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Can Trent Forrest have an expanded role for the Utah Jazz this season?

Utah Jazz guard Trent Forrest moves the ball against the Orlando Magic at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
Utah Jazz guard Trent Forrest (3) moves the ball during the game against the Orlando Magic at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Utah Jazz two-way guard Trent Forrest might not seem like one of the most important players on the roster, but a time is coming when he could be a critical part of the equation.

Barring significant injuries for Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles (fingers crossed), Forrest will probably have limited opportunities this season. He’ll be able to play some minutes when the core players are resting, might get some time in blowouts, but he’ll pretty much be at the end of the bench.

But the Jazz have been impressed with Forrest, and with a roster that is aging rapidly, there will be a day when the Jazz will need someone to step into a much larger role. Conley and Ingles aren’t getting any younger and with Ingles playing on an expiring contract, Forrest could be next in line for some reserve ball-handling duties.

The Jazz obviously aren’t putting all their eggs in one basket. There’s competition at the position with rookie Jared Butler, but Forrest sees the competition as something that can make him stronger.

“We’ve been able to play together during OTAs,” Forrest said. “It’s easy to play with him. I mean, he’s a smart guy, he knows how to play, he’s played at a high level winning the national championship, so it’s been great just being able to play alongside him.”

One of Forrest’s biggest hurdles en route to earning more playing time is making sure that he is shooting the ball effectively and efficiently. Forrest has struggled with the 3-ball in the past but showed improvement in Las Vegas during the NBA Summer League showcase and has continued to refine his form over the last few weeks.

Forrest has been working closely with Jazz assistant coach Lamar Skeeter for a few months now, and as that relationship has built, so too has Forrest’s understanding of how and when to pick his spots.

“He’s been a big help with me just seeing the game and understanding my process and how to get better each day,” Forrest said. “There’s never a day where I don’t come and ask him about something or why we’re doing certain stuff. It’s been great.”

Not only that, but some of the exercises Skeeter has introduced to Forrest have already made a difference in his shot.

“One of our warmup drills is just shooting form shots over the backboard,” Forrest said. “You might see it and think, ‘What is he doing?’ but then you get into rhythm shooting and game shooting and you realize your arc is so much better just from doing something little like that.”

One of the most important things that players such as Forrest or even Butler and Elijah Hughes, Udoka Azubuike and Miye Oni can learn is patience. Because even though there are slow years and limited opportunities in the NBA, no career lasts forever, and for those that can stay committed to getting better, there’s a possibility that a door can open right in front of you.