SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Once again, the Utah Jazz failed to live up to the high expectations. Now the question is what changes will be made during the off-season?
For the second time in three years, the Jazz lost in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, falling to the Dallas Mavericks in six games.
“We didn’t achieve what we wanted to achieve and be the last team standing,” said general manager Justin Zanik. “Everyone is disappointed. I mean we got eliminated in the first round, which wasn’t our goal. So, our goal going into the summer and off-season is to put the best team on the court as we can for our fans, our organization and our state.”
So what changes could be made? Let’s start with the coach. Quin Snyder, who just wrapped up his eighth season at the helm, put off contract extension talks until the end of the season. Snyder just had hip surgery, so those talks were postponed for a few weeks. But Zanik sounds like he wants him back.
“I think we’ve always been transparent about this,” Zanik said. “I don’t know how I can make it any more clear. Quin Snyder is one of the best coaches in the NBA. There is no other partner that I would rather have as a coach, a leader of our players, and a partner in the front office than Quin Snyder.”
The biggest question Zanik has to answer is should the team split up Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert? Both are under contract for at least three more years. The Jazz have to decide if the two All-Stars can co-exist and win at a high level, and if not, can they get equal value in return?
“Donovan and Rudy are hugely important to the success of this organization,” Zanik said. “All the outside narratives are just a bunch of noise. Internally, I see it everyday. These guys care about each other. They’re obviously very disappointed that they couldn’t get it done and advance this year. They’ll take a look at that, and each one of them will be looking at what can they do to get better.”
While the Jazz 3-point shooting abandoned them in the playoffs, shooting nine percent below its season average, this was still the #1 offense in the NBA during the regular season. Defensively, they clearly need to get better on the perimeter, something that was exposed in their last two playoffs series. But how much do they break up the team to achieve that?
“Winning is the most important thing,” Zanik said. “Being the last team standing and building a team. Continuity can be a huge driver of that, especially when you have really good players. We have foundational players that have been All-Stars in this league and complimentary players around them that have been very productive NBA players. So, we’ll get into the off-season and see how we can make that even better.”