Utah Jazz: Ranking the 5 best potential lineups in 2021-22

Utah Jazz (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

Utah Jazz 3rd best potential lineup: PG: Donovan Mitchell SG: Royce O’Neale SF: Bojan Bogdanovic PF: Joe Ingles C: Rudy Gobert

Another note on that embarrassment of riches the Utah Jazz will enjoy in terms of positional versatility: our last lineup saw Royce O’Neale at the 4, and here, we’re plugging him into the 2 spot.

Ah, the joys of positionless basketball.

For any readers who may deem this shift unrealistic, O’Neale actually did play both positions in Quin Snyder’s rotation last season. In fact, per CleaningtheGlass, this lineup ranked in the 89th percentile in points differential per 100 possessions, posting a 21.2 differential.

This lineup’s effectiveness only makes intuitive sense. Mitchell, obviously, provides the backbone of the offense. He’s flanked by additional floor-spacing and playmaking in Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles. At the shooting guard position, O’Neale almost exclusively provides the former, but that will more than suffice given the offensive abilities of the other members of this group, and his own defensive effectiveness.

On the subject of defense, that’s Gobert’s primary function both in this lineup and for the Utah Jazz as a whole. However, his impact as a screener should not be understated. It’s a major reason why this lineup ranked in the 91st percentile in the NBA in points-per-100 possessions at 128.5 (again, per CleaningtheGlass).

Swapping O’Neale into the backcourt at the expense of Mike Conley Jr. may feel like an offensive downgrade, and in fact, it may well be. Small-sample size caveats are forever applicable to unorthodox, seldom-used lineups.

On the other hand, this lineup features plenty of ball-handling, passing and shot-creating between Mitchell, Bogdanovic and Ingles. It may be the case that swapping O’Neale’s catch-and-shoot dominant style for Conley’s playmaking simply creates better floor balance.

If you’re feeling sympathy towards the Utah Jazz floor general for his exclusion from this high-octane lineup, here’s a spoiler: you don’t need to.