A year after finishing with the NBA’s best record, the Utah Jazz have exited in the first round of the National Basketball Association playoffs.
That would’ve been bad enough on its own, but now the future of the Jazz is looking tenuous.
Rudy feels that his own numbers are consistent or getting better, while Don is D liability and is falling off in terms of explosiveness. Gobert also aware of at least 1 Western Conference power that would be willing to pay handsomely for his abilities. (NBA teams never tamper..)
— Sean O'Connell (@realOCsports) May 2, 2022
There is an argument to be made that the Jazz are a very solid team and that they simply need a few more pieces, but the other side of that argument is that the way the team is constructed simply won’t allow it to ever win a championship.
Should the Jazz hit the proverbial reset button?
Mitchell Is A Great Player Who Steps Up When Needed
Some would say that Mitchell is not a true superstar, and they would argue that he isn’t because he cannot be the best player on a championship team.
Even if that is true, what is also true is that Mitchell is a special player.
He averaged 25.9 points and 5.3 assists per game this season en route to his third consecutive All-Star game selection, and in the playoffs, he has had a number of monster games.
In 2020 against the Denver Nuggets in the first round, Mitchell had a 44-point, 51-point, and a 57-point game, and although the Jazz blew a 3-1 series lead, he had established himself as a bona fide star.
Last year, he went off for 45 points in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals as Utah overcame a double-digit third-quarter deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers, 112-109.
Any team needs a player like that who will play out of his body and attain what late UCLA coach John Wooden called “competitive greatness” in order to win a championship.
Is he really the one the Jazz should trade?
Gobert Is A Good Player, But He Is Flawed
Gobert, nicknamed “The French Rejection” and “The Stifle Tower,” has been one of the game’s best rebounders and shot blockers for the last few years, and he is seemingly always a candidate for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
This season, he led the league with 14.7 rebounds per game and also contributed 2.1 blocked shots a contest.
However, he is limited offensively, and it has been a problem for the Jazz.
In fact, after his team knocked the Jazz out of the playoffs last week, Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd threw some shade at Gobert and his lack of an offensive game.
Jason Kidd on the second round:
“Our game plan for the Jazz isn’t going to work against the Suns. This isn’t Gobert or Whiteside. These guys can put the ball in the basket.”
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) May 2, 2022
In today’s NBA, centers who cannot hit even the occasional perimeter shot are considered dinosaurs, and teams with such centers can sometimes find themselves playing essentially four-on-five when the game slows down.
In nine seasons as a pro, Gobert has attempted just 11 3-pointers and has connected on none of them.
While he is still in his prime, it may make sense for the Jazz to trade Gobert while keeping Mitchell.
What the Jazz may really need is a legitimate second star next to Mitchell, and perhaps trading Gobert could help them get closer to acquiring such a player.