3 reasons why the Utah Jazz must re-sign Mike Conley in NBA free agency

3 reasons why the Utah Jazz must re-sign Mike Conley in NBA free agency
3 reasons why the Utah Jazz must re-sign Mike Conley in NBA free agency
Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley has been electric since arriving at the franchise in 2019
Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley has been electric since arriving at the franchise in 2019

Utah Jazz point guard Mike Conley faces a big decision in the offseason as the side's veteran leader enters free agency. Having proven he can still be an elite floor general at 33 years of age, he will certainly have an array of suitors lining up to lure him out of Utah.

Conley was instrumental in the franchise's success this year and had the most effective season on offense of his career. For only the third time, he averaged a shooting accuracy of over 40% from both the field and from downtown throughout the campaign with his 41.2% of threes made a personal best.

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Why the Utah Jazz should make a concerted effort to retain Mike Conley

If the Utah Jazz want to continue to be successful in a stacked Western Conference, they should focus on keeping the status quo. Injuries may have caused their playoff elimination, but the franchise shouldn't be concerned with shaking things up.

Mike Conley provides consistent scoring and is a safe ball-handler who can orchestrate an offense. While it may be challenging for the Utah Jazz to keep him, him staying around should be high on the list of priorities for the organization's hierarchy this summer.

#3 He may agree to a cheaper deal to stay in Utah

Milwaukee Bucks v Utah Jazz
Milwaukee Bucks v Utah Jazz

Mike Conley has, on numerous occasions, expressed his love for the Utah Jazz franchise. Quite rightly too, as he hasn't played on as good a team in the NBA since the Memphis Grizzlies side that reached the Western Conference Finals in 2013.

He has built an affiliation with the city and the fanbase and when his $30m-a-year contract comes to an end in the summer, the Jazz will be able to save some money. Granted they will already be in luxury tax territory, but Conley's worth in the free agency market and his injury history will likely lower the offers he could receive.

That puts the Utah Jazz in a great position to bring Mike Conley back for another season. He has clearly settled at the franchise and will likely be keen to spend his last few years of prime basketball playing for a championship contender.

#2 Keeping their core roster together should be paramount

The Utah Jazz led the NBA for wins this season
The Utah Jazz led the NBA for wins this season

Mike Conley fitted seamlessly into the Utah Jazz setup after arriving in 2019 and has built a formidable partnership alongside Donovan Mitchell. Injuries were the Achilles heel of the Jazz in the end, with both Mitchell and Conley missing significant time at the end of the season. Conley was also unable to make a real impact in the playoffs.

But what helped the Utah Jazz register the best record in the NBA during the regular season was the fact they held a consistent starting unit. Conley, along with Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O'Neale, played 41 games together and had a +/- of 4.1. They were solid on both offense and defense and helped the Jazz finish as the only team among the top-five sides in the league for offensive and defensive ratings.

Keeping Mike Conley embedded in their starting five should be of key importance to the Utah Jazz this offseason. They want to continue building on this year's success and they cannot replace him with any player near the All-Star caliber of performance he displayed.

#1 Leadership on both ends of the court

Mike Conley helps up Royce O'Neale
Mike Conley helps up Royce O'Neale

Despite his injuries hampering some campaigns, Mike Conley has played for 14 straight seasons in the NBA and has a wealth of experience both in the regular season and in the playoffs. He is a consistent scorer averaging 14.9 points throughout his career, has maintained an effective field-goal percentage of 50.1% and shot at over 82% from the free-throw line.

As well as his reliability on offense, what is often not attributed straight away to Conley's game is his defensive responsibility. As previously mentioned, the Jazz posed with one of the stiffest defensive units in the NBA, with Mike Conley the vocal leader on that side of the ball. He finished the campaign with a rating of 99.5 and grabbed 1.4 steals per matchup - his most since 2014.

Conley ended the season with a winning share of 6.1. There are few veteran guards in the league who can provide his leadership, shot-making and defensive astuteness, and the Utah Jazz must make every effort to keep him at the franchise.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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