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Utah Jazz Mailbag: What Type Of Help Do Jazz Need?

Apr 2, 2024, 3:48 PM

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SALT LAKE CITY – Welcome to the Utah Jazz mailbag where every week our NBA insiders answer your questions on social media about your favorite team.

Each week we will send out a prompt on KSL Sports ThreadsInstagramX, and Facebook pages asking for the questions you have about the Jazz.

You can also hear our responses to more of your questions on this week’s episode of the Jazz Notes Podcast.

Related: Is A Jazz Rebrand On The Way?

Jazz Mailbag: What Skillset Do Jazz Need To Add?

Question: What player-archetype/skill should the Jazz target in the draft and free agency?

Answer: Sparing you the canned “best player available” response in regards to the draft, the Jazz have several glaring weaknesses on the roster that they’ll need to address if they want to improve next season, which actually gives them some freedom to pursue a lot of different options this summer.

My initial response when reading this question is that the Jazz need to raise their basketball IQ, or as Will Hardy might say, improve their “corporate knowledge.”

The Jazz were essentially a .500 basketball team with Mike Conley on the roster last season, and had a similar record this year when Kelly Olynyk was in uniform.

Those are two high IQ players who have played a ton of basketball that everyone on the team benefited from.

But, since you can’t find veteran NBA experience in the draft, that’s probably something the Jazz need to address in free agency, keying in on high IQ players like Kyle Anderson.

When it comes to the draft, I maintain positional size and two-way players are generally a safe bet. That opens the door for players like Cody Williams, Stephon Castle, and Ron Holland in the mid-lottery, or someone like Ryan Dunn with their late first or early second-round pick.

In free agency, the Jazz could target players like Derrick Jones Jr. or Isaiah Hartenstein who would bring immediate defensive credibility to the roster.

As is the case with every team, the Jazz could stand to add shooting after the departures of Olynyk and Simone Fontecchio, though I think the development of Keyonte George, Taylor Hendricks, and Brice Sensabaugh in that area could address those needs without making a major financial investment in it this summer.

Finally, the Jazz are a very poor passing team, which could be addressed via the aforementioned high IQ players, but also opens the door for players in the draft like Reed Sheppard, Nikola Topic, Kyle Filipowski, or Tyler Kolek.

Q: What would you like to see each the rookies focus on improving the most during the offseason?

A: Again, skipping the boring “get better everywhere” answer which is both true, and also uninformative, I’ll identify one thing each that I think would help this year’s rookies.

For Keyonte George, I think adding strength would be extremely beneficial.

I suspect his recent struggles are largely due to fatigue, and improved strength would allow him to get through next season without hitting the same wall he has this season.

Unlike a Collin Sexton type who uses his raw speed to get to his spots, George is more reliant on craft and rhythm, and adding strength would only improve him in those areas.

It would also allow him to finish easier at the hoop, making him less reliant on his three-point shot which has proven to be streaky.

For Taylor Hendricks, defensive technique is something the Jazz coaching staff has preached all season.

Hendricks’ incredible frame and athleticism have allowed him to get by defensively without really learning the fundamentals on that end of the floor.

As he learns better footwork, plus how to redirect players where he wants them defensively, he could really see his effectiveness skyrocket.

For Sensabaugh, I think improved ball handling would be a huge addition to his game.

With his large frame, Sensabaugh just needs to be able to get to his spots on the floor where he can let his soft touch and playmaking vision take over, but at times that has been clunky as a rookie.

If Sensabaugh can develop into a plus ball handler for his size, I think his offensive role could expand rapidly.

If you submitted a question for this week’s mailbag on social media, listen to this week’s Jazz Notes Podcast where we addressed more of your replies.

Are you on Threads yet? Let’s connect, give us a follow @kslsports.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Utah Jazz Mailbag: What Type Of Help Do Jazz Need?