6. Lauri Markkanen
After last season’s surprising 37-45 campaign, the Utah Jazz are 7-13, on track to win fewer than 29 games this season. The rebuild is on, and though Keyonte George and Walker Kessler appear to be building blocks, they don’t necessarily have that franchise player.
Lauri Markkanen was an All-Star last season, but he’s not exactly that guy. He’s a knock-down shooter and productive rebounder, but he doesn’t make plays for others (averaging 1.4 assists per game for his career) and is a minus defender. Plus, he’s 26 – young for most teams, but too old to be the centerpiece of a full-scale rebuild.
If a rival team called, it’s worth wondering if Jazz GM Danny Ainge would entertain a compelling offer.
Markkanen would be a panacea for Miami’s spacing and scoring woes. His presence on the perimeter would open up the paint for Butler and Adebayo who, in turn, could spoonfeed Markkanen the most open shots of his career. The Heat’s bedrock on defense should be strong enough to withstand Markkanen’s shortcomings on that end.
If the Jazz are interested in Tyler Herro, perhaps the Heat could cobble together a package that includes picks and nets Markkanen and the expiring contract of Talen Horton-Tucker.