The Utah Jazz’s lineup for the Sacramento Kings game was bad, and here’s why.
During the season opener, the Utah Jazz got bullied on defense by the Sacramento Kings. Whether it was 51 three-point shots, too many of which were uncontested, or if it was Domantas Sabonis eating his way into the heart of the defense, the Jazz were woefully underprepared for the onslaught the Kings offense would inflict on the Jazz’s defense.
The Kins had four, not one, or two, or even three, but four players take seven-three point shots. Why? More importantly, how? The Kings should not have had one player get seven shots off, but one you can expect. Two isn’t even that unheard of. Lots of teams have two guys who shoot seven or more threes in a game.
But four? Yikes.
And it wasn’t hard to figure out who was at fault; just look at who the Jazz are putting on the perimeter, Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Keyonte George; four men not known for their defense. With George, he’s got room to grow. He isn’t going to be defined by one bad game.
Sexton, Clarkson and Horton-Tucker? You can’t keep all three, and play George and expect good efforts on defense. It’s not going to happen. The team won’t survive with the Jazz playing three guys who are known for not playing good defense, and a rookie while rotating them all through at such a vital position. And this isn’t a “well, it’s the first game of the season, don’t overreact”, because we know that those there men don’t play well on defense.
That’s why there has to be someone to tug on Will Hardy’s ear and tell him that the Jazz need to start Kris Dunn and Ochai Agbaji over Horton-Tucker and Clarkson. The team should look for trade offers for Sexton and Horton-Tucker, and return Clarkson to the sixth-man role where he can shoot at will and play the minimal defense we expect from him.
More importantly, come up with some rotations that include Agbaji at small forward and pair George with Dunn. Let’s see what Dunn can do when he has both of those men on his wings and Walker Kessler backing him up. George may be a really good defense player, he may just need to be put in situations where he doesn’t have to worry about two different guys at once because someone is playing 10′ off their player.
The Jazz should not screw around here and delay the move. We’ve been preaching since before the preseason that Dunn should be the guy to start at point and maybe, just maybe the team will wake up and hear us. Or, the Jazz will continue to be atrocious on the perimeter and then the season gets tanked because Hardy didn’t want to try something different.