Will Hardy benches Walker Kessler in the fourth quarter

When the team needed defense the most, Will Hardy sits their best option.
Utah Jazz v Sacramento Kings
Utah Jazz v Sacramento Kings / Loren Elliott/GettyImages

Having played only 14 minutes heading into the fourth quarter of Thursday night's game against the Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers, Walker Kessler was poised for a strong finish. With perfect shooting from the field, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks, Kessler was ready to help the team win the currently tied game. But much to the second-year center's frustration, he only saw the floor for two seconds to rebound a free throw. He expressed his thoughts post-game and KSL was able to capture them.

""It's not fun to lose... Frustrated, but I';m trying to move forward from it. Take what coach is telling us and try to apply it""

- Walker Kessler

According to Will Hardy's post-game thoughts, the second-year head coach opted for a defensive scheme over individual talent, was that the only reason? Coach Hardy went on to say:

""When Walker's in, we don't play a ton of box-and-one because of how much ground you have to cover. John (Collins) was also having some good moments on the offensive end spacing them out. ... At the end, just based on the coverage we were in, we felt like keeping those guys on the bench made the most sense,""

Will Hardy

If Jazz fans remember, last season before the trade deadline, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley were playing heavy minutes and ended up getting traded at the deadline.

Could we be seeing something similar here? Both Simone Fontecchio and John Collins played huge minutes last night over Kessler, seems like the Utah Jazz are trying to bolster some trade values a week before the February 8th trade deadline.

Rumors have been around the Utah Jazz leading up to the deadline, among the names that are expected to be moved are Kelly Olynyk and Jordan Clarkson, the front office also seems to be listening to offers on John Collins and Simone Fontecchio.

The Utah Jazz get a two-day break before taking on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks with new head coach Doc Rivers on Sunday.

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