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Grading the Utah Jazz’s 2021 NBA offseason

Jazz, Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, Hassan Whiteside, Jared Butler

The Utah Jazz were the team to beat when they entered the 2020-21 playoffs as they finished the season with a record of 52-20, good for the best in the whole league. However, they did not live up to their own expectations as they were knocked out by the Kawhi Leonard-less Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the playoffs.

Utah won the first two but eventually lost four straight games as they struggled against Paul George and Reggie Jackson. The first-round injury to Mike Conley certainly did not help since Jazz superstar Donovan Mitchell was often having trouble handling the ball when he was double-teamed.

With a lot of areas for concern coming into the offseason, let’s dive into the Jazz’s moves and see how well they have handled it.

Mike Conley locked in

After having an abysmal season during his first year with Utah, Conley immediately bounced back last season, earning his first NBA All-Star selection. We saw how crucial Conley was for the Jazz as his presence was sorely missed when he went down on a hamstring injury during the playoffs.

The Jazz purposely traded Derrick Favors to the Oklahoma City Thunder to free up some cap space to sign their coveted point guard. Conley provided this team the leadership that they badly need alongside Mitchell’s.

Quality big in Hassan Whiteside

Favors being traded to OKC may have stung a little, but the Jazz quickly picked up Hassan Whiteside to back up star center Rudy Gobert. He will also be a good insurance pick if Gobert gets into foul trouble.

Whiteside would be a good backup as he is an experienced defensive center capable of producing solid numbers off the bench. The big man has career averages of 13.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks while shooting 58.1% from the field.

After a lackluster season with the Sacramento Kings last year wherein he averaged just 15 minutes, The Jazz will hope that he regains his form back as it would be extremely difficult to get inside the paint next season in Utah as the Jazz will have two towering bigs in Gobert and Whiteside who are excellent shot-blockers.

Might have snatched the “Steal of the Draft” in Jared Butler

The Jazz were very lucky enough to pick Baylor’s Jared Butler at the 40th spot. Butler was one of the best players during Baylor’s championship run as he averaged 16.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.0 steals throughout the course of the season.

Butler is a knockdown shooter, a strong playmaker, and a solid defender who the Jazz can clearly put right into their rotation. The national champion combined with Gobert in the pick and roll will be very dangerous for opposing teams.

Eric Paschall and Donovan Mitchell reunited

Eric Paschall and Spida have been close friends ever since they were kids. They also showed their brotherly love whenever the Golden State Warriors and the Utah Jazz face each other.

Two seasons ago, Paschall, who was a rookie back then, was one of the best players who are suiting up for the short-handed Warriors as he was averaging 14 points per game for them. He showed he can ball since he was constantly showing toughness and grit in the paint towards opposing bigs.

Paschall adds depth to a versatile small-ball lineup.

Bench boost in Rudy Gay

Rudy Gay provides floor spacing and leadership, the two things that the Jazz need. Gay will likely come off the bench and the Jazz will be more dangerous than ever since they also have a hot-rod scoring machine in last season’s Sixth Man of the Year winner Jordan Clarkson.

Gay will also be a locker room voice for this team as he certainly has all the experience coming into this season with 17 years under his belt.

The versatile forward is also capable of guarding multiple positions. This is a major boost for the team since Gay gives the Jazz an option at having a small-ball five.

Overall Grade: A

The Utah Jazz entered the offseason with one priority in mind, re-signing Mike Conley.

So far, the Jazz’s offseason is quite successful as they addressed almost all of their needs by adding pieces that could surely help them contend in the wild and tough Western Conference.

If the new signings gel with the current roster, Utah are poised to win it all next season.