It's time to throw in the towel on a playoff push for the Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz are struggling with a 7-16 record, their star player is still out, and hope is slipping away with each loss. It's time to go all-in with the youngsters and make major moves with the veterans.
Dec 11, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy talks to guard Keyonte
Dec 11, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy talks to guard Keyonte / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz had another tough loss on Monday night, facing a strong Oklahoma City Thunder team led by their star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, swingman Josh Giddey, and rookie Chet Holmgren. In the 134-120 Thunder victory, the Jazz trailed by over 30 points at times but were able to make it look close in a 45-23 4th quarter.

One of the brightest spots in the loss was Keyonte George, who had 30 points and 7 assists on a night when the reins of the offense were handed to him, and he didn't disappoint.

With another loss, the Jazz are facing the grim reality that this is likely a lottery-bound season, not a playoff one. The extended absences of Lauri Markkanen, as well as Walker Kessler, have not helped in this regard. The veterans continue to struggle, while the future of the Jazz may be residing on the bench or in the G-League.

Going all-in on a youth movement would allow the Jazz to see what they have in Ochai Agbaji, Keyonte George, Taylor Hendricks, Walker Kessler, Omer Yurtseven, Brice Sensabaugh, Luka Samanic and Simone Fontecchio over the final 59 games of the season. It would also allow the Jazz to retain their 2024 lottery pick, which goes to Oklahoma City if it falls outside the Top 10 picks.

If that's the direction the Jazz decide to go, it is time for Danny Ainge to ponder the long-term benefits of moving several veterans, as the December 15th open season for NBA trades is just days away.

Talen Horton-Tucker, Collin Sexton, Kelly Olynyk, and John Collins would all be candidates to be moved. Most will have value to teams looking to contend, who may be willing to give up a young player or a draft pick for immediate help.

Additionally, the Utah Jazz could seek out a deal with a team like Detroit, Toronto, Chicago, Charlotte, or even the Portland Trail Blazers - all teams with surplus players that they are looking to move to clear rotation logjams. The Jazz could add help and use their surplus of picks to acquire a young asset to slot in and build their core.

So the Jazz and Danny Ainge have some tough decisions ahead in the coming weeks. Is it time to throw in the towel on the 2023-24 season? 43 wins are likely needed to make the playoffs this year, and with their 7-16 start, the Jazz would need to go 36-23 the rest of the way for that to become reality.

Based on what we've seen thus far, it's highly unlikely that they could turn it around with the current roster, so making changes and seeing what we have from the young guys is likely the next move.

With the season slipping away, it's not time to discuss moving the Jazz. There are more important things right now for the Utah Jazz than looking at a new arena.. dark. Next