Will Hardy would be smart to play Luka Samanic in the starting lineup

Luka Samanic has shown flashes of brilliance this season, so why not start in the Utah Jazz starting five while Lauri Markkanen is out?
Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks
Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Luka Samanic played just 17 minutes against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday and put up some impressive figures. He scored 14 points, pulled down seven rebounds, and had a box plus-minus of +22. The highest on the team by a wide margin.

This isn't surprising, as he looked good in seven games last year for the Utah Jazz, and now this year, in limited action, he's looked just as good. While he played mostly in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach, he showed energy, effort, and efficiency, the three E's the Utah Jazz have been missing for the entirety of the season.

He has shown time and time again that, with actual minutes and a chance to establish a rhythm, he can be productive for the Jazz, and considering how bad the rest of the team looked yesterday, why not try playing Samanic for the next few games as a starter; at least until Lauri Markkanen returns?

Especially if it means sending Jordan Clarkson to the bench. Clarkson has shot just 38% from the floor ever since the second Phoenix Suns game, where he went 8-23. He's looking more and more like he's done as a high-end NBA scorer, and less like he just belongs on the bench. Clarkson is an albatross whose scoring is no longer helping negate every other issue he has.

While Samanic can't get the Jazz back into the playoff race, he can at least bring energy and an attempt at defense to the starting lineup. A lineup that, for now, should focus on Ochai Agbaji, Simone Fontecchio, and Keyonte George. That would give Samanic the fourth spot (power forward) and either Kell Olynyk or Omer Yurtseven at center until Walker Kessler is ready to return.

It's not going to save the season but it'll at least help the Jazz look like they care about fixing their biggest issues.

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