Jazz Mailbag 2.0: Can You Have Too Many Young Players?

Feb 28, 2024, 3:28 PM | Updated: 5:56 pm

Utah Jazz rookie Brice Sensabaugh...

Utah Jazz rookie Brice Sensabaugh (Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Welcome to the rare second edition of 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 ThreadsInstagramX, and Facebook pages asking for the questions you have about the Jazz.

We got so many responses to this week’s prompt that we decided to answer more of your questions.

Jazz Mailbag: How Many Young Players Is Too Many?

Question: Do see us incorporating two more guaranteed contracts (if we don’t convey the pick) and a 2nd rounder onto this team? Can’t have this many rookies and second-year players. Where does this really end up?

A: This is a very good question, and one that I think often gets overlooked when discussing whether or not the Jazz should want to convey their pick this season.

Now, let me clarify, I don’t think the Jazz want to send a lottery pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder just to avoid having too many young players on the roster.

In fact, the Thunder (despite their fabulous run this season) have made some significant mistakes simply because they’ve had to trade away young players to avoid a massive glut of youth on the roster. See trading soon-to-be-All-Star Alperin Sengun for two first-round picks that may never convey.

However, even if the Jazz were to finish the season with one of the 10 worst records and hold onto their first-rounder, that also doesn’t mean they have to use it to select a player.

If the Jazz decide to be buyers this offseason, they could go into the summer armed with three veterans salaries ranging between $14 and $26.5 million, a handful of intriguing young players, and three top 35 picks in this year’s draft, including a selection in the top 10.

Combined into one package, that has the makings of a borderline blockbuster deal for a trade partner looking to overhaul their roster this summer.

Split up into any number of variations, and it still gives the Jazz a lot of options to improve their roster.

But, those packages don’t look nearly as sweet without a top-10 pick attached to them, and that’s where there’s added value to holding onto the selection this season.

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Furthermore, a top-10 pick is one the Jazz could move in a kick-the-can-down-the-road trade where they acquire another team’s lightly protected future first next season or after, in hopes of landing a better asset in future drafts.

Or, they could find another player (or three) they think is worth building around long-term, and find a way to squeeze him in next to the three under-21-year-olds already on the roster.

Ultimately, if the Jazz want to start improving their roster this summer, adding a top-10 pick gives them several options, even if they never plan on making the selection.

Q: What’s the over/under of Brice Sensabaugh pulling a Grayson Allen and dropping 40 in the final game of the season?

A: The honest answer is almost zero because that game took double overtime and neither cared to win, while I think there’s a good chance Golden State Warriors will still be fighting for playoff seeding entering the final day of the regular season.

But, we can use this opportunity to talk about Sensabaugh, and how his shooting could benefit the Jazz in the not-too-distant future.

Even with the Jazz’s current five-out offense, and one of the league’s best shooters, they’re one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the NBA.

For the season, they’ve hit 35.8 percent of their threes, good for eighth-worst in the league.

And, that includes Kelly Olynyk and Simone Fontecchio, both of whom were shooting 39 percent or better this season and are no longer on the roster.

Remove them from the numbers, and the Jazz would be shooting 34.9 percent, which would be tied for fourth-worst alongside the Washington Wizards.

It’s no coincidence that since trading Olynyk and Fontecchio the Jazz own the 2oth ranked offense in the NBA after being ranked 15th through the trade deadline.

Essentially, the Jazz need shooting, and that might be somewhere Sensabaugh can help.

Having appeared in only nine games, the rookie’s 41.7 percent success rate from downtown can hardly be considered a true sample size.

But, expanding that out to his 36 percent shooting with the Salt Lake City Stars, and 40 percent shooting at Ohio State last season, you have a player who’s proven to be a threat from downtown.

Right now, the Jazz coaching staff continues to ask Sensabaugh to further develop his game as a rebounder and defender, areas where he can affect the game without the ball in his hands.

While the 20-year-old has plenty of room to grow into a more well-rounded basketball player, his three-point efficiency could be his ticket onto the floor.

Are you on Threads yet? Let’s connect, give us a follow @kslsports.

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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 Mailbag 2.0: Can You Have Too Many Young Players?