NBA Predictions 2011: Where the Jazz Are Going to Find Minutes for Their Bigs
The Utah Jazz were a team of much speculation regarding potential trades. Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson were considered to be potential trade pieces in order to free up playing time for the young players in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
It no longer appears the Jazz are going to trade either one at this point.
Millsap and Jefferson both reported to training camp in excellent shape and ready to defend their starting spots against the rising generation of players for the Jazz while Favors and Kanter look to establish themselves in the league.
Then, to top it all off, Memo Okur is apparently healthy and once again ready to stretch the court giving the Jazz five able, competent players.
Where are the Jazz going to find minutes for all five players and only 96 minutes a game up for grabs?
Divided between them it averages out to just over 19 minutes a game per player.
This kind of depth is a problem every team would like to have, but it does leave the Jazz in a bit of a predicament.
They have three established veterans, and two young promising players who the Jazz want to give every opportunity to develop as to prove they made the right deal in trading Deron Williams last season (Favors came over via the trade and Kanter was drafted with one of the picks obtained in the deal).
The problem will not be apparent immediately; Kanter most likely will not be demanding heavy amounts of minutes because he has not played in over a year and will most likely start off extremely slow.
Okur, despite playing basketball in Turkey, will be eased back into the lineup as he continues to recover from his torn Achilles tendon.
Perhaps this is what the Jazz were anticipating, as they are in no rush to trade anyone before the season starts. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap will only go up in value as teams' weaknesses in the frontcourt becomes apparent.
Ideally, I would like to see the Jazz trade Jefferson for an established wing or solid role players with picks. Then have Millsap come off the bench, creating matchup nightmares for opposing coaches because Millsap could outpace the backup PF or power through the backup SF.
Millsap would be in the running for the Sixth Man of the Year award and may win it easily if he were willing to come off the bench. The problem is he is not willing to do so.
Millsap made his intentions clear on whether he would be willing to come off the bench by saying, "I'm a starter, I'm going to start."
Millsap's unwillingness to come off the bench and the Jazz having Favors waiting in the wings may force the Jazz to eventually trade Millsap.
Whatever the Jazz decide, they appear to be in no hurry, which is smart.
They do not have to make a trade right now. Teams who are a piece or two short of contention are more willing to overpay for a player they think will push them over the top, and thus allow the Jazz to cash in.
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