Jazz Reporter: Conley's Absence "Creates Domino Effect Of Problems"

The Jazz, who were already without Bojan Bogdanovic, enter the NBA playoffs without Mike Conley

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
August 17, 2020 - 9:22 am
Mike Conley Jazz

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With Mike Conley leaving the Orlando bubble to attend the birth of his son, the Utah Jazz (44-28) enter the postseason shorthanded, which is not what you want to be when facing a team as talented as the Denver Nuggets (46-27).

“Best case scenario, even if he came back Monday, he's got four days worth of quarantine back in the bubble if everything goes perfectly,” Salt Lake Tribune Jazz reporter Eric Walden said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “We’re probably looking at him missing Games 1, 2 and 3 at the very least – and that’s if he decides to come back right away. If he decides to stay out in Ohio for a couple extra days, who knows how long he winds up missing? It’s another thing for the Jazz to overcome, but they’ve made it clear all along: this is such a unique and weird situation that no one is going to fault Mike Conley for spending whatever amount of time he needs to be out there with his family.”

The Jazz were already without Bojan Bogdanovic, who had season-ending wrist surgery in May. Bogdanovic averaged 20.2 points this season – second only to Donovan Mitchell (24.0).

“It just creates a domino effect of problems,” Walden said. “This is a team that already was kind of shorthanded on the bench for most of the season. That December trade they made trading Dante Exum to Cleveland for Jordan Clarkson helped a bit, but once Bojan decided to have the season-ending surgery, that kind of ate into that depth a bit, with Joe Ingles coming off the bench and now into the starting lineup again.”

Ingles played in all 72 games this season and started 45. He averaged 9.8 points and 5.2 assists.

“I suspect that with Mike out, that will mean Clarkson is now in the starting lineup,” Walden said. “And really, that means that starting five just has to produce at an incredible rate. That leaves them no one on the bench who really can kind of fill that microwave role. They don’t have anyone left with the possible exception of Emmanuel Mudiay who’s really kind of capable of filling it up to any degree. If their last few seeding games were any indication, it doesn’t seem like Quin Snyder trusts Emmanuel Mudiay very much right now – and probably rightly so. 

“So we’re going to need to see a lot of scoring from Donovan,” Walden continued. “We’re going to need to a see lot of Rudy Gobert rolling to the rim, catching lobs. We’re going to need to see Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale, their usage really has to go up. They drive Jazz fans crazy at times with their unselfishness because they’re too unselfish at times. They’re two of the best shooters on the Jazz roster and they have this annoying, frustrating habit of passing up open threes, figuring they can find a teammate with a better look. So they need to get over that and start putting up shots and get a little bit of the Jordan Clarkson mentality – because that guy has never had that problem in his life.”