The Utah Jazz doubled down on burly, floor-stretching power forwards who can moonlight as small-ball centers this offseason. The team acquired both Rudy Gay and Eric Paschall, seemingly in an effort to double their odds of plugging a significant hole heading into the 2021-22 playoffs. With the recent play of veteran forward Rudy Gay, should the team look to achieve better floor balance by shopping Paschall?
The Utah Jazz could still use another guard
At 25, Eric Paschall has undeniable potential in this league. He’s got a diverse offensive skill set that teams across the Association may covet. It just may not be a skill set the Jazz have a dire need for.
This team features a small army of quality forwards in Royce O’Neale, Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, Rudy Gay and Paschall. Meanwhile, they only roster three guards who are even cracking the 10 minute per game threshold in Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson.
Much of Paschall’s potential value to this team is tied to his ability to suit up as a small ball center. However, with Gay in such excellent form, the Jazz may have a scarcity of opportunities at the 5 spot with Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside both earning substantial minutes.
Granted, Paschall can be viewed as an insurance policy against a potential Gay injury, but is it worth the price of that insurance when this roster wants for a fourth rotation guard? Why double down on a position of strength with a roster that is lacking in another area?
A glance at the Jazzmen’s immediate competitors suggests that they’re lacking depth in the guard rotation. The Phoenix Suns’ fourth guard, Elfrid Payton, logs 13.8 minutes per contest. The Golden State Warriors’ fourth guard, Gary Payton II, plays 14.1 minutes a game. Neither of those players are necessarily world beaters, but they’re both considerably better options than the inexperienced Trent Forrest, who is fourth on the Jazz among guards in minutes per game at 8.6.
Any one of these three deals involving Eric Paschall would give the Utah Jazz an option that can comfortably match any team’s fourth guard.