Utah Jazz: How the Rockets’ blockbuster trade will impact playoff run

Last night there was a massive four team trade that involved 12 players. How will this impact the Utah Jazz as they look toward the playoffs?

Things are looking quiet for the Utah Jazz this trade deadline. As for other teams around the league, that is far from the case.

Earlier this week there were rumors running rampant that the Houston Rockets were shopping Clint Capela to several Eastern Conference teams. Finally at about 10:30 p.m. last night, the trigger was pulled.

Houston received Robert Covington, the Atlanta Hawks received Clint Capela, and the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets jumped on board to exchange minor pieces.

Full details of the trade are listed here on ESPN.com.

When the rumors first surfaced the Houston wanted to get rid of Capela, I was puzzled. They were already a small team, and Capela was practically their only center. He was able to play for five years alongside James Harden and knew the system well.

Without him, they would have to rely on Isaiah Hartenstein (second year pro), Tyson Chandler (37 years old), and PJ Tucker (stands at 6-foot-5) to hold down the paint. But on closer inspection it is clear why the Rockets moved him out.

In the 10 games they played without Capela this season, the Rockets won nine of those games. Both their offensive and defensive ratings were better with Capela sitting. And take the most recent Jazz-Rockets game as an example for why Houston likes the idea of playing small ball.

In order to fully understand how big this trade is, one should know a little bit about Robert Covington.

Nicknamed RoCo for short, Covington is an ideal 3-and-D player that every contending team would want to have in their rotation.

He disrupts passing lanes, can play either the 3 or the 4, and knocks down threes without commanding very many touches. In a lot of ways, he’s similar to Utah’s own Royce O’Neale, with a couple extra inches of height.

Per 36 minutes, RoCo averages 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1.4 blocks. His efficiency is down this year, but he plays great for the Rockets system.

His shot distribution chart shows that he takes nearly 63 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, and 23 percent of his shots at the rim. He will fit like a glove in Houston’s offense which is exclusively three pointers and layups/dunks.

They received Jordan Bell as part of this deal, but Bell only played eight minutes per game on a lottery bound Timberwolves team. I imagine he’ll have a hard time seeing the court for a Houston team looking to go all the way this June.

If Daryl Morey is able to pull off a trade for a serviceable big to play 15-ish minutes a night, I’m afraid the Rockets have become the favorite over the Utah Jazz should they meet in a playoff series this spring.

As for the Denver Nuggets, they were able to maintain their incredible depth by swapping out Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez for Shabazz Napier and Noah Vonleh. They also gained a future first round pick from the Rockets.

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Denver can either keep their war chest full of trade chips for this summer, or potentially go for a big fish before Thursday’s trade deadline. Suffice it to say, the Western Conference just got a little bit tougher for the Utah Jazz.

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