19 minutes per contest.

There are still 11 games left in the Jazz's season, and the team could use this time to give the younger players more experience, because they are the ones who are going to be with the franchise for the long haul, not Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson.

Eleven games may not seem much, but it could help prepare the youth movement for next season, where the four aforementioned players should expect to see a spike in their number of minutes.

By giving the youngster more playing time, the organization could evaluate which young players show the most promise and decide to keep them for their future rebuilding efforts.


Millsap and Jefferson Cannot Lead this Team Further

Millsap and Jefferson are just 27 and 28 years old, respectively. However, they've already illustrated their potential a few years ago, and they won't improve much more from here on out.

Although veteran and leadership qualities may improve with age, their games aren't going to dramatically change from now and until the end of their career. They're both great players and borderline All-Stars, but that's all they'll ever be.

They won't be able to carry this team further than being a fringe playoff contender.

The Jazz added some decent pieces to the team like Mo Williams and Randy Foye last offseason, but they aren't players who could push a team into contender status. In fact, the Jazz are right where they were last year.

What's the point of making it into the playoffs as an eighth seed and then get beaten down by one of the Western Conference elites again? They won't be able to prove anything, and it's unlikely that the Jazz could compete at all with Millsap and Jefferson as their two best players at the helm.

The season is basically over, and the Jazz are expected to increase the playing time of their young players if Millsap and Jefferson leave in free agency. But maybe the team should give them a chance right now, and see if they could help boost this team into the playoffs.