The Curious Case of the Utah Jazz Starting Five
Updated: Mar 1
The Utah Jazz had a Wednesday night to forget. Prior to the team’s loss at the hands of Jayson Tatum and the Celtics, there was open mismanagement and confusion as to who would even start the game.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Royce O’Neale was replacing Mike Conley in Utah’s starting lineup on Wednesday afternoon. Conley reportedly went home to take a nap. Less than two hours later, however, the Jazz had pivoted, and Joe Ingles moved to the bench, not Conley.
What happened between those reports isn’t known, whether it was an agent or the front office that intervened. Nevertheless, a lineup change was needed for the Jazz, who had lost four games in a row prior to their 114-103 loss to Boston.
Losing five games on the bounce is difficult, but to lose them at home, where the Jazz had previously been quite successful is particularly eye-opening.
In particular, the Jazz need to do something to get Mike Conley going. Utah’s marquee off-season acquisition has struggled to make an impact during his first stint outside of Memphis.
A slew of injuries has hampered the 32-year old. Conley is averaging 13.4 points per game, 4.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds on a pedestrian 39/35/78 shooting split. His inefficiency and limited impact in pick-and-roll situations has been especially noticeable, raising the ire of Utah’s fans.