STAYING: Trevor Booker, Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Jack Cooley, Bryce Cotton, Dante Exum, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, Grant Jerrett, Chris Johnson and Elijah Millsap.
ADDED: Treveon Graham (Virginia Commonwealth), Trey Lyles (Kentucky), Raul Neto (Murcia), JJ O’Brien (San Diego State), Tibor Pleiss (FC Barcelona) and Jeff Withey (New Orleans).
GONE: Jeremy Evans (Dallas).
STRENGTHS: Really strong frontcourt with fine young players who are getting better every year … Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert all have All-Star potential … Hayward is an all-around player with the ability to score, rebound and pass the ball well … Favors has quietly developed into a force in the paint … Gobert has become a defensive stalwart that alters games with his length, athleticism and high level of activity … Don’t be surprised if he’s in the mix for Defensive Player of the Year … It’s a tough team that does a good job of protecting the rim … Under Quin Snyder, the Jazz have played as a cohesive unit … No big egos … Jazz brought back most of last year’s team … Chemistry should not be a problem.
WEAKNESSES: Backcourt play … Weak team at the point guard position in a conference with Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Damian Lillard, etcetera … Trey Burke has disappointed his first two seasons in the NBA and Utah really needs him to step up in order to have a chance to make the playoffs … The situation at the shooting guard spot is not much better … Alec Burks, who is returning from injury, and sophomore Rodney Hood have yet to prove they are starting-caliber players in the NBA … Utah had one of the worst assists-per-turnover ratios in the league last season … Scoring doesn’t come easy for Utah … Hayward is the closest thing they have to a go-to guy … There’s a shortage of creative scorers … It’s a very young team that will make mistakes … There’s just not enough talent around the Big Three … Not much depth either.
PREDICTION: 2nd in the Northwest Division / 11th in the Western Conference.