What does the Simone Fontecchio trade mean for Taylor Hendricks?

Drafted into a crowded frontcourt, Taylor Hendricks finally has some playing time to prove himself.

Los Angeles Clippers v Utah Jazz
Los Angeles Clippers v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages
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In the 2023-24 season, former Utah Jazz forward Simone Fontecchio started 34 out of 50 games, averaging just over 23 minutes per game and putting up some good stats for the team. Meanwhile, Taylor Hendricks, the 9th overall pick in the 2023 draft, was stuck in the G League due to a crowded frontcourt, gaining experience and getting all the playing time he needed.

With Fontecchio gone and Kelly Olynyk traded to Toronto alongside Ochai Agbaji, it looks like Danny Ainge and the rest of the Utah Jazz front office cleared up playing time for the 20-year-old rookie forward. In just 14 minutes per game over 13 games, Taylor Hendricks has shown an upside that constitutes him getting the majority of these minutes over fellow 2023 draftee, Brice Sensabaugh, and newly acquired Kevin Knox.

As Taylor Hendricks continues to develop a feel for the game and improve his defensive prowess, his role on the Jazz will continue to grow. Over the next few seasons as the team continues to change and rebuild, fans can expect to see Hendricks not only take a starting role but also become more of a focal point of the offense.

For the Salt Lake City Stars, Hendricks has been putting up impressive stats, averaging over 30 minutes, 15 points, and 6 rebounds per game, while shooting an acceptable 34 percent from three. It's important to note that these numbers are not likely to directly translate to the NBA due to its higher level of competition. However, we hope to see some of the skills and growth he's demonstrated in the G League translate to his performance at the NBA level.