Will Lauri Markkanen's return to the Utah Jazz make a difference?

The Utah Jazz are nearing a full-on tank, so does it matter if Lauri Markkanen returns anytime soon?
Portland Trail Blazers v Utah Jazz
Portland Trail Blazers v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

The Utah Jazz have not had their star player for the last seven games, with Lauri Markkanen missing every game since Nov. 25. The Markkanen-less Jazz have gone 3-4 in his absence, and the team's offense has sputtered out in the meantime. The Jazz need Markkanen back if they want their offense to get back on track.

But will Markkanen's return hep the Jazz win games? And if he does, is that even the point anymore?

The Jazz are 7-15, and when Markkanen went down with his injury, they were 4-11. While they've added a few wins without him, the team isn't playing great. The Jazz offense is averaging just 102.6 points per game over that seven-game stretch. Far down from the 111.0 points-per-game, they are averaging on the season currently, and much further down from the 115 points per game they were averaging with Markkanen in the lineup.

The defense isn't better, and aside from a back-to-back set of wins over the New Orleans Pelicans, the team is just 1-4. And while the lack of offense isn't helping, the team's defense is just as horrid. They gave up a lot of points to guys like Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard, and Karl-Anthony Towns. ANd while that doesn't seem so bad, they also gave up a lot of points to Malcolm Brogdon and Shaedon Sharpe as well.

Sure, Markkanen would help the Jazz's offense keep up with these guys but it's not like the teams the Jazz just faced weren't beatable.

The teams that the Jazz have faced recently, you'd think, would be easy wins for the Jazz. The Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, and Los Angeles Clippers are all teams the Jazz should have rolled if healthy and instead they went 1-2.

So when Markkanen returns to the team, will help the team win games? Maybe, but this team needs far more than one All-Star to help get the team over this current hump they're dealing with.

Markkanen's return will help the team win games, clearly but until the team opts to make some massive roster moves to get better defenders and more consistent players, then the Jazz aren't going to right the ship with Markkanen's return. The offense will get much better, as Markkanen is that good, but the defense is still among the team's biggest issues, and Markkanen isn't going to fix that when he returns.

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