The Utah Jazz should focus all moves on building around Lauri Markkanen and Collin Sexton

The Utah Jazz have seemingly found their lead duo, and now it's time to build around them.
Memphis Grizzlies v Utah Jazz
Memphis Grizzlies v Utah Jazz / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

The Utah Jazz are a different beast than they were. Now, 19-20 on the season, the Jazz are being led by Lauri Markkanen and Collin Sexton, the two biggest names in the Donovan Mitchell trade. The guard and forward combo have gone a shocking 12-4 since he entered the starting lineup and while some guys returning from injury helped, like Jordan Clarkson and Walker Kessler, it's been the offensive chemistry and high rate of efficient play that has propelled the Jazz to that mark over the last 16 games.

The defense is better, and the passing is better, but now the Jazz have two reliable scorers, who know where they excel from the most on the court. When guys like Keyonte George and Jordan Clarkson started, they were forcing up too many bad shots against too many good defenders. Now with Clarkson on the bench, he can take advantage of the third or fourth guard off the bench and score more efficiently.

Meanwhile, Sexton, who's a better all-around scorer than Clarkson, can test the best defense the opposing team has to offer and not struggle as often to find his shot. There's a reason why the team is better with Sexton over Clarkson, and it has to do with Sexton being the best shooting guard on the team according to their true shooting percentages.

Sexton is shooting 60.3% while Clarkson is shooting 52.6%. Dramatically different levels of efficiency. Sexton isn't just paying dividends shooting the ball, but his all-around offensive game compliments Markkanen to the point that both means are one and two among the entire Jazz roster in offensive box plus-minus.

It's why going forward, the Jazz have to build around Sexton and Markkanen. Every trade that's made has to be about fortifying that duo. That doesn't mean trading everyone. Walker Kessler, Simone Fontecchio, and Kris Dunn are perfect compliments to the duo. Clarkson's turned around his shooting and while still streaky, he's much better off the bench. Kelly Olynyk is a versatile piece, who if he opts to re-sign would be a great piece going forward.

Honestly, the only places they could improve upon are at power forward with John Collins, and on the bench. Collins isn't a bad player but if you can flip him for Pascal Siakam, you do it. And while Ochai Agbaji has upside, if you can land someone like Marcus Smart (assuming Dunn moves to the bench as a top rotation guy) in exchange for Agbaji, you do it.

This team shouldn't be looking to trade away a lot of their draft capital. The rookies could be traded first, but they shouldn't be on the block either. This is a team that should stay the course and only make a move if it makes sense long-term. If Siakam doesn't want to extend with Utah, don't trade for him. If Smart doesn't want to be in Utah long-term, don't trade for him. This team shouldn't be looking at rentals, but long-term pieces.

But they should be looking for guys who can fortify the new duo of Sexton and Markkanen.

dark. Next. The Jazz turn back the clock to the 1990's in a win over the Denver Nuggets. The Jazz turn back the clock to the 1990's in a win over the Denver Nuggets