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Utah Jazz mailbag: What to do with Favors? How good is Ingles? How important is home-court in the playoffs?

Published March 15, 2017 5:07 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Tribune Jazz beat reporter Tony Jones will answer readers' questions in a Twitter mailbag each week. You can submit questions using the hashtag #TonyTalks. Here is the this week's questions.

Tony's reply • I think it will have a significant affect.

Ingles has had a career season and outplayed the Jazz's hopes for his ceiling as an NBA player, which is a great thing.

He is one of the most versatile players on the roster, and he's emerged as one of the best defenders on the roster. The problem with that is the NBA knows this as well, and he will be a hot commodity in free agency, particularly among good teams looking to supplement their roster with a winning player.

The Jazz have the right to match any offer Ingles gets, but they are going to have to work to keep him. Depending on the number, Utah may have to move someone to accommodate Ingles. But it's worth it.

Ingles is very important on the court and just as important to team chemistry. He's one of the leaders.

Tony's reply • Gordon Hayward still has upside, which is what he told me last month during the all-star break. He still believes he can improve his game, and I think he's right.

There are three areas I think he can maximize.

First, his post game and his mid-post game. He's still not where he wants to be with his back to the basket. It's good, but it can get better.

Second, his ability to catch the ball 15 to 18 feet from the basket and create offense can improve. He's entering a territory where he's among the best in the league at his position, so he also has to work on consistency.

Third, he's gotten to the point where teams are throwing their best defenders at him, so he has to deal with that as well.

Hayward's strides have been remarkable. The question is this: Can he go from an all-star to a superstar? That's his next step.

Tony's reply to the two Favors questions • If Favors can get healthy this summer, play healthy next season and return to the guy who was a great defender and averaged 16 points and nine rebounds a night, there's zero chance the Jazz keep him at $64 million.

The Favors of 2015-16 was one of the best two-way power forwards in the league. That Derrick Favors easily will clear $100 million in free agency.

On the other hand, if Favors struggles like he did this season and struggles to stay healthy, you can make the argument that he may struggle to get the $64 million Timofey Mozgov received.

For Favors, it's all about health at this point. He has to prove his durability.

Tony's reply • I think it's important, but not the end-all-be-all.

The Jazz have proven to be a very good road team this season. They make big shots. They play at a slower pace, so that helps against teams making sustained runs against them. They are a great defensive team, and that always helps on the road.

At the same time, they want to be at home and have a potential seventh game at Vivint Smart Home Arena. That can't be debated.

The Viv was at its loudest this season in Monday's win over the Los Angeles Clippers. That was a playoff-intensity crowd to supplement playoff basketball. So it's definitely important.

Tony's reply • Trey Lyles will be fine. He's caught up in a numbers game right now.

The Jazz start Favors at power forward. Their best lineup statistically features Joe Johnson at power forward. Boris Diaw is one of the most grizzled vets in the NBA, and he plays power forward.

At this point, there isn't enough playing time to go around, and that's why Lyles is out of the rotation.

Still, Lyles has to do two things this summer — improve the consistency on his jumper and improve defensively.

Both areas arguably have regressed this season. Part of this is Lyles hasn't received the consistent playing time he did as a rookie.

Having internal competition can put a lot of pressure on making every shot. But Lyles is going to have to win his playing time going forward.

Tony's reply • The Jazz will have a lot of draft flexibility with multiple first-round picks and multiple second-round picks. So they will have the chance to be major players leading up to draft day and on draft day.

They will do all they can to retain George Hill, Hayward and Ingles. We've known that for months. The rest will work out itself once the season ends.






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