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Jazz mailbag: Trade deadline, future of Miye Oni and Georges Niang, NBA second half schedule and more

Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard (11) stretches for the ball as Utah Jazz forward Georges Niang (31) spins away from him during an NBA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard (11) stretches for the ball as Utah Jazz forward Georges Niang (31) spins away from him during an NBA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz have the best record in the league at 22-5, are on a seven-game win streak and have won the last 18 of 19 games. Every thing is going great, but that doesn’t mean the fans don’t have questions that need answering.

I’m here for you in these celebratory times just as I will be in any trying times that might come. Without further ado, it’s time to reach into the mailbag and answer some questions.

If the Jazz feel that Miye Oni and Georges Niang are going to continue to improve and help them over the next couple of years there’s no reason to not keep them under contract. The Jazz are going to be in a really tight or over the cap situation so retaining players that you already have on the payroll is the absolute best way to field talent that you already trust.

Despite how promising Oni and Niang have looked, I don’t think that there needs to be a concern about a bidding war on them because I think they’ll want to stay here so the Jazz can just take care of them in the offseason. That being said, I can tell you with absolute certainty that there are people around the league who have already taken note of both Oni and Niang. If I’m the Jazz, I make sure I can keep them around on small contracts. If I’m Oni or Niang and something bigger and better comes along, you’ve got to look out for No. 1.

I’d like to push back a little on what our friend CR says here. I would say that there is a reasonable argument to be made that the Los Angeles Lakers are a team capable of taking their game to another level come playoff time. There isn’t another team in the Western Conference playoff race that has proven they can do anything. So I don’t think it seems like top teams are cruising along.

The other argument would be for the Warriors if they were at full strength, but they’re not. The Clippers proved last year that they can completely fall apart and the rest of the teams are as unproven as anyone else.

I don’t think that we’ve seen this Jazz team’s top gear. We’ve seen glimpses, quarters. But they have the talent and weapons to be absolutely dominant on both ends for the entirety of a game. Whether they get to that level and whether it’s sustainable, I don’t know. But I’m excited to find out.

The Jazz’s continuity and familiarity is something that the Jazz came into the season really happy about, and it’s also something that other NBA coaches have pointed to as a reason for the Jazz’s success. I don’t think the Jazz would get rid of any of their main rotational pieces at the trade deadline this season and there’s no reason to tinker around on the fringes when everything is working so well right now. I tend the think they’ll take the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach this season.

The NBA is planning to release the second half of the 2020-21 season schedule around the end of February, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

There have been a couple of teams that have had many more postponements than others, namely the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies. The NBA has already begun working to rectify those games getting called off, by rescheduling them during the first half of the season. They’ve moved up some of their contests over the last couple of weeks so that there won’t be a logjam at the end of the season.

For the rest of the postponements the NBA is hoping to make up the majority, if not all, in the second part of the season. Expecting and planning for postponements was one of the biggest reasons for releasing the schedule in halves this season.

Since this is really for Jazz fans I’m going to try to make this succinct. The Celtics need to make some moves, probably at the trade deadline and definitely in the offseason. They don’t have time to waste when they have two guys as talented as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Those are real top-level players. But even the best players can dwindle and fade out with nothing to show for their efforts if they front office and ownership don’t surround them with the right pieces.

The Jazz are a good example of having the right pieces around Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. The Celtics need to aim for something more well-rounded than what they have right now. Tatum and Brown deserve it. As far as their ceiling, it can be sky high if they have the right collection of talent around them.