Kyle Korver Is Back in Utah to Bring Life to a Struggling Offense
Photo courtesy of David Richard, USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Korver is back in Utah, per Adrian Wojnarowski's report that the Cavaliers have traded Korver to the Jazz for Alec Burks and second-round picks for 2020 and 2021.
The 37-year old sharpshooter is an important acquisition for the struggling 9-12 Jazz, in need of a move to shake up their season and move up the Western Conference standings.
Korver was a highly-sought after trade target for many contenders, including a potential move to another former home in Philadelphia being reported by Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Instead, Korver and his career 43% shooting from 3-point range will be returning to a team who he played on from 2007-10, and is in dire need of his services.
With Utah’s defense slipping to 14th in the NBA, the spotlight on the Jazz’s poor shooting has never been brighter. With a league-leading defense last season, Utah were able to grind out their wins rather than shoot teams out of the building.
This season, the shooting has been abysmal, ranking 27th in the league for offensive rating and 29th for 3-point shooting percentage. Currently, there are only 4 players on the Jazz’s roster shooting above 30% from the 3-point line this season:
Georges Niang- 40% on 1.8 attempts per game
Joe Ingles- 38% on 6 attempts
Alec Burks-37% on 2.5 attempts
Ricky Rubio-33% on 4.3 attempts
With Korver’s addition, he automatically becomes the most-deadly shooter on the Jazz roster, shooting 3’s at 46% on 3.4 attempts per game this season.
Courtesy of Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images North America
Sixth in the league for 3-point percentage, Korver has seen his minutes decrease from 21 to 15 per game since last season, as the 4-15 Cavaliers have sought to grant their young players minutes in a post-LeBron Cleveland era.
It’s likely that Korver will see his minutes creep up on a Jazz roster bereft of reliable threats from long-range, and a go-to scoring option off the bench.
Burks has sometimes been that player for Utah, averaging 8.4 points this season on 41% shooting from the field, but his inaccuracy and inconsistency has meant he hasn’t locked down that role.
With the 27-year old hitting unrestricted free-agency at the end of the season, it makes sense for the Jazz to move on from Burks who they drafted with the 12th pick in 2011. The shooting guard has teased his potential since his arrival in Utah, but has never broken out into the reliable scoring option the Jazz have hoped for.
Not only that but Korver’s slightly cheaper deal ($7.5 million this year compared to Burks’ $11.2 million) makes potential other trades slightly easier. Korver will earn $7.5 million for next season, with $3.44 million guaranteed, with the full $7.5 guaranteed if not waived by July 7.
It also gives the Jazz cap room to have a much more active presence in free-agency this summer, after standing pat and maintaining consistency after last season. That hasn’t worked out for the Jazz, sitting second-last in their conference and in need of change.
Korver’s consistency and reliability to make shots are exactly what the Jazz need to get them moving up the Western Conference standings. Coming off the bench or sharing crunch-time minutes with the starters, Korver is a valuable commodity that Utah were in desperate need of.