Did the Utah Jazz decide to tank at the trade deadline?

It certainly looks that way as they have lost 6 of 7 since that time.
Feb 27, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) reaches for a loose ball
Feb 27, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) reaches for a loose ball / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz have had an up and down season in 2023-24, to say the least.

A horrible start, followed by lineup changes and a better stretch that got them into the play-in race has now given way to losing 12 of their last 17 games, punctuated by a 124-97 loss on the road to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.

The play-in seems a near impossibility now, with nearly every team above them in the Western Conference playing much better basketball (with Sacramento being the one exception).

What went wrong for the Utah Jazz?

It goes back to the trade deadline. And before that. And the moves made, and those not made.

It was rumored that the Utah Jazz would use some of their draft capital to help bring in a high-level player in a trade, per Art Cummings of SI.com, and Tony Jones of the Atlantic.

Sadly that move didn't happen, and ultimately the Jazz ended up selling 3 players and getting 3 back, one of whom has been waived already, a 2nd who is inactive and likely to be bought out, and a third who has seen a total of 7 minutes in 4 games with the team.

Trading Kelly Olynyk was a huge blow to the bench and team chemistry, as evidenced by the lack of cohesion from the bench unit since the deadline.

Losing Simone Fontecchio has rocked the starting unit, which misses his hustle and steady 3-point shooting. Ochai Agbaji may not have been playing well before the deadline, but his minutes were helpful, and he could guard positions 1-3.

So did the front office decide to tank at the deadline, when they couldn't make a game-changing deal?

Based on the time being given to the young guys, the answer is yes.

If Keyonte, Taylor, and Brice get bigger roles over the next 23 games and/or we see veterans like Jordan Clarkson get shut down early, then yes, the tank is on and they're looking to keep the 1st round pick this year.

It certainly is disappointing to see a team that was beating some of the best in the NBA not that long ago turn into a struggling unit against some bad teams. Let's hope that the draft pick pans out and makes it worth it in the long run.

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