After a relatively slow start to the season, the Utah Jazz have are arguably the hottest team in basketball. Winners of 12 of their last 13 games, things are going well for the Jazz. Led by Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, the team finds themselves tied for second place in the Western Conference.
The Jazz haven’t finished a season with a top-two seed in the West since 2000. In turn, with things going so well, it’s understandable to not want to make any changes to the roster. However, the team isn’t perfect. As we approach the trade deadline, there’s a player that Utah could do without.
At first glance, Mike Conley may seem like a reasonable option. The 32-year-old point guard is having his worst season in a bit and is shooting a mere 37.6 percent from the field. On the other hand, Conley is still a really solid defender and his $32 million salary this season will be hard to offload onto other teams.
Instead, the Jazz should look to move veteran big man Ed Davis. Davis signed with Utah this offseason on a two-year $10 million contract. Davis was coming off a solid season with the Brooklyn Nets and the Jazz needed size other than Rudy Gobert.
Other than Gobert, the Jazz only have two other players 6-foot-9 or taller — Davis included. However, in today’s small ball-dominated NBA, size is becoming less of a factor.
After shooting 61.6 percent for the Nets last season, Davis has failed to make that sort of impact in Utah. The 30-year-old is shooting just 36.7 percent from the field — the worst mark among Jazz players who have appeared in 11 games or more.
For the season, Davis is playing just 11.0 minutes per game while averaging just 1.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Davis can’t shoot, his free throws are futile and he fouls way too often. For someone who does their damage in the paint, you’d at least hope that he does it efficiently. Davis has not.
He’s a solid rebounder and always been, but the Jazz have a younger, cheaper version of Davis that does what he does, only better.
Davis off the team would free up more minutes for 6-foot-10 big man Tony Bradley. Bradley is the second tallest player on the roster and after barely playing in his first two years, is getting a chance in his third year.
The former first-round pick is scoring at a way higher rate and is just as effective of a rebounder as Davis. Not to mention, Bradley is set to make less than $2 million this season, making him a more cost-effective option too.
Behind Gobert, Bradley’s 63.3 shooting percentage is the second-best mark on the team and per 36 minutes, the former Tarheel is putting up 15.5 points and 14.3 rebounds per game.
Davis deserves a spot on an NBA roster but the Jazz have a better version of him waiting for an increase in minutes. At only 22 years old, Bradley’s potential as an impact player for the Jazz is clear.