JAZZ NOTES

Jazz Notes Podcast Examines Utah’s Backcourt Options

May 23, 2019, 4:16 PM
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With the Utah Jazz expected to be aggressive in free agency, the team will likely be looking for a guy to fill up the basket.

Rodney Hood was supposed to be the guy.  He was supposed to be that guy who picked up the scoring slack when Gordon Hayward left the Utah Jazz for the Boston Celtics. He was supposed to be that guy who started and finished games in the 2017-18 season and continue to show several other NBA teams that they made a mistake in not drafting him higher than 23rd in the 2014 draft.

Rarely does life ever ever turn out like expectations and unfortunately that’s what happened with Hood.  He averaged a career best 16.8 points a game for the Jazz in 2017-18 but missed plenty of games due to injuries, lost his starting spot to Donovan Mitchell and even admitted himself that a change might be good after struggling at times.

Hood experienced a lot of changes after leaving the squad in trade for Jae Crowder in Feb. 2018.  Since then, he’s been to the NBA Finals with Cleveland and was key to helping the Portland Trail Blazers make the Western Conference Finals.

Could Hood Return To Jazz?

So could the free agent shooting guard make his way back to Salt Lake City?

“I like his game,” KSL Sports anchor Sam Farnsworth said of Hood on the most recent Jazz Notes podcast.  “I thought it was a bit inconsistent times…he’s a guy who can pop for 15 or 20 points on any given night.  But is that what the Jazz need?  I would rather they look at other (shooting guards).”

Jazz Notes host Cleon Wall agreed that the Jazz need to look at other options first, but not to discount a return.

“(The Jazz) know what they would be getting.  There is familiarity.  He is going to be streaky at times, but he is 6’8″ and he can get his shot off.  And (Hood) can create for himself…and the Jazz are in bad need of guys who can create for themselves.”

Wall also believed that Hood could be folded back into the offensive system and could even be a good guard coming off the bench.

But What About Conley?

And then there is Mike Conley.

Utah Jazz fans remember him.  He’s that point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies whom the Jazz were reportedly trying to trade for this past season.  And according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Jazz are still interested in trading for him.  But is that the right move?

Wall didn’t like the deal then and he doesn’t like the deal now.

“I think on paper, I like the idea of Mike Conley joining the Utah Jazz, but then I look at the reality of it…and I think what bothers me the most is his contract,” said Wall. “Do you want to pay a 31-year old guy ($32.5 million) next season and ($34.5 million) the following season?”

Wall also doesn’t believe that a big move for Conley would put them on par with the Golden State Warriors and Conley’s contract would also prevent them from getting any other big names to help them.  He’s also not sold on two shorter guards, Mitchell being the other,  in the same backcourt.

Farnsworth agreed that Conley’s contract poses a problem.

“If you are going to spend money, especially a small market team like the Utah Jazz, you’ve got to get the bang for your buck.  If you are going to spend that much money on [Conley]…I think you can get more mileage elsewhere…That’s a lot of money and I don’t think you get the return for that type of investment,” said Farnsworth.

Also on the podcast, Sam and Cleon discuss if the Jazz should (or could) sign Kemba Walker or Tobias Harris, the hazards of two smaller guards and if the Western Conference finals were a disappointment.

The Jazz Notes podcast drops at least weekly and can be found at KSLSports.com, the KSL Newsradio App, Apple Podcasts or other podcast providers.

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