For the Utah Jazz, the 2023 season was full of surprises. Predicted to be one of the worst teams in the league, the Jazz got off to a hot start and ended the season in contention for the Play-In Tournament.
While they failed to reach that goal, it was still a great season for Utah. With how many new pieces were brought into the fold, few people predicted this level of success.
A first-time head coach in Will Hardy, new additions Lauri Markkanen and Collin Sexton, a rookie center in Walker Kessler, and the newly hired face of the front office in Danny Ainge.
Now, heading into next season, they have some decisions to make.
Markkanen is the clear-cut face of the franchise, and at just 25 years old, he still has room to grow. But how can the Jazz build around him?
3 internal Utah Jazz co-star candidates for Lauri Markkanen
As Utah prepares for next season, pushing for improvement should be the number one priority. Tanking could help them earn a high draft pick, but with Markkanen on the roster, losing games may not be as easy as planned.
In turn, they should set their sights on the play-in tournament once again. That should be the ideal goal with the likely addition of an upcoming top ten draft pick along with flexibility to make moves this summer.
But while their top draft pick could turn into a stud, it’s far more likely that a player already on the roster can make a more immediate impact.
The only question is, who will it be? Here are the three top candidates.