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 think Tony Bradley’s ceiling depends on how hard he works at it over the next three years. He’s in a system that specializes in player development, so he has that going for him. I also suspect that because Rudy Gobert is on the roster, Bradley’s best days as an NBA player eventually may come outside a Jazz uniform. But that decision isn’t likely to be made for another couple of seasons.
He has great size for his position, is a plus rebounder and has the ability to develop into a 3-point shooter. He doesn’t move well in space, and that has the potential to hurt a lot as an NBA player. I think when it’s said and done, he can be similar to a Robin Lopez but a better shooter. That’s an NBA starter. He has to get better defensively and get stronger. He’s young and has tools.
Right now, it’s Jae Crowder, who is averaging 13 points, four rebounds and two assists per game in a Jazz uniform. He has to start shooting the ball better, however. He’s making 36 percent from the field and 24 percent from 3-point range in his last five games. He’s also making 72 percent of his free throws when he typically shoots 83 percent from the line. Crowder is making an impact. He’s scored in double figures in all six of his games. But the second unit has struggled a bit without Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson. And a significant chunk of Utah’s ultimate playoff fate rests on whether Crowder can lead the bench unit and turn it into a net positive.
They would rather make the playoffs as an eight seed. This season is a terrific success if the Jazz can make the playoffs and get rookies Donovan Mitchell and Royce O’Neale a taste of postseason experience. It also helps in free agency to be a playoff team rather than a lottery team.
The Jazz aren’t in free agency mode. At this point in late February, they are trying to make the playoffs. There is hope around the organization that Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert can be a good recruiting tool in free agency, but that time isn’t now. The Jazz haven’t identified what they will need in the offseason, and some of that will depend on the draft, which is months away.
@tribjazz #TonyTalks No penalty for Zaza? Zaza on Westbrook, Leonard, etc were not tough guy plays, but deliberate or reckless acts with potential for serious injury. I think intent should not be the criteria. Surely NBA does not want a 15th man to injure as a tactical move?— Jason Constable (@jasconstable) February 27, 2018
I agree. Zaza Pachulia’s act is old and tired. Falling on Russell Westbrook was deliberate, as was coming under Kawhi Leonard’s foot last season in the playoffs, and Leonard hasn’t been completely right since that happened.
It’s sad that the league hasn’t punished him by now, because it’s obvious that he’s out there trying to injure guys. I guess the league’s argument could be that it’s a slippery slope. But Pachulia’s peers know he’s a dirty player. Casual observers know he’s a dirty player. And without his goon tactics, he has very little actual NBA talent to fall back on.
That’s a great question. It’s obvious Joe Ingles is very popular with the Jazz and valuable to what the Jazz do. I’m impressed that he’s turned himself into a legitimate NBA starter and only has gotten better with his new contract. If the Jazz figure out a way to make the playoffs, Ingles will deserve a lot of the credit. Maybe not a statue, but a lot of credit. He’s been very good this season.