Utah Jazz Notes

Utah Jazz shootaround: Jazz eager to see how a fully healthy roster plays together

First Published      Last Updated Feb 24 2017 12:06 pm

Milwaukee • The Utah Jazz hope to see the beginning of a trend when the Jazz face the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night at the Bradley Center.

And that's a healthy roster.

Shooting guard Rodney Hood will return as expected from injury and play in Milwaukee after missing almost a month due to a balky knee. There are 25 games remaining in the regular season, and the Jazz rarely have played with a healthy roster.

One reason the Jazz brass stayed put at the trade deadline, which passed Thursday, is the uncertainty surrounding a healthy Jazz roster. Despite a 35-22 record and a team on track to make its first postseason in five years, there hasn't been enough of a sample size of what the Jazz look like healthy.

"I think the front office sent a message of confidence when they didn't do anything at the deadline," Utah forward Gordon Hayward said.

The Jazz enter the second half of the season in the midst of a playoff race for homecourt advantage. They are tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the fourth spot in the Western Conference.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder said he didn't know if Hood will be in the starting lineup against the Bucks. Either way, Hood's presence as a scorer was missed while he was injured. The Jazz missed Hood's ability to create plays off the dribble and in pick-and-roll scenarios, which often takes pressure off Hayward in the offense.

It will be interesting to see how Utah's rotation shakes out with Hood back. There is talk that Joe Johnson will play the power forward spot more in the second half of the season, which means the Jazz more frequently will play with three wings on the floor.

— Tony Jones