Utah Jazz: What kind of player should the Jazz go after this offseason?

Utah Jazz general manager Justin Zanik, left, congratulates new CEO of Jazz Basketball Danny Ainge Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.

Justin Zanik, left, general manager of the Utah Jazz, congratulates Danny Ainge following a press conference announcing Ainge as CEO of Utah Jazz Basketball at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. Ainge and Zanik will be looking for ways to strengthen the Jazz roster this offseason.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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Earlier this week, after asking my Twitter followers to send in their questions for an offseason mailbag, I received this question and I thought that it deserved a little more breathing room than just a couple of paragraphs.

My initial reaction to this question is that we need to know what direction the Jazz are going to go in before we can decide what exactly they need. Are they going to completely blow it up? Are they going to move forward with just one of either Donovan Mitchell or Rudy Gobert? Are they going to trade around the edges of the roster to try to get better with their current core?

But after a little consideration, I actually don’t think that we need to wait to know what direction the Jazz go in to know what they need. They need what they’ve needed for years — what they could have desperately used in order to progress further in the recent playoff runs — athletic, long, defensive wing players.

The thing is, every team in the NBA wants those players. The 3-and-D wing is a hot commodity in the NBA for a reason and that makes them a little difficult to come by. That being said, there’s really no reason for the Jazz to not pursue that kind of player, no matter what direction they are going in.

The Jazz should be targeting a defensively sound wing, especially if they are going to try to remain competitive in the Western Conference, but even if they aren’t. I think the only caveat I would include would be that if the Jazz are going to try to continue to win, they could target veteran players. But if they’re going to plan for the future then they should prioritize youth. No matter what though, they should go after a player who has the qualities they’ve been without.

New with the Jazz

Stat of the week

As pointed out by NBA.com’s John Schuhmann, after the Boston Celtics trailed 18-8 to start Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, “the Celtics scored 56 points on their next 31 possessions. That’s a rate of 1.81 per possession, which is like shooting better than 90%, basically getting layups and dunks on 31 straight trips down the floor. Really, they were just 5-for-6 in the restricted area over that stretch, but they were 4-for-7 on other 2-point shots, 8-for-8 from the free-throw line, and 10-for-15 from 3-point range.”

From the archives

This week in Jazz history

On May 16, 2000, Utah’s Jef Hornacek walked off the court for the final time after the Jazz were eliminated from the postseason by the Portland Trail Blazers. Hornacek, who entered the league as a point guard and ended up one of the game’s best pure shooters, concluded his career after 1,077 career games. He averaged 14.5 points and 4.9 assists per game, with shooting percentages of 49.6% from the field, 40.3% from 3-point range and 87.7% from the free-throw line.

How to pass the time in the offseason

Now that the Jazz season has come to an end, it means that I have some time to catch up on the things that I love but don’t have enough time for during the NBA season. A lot of you have asked how I fill my time. Well, I love watching live sports so I’ll be taking in some Salt Lake Bees and Real Salt Lake games, but I’m also almost always reading a book (or two, or three), working on a jigsaw puzzle, watching some sort of binge-worthy TV show and listening to many podcasts. So I thought this would be a good place to suggest my latest way to pass the offseason time and also take your suggestions.

For the true crime fans, “The Unsolved Murder of Beverly Lynn Smith” is a brand new four-part docuseries on Amazon Prime. In 1974, the murder of 22-year-old Beverly Lynn Smith shocked a small town in Ontario, Canada. She was found dead in her kitchen from a gunshot wound while her 10-month-old baby was unharmed in the next room, and for decades the case was cold. Would a new investigation uncover the truth? Or, would it leave the family with more questions than answers?

I don’t want to ruin any of the twists and turns of the investigation, but at the end of the series, you are left to sort of decide what you believe happened and boy oh boy do I have some thoughts and feelings. I need other people to watch this so that I can talk to them about it on Twitter without the fear of spoiling anything.

Extra points

  • What could the Jazz get for Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • One Ambitious Free-Agent Target for Every NBA Team (Bleacher Report)
  • Donovan Mitchell is heading into the most important offseason of his career (The Athletic)
  • Robert Horry Wishes He’d Thrown Brick At Danny Ainge (KSLsports.com)

Around the league

The Lakers have narrowed down their head coach search to three finalists.

Rapper J Cole to play in Canadian Elite Basketball League.

The 10 most intriguing free agents of the 2022 offseason.

Up next: NBA playoffs — Conference Finals

May 20 | 7 p.m. | Game 2 | Dallas Mavericks @ Golden State Warriors | TNT

May 21 | 6:30 p.m. | Game 3 | Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics | ABC

May 22 | 7 p.m. | Game 3 | Golden State Warriors @ Dallas Mavericks | TNT

May 23 | 6:30 p.m. | Game 4 | Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics | ABC

May 24 | 7 p.m. | Game 4 | Golden State Warriors @ Dallas Mavericks | TNT

May 25 | 6:30 p.m. | Game 5 | Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat | ESPN

May 26 | 7 p.m. | Game 5 if necessary | Dallas Mavericks @ Golden State Warriors | TNT