Utah Jazz: Dennis Lindsey Should Be Willing to Deal at the Trade Deadline

Oct 20, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey prior to the preseason game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 20, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey prior to the preseason game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports /

Editorial –The 2017 NBA Trade Deadline is on the horizon and Utah Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey shouldn’t be hesitant to make a move.

My Co-Editor here at Purple & Blues, the inimitable Jared Woodcox, recently asked me a question that’s undoubtedly on the mind of every Utah Jazz fan. The query was simple — “Think the Jazz make any moves Pre-Deadline?” However, answering that question with any degree of certainty is a difficult proposition.

So, rather than speculate on the dealings of one of the most notoriously tight-lipped organizations in the NBA, let’s take another angle on this thing. No one really knows if they’ll make a deal, but just about everybody has opinions on whether or not they should.

Here’s mine — yes absolutely, provided there’s a deal to be made.

After 25 games, I concluded that Lindsey should refrain from doing anything major on the trade front. Barring some crazy miracle offer that nets the Jazz a big-time player for a reasonable exchange, I still don’t see how major changes benefit the club. At least not until we have a better idea about just how far the current core can go.

Having said that, there are definitely some spots that could use a little improvement. There’s also an area that really needs to be addressed sooner rather than later; one that’s continued to be a major problem.

Let’s look at smaller stuff first, beginning with the need for a legitimate backup big.

I think most Jazz fans would agree that second-year man Trey Lyles has tantalizing potential. That said, he doesn’t appear ready to be one of the team’s key cogs. Then we have Boris Diaw and Jeff Withey, who we all like, but who are also players that Jazz coach Quin Snyder can’t really rely on for major minutes.

This is especially true of Withey, who blocks shots, rebounds occasionally and plays hard, but does little else.

Clearly, the Jazz would benefit from the presence of another talented big man. And before you talk to me about Derrick Favors getting minutes as the backup center, let me remind you of the giant knee braces on his legs and the fact that the Jazz have played 56 games and he’s only hit the 30-minute mark five times this season.

Besides a bench big, I’d say the Jazz could use some more shooting for the stretch run.

This one is the ultimate no-brainer. In the NBA, shooting is one of those things you can never have too much of. Do the Jazz have guys who can get hot and burn the nets? Sure. But they also rank 11th in the league in field goal percentage, 13th from three-point range and 22nd from the charity stripe.

We’re obviously not talking dire straights, but there’s definitely room for improvement. Especially when two of your “shooters” — Lyles and Rodney Hood — continue to have their ups and downs.

Related Story: Trade Rumors: Jazz Looking For Playoff Help

The big problem, and one that must be addressed, is the backup point guard situation. As the starter, George Hill has been solid; expect the Jazz to look to secure his services long-term in the offseason. Behind him, though, things continue to be murky.

Management’s decision to enter the season with four point guards on the roster was curious. The fact that three of the four don’t have a defined role or stable place in the rotation two-thirds of the way through the schedule is one of the team’s few real failures this season. It’s also a continued source of angst for fans.

Some place the blame on Snyder, chastising him for having a quick hook with Dante Exum or not giving consistent minutes to one backup. Others say the fault lies with the players; Shelvin Mack is too erratic, Raul Neto isn’t good enough, Exum has been slow to develop, etc.

Another possibility is that Lindsey allowed the situation to develop by constructing the roster as he has.

There’s probably a hint of truth in all of these ideas, but the blame game isn’t where it’s at. Solving the problem is the thing. If three’s a crowd, four is a mess that the Jazz need to clean up ASAP. As the man tasked with adding and subtracting players in a way that equates to winning, it’s up to Lindsey to do it.

So with the trade deadline looming, the Jazz GM needs to be flexible in his willingness to wheel and deal.

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Of course, we also have to remember that sometimes there’s just not a trade to be made. After all, it takes two to tango. And if the Jazz do stand pat, they’ll continue to win their fair share of games and be a tough out in the first round of the playoffs. This is a good team we’re talking about.

But is it a finished product on the fast track to the Larry O’Brien Trophy? It seems pretty unlikely.

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So if Lindsey and his brain trust are truly looking to advance the cause of the Utah Jazz, they need to do what’s necessary to make it happen.

From where I sit, that means a roster tweak or two.