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Ben Anderson: Jazz roster is deep and versatile

By Ben Anderson, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Jul 16th, 2019 @ 11:40am



SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz roster appears to be nearing completion. After signing rookie draft pick Miye Oni to a contract Monday, in addition to adding former 2017 second-round draft pick Nigel Williams-Goss and Euroleague Frenchman William Howard, the Jazz have 15 players under contract, the maximum for the NBA, with two two-way contracts still available.

While it’s unlikely each of those three contracts is fully guaranteed, it does likely imply the Jazz are done signing experienced NBA veterans and will look for younger NBA hopefuls to fill out the roster.

This is a rundown of what the Jazz roster looks like by position group.

Point guard:

Mike Conley Jr., Dante Exum, Emmanuel Mudiay, Nigel Williams-Goss

Shooting guard:

Donovan Mitchell, Royce O’Neale, Miye Oni

Small forward:

Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, William Howard

Power Forward:

Jeff Green, Georges Niang

Center:

Rudy Gobert, Ed Davis, Tony Bradley

The first thing that jumps out is the team is incredibly versatile. Of the 15 signed players, 11 players are proven and capable of playing multiple positions. Only Williams-Goss, Oni, Gobert and Bradley appear positionally limited.

Gobert and Bradley are strictly centers, while Oni showed little versatility offensively beyond his ability to shoot the ball. He may be able to defend both backcourt positions in the NBA but struggled with that during his Summer League appearances.

Williams-Goss comes in at 6-foot-3 and has a 6-foot-7 wingspan, which should give him the option to play both guard spots. He has a lack of lateral quickness, which may keep him off the floor in general.

Bogdanovic, Ingles and O’Neale can all play the three wing positions, vacillating between shooting guard, small forward and power forward; though Bogdanovic and Ingles will mostly lean toward the frontcourt positions. Green can play both forward positions, while also spending spot minutes at center should the Jazz need him to fill in, as he did in Washington.

Perhaps more apparent than their versatility, the Jazz are incredibly deep. Assuming Conley and Mitchell are starters at the guard spots and Gobert at center, Bogdanovic will start at either forward spot. Should he start at small forward, Green will likely assume the power forward spot. Should Bogdanovic start at power forward, Ingles can step in at small forward.

Between Green (541 starts) and Ingles (223 starts), the Jazz have 764 starts, and a huge chunk of those will be coming off the bench next year for the first time in that player's career. Green has started 63% of his career games, while Ingles has started 55% of the time. That’s an enormous luxury in a league that is increasingly driven toward top-end talent over overall depth.

Between Davis, Exum, Mudiay and O’Neale, the Jazz have an additional 346 starts to add to either Davis or Ingles, all contributing primarily in reserve minutes. In total, with either Ingles or Green joining the bench unit, the Jazz will have at minimum 569 career starts coming off the bench, and as many as 887.

That type of experience should protect the Jazz in the event they suffer an injury in their starting lineup and should allow for lower-minute averages to each player in the starting five, while upping full game ‘load management’ opportunities should the team choose to strategically give a starter a night off.

While most of the league is trending toward star-powered top-end duo’s, the Jazz have a roster that doesn’t lack star power between Gobert and Mitchell but also carries incredible versatility and depth to surround them.

Ben Anderson is a contributor at KSL.com, follow him on Twitter @BensHoops. Listen to him 2-6, Monday through Friday with Kyle Gunther on ESPN 700.

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