Walker Kessler has a case to be playing a lot more minutes for the Utah Jazz

The loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder proved the importance of Walker Kessler to the Utah Jazz

Oklahoma City Thunder v Utah Jazz
Oklahoma City Thunder v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages
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The Utah Jazz's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder was an avoidable mess. The Thunder attacked the paint aggressively and consistently across the first half, taking advantage of John Collins' poor interior defense. That was a wise move by the Thunder, who were able to rack up point after point by attacking the interior defense of the Jazz.

It was the major reason the Thunder got out to a 19-point lead. Now, credit where it's due, the Jazz battled back, out-scoring the Thunder in the second and third quarters, before running out of gas down the final few minutes. Had the Jazz not needed to overcome such a huge deficit, it's very likely that the Jazz would've closed out a pretty impressive win.

The key reason that the Jazz were able to get back into the game came in the form of Walker Kessler coming in and making the Thunder work for their shots. The Thunder took more and more mid-range jumpers and three-point shots when Kessler was in the ball game, a clear sign that the Jazz were better with him on the court.

Considering he's a blocking machine, it's high time that Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy wakes up and makes the final change to the starting lineup; starting Kessler over Collins.

And if not, at the very least playing Kessler 30+ minutes per game. The Jazz don't have anyone on the team who can do what he can do, and it shows when he's on the court. He truly does make a difference, and while Collins makes the offense better with the starting five, it's the poor defensive play from that same unit that has toppled many winnable games.

Sure, you can't replace Kessler on the bench if you start him, your best option is Kelly Olynyk, but at least you can maximize his impact when it's needed most, and reduce the number of high-end players Collins has to worry about by playing him off the bench.

The trio of Kris Dunn, Simone Fontecchio, and Kessler really have turned around the season with their defense, but having three good to great defensive players doesn't help when Collins can't close in fast enough on a guy sprinting down the lane for an open layup. Kessler needs to either start or get significantly more minutes.

He should not play a game where he gets less than 30 minutes again unless he's in foul trouble. Otherwise, Kessler should be in the game as much as possible. It's how you stop games like the Thunder.

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