The Utah Jazz still have spots to fill on their roster despite a busy opening week of free agency. Former Jazzmen Ian Clark and Tyrone Wallace may fit the bill.
I don’t know whether it’s simply due to familiarity or if there’s a nostalgia factor in play, but it seems as though whenever the Utah Jazz have spots to fill or tinkering to do to their roster, we all rush to conjure names of former Jazzmen as potential acquisitions. Honestly — can we just remind ourselves that there’s a whole world of players out there?
Now, with that said, allow me regale you with tales of two former Jazz players who would be excellent candidates for one of the team’s back-end roster spots. Namely, guards Ian Clark and Tyrone Wallace.
As it stands, the Jazz have 12 players locked up for next season (counting the partially guaranteed contracts of Royce O’Neale and Georges Niang). And while the they have done well to compile a deep, well-rounded roster, more able bodies on the wing is something that could definitely help the push for the title.
Both players check boxes there and, as it happens, they’re both available.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the LA Clippers made the decision to waive Wallace in the wake of their big move to bring both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to La-La Land. He’s largely a victim of circumstance, though; after a ho-hum year in the Jazz developmental system, he really found life with the Clips.
All told, the former second-round pick played in 92 games for Los Angeles over the last two seasons, averaging 5.5 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. As a rookie, he started 19 games and logged an 11-4-3 line in those contests.
He may never be a floor-spacer, having connected on just 24 percent of his triples during his NBA career. However, he has shown an ability to do some things going to the basket and in the mid-range. Wallace also has great potential as a defender thanks to his athleticism, size and length (6-6, 200 pounds, 6-10 wingspan).
Last year, the Clips conceded 104.2 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor, the best number on the team for players registering 500-plus minutes. Also — opposing players were 3.2 percent less accurate from the field compared to the norm when Wallace was the nearest defender.
At 25, he may still have room to grow and he’s familiar with the Jazz system.
Meanwhile, Clark’s rights were renounced by the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, per Yahoo Sports’ Keith Smith. The move came as the Pels’ trade for Jazz big Derrick Favors was finalized.
Clark has averaged seven points and just under two boards per game over the last three seasons with NOLA and the Golden State Warriors. He was a 37-percent 3-point shooter during the 2016-17 campaign, but has largely failed to rip the nets like he did during the 2013 NBA Summer League when he earned a deal with the Jazz.
Nevertheless, he’s probably proven himself as a guy who can get buckets off the bench at the NBA level. Throughout his career, he’s been a solid mid-range shooter, connecting on over 47 percent of his shots from 10 feet out to the 3-point line. And with the Jazz offense generating more open looks than anyone last season, perhaps he could become a more consistent floor-spacer in a return to Utah.
Also — while he left the Jazz in 2015 as a young player fighting for his professional life, the 28-year-old is now a bona fide NBA vet, with 40-plus games of playoff experience, during which he averaged 16 points per 36 minutes on an effective field goal percentage of 56.
Let me be clear: neither Wallace nor Clark would come in and command a ton of minutes in the 801. But if you can get players of their ilk into your 12th, 13th or 14th roster spots, it does wonders for your depth. Particularly with regards to load management for your big guns.
Given all the big moves being made in the West outside of Salt Lake City, the Jazz could use all the help they can get if they’re to take full advantage of a wide-open NBA title picture next season.