Western Notes: Jazz, Howard, Pelicans, LeBron

The Jazz could greatly benefit from bolstering their bench next season following a seven-game defeat to Denver this postseason, Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News writes.

Utah has a core of Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Bojan Bogdanovic and others under contract for next season, though several bench players such as Jordan Clarkson and Emmanuel Mudiay are set to enter unrestricted free agency.

“I can’t tell the future,” Clarkson said. “I know I had a great experience here, great time here. I love my teammates here, so definitely see what happens. You know, it’s kind of my first time actually going into a free agency. Definitely a whole new experience for me.”

The Jazz hold Clarkson’s Bird rights and can offer him more money than other interested teams, with the 27-year-old averaging 15.2 points per game off the bench this season. It’s clear Utah will sport an impressive starting group next season, but the team’s ability to maintain (or improve) its depth will be vital toward achieving success.

“We’ll see how they come back once they get away and hopefully improve and reflect,” executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey said when the team’s season ended. “We had a very successful G League season and we think a lot of those guys can provide internal solutions.”

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference tonight:

  • Lakers center Dwight Howard demonstrated his “dark side” in Game 1 against the Nuggets, Sam Amick of The Athletic writes. Howard finished with 13 points, three rebounds and two blocks in his 16 minutes of play, controlling the game on both ends. “As soon as I step onto the court, I’m gonna let him know that I’m there,” Howard said as part of a larger quote, referring to his solid defense on Nuggets star Nikola Jokic.
  • William Guillory of The Athletic addresses a number of topics related to the Pelicans in his latest mailbag, including which free-agent veterans could help the team and whether the franchise should trade Jrue Holiday. New Orleans finished with just a 30-42 record and failed to qualify for the playoffs this season. The team hopes to reload next season with a core consisting of Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and others.
  • Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com explores how to “stop” Lakers star LeBron James, discussing the subject with players and coaches who have eliminated him from the postseason in the past, such as Tayshaun Prince, Bruce Bowen, Stan Van Gundy and Jason Terry. “He’s an all-world playmaker — one of the best I’ve seen,” former Warriors guard Shaun Livingston said. “That’s his separator. By that point of his career [against Golden State], he almost always made the right play at the right time with the right efficiency.”
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10 thoughts on “Western Notes: Jazz, Howard, Pelicans, LeBron

  1. Sillivan

    Pelicans don’t have enough cap to sign Dragic or
    Ibaka
    Trade Holiday for Love?
    Overpay Favors and Moore then trade them later

  2. x%sure

    Utah, like Cleveland, should look at adapting the Miami 2-3 zone, with the best defenders up front and the worst in the corners, with an intimidating center. Nevermind G or F. Utah would best have Oneill & Ingles being disruptive. Jones Jr is FA though he is not having a good series for Miami.

    • Simmons>Russ

      Agree Ingles and ONeale up top, Mitchell in a corner and Gobert under the rim.

      Would be even better with a CP3 trade or Derrick Favours FA signing and then you could play a lot of 3-2. Which would work well against the Rockets, Clippers, Nuggets, Mavs etc

  3. illowa

    Do the jazz win the series with a healthy bojan? If yes, keep everyone and run it back. Conley will be better next season.

  4. Afk711

    Hey Jackie you can’t stop him. We didn’t forget about your ESPN segment saying the Clippers were far better.

  5. nentwigs

    Hey Pelicans !!
    How about making a trade with Utah?
    Trade whoever and whatever you wish.
    Get the name “JAZZ” back.
    Dump the dopey name “Pelicans”.

  6. Gizmo34081

    Why is it all these people have to run their mouths about what this team or that team needs or doesn’t need? Since the Internet and all of these “social embarrassment groups,” twitter, facebook, and the like, most people out there will notice that all of these things are being used by people who honestly keep silent.
    The Utah Jazz for example, they lost 20 points plus a game with Boggy going down for his wrist surgery. Take a look at the series and the Jazz win in 5 games. Secondly, did anyone notice how this team jelled? They played great and found out just how good Spidey is! The only thing missing, a power forward/enforcer who can “legally” rattle teeth. Finally this team has a great system for finding the people they need and it’s a young team, try out some patience for once instead of playing chicken little, you might honestly learn something.

    • x%sure

      They had Favors but let him go; GM Lindsey’s decision that they didn’t want a PF. That makes the zone Miami is using ideal because it doesn’t allow for a PF. Its an updating of the traditional zone scheme, matching what teams want for offense.
      Now you tell Lindsey how he has it wrong with his new forward group; I did last year basically.

      • x%sure

        Oh they jelled to three straight losses. I predict next year they will work out the 2-3 with Mitchell and Conley in the corners, as opposed to trading for a PF… right or wrong.

  7. Gizmo34081

    Why is it all these people have to run their mouths about what this team or that team needs or doesn’t need? Since the Internet and all of these “social embarrassment groups,” twitter, facebook, and the like, most people out there will notice that all of these things are being used by people who honestly keep silent.
    The Utah Jazz for example, they lost 20 points plus a game with Boggy going down for his wrist surgery. Take a look at the series and the Jazz win in 5 games. Secondly, did anyone notice how this team jelled? They played great and found out just how good Spidey is! The only thing missing, a power forward/enforcer who can “legally” rattle teeth. Finally this team has a great system for finding the people they need and it’s a young team, try out some patience for once instead of playing chicken little, you might honestly learn something.

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