What Kyle Korver adds to the Utah Jazz

Dennis Lindsey had seen enough. The Utah Jazz were off to an inconsistent and frustrating start to the season, so the GM addressed one of Utah’s biggest weaknesses: shooting. The Jazz and the Cleveland Cavaliers agreed to swap Kyle Korver for Alec Burks and a couple 2nd round picks.

Before the addition of Kyle Korver, the Jazz had only 2 rotation players shooting above 35% from 3: Alec Burks and Joe Ingles. Burks, however, had a very inconsistent role with the team. This is probably why he was included in the trade to Cleveland. And as good as Joe Ingles has become, the Jazz starting lineup still includes 3 non-shooters in Ricky Rubio, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert. That allows teams to pack the paint and really muck up Utah’s offense. Despite engineering an offense that creates some of the most open shots in the league, Quin Snyder was left without answers early and often this season.

Dennis Lindsey decided it was time alleviate the spacing issues plaguing Utah’s offense. If a one game sample size is enough to make judgements, it worked.

Kyle Korver has been one of the best shooters since entering the league in 2003. He will go down as one of the greatest shooters to ever play the game. While he may be well past his prime at the age of 37, he is still an effective basketball player. His permitter shooting and off-ball movement talent grades will come as no surprise to you.

Watching his first game since returning to the Jazz was a breath of fresh air. After the game he admitted to not knowing what he was doing a quarter of the time. While he clearly looked lost on a few sets, the sharp shooter contributed in a big way. Korver shot 4/6 from three and provided 14 points off the bench. The amount of gravity that his movement and shooting creates is astounding. Let me explain what I mean.

Donovan Mitchell had an astounding rookie campaign. He took the league by storm and created a lot of buzz in Utah and around the NBA. He hasn’t taken that next step everyone was hoping quite yet, but I think Kyle Korver will provide significant help along that path. As previously mentioned, the Jazz have a fairly out-dated starting lineup. The lack of shooting leaves Mitchell with little to no room to work with.

In the fourth quarter against the Charlotte Hornets, Quin Snyder was able to trot out the following lineup for a couple minutes: Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Korver, Joe Ingles, Jae Crowder, and Derrick Favors. You could substitute Favors for Gobert and the principles would be the same. Look at this Donovan Mitchell drive and tell me this isn’t a drastically different defense he has typically faced all season.

With 3 other respectable shooters on the floor, the Hornets are forced to stay within quick closeout distance of their man. Donovan Mitchell went to work and the play resulted in a nice cut and finish by none other than Kyle Korver. I expect a heavy dose of this or similar units from Quin Snyder moving forward. Snyder has never had such a weapon coming off screens and shooting on the move. I imagine Coach Quin is like a little boy on Christmas eager to play with his new toy. Kyle fits Quin’s system too well for it to not work.

Will the addition of Kyle Korver alone resolve all of Utah’s problems? No. Their defense still isn’t where it was at this time last season, and Korver certainly isn’t going to help you there. But Utah’s struggles to score should be greatly alleviated by 15-20 minutes a night from Korver. His presence will make life easier on everyone around him. He even mentioned after the game that sometimes you get confidence in your own shot by seeing a teammate hit a few shots. Jae Crowder looked like that beneficiary in Charlotte as he tied his career high with 6 threes on the night.

I was really excited when I saw the news that Korver was coming back to the Jazz. After what I saw in game 1, that excitement appears justified. Could he be just the spark that this team needed to get their season back on track? Time will tell.

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Comments (1)

  1. I will tell all what Korver’ll add. Nothing. Unbelievable this coach. Dismissed Grayson Allen to G League and the Utah future.

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