What is the next roster move for the Utah Jazz? Let’s look at their needs.

The Utah Jazz have a full roster.

Thanks to the recent signings of Omer Yurtseven and Johnny Juzang, the Jazz have 15 players under contract, and three two-way deals have also been made. Both of these are at the NBA’s maximum limits.

And yet, the full roster doesn’t necessarily indicate the Jazz are done with their offseason. First, there are notable and numerous trade discussions around the NBA, including stars like Damian Lillard, James Harden and Pascal Siakam. Other players around the league would be on the way to eventually accommodate these trades as well.

But there’s a bigger factor: While the Jazz have the right number of players, their roster isn’t very balanced right now.

The current list

To get a snapshot of the current roster, let’s take a look at who the Jazz have under contract right now, along with their age and last year’s positional production ranking as determined by Estimated Plus-Minus (EPM), an all-in-one statistic created by former Jazz statistician Taylor Snarr at DunksAndThrees.com. For simplicity, we ignore the two-way players.

Point guard

• Kris Dunn, 29, 28

• Collin Sexton, 24, 33

• The Horton-Tucker speech, 22, 37

Shooting guard

• Jordan Clarkson, 31, 28

• Ochai Agbaji, 23, 65

• Keyonte George, 19, rookie

Small forward

• Lauri Markkanen, 26, 5

• Luka Samanic, 23, 65

• Simone Fontecchio, 27, 105

• Brice Sensabaugh, 19, rookie

Power forward

• John Collins, 25, 41

• Taylor Hendricks, 19, rookie


• Walker Kessler, 21, 14

• Kelly Olynyk, 32, 30

• Omer Yurtseven, 24, 78

Based on this accounting, the Jazz’s worst position is power forward. But there are real reasons for optimism in that place.

First, while Collins had a terrible season by his standards there last year, he was ranked as the 14th-best power forward in the league in 2022, 11th-best in 2021 and 7th-best in 2020. If he can find that form again, he’s an above-average starter for the position.

Second, the Jazz just drafted a rookie No. 9 pick in Hendricks, who expects to be a very good player moving forward.

Finally, at worst, star Markkanen can trade down there; he played nearly half of his minutes at the spot last year and has played the majority of his career at the four.

Meanwhile, the Jazz’s guard options are a bit more speculative.

Right now, the statistically best Jazz backcourt is 29 and 31 years old — in their prime, but potentially declining in the future. Dunn had an amazing 22 games in a Jazz uniform, but it may be unrealistic for him to maintain a career-best performance over a full season. Clarkson has never been a statistical treasure, thanks to his relatively inefficient scoring and shaky defense.

The Jazz’s brightest hope in the backcourt comes from 19-year-old Keyonte George, who was perhaps the summer league’s standout rookie. Across his six games, he put up a 25 PER and showed flashes of young scoring that we haven’t seen since Donovan Mitchell.

It would be unfair to put George up against the standard of Mitchell, who was one of the top five NBA rookies in the last 20 years. The far more likely outcome is that he is not as good as the late star. But after that performance in the summer league, it’s at least within the realm of possibility.

But regardless of whether George becomes a star or not, the Jazz will likely need to upgrade at the other backcourt spot.

The good news is that the Jazz can hope for growth there. Sexton certainly improved in his age-23 season last year, though he didn’t stay on the floor consistently, in part because of the Jazz’s conservative approach to his injuries. Horton-Tucker was a good playmaker but a poor scorer last year – he’ll need to elevate his game to become a deserving starter as well. Agbaji’s low rating is largely due to a passive start to the season, and he improved from March onwards.

But it might be a bridge too far to expect any of these players to become above-average NBA starters. Average NBA starters make around $20-25 million per season in the current NBA economy. Ask yourself this: Would you be thrilled to pay the players in the above section that salary? I would expect it to be an overpayment for the players who move on.

Looking at the possibilities

That’s why I suspect the Jazz, despite the full roster, will continue to be active in trade talks for the rest of the year — heck all the way through the 2024 trade deadline.

What options are out there? By far, the most frequently rumored name for the Jazz to acquire right now is definitely Miami’s Tyler Herro, who would go to the Jazz in a three-team deal that sends Lillard to Miami. Herro is under contract for the next four years at a pricey $30 million per season, but he’s the league’s 17th-ranked shooting guard at age 23, with supposed upside beyond that. You can understand why the Jazz are reportedly interested, even if the contract means they don’t have to give up too much in such a deal.

Elsewhere, Chicago’s Zach LaVine have been in trade talks. He makes even more money – almost $45 million for the next four years! – but was the ninth best shooting guard in the league. Toronto’s OG Anunoby ranked seventh last year among shooting guards (although he often played small forward). He will make $18 million this season but will be an unrestricted free agent after that. OKC’s Isaiah Joe, the shooting specialist, is a restricted free agent and ranked No. 20 last year, albeit in limited minutes.

At the point guard position, however, there are more limited obvious options. I suppose the Jazz could trade for D’Angelo Russell at No. 19, but he found his way out of big playoff minutes in the conference finals last year. Maybe 24th-ranked Kevin Porter Jr. is a young option but isn’t exactly a first-team player. I don’t like those choices.

Given that, the Jazz will need George to star, see massive improvements from their current stable of young point guards … or remain patient and wait for an All-Star opportunity. The dream is for 24-year-old Luka Doncic to be available if Dallas starts to falter, but perhaps a Trae Young or LaMelo Ball move could also be in the cards down the road.

Know this, though: Just because the Jazz’s roster is full doesn’t mean the Jazz’s front office is done. There is still work to be done to become a true championship contender, and the franchise will push toward that goal.

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