The Utah Jazz have a unique situation with Ochai Agbaji.
The Utah Jazz got Ochai Agbaji in a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer. He arrived as part of the deal that saw five first-round draft picks, Lauri Markkanen and Collin Sexton arrive as part of a deal for Donovan Mitchell. Despite the trade being barely more than a year old, it looks like the Jazz has in fact “won” the deal.
Mitchell is likely to be dealt again in the next 12 months as he seems unwilling to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and while he played well in the regular season, he become super inefficient in the postseason against the New York Knicks, the team he allegedly wants to join.
The draft picks are likely to become big for the Jazz as time goes on, Markkanen should be given a fair and hefty contract extension and Sexton should be seen as a long-term option to replace Jordan Clarkson.
The only real question the Jazz have about the players they acquired in the trade revolve around Agbajo, and that is ‘What can he truly be for the team?’
Can Ochai Agbaji start for the Utah Jazz in 2023-2024?
Agbaji had pretty pedestrian numbers as a rookie. He only played in 59 games (though he started 22, and only averaged 20.5 minutes per outing. He shot fairly unimpressive numbers, just 42% from the floor and 36% from three while scoring just under eight points per game.
These are fine numbers for a late-first-round rookie like Agbaji, but it does call into question whether he can start or not. A lot of outlets seem to think he’ll be the starting shooting guard for the team, but that’s only going to happen if Jordan Clarkson starts at point guard.
If Collin Sexton, Keyonte George, Talen Horton-Tucker, or Kris Dunn earns that starting point guard spot, then Clarkson will likely start at shooting guard, meaning Agbaji will be coming off the bench.
That said, if Clarkson does start at point guard as some have suggested, then Agabji would be the likely candidate to start at shooting guard. That all comes down to how he plays in camp and the preseason.