Following the departure of Gordon Hayward, Dennis Lindsey and his front office were faced with filling the giant void he left open. A void that would have been easier to fill had he not postponed his blog post after the “unofficial” news was broken earlier that dreadful day. Because of that delay, a plethora of doors the Jazz could have walked through had closed, cutting off many avenues in which they could have secured some high profile talent. More and more of those players signed with other teams hours, even days before the Jazz could make any kind of move.
Before the fallout, Dennis Lindsey and his front office were confident that Gordon Hayward would stay in Utah. Snagging Ricky Rubio from Minnesota and locking up Joe Ingles for four more years at $54 million only strengthened their case. So when Hayward dropped the bombshell of his departure, they had no choice but to go into damage control. They tried initiating a sign and trade with Boston (something Hayward had to set in motion) to acquire Jae Crowder, but that was thrown out the window when the Celtics shipped Avery Bradley off to Detroit; freeing up cap space and leaving the Jazz organization empty handed. However, Dennis Lindsey has proved, yet again, why he’s one of the best general managers in the game by signing Thabo Sefolosha, Ekpe Udoh, and Jonas Jerebko; veterans that will help bolster an already stifling defense and compliment Quin Snyder's offensive system.
Thabo Sefolosha signed on for two years and is set to make $10.5 million during that span. He might prove to be more impactful than he’s ever been over the course of his 11-year career. He’s a long, athletic defender who has helped every team he’s played for, but because he will most likely play more minutes, his numbers should see a nice improvement with the Jazz. Over the course of his career, he’s averaged 5.9 points per game, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.1 steals. He’s also a decent shooter. He’s averaging 44.6 percent from the field, 34.5 percent from behind the arc, and shoots a relatively consistent 73.2 percent from the charity stripe. These are just a small sample of his numbers, averaging 23.3 minutes over the course of his career, but given the minutes he’s likely to receive, these numbers have a very good chance of improving — something the Jazz and Joe Johnson will need this coming season.
Ekpe Udoh has played for a handful of NBA teams throughout his career, but he was never more than a relief center. He averaged 1.2 blocks per game, 3.2 rebounds, 4 points and made 42.9 percent of his shots. For a center, that’s pretty atrocious, but he did knock down 72 percent of his free throw attempts, which is better than most centers in the league right now. However, since he left the NBA to play in the Euroleague, his averages saw a nice increase. Over the course of two years, he’s averaging 2.2 blocks per game, 6.5 rebounds, 12.3 points and made 57 percent of shots; he even helped Fenerbahce win the Euroleague title last year. I highly doubt his numbers will stay that consistent for him as he makes his return to the NBA next season, but when Gobert isn’t on the floor, it will be nice to know that the paint will still be a scary place for opposing teams to score in.
Jonas Jerebko played a few years for the Boston Celtics and since Boston didn’t help the Jazz out with a sign and trade, Dennis Lindsey, instead snagged him from the free agent list. During his three year stint with the Celtics, he averaged 4.6 points per game, made 42.5 percent of his shots from the field and 37.7 percent from three. That doesn’t look all that impressive, but he only played 16 minutes a game; in a Jazz uniform, expect him to see more minutes, including more scoring opportunities. Jonas could prove to be a solid stretch four option for Quin Snyder to utilize when Favors isn't on the court. He doesn’t play inside all that much and with a regular rotation of Gobert and Udoh down low, he’ll be on many opposing team's scouting reports on a regular basis.
We have yet to see how this post-Gordon Hayward roster will play together, but Dennis Lindsey has made the right decisions to piece this team back together again. The 2017-2018 season already has its heavy hitters (specifically in the west) but the Jazz look to be the most intimidating team on the defensive end. The biggest question is, will the offense be there when it’s needed?