UTAH JAZZ

Utah Jazz Mailbag: After Draft, Who Will Be Next Jazz All-Star?

Jul 2, 2024, 3:13 PM | Updated: 3:13 pm

Collin Sexton #2 of the Utah Jazz...

Collin Sexton #2 of the Utah Jazz (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 ThreadsInstagramX, 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.

Mailbag: Besides Markkanen, Who Might Be An All-Star For Jazz?

Question: If you had to bet money on whether any player on the current Jazz roster, excluding Lauri, will make at least one All-NBA team in the future, which way would you place your bet? (new rookies included)

Answer: I think the answer to this question is an easy one, and perhaps a little underwhelming for fans, but that honor belongs to Collin Sexton.

The second half of the Jazz season was littered with ups and downs, trades, young players showing flashes of brilliance, and a lot of losing that largely drowned out the superb development from Sexton in year two in Utah.

Over his final 56 games of the season, Sexton averaged 21.2 points, 5.6 assists, and 2.6 rebounds while shooting a stellar 50 percent from the floor and 41 percent from three.

Related: Documentary Follows Collin Sexton’s Breakout Season With Jazz

Since 2015, here are the five players who have matched those numbers for an entire season:

LeBron James
Kyrie Irving
Shai Gilgeous Alexander
Kevin Durant (4x)
Steph Curry

Push that sample size back to 2010, and only Blake Griffin and Goran Dragic can be added to the list.

What do those players have in common? All of them except Dragic are headed to the Hall of Fame, and everyone, including Dragic, made an All-Star appearance during their career.

If you want to include Sexton’s 85 percent free-throw success rate in the equation, these are the only players who have hit that mark over a 50-game stretch since 2015.

Collin Sexton
Kawhi Leonard
Nikola Jokic
Kyrie Irving
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Kevin Durant
Steph Curry
Jimmy Butler

Once again, we’re not just talking about good players, but future Hall of Famers, and some of the best players in the league over the last decade.

Essentially, Sexton played at an All-Star level over the final two-thirds of last season after taking a year to get comfortable on his rehabilitated knee, and under the tutelage of Will Hardy.

If he continues to perform at that level with the Jazz, he’s deserving of an All-Star appearance, and history says he’ll probably get there.

Question: What would you value most in a Lauri trade, prospect(s) or picks? If prospect(s), who would be some of your favorite options? If picks, quantity or quality?

Answer: At some point, the theoretical value of picks runs out, and the rubber has to meet the road with actual talent on the floor.

If the Jazz were to trade Markkanen (something I would try to avoid considering his immense talent), I would think the Jazz would want a combination of young players and picks back.

And, now two years into this rebuilding process, I’m curious if the team might value proven young talent more than when they moved Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell in 2022.

It’s fascinating to look at the Oklahoma City Thunder who have had success building their team through trades and the draft, but have done little in the way of trading their draft picks.

Acquiring Gilgeous-Alexander for Paul George proved to be a far better swap than anyone could have predicted, then selecting Jalen Williams with the Clippers pick from the same deal in 2022 was a master class.

However, the Thunder still hold onto the majority of picks they’ve acquired in recent seasons, and their roster improvement has been made either through their own picks (Chet Holmgren), player-for-player trades (Josh Giddey for Alex Caruso), or in free agency (Isaiah Hartenstein).

Ultimately, the Thunder either haven’t been able to make blockbuster moves using their draft picks, or haven’t needed to. What they have capitalized on is using those draft picks to find good players that they can either keep in the organization, or trade for other players who fit their needs.

Draft picks still have value (see the New York Knicks acquiring Mikal Bridges), but there’s no replacement for good young players.

With that in mind, among the teams rumored to be interested in Markkanen, I would imagine Jonathan Kuminga and Brandin Podziemski from the Golden State Warriors, Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan, and Stephon Castle from the San Antonio Spurs, Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Amen Thompson, and Reed Sheppard from the Houston Rockets, and Trey Murphy III and Herb Jones from the New Orleans Pelicans could catch the Jazz’s interest.

Along these lines, the best assets the Jazz acquired in the Gobert and Mitchell trades are Markkanen and Sexton, regardless of the huge number of picks left in their arsenal.

While teams might be interested in some of the Jazz’s draft capital from those two trades, there are no bidding wars for hypothetical draft picks. Teams want real, tangible players, and that’s what the Jazz should target.

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

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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Utah Jazz Mailbag: After Draft, Who Will Be Next Jazz All-Star?