Utah Jazz’s Next Few Weeks Will Determine Activity at Trade Deadline
At nearly halfway through the 2022-23 NBA season, the Utah Jazz have proven themselves to be a .500 basketball club. Utah currently sits at 19-18 as the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference.
The preseason outlook of the Jazz was bleak, considering the massive roster overturn the team saw, and sitting as a play-in team at the halfway point is far beyond these expectations. The Jazz are no championship contender but have a depth of talent that could translate to more young talent and draft picks.
With the February 9 NBA trade deadline coming in a little over a month, the Jazz CEO Danny Ainge will have big decisions to make. This team is certainly beyond tanking with the talent to compete on a night-to-night basis.
Any plan to tank the season is quickly evaporating as the respective conferences begin to establish their race for the bottom as teams prepare for one of the strongest draft classes the NBA has seen.
It’s no secret that Ainge and the Jazz are shopping their talent, as they have been included in several trade rumors this season. With a small chance of getting the top picks in the 2023 draft, even if they were able to tank and increase those chances, the Jazz have a promising outlook as they still own three first-round draft picks. More picks could also be coming as trades may develop in the coming weeks.
What we can also read as we approach the halfway point of the season is that the Jazz have a promising star in Lauri Markkanen. Markkanen is having a break-out year and certainly will be in the running for Most Improved Player if he continues his production.
Markkanen may not be on track to be a superstar, but he could be the foundation for the revamped jazz and their approach to contention. The coming weeks will tell us whether the moves the Jazz executives make influence tanking or otherwise.
But as we look back on the first half of the season, we can be certain that the Jazz have been one of the most fun teams to watch and have given fans an entertaining season to this point, which could be a great sign for the rest of the campaign and years to come.
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