Jazz Fall To Suns After Trade Deadline

Feb 8, 2024, 10:28 PM | Updated: Feb 10, 2024, 2:25 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz dropped their first game after the trade deadline falling to the Phoenix Suns 129-115.

John Collins and Lauri Markkanen combined for 43 points and 19 rebounds.

The Suns were led by Kevin Durant who scored 31 points in the win.

Hendricks Enters Rotation After Trades

With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, Taylor Hendricks earned his first minutes with the main roster since January 12.

The Jazz rookie had some bright spots and some low moments in his 18 minutes on the floor against the Suns.

Hendricks shot just 1-5 from the floor and turned the ball over twice, but also connected on one of his two three-point shots, grabbed eight rebounds, made a nice pocket pass in the pick-and-roll, and blocked a driving layup attempt by Durant.

“It’s really important for me in these next three games to try to maintain some perspective on where we are right now in terms of the little bit of a shake-up we’ve had on the team,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said after the loss.

The 20-year-old’s highlights on both ends of the floor are a tantalizing taste of what he will offer with continued development, while his miscues are a reminder of the patience required to realize his potential.

At different points, Hendricks failed to pick up his man in transition, overplayed defensively, or rushed passes into a crowd.

But, his physical tools, shooting stroke, and defensive instincts are a unique addition to the Jazz roster.

The Jazz made a series of difficult moves over the last two days to deconstruct the roster and clear more space for Hendricks to blossom, now it’s on him, and the team’s coaching staff to prove the transactions were worthwhile.

Others Zig, Jazz Zag

Among the eight teams currently poised to make the end-of-season Play-In Tournament, the Jazz were the only franchise that chose to be sellers at the trade deadline.

While the Jazz unloaded three players in the top eight of their rotation, the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, and even the 11th-seeded Golden State Warriors all either added talent, or stood pat at the deadline.

The Heat acquired Terry Rozier in late January, the Mavericks traded for Daniel Gafford and PJ Washington, while the rest made either small financial transactions, or stayed out of the trade business altogether.

It’s a unique strategy from the Jazz who clearly aren’t enamored with the idea of making the Play-In Tournament, especially at the behest of long-term roster improvement.

While the Heat, Mavericks, Lakers, and Warriors may believe that with a little luck, they could make a deep playoff after getting through the Play-In Tournament, the Magic, Bulls, Hawks, and Kings face likely early playoff exits if they get through to the postseason at all.

Perhaps fighting for Play-In Tournament positioning over the final 30 games of the season will instill good habits in those teams, or they may even earn an opportunity to compete in the playoffs.

But Danny Ainge and Justin Zanik chose a less conservative approach and will hope they have something to show for it this summer.

Nightly Awards: Jazz vs. Suns

The “Mr. 343” Award:

Goes to Jason Preston who became the 343rd player ever to wear a Jazz uniform in an NBA game.

The Jazz signed Preston to a two-way contract after waiving Josh Christopher in January.

Preston was once a blogger for PistonPowered in the late 2010s before starring in college at Ohio, and getting drafted by the Orlando Magic in 2021.

The guard recorded a 14 point, 11 rebound, 11 assist triple-double with the Salt Lake City Stars on Wednesday before making his Jazz debut on Thursday.

Utah Jazz Next Game

The Jazz will face the Golden State Warriors on Monday at 7 pm MST in Salt Lake City. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Jazz Fall To Suns After Trade Deadline