The Utah Jazz did a great job in the regular season, registering 52 wins to secure the best NBA record for the first time in franchise history. Things, however, did not turn out for them in the NBA playoffs, which is not an indication of their underperformance. Rather, it’s a signal that they need to tweak their list a bit to become a legitimate threat.
This is where Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers come in. The star goaltender’s massive four-year, $ 196 million contract will begin next season. Note that Lillard signed the deal two years ago. A lot has happened since then, including two consecutive outings in the first round. Fans and analysts expect Lillard to request a trade soon. Loyalty is great and everything but Lillard probably wants to win at least one title. Going towards Jazz can give him this opportunity.
Donovan Mitchell, Royce O’Neal, 2021 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick
Jazz fans may scratch their heads: why is young Donovan Mitchell included in the business? Isn’t he supposed to be the star of the team’s franchise for the long haul? That’s right, but the reality is that in order for Jazz to get their hands on Damian Lillard, one of the league’s elites, they have to donate one of their best players as well.
A lot slammed Rudy Gobert not to live up to the NBA playoffs. They believe he was the main reason for Jazz’s early exit. However, a closer look at the game reveals that Mitchell could be the responsibility. Man can absolutely get to his places and score. The concern is that he may be doing too much. Or in other words, he may still have that penchant for bad shots – the part of his game that’s seen as questionable since his rookie season.
During Damian Lillard’s nine-year career in the NBA, he made the playoffs eight times. The only dent in his career has been his rookie season, which is understandable. Say whatever you want about the Trail Blazers’ mediocre playoff campaigns. The point is, Lillard has amassed tons of experience. He knows how much opposing teams like to defend him. He has seen all types of defensive covers. These are things Mitchell has seen but has yet to learn to adjust.
Integration into the team will not be a problem for Lillard. People are so used to seeing Lillard keep scoring explosions. They forget that the man is also a spectacular playmaker. Last season, he averaged 7.5 assists per game (second best of his career). He won’t have to completely change his game once he plays alongside goalies like Mike Conley Jr., Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles.
Jazz is still in a dilemma regarding Conley. There are rumors the veteran goalkeeper is looking to take his talents elsewhere, but the team want him to stay. Only time will tell if the Jazz re-signs it or not. If he stays in the fold, he’ll have no problem coexisting with Lillard as well. Lillard knows how to play with another goalie. In fact, Lillard may no longer have to create her own shots. Conley is known to be a fantastic facilitator. Damian Lillard may be more of a catch-and-shoot player who will give defenses all kinds of headaches.