Do the Utah Jazz need a genuine second All-Star next to Lauri Markkanen in order to compete?

Utah Jazz, Lauri Markkanen, Atlanta Hawks, John Collins (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Utah Jazz, Lauri Markkanen, Atlanta Hawks, John Collins (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

The Utah Jazz find themselves in a very unique situation with how they built the team around Lauri Markkanen.

Lauri Markkanen is the face of the Utah Jazz currently. The former Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers forward was looking like he’d never realize his true potential after being a lottery pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He had a few good years between when he was drafted and 2022, but nothing to make you think he’d be one of the league’s best players. Now, arguably a Top 20 player in the league, Markkanen is coming off his first ever All-Star selection, while averaging 25 points per game for the Utah Jazz.

He is the face of the team now and arguably a genuine All-Star caliber player. And while the Jazz have a lot of talent on the roster, it’s fair to say they don’t have another All-Star on the team, at least right now. Sure, Walker Kessler and John Collins could become All-Stars. Kessler needs more time to develop his offense, so that it can match his defense, but Collins may be ready to take the next step now.

If he were to drop 20 points, 10 rebounds, and shoot over 38% from three, Collins would likely earn himself an All-Star nod this year.

But is the hope that Collins and Kessler bring to the table enough? Sure, it’s great to be optimistic about what those two can do, but what about having someone more guaranteed? Especially at either guard spot. The Jazz is rocking Jordan Clarkson, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kris Dunn, Collin Sexton, and Ochai Agbaji; all solid, but none who make you think “All-Star”.

Does the Jazz need another “star” player next to Markkanen? It sure wouldn’t hurt. The question is who? You don’t just want to rush someone into the spot, nor do you want to bring in someone who doesn’t fit the timeline of the team or the fit of the offense.

So someone like DeMar DeRozan is out. But what about one of Markkanen’s ex-teammates, Zach LaVine? He’s a bit older than what you’d want, but not so much that you’d be destroying the team’s competition window. It’s not like going for broke to get nearly 40-year-old LeBron James.

To make the playoffs, the Jazz should be okay with who they have. They’re deep enough and talented enough that they could poach the sixth seed. But to make it deep in the playoffs, the Jazz are going to need someone else to be at an All-Star caliber alongside Markkanen.

Whether that person’s on another team or not is anyone’s guess at the moment.

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