What’s the Point?
Welcome to the Utah Jazz, George Hill. The Jazz traded the 12th pick in tonight’s draft for veteran George Hill from the Indiana Pacers in a three-team deal. Hill is a 30-year old established starter coming off a solid season with the Pacers where he averaged 12.1 points, 3.5 assists, and 4 rebounds on 40.8% from three. Hill immediately becomes the oldest player on the roster, two years older than Slo’mo Joe. With this trade the Jazz added shooting and leadership instead of another rookie, that much I like. At the same time, I can’t help but wonder what the Jazz brass have up their collective sleeve. With Hill, Exum, Mack, Neto, and Burke, the Jazz have five point guards on the roster. None of them are one of the top two playmakers on the team (Hayward and Hood). So some other pieces are going to have to move.
The Jazz has been shopping Burke for some time and there is no market on him. He will likely end up getting waived or traded for a future 2nd rounder. But, what is the plan? How does Hill fit in? Is the Jazz looking to use Hill off the ball opposite Exum? Exum’s size will allow him to guard 2s. Do the Jazz plan to play a small ball line-up of Exum, Hill, Hood, and Hayward, with Favors or Gobert at the 5? Hayward has the skill set to use him the same way Golden State use Draymond, but can Hayward guard the 4? Will this mean that Hill will start day one and give Exum some time to develop? Everything I have heard is that Exum is ready to start today. I have a hard time seeing them starting together because of Hood’s emergence at the two spot.
Is part of this in preparation of dealing Hayward? I have seen conflicting reports that the Jazz are and are not shopping Hayward, based on the belief that he may opt-out after this season and the Jazz do not want to be left empty-handed. Don’t be surprised to see the Jazz trade Hayward to the team with the most assets in the Draft, the Celtics. Maybe that is why the Jazz was willing to trade #12, maybe they have other picks coming back to them and they wanted to bring in another potential playmaker and shooter to replace Hayward. Does the emergence of Rodney Hood make Hayward expendable? Could the same be said with Favors after what we have seen from Lyles? Favor’s long term deal makes Favors a great asset because he will be considered a bargain under the new salary cap. That said, as much as the Jazz love Hayward and Hayward loves the Jazz, Hayward wants to win and if he is not seeing it happen here, he may bolt when he has a chance. The Jazz cannot let him walk for nothing. Will the Jazz wait until the trade-deadline to make a move or, if the right move comes along, do that make the move now?
Only time will tell.