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Utah Jazz mailbag: Will the Jazz experiment more with lineups this year?

Utah head coach Quin Snyder talks to his players.
Utah head coach Quin Snyder talks to his players during a timeout as the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets play an NBA basketball game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 7, 2021.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

We’ve finally reached the part of the NBA offseason where things are quiet and peaceful.

The draft came and went, the biggest moves of free agency are over and the NBA’s Summer League has wrapped up. The only thing left to do before training camp opens is to speculate wildly about the upcoming 2021-22 season.

It seemed like the perfect time to open up the mailbag and answer some of those burning speculative questions.

In Quin Snyder’s seven years as the head coach of the Utah Jazz he hasn’t exactly been a paragon of experimentation, so I wouldn’t count on a ton of it. That’s not to say that there won’t be changes and a little bit of time spent trying things out, especially considering some new faces on the roster, but that doesn’t really seem like Snyder’s style.

If I was a betting woman I would put my money on Snyder being tight with his rotations and not changing too many things. That being said, Snyder also plays to the strength of his personnel and he has some different pieces that will require some flexibility.

I think Rudy Gay will be taking over George Niang’s minutes for the most part, playing mostly at at the four and that using Gay at the five will be matchup based, especially when it comes to the postseason.

As I mentioned above, having the personnel to play a small-ball five might mean that Snyder has to use it from time to time just so that the team is used to it and familiar with how the rotations and switches are expected to work, but I would not expect for it to be a nightly thing.

Health is going to be the Jazz’s biggest hurdle, but that’s the case for every NBA team. Delivering a healthy roster to the playoffs is no small task and it takes diligence, planning, and a whole lot of luck.

As far as the more roster-based stuff goes, the Jazz’s wing defense got a bit of an upgrade with Gay added to the team, but the biggest question I have is, will it be enough? I don’t really think there’s much concern about Gay working out and adapting to the Jazz’s system. Adapting has been Gay’s calling card throughout his career.

There are also questions about how long it will take for rookie Jared Butler to be NBA ready and whether or not he’ll have a significant role on the team this season.

As the season progresses and the Jazz have more of a sense of where they stand compared to the competition, that’s when the biggest holes on the roster and the question marks are revealed.

The Jazz weren’t going into the offseason looking to overhaul the roster. The goal was to work around the edges of the roster and make minor tweaks that would benefit the team and I think the Jazz did that. On paper I think the Jazz got better this offseason and that moves the needle for me.

Looking back to last season’s playoffs, I think that if Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley were both healthy the Jazz could have beat the Los Angeles Clippers.

Maybe?

There were a lot of rumblings when Dennis Lindsey first stepped down from his executive role with the Jazz but since then there hasn’t been much of a peep about potential additions to the front office.

Maybe the Jazz are waiting to see how things play out with Justin Zanik solely holding the reins and running things. So far so good.

Sources close to the situation have indicated that Lindsey is expected to stick around for at least this season. Though Lindsey won’t have a role in the day-to-day operations, the team is still paying him and so why wouldn’t he stick around and enjoy time with his family while not having to do much?

I’d think that once the right opportunity presents itself that Lindsey will set off for greener pastures, but for now there’s not really a reason for him to pack up and leave.

I know that fans want to believe that the players on their favorite team are the hardest working players in the league, but that’s just not true.

Most of the best players in the league have similar training regiments and schedules and work just as hard as the next guy. The players that are still developing and trying to make their way in the league try to emulate the stars in the league, so their routines aren’t far off.

There are of course a handful of players who are less likely to be training and more likely to be hobnobbing with celebrities or partying and posting on Instagram, but those are the exception.

I definitely don’t claim to be a foodie or to have combed the Utah culinary scene, but I have found a few favorites in my time here.

Probably my favorite Salt Lake City restaurant is Laziz, everything on the menu that I’ve tried has been to die for. Other favorites include Proper Burger (highly recommend the Hipster burger), Level Crossing (the G.O.A.T. sandwich is one of the best things I have ever had) and Hopkins Brewery (try the Tatchos, which are tater tot nachos and they’re amazing).

If you would like to have your question answered, you can send it to me at stodd@deseretnews.com with “mailbag” in the subject line, or you can send it to me via Twitter @NBASarah with the hashtag #UtahJazzMailbag.