While starter Ricky Rubio was already ruled out with a hamstring injury for at least the next two weeks, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Jazz received another blow Thursday. The team revealed backup point guard Raul Neto suffered a left groin strain and will be evaluated at some point early next week.
So with the variety of changes coming to the Jazz roster in Friday’s game against the LeBron James-less Lakers, let’s check out how the roster and starting lineup will look. There’s a strong possibility that Utah runs a short rotation that could go just seven or eight players deep.
Jazz Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Lakers
*Notates expected starter
C: Rudy Gobert*, Ekpe Udoh
PF: Derrick Favors*, Georges Niang, Tyler Cavanaugh
SF: Royce O’Neale*, Jae Crowder
SG: Joe Ingles*, Kyle Korver
PG: Donovan Mitchell*, Naz Mitrou-Long
There’s no question the Jazz could wind up utilizing a few players who haven’t seen big minutes this year but more specifically will rely heavily on their starters. Beyond that, Jae Crowder and Kyle Korver will likely see huge minutes off the bench.
No player is primed for a bigger workload than Mitchell, though. With Rubio, Neto, Dante Exum (ankle), and Grayson Allen (ankle) all sidelined, the second-year guard’s usage skyrockets. As Basketball Monster shows, his usage jumps from 30.4 up to 38.8 when those four players are not on the floor.
For good measure, the usage of both Joe Ingles and Crowder increases as well. The former sees a bump from 17.8 up to 23, potentially pointing to him taking on a larger role offensively against the Lakers. Regardless, the entire starting group for Utah has a chance to playing 35-plus minutes here, with both Crowder and Korver potentially approaching 30 minutes themselves.
Other Names to Watch for Jazz Due to Injuries
The rotations Utah utilizes in this game will be a major talking point. This especially stands true considering that outside of the core seven players, no other active player has averaged more than 6.3 minutes per game this season. That would be Georges Niang, who’s played exactly 6.3 minutes per game over 28 appearances while averaging 3.1 points.
Beyond that, Ekpe Udoh has flashed upside when given additional playing time, but he’s in a similar spot as Niang. The biggest need for the Jazz in terms of depth heading into Friday’s game comes in the backcourt, and this may lead to Mitchell and Ingles being on the floor early and often.
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by – heavy.com