Jazz stadium renovation? Check. New roster? Check. New unis? Check.
Lots of changes have taken place this year for the Jazz. After Hayward turned down millions to lose to Lebron every year, the Jazz had to pivot and make some roster adjustments.
So the Jazz front office got to work. They traded for Rubio, (before Hayward made his decision to leave), they drafted future star (in my opinion) Donovan Mitchell, signed Thabo Sefolosha, Ekpe Udoh, Jonas Jerebko, and resigned Jinglin’ Joe.
If you’re like me, you’re not necessarily pessimistic about this years team, but you’re a little bummed out because the thought of having Hayward on this roster makes you salivate a little.
There are doubts about the Jazz being able to compete in the western conference this year now that Hayward is gone, but that’s mostly because of how stacked the conference is now.
PG13 and Melo end up in OKC. CP3 gets traded to Houston. Jimmy Buckets lands in Minnesota, alongside Jeff Teague and their rising stars. Denver even made a big move adding veteran all-star Paul Millsap.
All of this was happening and I was scratching my head thinking, “Are the Jazz ever going to do anything big?”
Nope. They didn’t. Dennis Lindsey decided to be smart with the salary cap and stayed conservative.
But here we are. And honestly, I feel good about this Jazz roster. After going 5-0 in this years preseason (I know, preseason isn’t a big deal) I’m stoked about some of the guys on this team.
Donovan Mitchell looks like the steal of the draft.
Alec Burks is looking great, considering he’s spent the majority of his career on the bench because of injuries.
Gobert is playing pissed off, which is a good thing.
So I’m gonna make some bold predictions for the Jazz this year.
– Season Record: 45-37
– Playoff Seed: 6th
– Rudy Gobert will be a first time all-star, and will win DPOY.
– Donovan Mitchell will average 12 PPG in his debut season.
– Rudy Gobert will lead the team in scoring – 18 PPG.
– Alec Burks will be the leading scorer off the bench.
– Ricky Rubio will lead the league in assists – 12 APG.
The last thing I wanted to touch on is what I think the starting roster should look like.
As we all know, Dante Exum separated his shoulder and could end up missing the whole season, depending on what the team doctors say.
That being said, it opens up some minutes for other guards in the rotation. Neto could end up seeing the floor more than expected. Maybe Burks or Mitchell can play some point? Who knows.
But after what I saw during preseason, this is what I would go with for my starting 5:
PG – Rubio
SG – Mitchell
SF – Hood
PF – Favors
C – Gobert
Mitchell is insanely athletic, and has a bright future in this league. His leaping ability is off the charts, and he has really good defensive instincts. I don’t see Coach Snyder keeping him on the bench for too long. He’s already outplaying most guys on the roster.
Jinglin’ Joe is a fan favorite, and over the last few years he has become one of my favorite Jazzmen. But I think he should come off the bench. He can still get his 20-25 minutes per game, but it’s important for the offense to get a fast start. Having Mitchell and Hood on the court at the same time gives us the best chance to do that.
First 5 off the bench would then be:
PG – Neto
SG – Burks
SF – Ingles
PF – Johnson
Overall, I think the Jazz are much deeper than they were a season ago.
Looking forward to another great year of basketball. Go Jazz!
– Jesse Thayne