In his recent article for The Ringer, Rob Mahoney suggested four things that could solidify the Jazz as championship contenders. One of his checklist items was for Utah to "compensate for the piece they're missing". More specifically:
In other words, the Jazz need a better perimeter defender than they currently have on the roster. More specifically, an individual stopper who has the speed and size to stick with ball-dominant guards and disrupt All-Star wings. Let's take a look at three players who are reasonable targets for the Jazz to consider.
A (covid) year removed from starting for a talented Clippers squad, Harkless is averaging a career low 10 minutes per game for the Miami Heat. He's only 27 years old and a prototypical multi-positional defender. While he's not a great 3-pt shooter, he's capable (35% over the last five years) and he'd get above average looks in the Jazz's system.
Further, he's on a $3.6 million expiring contract so it wouldn't require a ton to acquire him.
At 35 and with an extended break from basketball, Ariza might have lost a step. But he brings a championship pedigree and showed that he can still contribute in meaningful ways during his 21 game stint with the Trail Blazers last season.
His current $12.8 million dollar contract is probably too much for the Jazz to acquire. However, considering he hasn't reported to his current team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, yet this year indicates he's primed for a buyout. If the Jazz maintain this level of play, he might be intrigued by the championship opportunity Utah could provide.
Roberson is risky because he hasn't graced a professional game since the 2017-18 season. But he's a former All-NBA defender and a current free agent and he's still shy of 30. His shooting will always be an asterisk but he wouldn't be the worst option as a 10th man and is probably the easiest to acquire quality wing defender in the league.
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