Have the Phoenix Suns missed the boat on valuable Jazz pieces?

Jordan Clarkson and Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Jordan Clarkson and Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

An impressive opening from the Utah Jazz has surprised many across the NBA, with the expected cellar-dwellers jumping to an early 4-1 record. It’s left contending teams, including the Phoenix Suns, even more interested on what the Jazz will do with their current assets.

One thing is for sure; Utah are doing an incredible job of increasing the value of players who they may look to trade in the coming months. Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, a number of credentialed teams have underwhelmed and could soon feel the pressure to make a significant deal.

Given the Utah Jazz’ strong start, did the Phoenix Suns miss the boat on acquiring a crucial rotation piece during the offseason?

The Jazz were the busiest team of the offseason, dealing four of their starters in Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale and Rudy Gobert. They were pencilled in as a tanking team vying for consensus number one pick Victor Wembanyama, but this is a team still possessing NBA-level talent rather than purely a rebuilding one with young players.

The backcourt is led by veterans Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson, the latter of which is flashing newfound playmaking skills in a starting role. Clarkson is averaging 5.2 assists through four games, over double what he produced as a sixth man last season.

Newly acquired forward Lauri Markkanen is putting up career-best numbers at 22 points per game, while Jarred Vanderbilt continues to be a rebounding monster and has begun incorporating a corner three to his developing game.

Does Utah’s strong start accelerate potential moves to prevent them actually winning too many games? Possibly, but there’s also an equal chance they continue waiting for contending teams to become desperate enough and pay over market value.

What does it mean for Phoenix who still need to move wantaway forward Jae Crowder? The Suns were reportedly interested in Bogdanovic until his move to Detroit, and could certainly be in the mix for Clarkson to fill the vacant sixth man role.

The ship could have sailed on that though, not that we specifically know what Utah were asking for in return. Clarkson’s impressive numbers are making him an even higher commodity around the league, building market competition which subsequently increases the asking price.

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Afterall, the NBA trading landscape is like any marketplace; a game of trying to buy low and sell high. Phoenix and other contending teams may have missed the moment to acquire someone like Clarkson at a good price, and now Utah are doing a stellar job of increasing the value of their core players.