2018-2019 Off the Glass Team Preview Series: Utah Jazz
The 2018-2019 NBA season starts October 16th and to get you ready for tip-off, Off the Glass is previewing all 30 teams. Today we look at the Utah Jazz.
48 – 34, 3rd in the Northwest Division. Lost to the Houston Rockets (4 – 1) in the 2nd Round of the playoffs.
After losing Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics in 2017 free agency, the Jazz had a pretty surprising 2017-18 campaign. Despite Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert missing 26 games throughout the season, the Jazz still found a way to overcome obstacles. Led by Rookie of the Year runner up and 13th overall draft pick Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz front office also pulled off a great trade mid-season that brought in Jae Crowder, one of the best contracts in the NBA and a top 3-and-D commodity.
Jonas Jerebko (F)
Grayson Allen (G)
Player to Watch:
Alec Burk (G); Royce O’Neale (G/F)
With their core pretty much intact after 2018 free agency and an extra year of experience under their belts, the Jazz roster is poised for big things. What is most exciting about this group is they have a perfect balance of offense and defense on the team. They have a mastermind playmaker in Ricky Rubio, a scoring machine in Donovan Mitchell, a lights out shooter in Joe Ingles, a solid two-way big man in Derrick Favors, and an elite rim protector in Rudy Gobert. Not to mention they also have a really good bench unit with Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Royce O’Neale, Grayson Allen, Jae Crowder, Ekpe Udoh, among others.
I am a firm believer that defense is a key part of successful teams. In this modern era of the NBA, where so many players can score in so many different ways and most everyone can shoot threes, playing good, straightforward defense may be harder than ever. The Jazz should remain as one of the best defensive franchises in the league next season as they take the next step on offense. Both the front office and head coach Quin Snyder deserve a lot of credit for properly retooling the team, re-adjusting their focus as a franchise, and getting the best out of every player on the court.
Worst Case Scenario:
The Jazz suffer more injuries and barely make it to the playoffs as the 8th seed. Their talent and coach are too good to count them out of the playoffs barring any extreme circumstances.
Best Case Scenario:
The Jazz build a lot of momentum, have the best defense in the league all year long, and earn the 3rd seed in a stacked Western Conference.
52 – 30, 1st in Northwest Division. They should win over 50 games; and unless OKC finds their groove, Utah is the favorite for division champion.