Season preview: Utah Jazz

Season preview: Utah Jazz


Season preview: Utah Jazz

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STAYING: Tony Bradley, Alec Burks, Jae Crowder, Dante Exum, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, Naz Long, Donovan Mitchell, Raul Neto, Georges Niang, Royce O’Neale, Ricky Rubio, Thabo Sefolosha and Ekpe Udoh.

ADDED: Grayson Allen (Duke), Tyler Cavanaugh (Atlanta), Isaac Haas (Purdue), Trey Lewis (Bourg) and Jairus Lyles (UMBC).

GONE: Jonas Jerebko (Golden State), Erik McCree (Pesaro) and David Stockton (Bayreuth).

STRENGTHS: Strongest defense in the league? … They were and by a big margin late last season when they shot up in the Western Conference standings with Rudy Gobert healthy … Few, if any player, alter shots like the Frenchman … It’s not just Gobert, though … They have the personnel and the effort to clamp down on defense … Donovan Mitchell has star written all over him and should make a leap forward to become one of the biggest scoring threats at the wing in the NBA … Joe Ingles has developed into a terrific 3-and-D guy … Except for Jonas Jerebko, they brought all rotations players back … You don’t have to worry much about cohesiveness, toughness or unselfishness with this team … Quin Snyder has quietly become one of the most impactful coaches in the league.

WEAKNESSES: They are no offensive juggernauts … Only three playoff teams had worse offensive rating than Utah last season … Two of them missed stars for much of the year … Aside from Mitchell, not many players who can create their own shot … Scoring in transition has not been one of Utah’s strengths lately either … So-so backcourt depth … Can Gobert stay healthy all year long?

PREDICTION: 2nd in the Northwest Division, 4th in the Western Conference.


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