Are The Utah Jazz On The Verge Of A Lineup Change?
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After three consecutive losses to open the second half of the regular season, are the Utah Jazz on the verge of a shakeup in the starting lineup? According to conflicting national reports, the Jazz are toying with the idea of moving either Mike Conley or Joe Ingles to the bench in favor of reserve defensive specialist Royce O’Neale.
KSL Sports Ben Anderson joined The Zone Sports Network on Tuesday and pitched the idea of moving Ingles to the bench for O’Neale to improve the team’s struggling defense. The Jazz have allowed scoring totals of 113, 120, and 131 points in their last three outings.
“Quin Snyder has already recognized that this isn’t just scheme, this isn’t just effort,” Anderson said, “Maybe you shake up the starting line. Maybe if the defense isn’t good enough or if you don’t feel like you have a player that’s stopping dribble penetration, you have to go back to Royce O’Neale in the starting lineup instead of Joe Ingles or instead of Mike Conley. I would suspect the first move would be to swap O’Neale and Ingles, and I won’t be surprised if we see that in the next game.”
The Jazz are 33-15 (.687) in games that featured O’Neale in the starting lineup. The team is 24-13 (.648) in games in which Ingles started, and just 15-13 (.535) in games that have seen Conley in the starting lineup.
O’Neale adds foot speed and rebounding to a starting lineup that has struggled to contain opposing offenses dribble penetration. As a starter, the third-year forward is often tasked with defending the opponent’s most dangerous offensive player on the perimeter.
Offensively, O’Neale is a complimentary shooter that doesn’t need the ball in his hands to find an offensive rhythm. Additionally, O’Neale offensive production has taken a major hit as a reserve, without the benefit of playing alongside the Jazz more potent offensive weapons.
As a starter, O’Neale averages 6.1 points and 2.8 assists shooting an impressive 46 percent from the floor and 41 percent from the three-point line.
As a reserve, O’Neale sees his averages drop to 5.2 points per game and 1.3 assists while shooting just 34 percent from the floor and the three-point line.
The Jazz are officially required to announce their starting lineup 30 minutes before game time. The Jazz host the Boston Celtics tonight, with the tip-off set for 8:30 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
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