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’m torn on it. On one hand, the Jazz need the shooting and scoring Nikola Mirotic can provide. He’s averaging 17.4 points per game and shooting almost 47 percent from 3-point range. He can spot up or take defenders off the dribble. And the Jazz desperately need another guy who easily can get 15 points a game, which Mirotic can do. On the other, he doesn’t defend. He hasn’t been a great rebounder. He’s not a passer. And it’s weird that he’s never come close to his current production. So is this year a hot streak or has he truly made a leap? I think at the right price, he’s worth bringing in, especially on a team that needs scoring pieces. But I wouldn’t mortgage the future for him. I certainly wouldn’t give a first-round pick back.
I think you have to wait and see where the Jazz are at in a month. If they are in the playoff hunt, then getting a player back who can put them over the top should be a priority. If they are out of the race, then cap space and getting picks takes on more importance.
I wouldn’t characterize the Jazz as sellers. The one player that we know is on the trade market — Derrick Favors — still would be available if the Jazz had the best record in the league. So it’s not like they are holding a fire sale. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert certainly are untouchable, however.
I don’t disagree, but there are other factors at play. The Jazz surrendered a 2018 first-round pick to obtain Ricky Rubio, so they aren’t going to give up on him quickly. They also are trying not to make any drastic changes while Rudy Gobert is hurt. And with Raul Neto and Dante Exum out, sitting Rubio is still a sub-optimal option for the Jazz. That being said, it looks increasingly as if Mitchell can be a full-time NBA point guard. And he’s so dynamic that we’re getting to the point where he needs the ball in his hands in some capacity on every possession.
I think that’s what the Jazz want to know, which is one of the reasons Ricky Rubio still is in the starting lineup. And there’s no way to tell for sure until Rudy Gobert is healthy.
Ricky Rubio is shooting 39 percent from the field and 28 percent from 3-point range. He’s averaging five assists and three turnovers per game. It’s just awfully difficult to keep a point guard on the floor during clutch time when he has those kind of numbers.
It depends on the proximity. When the Jazz had three days off between Milwaukee and Chicago, they flew home because it was a relatively short flight back and forth. On this trip, with three days between Miami and Washington, they stayed on the road. It’s hard to fly back and forth to the east coast.