Utah Jazz: 3 trades to consolidate depth and add star power

Utah Jazz (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Finally, we arrive at the highest risk, potentially highest reward proposition in this article. Undeniably, Collin Sexton has alienated teammates in Cleveland with his score first, score second, score third approach, but a related fact is equally undeniable: this kid can score. Last season, Sexton pumped in 24.3 points per game, on a reasonably efficient 57.3% TS%. Sexton could readily occupy Clarkson’s spot in the rotation as an immediate upgrade (similarly to DeRozan, this scenario would presumably see Clarkson finding a new home in a separate deal).

Like Warren, Sexton is a fairly one-dimensional player. His 4.4 assists per game were fairly solid; however, with a staggering 29.7 Usage Percentage (USG%), they do reflect a player with a somewhat unhealthy distrust of his teammates. Furthermore, his defensive rating of 118 does not inspire confidence.

No matter. Jordan Clarkson averaged a significantly lower 2.5 assists per game last season. Yes, his 110 defensive rating is substantially higher, however, it’s worth noting that his Jazz finished the 2020-21 regular season with the fourth highest defensive rating in the NBA at 108.3. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, finished with the sixth worst rating at 114.4. Clarkson does not have the reputation of a lockdown defender, and it is likely that his superior defensive rating is somewhat inflated by his team’s performance.

Furthermore, even if Clarkson is the superior defender, Sexton is already a generally superior offensive player, and at 22, seven years Clarkson’s junior. He could easily add wrinkles to his game this season, including increased playmaking or improved defense. He may also be a rental, as he is due for a (potentially hefty) rookie extension after the 2021-22 season. This should not deter Utah.

They are in a perfect position to take a flier on Sexton. If the arrangement works out in everyone’s favour, they can consider an extension, and if not, the cost of adding Sexton would only be losing two players they are evidently shopping anyway.

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In today’s NBA, the name of the game is offense. The Jazz ran an exceptional attack during the 2020-21 regular season, but a combination of Mike Conley Jr.’s right hamstring and Jordan Clarkson’s waning efficiency left Donovan Mitchell wanting for help come playoff time. The Jazz should consider one of these three trades to increase the likelihood that he’s playing alongside another shot creator by this season’s playoffs.