Who Will Be the 15th Man for the Utah Jazz?


Written by Noel Whitticer (@noelyhoops) on 20 October 2016

With only one preseason game remaining for the Utah Jazz, there are still questions that need answering. There is still one week until the regular season starts, but Wednesday’s game against the Trail Blazers will be the last opportunity for Quin Snyder to put players on the court for live experiments. If there is one thing to be watching out for, it will be which player is able to use these last opportunities to keep a place on the team. 

As it stands now, the Jazz have 17 players on their roster. The team will need to whittle that number down by two before the regular season is underway. The likeliest candidates to be taken off the roster are Christapher Johnson, Henry Sims, and Jeff Withey, as these are the players without guaranteed contracts.

Having played only 3 minutes so far in the preseason, it seem apparent that Sims will not be the player to make the cut. That narrows the selection down to Johnson and Withey.

If the Jazz are going strictly by performance, then Johnson is the clear choice.

He has been the clearly superior player thus far in the preseason and could do the most to actually help the team, especially with fellow small forward Gordon Hayward sidelined until mid-November.

However, Withey has nonetheless been given equal run despite playing poorly (he has only converted one of his eight field goal attempts through three games played). This speaks largely to the fact that the Jazz would benefit most from him succeeding—the team could use one more center to shore up depth, whereas the team’s wing situation is more secure.

When the decision gets made, expect Johnson to make the cut. The difference in depth is not significant enough to forego the clearly more deserving player, so Withey’s last shot at the roster will likely be if he can have a strong two outings this week.

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