Grading the Utah Jazz on the Joe Ingles trade

Nickeil Alexander-Walker vs Utah Jazz (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
Nickeil Alexander-Walker vs Utah Jazz (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) /

Utah Jazz fans: it happened. Joe Ingles, forever a franchise icon, is no longer a Jazzman.

In fact, the deal went down mere hours after we predicted it would happen. We ask you to bear that in mind before you consider turning to another page for Utah Jazz analysis.

At the same time, the writing was on the wall. Ingles’ recent injury rendered him little more than a salary matcher from a general manager’s perspective. He will be sorely missed. In the meantime, Jazz fans will have an opportunity to welcome a dynamic young guard into the fold.

There’s a lot to unpack here. Let’s get started.

Utah Jazz acquire 2 new rotational pieces

We’ve thrown a lot of names out there in Utah Jazz trade talks recently. Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Juancho Hernangomez were not 2 of them. That doesn’t mean they weren’t solid acquisitions.

On the other hand…we’re not sure they were solid acquisitions.

Utah Jazz hold onto first round pick, but at what cost?

It’s not often that a contending club like the Jazz is in a position to acquire a promising young player like NAW. For that reason, Ainge won’t receive a failing grade for this deal.

That’s not to say that he won’t come awfully close.

In his third season in the NBA, the Canadian guard boasts a True Shooting % (TS%) of 47.4. That’s pretty bleak. His PER of 10.8 indicates that he’s still a developing player. In fact, it barely edges rookie Jared Butler’s mark of 9.7. Alexander-Walker is a player with potential, but he seems like a strange acquisition for a team with their eyes on the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Meanwhile, the Jazz needed a 3-and-D wing. It’s hard to classify Hernangomez as such: he hasn’t hit a 3 in 2021-22.

In fairness, he hasn’t played a lot this season, averaging just 10.2 minutes across 5 games for the Spurs. In fact, Hernangomez hasn’t played much in his career, period. Injuries have limited him to just 280 games across six NBA seasons.

He did manage to shoot 42% from deep in 2019-20, but that was over the course of just 14 games. He has not had a season in the NBA where he proved himself a reliable three-point threat.

On the other hand, any discussion of his defense is even bleaker. He’s failed to post a positive Defensive Box Plus/Minus (DBPM) in a single NBA season to date.

Did the Utah Jazz drop the ball?

It’s hard to rationalize this as a positive, win-now move for the Utah Jazz.

They acquired an oft-injured player who doesn’t really fit their needs, and a 23-year-old who isn’t ready to contribute to a contender. It’s possible this move portends another move. If it doesn’t, Danny Ainge’s first trade deadline with the team will be hard to celebrate.

Utah Jazz Trade Grade: D

Next. Ranking every season in Jazz history. dark

No single trade spells doom for an NBA franchise. This one is no exception. However, Utah Jazz fans hoping for a package suitable for a contender in exchange for Ingles have to be disappointed.