Tony Jones, one of the Tribune’s Utah Jazz beat reporters, will answer questions submitted on Twitter each week in his Jazz mailbag. Here are this week’s questions and answers.
I don’t think anyone holds a specific personal grudge against Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey. I also think the Jazz go through plenty of games where they get a difficult whistle. Their loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday night serves as an example for me. Houston took 43 shots from 3-point range, yet the Rockets got to the free-throw line 27 times compared tonight for the Jazz. Those kind of statistics are difficult to swallow for the Jazz, who said all the right things publicly following the loss to the Rockets but privately were upset at some of the calls. But every team goes through this. And calls in this league tend to go to the best teams. So if the Jazz ever become a top-three team in the Western Conference, you probably will see them get a better whistle.
Derrick Favors certainly is a candidate to be traded, and he probably won’t be in a Jazz uniform next season if he makes it to unrestricted free agency. But Rudy Gobert’s injury woes complicate things a bit. With Utah’s franchise center not healthy, it may not be prudent to trade Favors at this moment because he provides a safety net for Gobert. If the Jazz do trade him, their target likely would be a play making power forward who can stretch the floor or a wing who can shoot and defend. At this point, I think the Jazz hold on to Favors until the February trade deadline then evaluate where they are.
It’s absolutely good enough. The question for Donovan Mitchell is whether he can be the main decision maker on a title team, and I’d say the answer is yes at this point. Mitchell’s rate of improvement from training camp to Christmas has been amazing to watch. It leads me to believe he has a chance to be one of the elite players in the league one day.