It's another week and we're left once again wondering, "Does Will Hardy know what he's doing?" The Utah Jazz got beat by the Los Angeles Clippers Friday night with a final score of 117-103. The Clippers saw star forward Kawhi Leonard turn back the clock and drop 41 points on the Jazz, and one of the Jazz's best peremiter defenders was on the bench for all but 17 minutes.
Yet, despite posting a BPM of +5 on the night, Hardy didn't play Agbaji anything more than a handful of minutes. This is despite the fact Agbaji shot 50% from the floor in his prior game and scored 21 points. He was the lone highlight of that blowout game against the Dallas Mavericks and many hoped he'd get some minutes against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Then Jordan Clarkson's return knocked Agbaji to the bench and the Jazz had no answer for the Clippers defensively. A common trend for the season. It's clear this is just a poorly built team. The "elite" scorers this team either brought in for this season, drafted, or re-signed aren't as advertised. Not only that, but none of them are even passable on defense.
With the Oklahoma City Thunder looming, it's very likely the Jazz fall to 7-16 before you know it.
Starting Clarkson is a fools errand, especially when it causes guys with a hot hand and the ability to play defense like Agbaji to go to the bench. The goal is to play Clarkson as much as they can in order to trade him for anything worth while, but that goal is going to single-handidly tankt he team's season. And if that's the goal, fine, come out and say that this team isn't worried about winning.
Until that happens, however, this team will be expected to win and make the playoffs. If that doesn't end up happening, people need to be held responsible, and Hardy may be the first name on that list. Because if there isn't a mandate from the higher ups to play Clarkson, then that means Hardy is willingly making the call to start Clarkson over better players, who fit the scheme better.
And that's a fireable offense as far as we're concerned. Agbaji deserves to be used as a starter going forward, as he's shown he can score and play defense when given the time to do both.