Utah Jazz Mailbag: Will Hendricks Help Jazz Defense?

Nov 9, 2023, 12:54 PM

Will McDowell-White #7 of the New Zealand Breakers drives into Taylor Hendricks #0 of the Utah Jazz...

Will McDowell-White #7 of the New Zealand Breakers drives into Taylor Hendricks #0 of the Utah Jazz during the second half of a preseason game at Delta Center (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Welcome to the Utah Jazz mailbag where every week our NBA insiders answer your questions on social media about your favorite team.

Each week we will send out a prompt on KSL Sports Threads, Instagram, X, and Facebook pages asking for the questions you have about the Jazz.

Then, we’ll respond to as many as we can in that week’s mailbag.

Jazz Mailbag: Can Hendricks Improve The Jazz Defense


Post by @acurrit
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These are two terrific questions from user @acurrit on Threads, and we’ll answer them in order.

Q: Can Taylor Henricks ramp up quickly in the G League in order to make a difference mid-season?

A: The answer unfortunately is probably not, nor is that really the plan.

I think the Jazz would be happy if Hendricks could prove he’s ready to contribute in any meaningful way this season, regardless if it’s on offense or defense.

The truth is, though there are exceptions (see Victor Wembanyama), most rookies are bad defensive players and they’re rarely able to help on that end of the floor in their first year.

Players primarily get drafted because of their offensive potential, and veteran players are so advanced offensively that it takes years of practice to learn how to be an effective defender.

Now, that doesn’t mean rookies can’t have an impact defensively. Last season Walker Kessler helped the Jazz as a rim protector, blocking more than two shots a game.

But, despite Kessler’s terrific rookie campaign, the Jazz still ranked as the eighth-worst defensive team in the league.

Even the Spurs with Wemyanyama have only climbed from the worst defensive team in the league last year to the second-worst defensive team so far this season.

That isn’t to say the Jazz defense won’t eventually improve because of Hendricks who showed an ability to match up with smaller perimeter players in college while also being a terrific weakside shot blocker, but, he’s unlikely to help the Jazz’s defense this year, even if he does get called up from the G League.

Q: Out of [Malcolm] Brogdon, Monte Morris, or [Markelle] Fultz — any realistic PG trades you think the Jazz should look into?

A: The Jazz point guard play has been abysmal this year, so any help would be welcomed by the Jazz.

User @acurrit brought up three names of point guards that are somewhat realistic options for the Jazz should they choose to make a trade for another backcourt piece.

Brogdon is the biggest name of the three having just won the Sixth Man of the Year award in Boston before he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for Jrue Holiday.

The Virginia product is averaging just over 19 points, six assists, and five rebounds and is historically a stronger shooter than his numbers would suggest this season.

Furthermore, Jazz general manager Justin Zanik was working in the Milwaukee Bucks front office when they drafted Brogdon who went on to be named the 2017 Rookie of the Year.

Brogdon, 31, is the oldest of the three players mentioned, would likely fetch the highest trade cost, and for some reason always seems to be on the trade block despite excellent production wherever he plays.

Morris, 28, has yet to play this season in Detroit because of a quad strain, but was productive in 62 appearances for the Washington Wizards last season averaging 10.5 points, 4.0 assists, and 2.5 rebounds on efficient shooting percentages.

The Pistons have a very deep (and young) backcourt having invested significant draft capital into their guard rotation, so it makes sense that Morris could become available at some point this season.

However, they also just sent a second round pick to the Wizards to acquire him, meaning they probably want to see what he can offer before they reroute him elsewhere.

Fultz, 25, had a breakout season last year in Orlando, but has always had significant injury concerns and has never learned to shoot.

On certain rosters, a non-shooting guard can still be impactful, but as evidenced by the Jazz’s miserable shooting numbers this season, they need a reliable shot-maker.

So, that’s a longwinded way of saying, of the three, Morris probably makes the most sense from a cost and fit standpoint.

But, with Keyonte George taking over the starting job in Indiana, the Jazz are probably happy to let him eat up most of the minutes at point guard as he develops into a pillar of the franchise.


Post by @thehivesports
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Q: What is your honest opinion of the jersey lineup this year?

A: Finally, the hard-hitting questions I came here for from user @thehivesports.

The Jazz first announced this jersey rotation last year when they made the much-rumored move to their black, white, and yellow color scheme.

To the chagrin of many, I have to admit I really like both the black and yellow jerseys the Jazz have this season.

Additionally, I think the Mardi Gras 50th Anniversary jerseys with the wonky Jazz Note are some of the best in NBA history.

However, I haven’t loved the preliminary mock-ups of the team’s reimagined purple mountain jersey that will coincide with their In-Season tournament floor that will debut next week.

I do believe jerseys always look better on NBA players than they do when they’re accidentally leaked by department store employees, but I don’t have enormously high hopes for this mountain jersey.

With that said, I was stunned at how bad most of the league’s city jerseys were this year, and firmly believe the Jazz’s option is one of the best in the NBA, even if it isn’t my cup of tea.

I’m also a 37-year-old father of two, so if I’m not the demographic they’re marketing to, I forgive them.

Want to ask questions in next week’s mailbag? Give us a follow @kslsports.

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Utah Jazz Mailbag: Will Hendricks Help Jazz Defense?