Before the Utah Jazz even began their first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, there were significant questions about their chemistry, their viability as winners, and their cap. That was no secret Their two superstars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert don’t care about each other. The tension between the two stretches back to before the pandemic. Danny Ainge and the Utah front office surrounded Gobert with a bunch of aging perimeter players who couldn’t defend themselves.
The 2019 trade that brought Mike Conley to Utah was an absolute success catastrophe. The 34-year-old guard is a shell of the player he was in Memphis and has never regained the defensive form that made him such a deadly two-way player with the Grizzlies. Elsewhere, the jazz list is filled with broken players who, judging by their relationships and their play on the court, seem really unhappy playing in Utah i.e. Rudy Gay, Royce O’Neal, Hassan Whiteside, Daniel House. Only Jordan Clarkson, last year’s sixth Man of the Year, and Bojan Bogdanović, the great sniper, played with some zest for life.
To be clear, this team needs to be disbanded. Not just because of an inflated payroll or a maximized cap, but because the chemistry of this long-held core stretches well past its expiration date. They left town and, worse, each other in the recent series against the Mavs. This was particularly evident in games one through three, when the Jazz starters were outplayed in effort and joy by a roster of Mavericks without Luka. Now that the truth is out, where do you want jazz to go next? A full rebuild appears to be the best option while continuing to invest in design capital. The draft is how Utah has ever found its two superstars. It’s time to return to that fountain. As we can all agree, nobody chooses Utah by hand.