Utah Jazz: Ranking the 10 projected rotation pieces

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports) /

3. Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (projected starter)

The late-season hamstring issues of Mike Conley hampered the Utah Jazz’s chances of advancing deep into the 2021 NBA Playoffs. There’s no denying that.

To that point, it’s understandable if glass-half-empty fans openly suspect injuries will again limit the team’s 6-foot-1, 175-pound primary offensive conductor. Case in point: Conley missed 20-plus games in each of his first two seasons since coming to Utah from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Grayson Allen, Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, Darius Bazley, and a first-round draft pick.

On the flip side, though, the glass-half-fullers would point out that the sharpshooting southpaw is fresh off the first All-Star campaign of his 14-year pro career. And without Conley entirely buying into the Jazz way of doing things, on his way to averaging 16.2 points, 6.0 assists, and 1.4 steals, it’s improbable the 2020-21 squad would have finished atop the standings at 52-20.

Review those numbers in combination with the fact Conley chose to stay in Salt Lake City with a new three-year discount deal in free agency. Plenty to like.

Now, folks can only hope that Conley has enough left in his tank to average the same number of minutes (roughly 29) as his past two seasons — and maybe even miss fewer games to boot. If not, then it’d be safe to say the regular rotation will ultimately have to include either Jared Butler, Trent Forrest, or perhaps a sprinkling of both.

But we’re glass-half-fulling the Conley outlook here.

Projected playing time for Mike Conley: 29 minutes per game