Three things the Utah Jazz absolutely have to fix to find success

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 30: Ricky Rubio (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 30: Ricky Rubio (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /
4 of 4
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 20: Jimmy Butler (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 20: Jimmy Butler (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

More bench production

One of the more reassuring aspects of the 2017-18 Utah Jazz heading into the season was that their depth appeared to be absolutely phenomenal. With 10 to 12 guys capable of being reliable scorers and/or gritty defenders, it appeared that Utah’s second unit was going to be able to take them far.

Unfortunately, that reserve group took a major hit right off the bat as Dante Exum suffered a severe shoulder injury just a few games into preseason play that will require surgery. Even so, early in the year, it looked as if the bench was going to help carry the Jazz to victories, but lately they’ve been, for the most part, very much MIA.

Monday’s win over Dallas was an excellent example of this as each of Utah’s starters boasted an impressive positive plus/minus, whereas all of the reserves were in the negative.

Saturday’s win over the Lakers also featured some shoddy bench play as, with the exception of Donovan Mitchell who dominated the game with 22 points, the rest of Utah’s reserves mustered just seven total points. In Wednesday’s gut-wrenching loss to the Suns, it was an even worse state of affairs as only three Jazz reserves – Joe Johnson, Donovan Mitchell and Thabo Sefolosha – scored at all and they only combined for a measly nine points on 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) shooting at that.

Part of those struggles assuredly have largely to do with Joe Johnson, the overwhelming leader of the second unit, being less than one hundred percent as it was announced yesterday that he will miss two weeks with instability in his right wrist. Even with such being the case, though, Utah’s recent bench struggles are absolutely unacceptable and will have to change in a big way if they hope to find success.

Especially considering that depth and versatility throughout both units was originally perceived as a key strength for the Jazz, turning around the bench performance will be absolutely vital. One reassuring fact is that Donovan Mitchell has looked much improved in each of Utah’s last two contests, so hopefully he will be able to continue his advances and help spark the Jazz bench to heightened production, just like he did in the win over Los Angeles.

Even if that ends up being the case, though, Mitchell can’t carry the reserves all on his own, so the likes of Alec Burks, Thabo Sefolosha, Ekpe Udoh and Jonas Jerebko who may finally see minutes in Iso Joe’s absence, will need to also step up significantly.

Next: Three-Point Threat Episode 18: Donovan Mitchell, West Chaos, Utah Jazz Week 3

The Utah Jazz’s season has undoubtedly already gotten off to an up and down start. Nevertheless, despite some areas of concern, there’s also been plenty of positives that should instill Jazz fans with plenty of optimism. Not only that, but each of these three areas that I mentioned are very much reparable and if Utah can make some fixes, they could quickly turn into a staunch defensive squad and a sneakily good offensive team.

Unfortunately, with a small margin of error and an incredibly crowded Western Conference, the Jazz will have little time to make such adjustments if they hope to stay afloat. Luckily, I have full confidence in Coach Snyder and the rest of the Jazz personnel and I expect them to be able to right their wrongs sooner rather than later.

As they do so, look for the three points I’ve mentioned to be the first areas that the Jazz emphasize fixing so that they can stay ahead of the curve amidst significant competition.

All stats courtesy of