The Utah Jazz weren't supposed to be this good this season, not after that amazing collapse once Jerry Sloan retired and Deron Williams was traded a year ago. Last year, the Jazz dove from playoff team to lottery squad almost immediately; given that the Williams trade netted youth -- Derrick Favors and the pick that became Enes Kanter, most notably -- it wasn't expected that there'd be a huge leap this season.
But Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap have played extremely well, Kanter and Favors have been some of the league's better frontcourt backups, Gordon Hayward is developing well, and the guard mishmosh of Devin Harris, Earl Watson and Raja Bell has actually performed. This is a pretty decent team!
That makes the team's status at the deadline is pretty massive question mark.
NEEDS & TARGETS
Given that Hayward looks better at two-guard than small forward, that small forward is a real hole for Utah looking to the future. Alec Burks, the team's second lottery pick in 2011, is a true shooting guard, which may keep Hayward more at the three, and perhaps the rebounding talent of Utah's frontcourt (current and future) will make that work. But still: small forward looks like the hole.
Point guard is a close No. 2, but you have to feel that unless the team decides to unload either Jefferson or Millsap, the point guard future of the club will be decided in the future. Harris has plenty of life left in his legs, and he actually been decent this season after a really slow start.
The Jazz absolutely have no need for another big man, a rare surplus.
SALARY CAP SITUATION
The Jazz are at a salary figure of $57 million this season, according to ShamSports.com, just under the cap. Utah does actually have $51 million for next season already locked up. Without dealing Jefferson, Millsap or Harris, it looks like it'll be a tight free agency period.
For more on the Jazz, visit SLC Dunk. And that is the end of the NBA Trade Deadline Preview series. Check us out next week for awesome deadline fun!