The Utah Jazz shook up its roster Wednesday as they traded for Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley in exchange for Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, Grayson Allen, and two first round draft picks.
KSL Sport’s Jeremiah Jensen joined SVI Radio to break down the trade. He said the Jazz did give something to the Grizzlies, but what they got back is “so much more”.
“They’re getting one of the best point guards in the game,” Jensen said. “He’s a top 30 player even at the age of 31 and he’s a perfect fit with (Jazz guard) Donovan Mitchell.”
Jensen highlighted specifically his efficiency in the pick and roll. He finished in the 81st percentile according to Synergy sports. This next year he will possibly have two elite rim rollers to finish plays with in Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors as well.
Jensen also highlighted how Conley can score in many ways. He can also score off the dribble and off ball as well. Last year he shot 40% on catch and shoot.
“He’s a scorer,” Jensen said. “And the Jazz needed a guy that could come in and play with Donovan Mitchell and help with the scoring load.”
Jensen points out that it may have been too much to ask of a young player to come in and lead the team offensively as Mitchell has.
“Although Donovan Mitchell has been up for it,” Jensen said. “They needed somebody to help him.”
He also highlighted that Conley is a great locker room player and has what the Jazz’s Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsey calls “Jazz DNA.”
“In my opinion this was the perfect addition for the Jazz this offseason,” Jensen said.
Jensen says the team will miss Jae Crowder’s defense and his friendly contract, but he says he believes the organization didn’t have to give up too much for this addition.
Jensen also says this move may put them in the company of the elite in the Western Conference.
“This could be the guy I was saying they needed to get,” he said. “They needed that scoring burst, they needed a playmaker, a guy that could create shots off his own dribble, and this is a guy who can do that.”
He says the pairing with Mitchell and Jazz center Rudy Gobert truly can move the needle for the organization.
He broke down what next year may look like in the Western Conference in the NBA. The Golden State Warriors have ventured into somewhat of the unknown. They have two possible big free agents in Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, who both suffered injuries in the NBA Finals that will sit them out most or all of next year.
The Houston Rockets have had some internal issues reported between Chris Paul and reigning MVP James Harden. Jensen says they may not be able to move Paul’s contract, but he feels confident the Rockets may shake things up.
The Denver Nuggets and Portland Trailblazers may not have a lot of room outside trades that will make them better.
The only question at this point, in Jensen’s mind, is how good will the Lakers be? They recently agreed to a trade for New Orleans Pelican’s star Anthony Davis. This will pair him with Lebron James and as the Lakers work out some cap space numbers they may be eyeing to bring in a third All-Star.
Jensen wonders if they may use their cap space to bring in some quality role players to fit next to the two All-NBA talents on the Lakers.
“I’m just skeptical of that management if they’re going to be able to make the right moves,” Jensen said. “I like that the Lakers went out and got Anthony Davis, that’s something to be taken seriously, but it remains to be seen if they’re at a quality depth with that team.”
Jensen says with keeping Derrick Favors the Jazz have every reason to believe they are the best team in the Western Conference as of right now. With a lot of talent hitting the free agent market things could change any time.
However, Jensen says watching what the Toronto Raptors did this last season in winning the NBA Finals and taking a risk in trading for Kawhi Leonard, everyone may be willing to look at getting that “one player”.
“There’s a lot of teams that want to be that next Golden State Warriors team,” Jensen said. “So there are going to be a lot of teams that are going to be very aggressive in free agency.”
The Jazz’s trade will become official on July 6th with free agency beginning June 30th. So the league could look very different by the time Mike Conley officially becomes a Jazzman.
The Utah Jazz traded their no. 23 pick in this year’s draft which the Memphis Grizzlies traded away to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 21st pick.
Jensen said the Jazz liked a lot of the talent that ended up being in the 20’s and so he said they were very aggressive in trying to move up higher in the second round. The team ended up taking three picks between 50-58.
The Jazz took Jarrell Brantley from College of Charleston at No. 50, Hofstra guard Justin Wright-Foreman at No. 53, and Yale wing Miye Oni at No. 58.
“I think the guys they got are really intriguing,” Jensen said. “You’re looking at three guys who were stars at small schools.”
Jensen points out that even though they are all older they share two common characteristics: they all can shoot and they all can defend. With Conley filling up more of the Jazz’s cap space there may be a roster spot open for these guys.