The Utah Jazz are 0-3 since the trade deadline.

There are myriad struggles the team is going to have as it maneuvers through the rest of the 2023-24 season and there’s going to be a lot of experimentation, but that might not be all bad.

Kris Dunn as Kelly Olynyk?

When the Jazz traded Kelly Olynyk to the Toronto Raptors, they didn’t lose just his box score production (8.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists per game).

More importantly, they lost the best secondary playmaker on the team and one who was often used to initiate some of their most effective offense.

That kind of a loss impacts everyone on the court, and especially impacts the Jazz’s best player, Lauri Markkanen, who does so much off-ball movement.

The Jazz don’t want to just abandon those offensive sets and schemes, so that means they might have to find someone else on the roster capable of the decision-making Olynyk provided while also being the kind of offensive threat who can move with the ball.

“Keyonte (George) is somebody that we’re using a ton to facilitate, but I think we’re gonna have to find ways to utilize Kris (Dunn) maybe in some ways we haven’t in the past,” Jazz head coach Will Hardy said.

Lakers 138, Jazz 122: Inside the numbers

That could mean using Dunn as a screener, setting him up in triple-threat positions and allowing him to be in situations where he’s not making decisions while also dribbling. That could mean him getting the ball on the elbow or elbow extended like Olynyk did.

It’s not something Dunn has done a lot of, especially with the Jazz, but it has the potential to unlock some new stuff.

“I’m willing to do whatever is best for the team,” Dunn told the Deseret News. “I’m up for the challenge, especially if it’s going to help us get a win. That’s the biggest thing, and if anything, in my opinion, it could help me and show them more of my versatility.”

Ultimately the Jazz are going to need to do some of this experimenting with many of their players.

They are going to end up using Markkanen in different ways and trying to find new opportunities for him and new ways for him to grow his game.

As rookie Taylor Hendricks gets more comfortable on an NBA court, they’re going to push him to find out what his potential is as a defender in multiple positions.

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And it’s not just Dunn who they’re going to try out as a secondary facilitator. Hardy is also open to using John Collins and even Talen Horton-Tucker.

That doesn’t mean anyone is going to be able to exactly replicate what Olynyk did for the Jazz. As Markkanen said, Olynyk is “one of a kind.”

But, by putting players in spots on the court that they’re not used to, the Jazz might be able to come away from this last stretch of the season with some newfound knowledge and maybe some new weapons. 

At the very least, they’ll have tried something new, and worst-case scenario, they learn the limitations of some of their core players.

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