NBA Preview: Jazz Facing Uphill Battle

NBA Preview: Jazz Facing Uphill Battle

by October 6, 2022 0 comments

A postseason berth in each of the last six seasons made everyone think that the Utah Jazz would be annual contenders for a few more years. Now, they enter the new season as a team that is expected to be on a downward trend. Without their former head coach and top two players, there’s no debating that their base of talent has significantly decreased.

Make sure to check out all of our other NBA Season Previews.

Offseason Recap

The team may have added notable players like Collin Sexton, Malik Beasley, and Lauri Markkanen, but losing heavy contributors in Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Rudy Gobert gave the fans plenty of reasons to worry. Mitchell provided the points, Bogdanovic provided the shooting, and Gobert was their No. 1 defensive guy. Now, it’s time to see how the team will perform without its main stars.

Another large role that the Jazz had to fill was the head coaching vacancy. Replacing the steady Quin Snyder with newcomer Will Hardy might be the start of something good. After all, Hardy was trained under the watchful eye of Gregg Popovich during his days with the San Antonio Spurs. He’ll lead the team with confidence right away. Don’t expect the Jazz to slow down and be a lifeless team for 82 games.

The Starting Five

PG – Mike Conley

SG – Collin Sexton

SF – Malik Beasley

PF – Lauri Markkanen

C – Kelly Olynyk

How the Jazz configure their starting lineup will be key. They will be mixing all the newcomers with the leftovers in Conley and Jordan Clarkson. The offense should flow through the old heads while the rest must concentrate on being consistent. Beasley could be the most important new guy on the squad since he can shoot well and play defense, too.

One of the team’s weaknesses last year was defending the middle. All the opponents had to do was pull Gobert away from under the basket because they knew no one else would step up defensively. Will deploying Olynyk and Markkanen in the frontcourt be their answer to this problem? Coach Hardy will probably have the solution by the time regular season games begin.

One Potential Move to Make

At least six new players on the Jazz were playing important minutes for their old teams last year. That’s a lot of playing time to shuffle around for the new coach. Maybe the Jazz should give this new lineup a year to fully operate before they enter the trade market. If they do, then they’ll know what didn’t work and can tinker with the roster again when the season’s over.

Season Outlook

This is going to be a long, rough rollercoaster ride. Jazz fans better buckle their seatbelts because they’re on a downward slope and it might take a few years before they embark on an upward trajectory. Executive Danny Ainge, who now works for Utah, has the unenviable task of rebuilding this roster but can relax a little since expectations will be lower than before.

Season Prediction: 33-49, might make the play-in tournament

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