With Rudy Gobert, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood, Dante Exum, and Alec Burks all under the age of 26, the Utah Jazz have one of the best young cores in the NBA. At the All-Star Break the Jazz sat at 26-26 after weathering injuries to Gobert, Favors, Burks, and Exum. Since Favors has returned to the starting line-up the Jazz are 8-2 and thanks to the return of a healthy Gobert, the Jazz defense is looking like it did last year when the Jazz went 19-10 after the All-Star Break. So, the Jazz is looking to make some noise this year and I expect them to make a run for the 6th seed in the West and it’s about time too. Jazz fans have been patient as Jazz Management has stock-piled assets without many wins to show for it. Dennis Lindsey has done a good job in the draft the last few years picking up Trey Lyles, Hood, Exum, Trey Burke, Shabazz Muhammed (who they turned into Gobert), Burks, and Hayward. Some Jazz fans are talking about packaging Trey Burke and Alec Burks for an upgrade at point guard. While I like the idea of upgrading from a rookie point guard (Raul Neto), the Jazz should not pull the trigger on any deals before the trade deadline.
The two widely regarded top available point guards are Jeff Teague and Ricky Rubio. Apparently the Jazz discussed a trade with Atlanta for Teague, but that quickly died when the Hawks wanted Rodney Hood in return. On ESPN’s trade machine, I cannot come up with any combination of players that would result in a increased number of wins for the Jazz under John Hollinger’s prediction machine for an “upgraded point guard”. I can’t even find a trade for Timberwolves veteran Andre Miller that will increase the Jazz’s projected win total. That said, I love the idea of Miller mentoring Dante Exum, but to give up a young Neto for a 39 year old makes no sense. Trading for Teague or Rubio might sound like a good idea, but based on what these teams want in return, these deals fall apart. Knowing that a promising Exum will be back next year, why trade away key pieces to upgrade the position for 30 games?
The funny thing is that I also can’t find a single trade for any of the big rumored names that would increase the Jazz’s projected win total. Trades for Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, or Blake Griffin by giving up various combinations of pieces for the Jazz to make the math work, all result in net losses in projected wins. Giving up any combination of Hood, Favors, Hayward, Burke, Burks, or Gobert all result in bad trades for the Jazz. Many of these trades result in an increase of projected wins for the other team. This validates my opinion that the Jazz have the best young core in the game and have done an amazing job drafting talent. The Jazz should not worry about making trades before the trade deadline, but rather need to figure out how it is going to keep all of that talent in Utah when it’s time to pay these young guys.