It was another successful regular season for the Utah Jazz. The Jazz racked up 50 wins and a five seed in the Western Conference. However, their strong regular season play quickly fell flat in the playoffs. The Jazz were bounced out of the playoffs in a brief five-game series against James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Often, points were hard to come by. Utah mustered up just 97.8 points per game in the series. Despite having a defense which allowed the fourth fewest points per game in the NBA, the lack of consistent scoring proved fatal to Utah’s season when it mattered most.
Acquiring an additional scoring threat became a priority for Utah as the offseason loomed ahead. Donovan Mitchell had no issues getting his buckets last year. However, a backcourt upgrade from Ricky Rubio became a clear area of need. Finally, on June 19, the Jazz pulled the trigger on a trade for former Grizzlies‘ star, Mike Conley. With the regular season now just two months away, what will the Conley effect be for Utah in the 2019-2020 season?
Who is Mike Conley?
Conley completed his 12th and final season with the Memphis Grizzlies this past season. The 2007 draftee never made an All-Star team, but did average 14.9 points per game and 5.7 assists per game in his tenure as a Grizzly. Additionally, he shot 44.1% from the floor, including 37.5% beyond the 3-point stripe. Now, Mike Conley, who turns 32 this season, will join the Jazz for his next season. By adding Conley, the Jazz hope the Conley effect will be fully on display alongside young star Donovan Mitchell.
The Grizzlies all-time leading scorer will now take the place of Ricky Rubio, who departed for the Phoenix Suns this offseason. Though regarded as a reliable floor general, Rubio struggled to shoot jumpers and score the basketball consistently. He averaged a mere 12.9 points per game in two seasons in Salt Lake. On the other hand, the incoming Conley comes off his career best in scoring average of 21.1 PPG. With Conley and Mitchell now united in the Utah backcourt, the Jazz are positioned to be a contender in a crowded Western Conference.
Outlook for 2019-2020:
Now a year after a 50-win season, expectations will be even greater for the Utah Jazz this season. “Money Mike” will join a strong Utah starting lineup which also features Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, and the newly signed Bojan Bogdanovic. With Conley now in the mix, the Jazz will have one of the strongest guard tandems out West. Oh, and we can’t overlook the reigning NBA defensive player of the year, Rudy Gobert. These three alone make Utah one of the scariest trios heading into next season.
This year, a first round playoff exit won’t be good enough for Quinn Snyder’s team. The Jazz will undoubtedly face stiff competition from teams such as the Lakers, Clippers, Rockets, and Nuggets amongst others. However, a unique blend of youth and experience gives the Utah Jazz a real chance at their first NBA Finals appearance since 1998. In a very active offseason for Utah, the former Grizzlies legend Mike Conley will need to be a leader and a playmaker for the new-look Jazz this season. For Jazz fans, the hope is that the Conley effect will be felt deep into the playoffs.
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