The Utah Jazz may have found the right lineup finally

The Utah Jazz may have found the right combination finally.
Utah Jazz v Toronto Raptors
Utah Jazz v Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

The Utah Jazz are currently on a 5-2 tear over their last seven games, elevating the team to a 12-18 record, and within shouting distance of the final play-in spot, currently held by the Golden State Warriors. The reason for the sudden turnaround isn't a shock to anyone paying attention; it's been an overhaul to the starting lineup.

The Jazz's starting lineup has been poor all season, suffering from awful shot selection, bad perimeter defense, and turnovers that have plagued the team all season. Part of that has had to do with four players in particular, Talen Horton-Tucker, Keyonte George, Jordan Clarkson, and John Collins. Horton-Tucker has struggled with his shot and turning the ball over, George's scoring efficiency has been bad all season, not to mention his poor defense. Clarkson's not a good starter and better starters in the league really give him a tough go of it, and Collins is defensively inept at times.

Through a series of trials and errors, the team has seemingly found what works for all involved.

While Collins is still spot-starting from time to time, Kelly Olynyk has seemingly taken his seat as a starter once again, as his defense, rebounding, passing, and scoring make him a unique option for all situations. But the Jazz have moved on from George, Clarkson, and Horton-Tucker as starters, instead leaning on the highly efficient inside scorer in Collin Sexton and the defensive-minded, and ace passer in Kris Dunn.

The combination of Dunn and Sexton has paid dividends, with the Jazz being able to play Dunn on the opposing team's best shooters, and Sexton being a more reliable of an option than Clarkson in the starting lineup.

Now Clarkson is back as the team's sixth man and will be able to take advantage of mismatches coming off the bench and being guarded by the other team's less-than-impressive defenders. It's a maximizing of everyone's attributes to the highest degree.

And the upside is that, while not starting, Walker Kessler is finally getting consistent minutes, usually coming into games when teams are trying to make a run at the end of the first. Kessler's arrival in those moments really seems to have stifled a lot of early leads for opposing teams.

Focusing on this current lineup, and with Simone Fontecchio and Ochai Agbaji off the bench, this is a Jazz team that may in fact find their way once again.

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