Season preview: Utah Jazz

Season preview: Utah Jazz


Season preview: Utah Jazz

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STAYING: Joel Bolomboy, Alec Burks, Dante Exum, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, Joe Johnson and Raul Neto.

ADDED: Tony Bradley (North Carolina), Eric Griffin (Hapoel Gilboa Galil), Jonas Jerebko (Boston), Donovan Mitchell (Louisville), Royce O’Neale (Gran Canaria), Ricky Rubio (Minnesota), Thabo Sefolosha (Atlanta) and Ekpe Udoh (Fenerbahce).

GONE: Boris Diaw, Gordon Hayward (Boston), George Hill (Sacramento), Trey Lyles (Denver), Shelvin Mack (Orlando) and Jeff Withey.

STRENGTHS: Team play and elite defense … The Jazz will try to make up for lack of talent with cohesiveness and effort … New face of the franchise Rudy Gobert is able to wreak havoc defensively with his combination of length, mobility, athleticism and timing … Last year, he became the first Jazz player to make an All-NBA Team since Deron Williams back in 2010 … With the Frenchman hungry for recognition, expect that to happen again this coming season … With Derrick Favors and Ekpe Udoh also around, it will be hard for opponents to score at the rim … In terms of court vision, Ricky Rubio is an upgrade over George Hill … Most of the players on the roster have a team-first approach … Promising youngsters Dante Exum, Rodney Hood and Donovan Mitchell will have an opportunity to step up … Very good rebounding squad … Head coach Quin Snyder has been a great fit in Utah.

WEAKNESSES: It’s a franchise in shock after the departure of its best player … You don’t replace a Gordon Hayward so easily … They were not exactly offensive juggernauts with him on the team … Scoring the ball will be even more of a struggle without their only elite scorer around … Who’s the go-to guy now? … They don’t have many players who can create their own shot … Outside shooting should be significantly worse with Hayward and Hill gone … They have obvious durability issues at the shooting guard spot with Hood and Alec Burks, who missed a combined 63 games last season.

PREDICTION: 5th in the Northwest Division, 10th in the Western Conference.


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