Walker Kessler showed his value against the Dallas Mavericks, yet he still sat when he could help the most

Walker Kessler showed up against the Dallas Mavericks but only played 17 minutes.
Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks
Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The up-and-down season of Walker Kessler continues with his solid outing against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. Kessler went 4-4 to have nine points on the night, while also pulling down another four rebounds and a steal, all in just 17 minutes of action. Kessler added energy to the team that it was lacking, and was making a dramatic impact when he was on the court. Yet, Jazz head coach Will Hardy only played him seven minutes in the first half.

Granted the Jazz dropped 40 points in the first quarter and had the lead coming out of half time but like most of the Jazz games this year, they blew in the third quarter. Kessler wouldn't come back into the game until 4:25 left in the third quarter. The Jazz were down 86-82, and after tying the game up at one point, left the game with the Jazz still down only four with 6:58 left in the game.

Kessler would never go back in, instead, the Jazz rolled with Taylor Hendricks and John Collins in the low post, to traumatic results. Over the next minute, Daniel Gafford would record three rebounds, two on the offensive side of the glass, putting the score from 100-96 to 104-96. It was another example of Hardy not knowing what to do to get the win. The Jazz would essentially give up after that series of plays from Gafford and would go on to lose-handedly.

It's imperative that the Jazz figure out what they want from Kessler, who was the only player who didn't post a negative BPM last night. He was setting picks better than John Collins and missed fewer free throws than him too. If the complaints bout Kessler are that he's not a good pick-and-roll player, and he's not great from the free-throw line, then why is Collins still playing and Kessler's not?

Over his last three games, he's 16-19 from the floor, while averaging just under 12 points per game, and seven rebounds. He's defensively a major asset for the Jazz, and it feels like Hardy is holding Kessler to higher expectations than anyone else. Now, he's going to win you some games, so it makes sense why he's sitting, but the notion that Hendricks or Collins is somehow a better option for the team simply isn't true.

Kessler is a heck of a rim-runner, is deceptively smooth in transition, and can be a real force on defense. Sure, he can't shoot threes all that well, but Collins can, and he can't do much of anything else. So what's the reason to limit Kessler's time?

Kessler should be starting the rest of the season and if Hardy is smart, he'll do just that. While Hendricks does need minutes, it shouldn't be for the sake of Kessler. Hendricks should be getting minutes over Collins. That way we can see what the two youngsters can do together.