The Utah Jazz just went 1-5 on a six-game road trip, capping it off by blowing a 25-point lead to the Los Angeles Clippers, just as they did in Game 6 as they were eliminated by the same team in last season’s playoffs.
So, things are a little bleak for the Jazz right now.
For better or worse, I’m here to answer your Jazz and NBA questions large and small. Time to open up the mailbag and dig in.
Any news on Trent Forrest’s contract being upgraded so he will be available for the playoffs?— MR PILGRIM (@JD16551402) March 29, 2022
In case you forgot or didn’t know, Trent Forrest, who is on a two-way contract with the Jazz, will not be eligible to play in playoff games unless the team converts his contract to a standard NBA deal.
It seemed, until recently, all but inevitable that the Jazz would convert his contract just before the playoffs so he would be eligible. Forrest wouldn’t be in line to receive significant postseason minutes, if any. Instead he’d be more of an insurance policy on the roster in case of an injury to Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley or Jordan Clarkson. But, recent events need to be taken into account.
First, Hassan Whiteside has been sidelined for the last three games with a right foot sprain. No word yet on when the team expects for him to be back, but if this injury is going to impact his ability to play in the postseason, which is right around the corner, then the Jazz might have to think about a backup option to take the final roster spot rather than converting Forrest.
Secondly, Forrest sustained concussion-like symptoms in Tuesday’s loss to the Clippers. Concussions can be tricky and this would be Forrest’s second of the season so everyone is going to be super cautious about getting him back on the court. That could end up affecting his ability to play and if it does, is it worth taking that last roster spot when you could sign a different player? We’ll see.
If the Jazz don't make it past the 2nd round, does the front office blow it up? If so, which one of Quin, Rudy, and Donovan would be gone?— Bryant McConkie (@mcconkatroid) March 29, 2022
I’m not sure what the front office does if the Jazz don’t advance past the second round of the playoffs. In my opinion, if you’re going to blow something up, don’t do part of the job.
If you’re going to trade away either Mitchell or Rudy Gobert, you might as well trade them both. If you’re trying to get a playable package back for either player, you are probably getting back multiple players that are not as good as Gobert or Mitchell on their own and therefore are not going to be as good of a team.
Instead, you should be trading for the future. Get as much young talent and high-end picks as possible so that you can truly rebuild. And if you’re truly rebuilding, it’s probably fair to let Quin Snyder go coach another team that’s more ready for a push. He’s been through a rebuild already, I doubt that he would want to go through all that again.
But this could all be speculation that amounts to nothing because this team could end up just trying to retool around the edges once again and seeing if they are able to make it with the pieces that they have. Great questions to look back on after the playoffs.
Am I being unrealistic that I think maybe Quin being replaced with another HC is all this team needs? Certainly what I want the most to be true.— Braden (@BradenDeWizard) March 30, 2022
I got a lot of questions like this that included Snyder, or suggesting that Joe Ingles getting traded is what upended the Jazz, or that taking Georges Niang off the roster took away the levity and joy.
I think these are unrealistic conclusions. If Ingles or Niang (an aging, injured bench player and a bench player who was used less) were the only thing keeping this Jazz team together, then the Jazz’s problems would have eventually reared their ugly heads anyway.
If taking Snyder out of the equation was going to be the answer, then we wouldn’t be talking about a Jazz team that can blow another team out of the water in the first half and then absolutely fail in the second half. I think the Jazz’s problems are far more execution- and focus-based than they are on the Xs and Os of the game.
Maybe a shakeup would help, maybe having a different player to be the veteran sounding board would help, too. But I don’t think those are the issues that are the most pressing.
What are your top 3 and bottom 3 cities to visit during the season?— Rudy Cultbert 🔮 (@tiffanee_dawn) March 29, 2022
My top three cities are my favorite not because of what the city offers in the way of conveniences, attractions or excitement, but because I get to see people that I care about.
I love going to Sacramento because it means that I get to have lunch or dinner with my family and if there’s an off-day I get to go home and nothing can beat that. The same goes for San Francisco. The Bay Area is also close to family and some of my dearest friends and I called Oakland home for many years, so it makes me happy to be there. Philadelphia was also home, and will always hold a special place in my heart.
Least favorites have more to do with convenience and personal preferences than anything else. San Antonio is low on the list because the arena is out in the middle of nowhere and it’s also one of the hardest arenas to navigate once you’re inside. It’s also very hot and I hate that there aren’t ever great Delta flight options.
Orlando is muggy, hot, sticky and every other word you could associate with humidity and my hair does not appreciate it.
Chicago’s airport is legendary for being huge and hectic. It’s also far from the city and there is always traffic. Unfortunately it also seems to always be raining or snowing or well below freezing temperature when I’m there so I’ve been unlucky with Chicago weather. Staying downtown is nice, but it also means getting a ride share or a taxi to the arena, which has a horrible setup and long waits due to the drop-off area where drivers are required to go.
Are there any examples of players spending significant time (majority of 2+ seasons) in the G-league and improving? I'm trying to figure out if sending Dok down is good developmental time or if the injury risk isn't worth it.— Josiah (@Nbasuperfan24) March 29, 2022
It’s important to note that Udoka Azubuike recently had surgery to repair multiple ankle and foot ligaments in his right foot that was injured three times in the last two years. If he has risk of injury once he returns to play sometime next season, that risk will be there whether he is playing in the NBA or in the G League.
To Josiah’s point though, there are examples of players playing over multiple years in the G League and improving. Danuel House Jr. bounced around the G League for a little over two years before landing a regular rotation spot with the Houston Rockets.
Danny Green, now with the Philadelphia 76ers, spent a ton of time in the then D-League before getting regular rotation minutes and is one of most thought-of success stories from a player who was a call-up from the development league.
There are tons of stories of players improving and getting opportunities even after years of playing in the G League. But whether Azubuike will be one of them or not is still an unknown.
Do u think the NBA should shorten the season to try to keep guys healthier? Realize for $$ reasons it won’t happen, but quality of the playoffs goes down w/ key guys hurt. Injuries are part of the game ofc, but it feels like we’ve seen more playoff-altering ones the last few yrs— Wesley Jones (@JazzFanatic) March 30, 2022
Do I think the NBA should shorten the season? Yes. Will it ever happen? No.
Wesley is right to say that the money involved and bottom line is going to prevent the league from doing this. But there are so many reasons outside of money to argue that it’s the right choice.
Each game would carry more weight, the playoff race would be more interesting and intense, anticipation for big matchups would intensify and it would take away the feeling that you get through an 82-game season where there’s a middle part that just feels like you’re going through the motions trying to get to the home stretch.
But more than anything else, injuries would certainly go down. Wear and tear on the body is so closely linked to injuries. There’s no way of getting around that. The less trauma the body endures throughout the season could really improve things on the injury front and even potentially give players more career longevity.
But the long seasons are here to stay because the NBA is a business and money is king.