Can they finally get over their playoff slump?
The Utah Jazz go into the season as a group with something to show after falling brief in the last playoffs.
There is absolutely nothing simple about what Utah achieved in 2015. They ended up with the very best record (52-20) in the league and outscored challengers by 9.0 points per 100 belongings, almost 3 points much better than what any other group attained. How were they able to do that? Why didn’t it work in the postseason?
Listed below, take a look at our sneak peek for the 2021-22 Jazz project.
Returning: Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, Jordan Clarkson, Royce O’Neale, Udoka Azubuike, Miye Oni, Elijah Hughes and Trent Forrest
Additions: Rudy Gay (San Antonio), Hassan Whiteside (Sacramento), Eric Paschall (Golden State), Marques Bolden (Canton Charge), Malik Fitts (LA Clippers), Jared Butler (Baylor), MaCio Teague (Baylor), Derrick Alston Jr. (Boise State) and Justin James (Sacramento)
Departures: Ersan Ilyasova, Derrick Favor (Oklahoma City), Georges Niang (Philadelphia), Matt Thomas (Chicago), Juwan Morgan (Boston) and Jarrell Brantley (UNICS Kazan)
* Champion groups begin on the protective end… When you eliminate trash time from the formula, per Cleaning up the Glass, allure ended up 2020-21 with the very best protective ranking in the NBA. Their protective anchor, Rudy Gobert, has actually won the league’s Defensive Gamer of the Year in 3 of the previous 4 seasons. While his outrageous wingspan enables him to be among the NBA’s premier shot-blockers and rebounders, his effect appears even if he isn’t requiring turnovers. His existence is on the protective end is unquantifiable and is a significant consider Utah’s past, present and future success. If he has the ability to win another DPOY, he will connect Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutumbo for the most in NBA history.
* Utah has a star growing and he is just improving… Individuals might not recognize this due to the fact that he will enter his 5th year in the league however Donovan Mitchell was just 24 years of ages last season. As he continues to get more experience, however, he has actually been getting a growing number of dominant. He made that loud and clear while under the brilliant lights of the postseason. Mitchell never ever stopped working to score 20 points throughout the 10 championship game he played in 2021. He reached 30 points 7 times and scored a minimum of 37 points, consisting of a 45-point video game versus the Clippers, 4 times. The league has a lots of skill however Mitchell might be an All-NBA prospect if his development continues.
* They’re a force to be reckoned with from beyond the arc… When you consider three-point shooting, do you very first consider allure? If you’re like the majority of fans, you more right away consider the Splash Bros on the Golden State Warriors. However in 2020-21, think it or not, Utah set the records for the most three-pointers made per video game. They also set the record for most three-pointers made in a single half (18) and most three-pointers in back-to-back NBA games (50) as well. As we wrote back in February, the Jazz created a ton of easy looks that were either wide-open or from the corner.
* What happens to this team’s confidence during the playoffs? Utah had a seemingly easy matchup against the Clippers, who were without Kawhi Leonard down the stretch. The Jazz had a menacing defense in the regular season, assuredly, but somehow allowed a career-high 39 points to Terance Mann in an elimination video game. They somehow blew a 25-point lead in that match, which was their fourth loss in a row after securing an early two-win lead. That came just one year after they blew a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets in 2020. Will they be able to shake that monkey off their back come next postseason?
* They may not have the depth to survive injuries… One of the reasons they fell short in the playoffs is because Mitchell had an ankle injury and veteran guard Mike Conley had a hamstring injury. Conley’s impressive bounce-back season was incredibly valuable to their success this past season. But he will soon turn 34 years old and he is not getting any younger. Injuries may be a bit more prevalent for him as he enters the later stages of his career. Unless rookie guard Jared Butler is more NBA-ready than typical first-year players have been for allure, their backcourt may not be deep enough to survive health issues.
* Turnovers are a problem for this roster… While the Jazz have one of the best defenses in the league, they have struggled with defensive playmaking. Only one group recorded fewer steals than this roster did (474) in 2020-21. Meanwhile, on the other side of the floor, only one team in the NBA recorded more turnovers on lost balls than Utah did (215) this past season. It was one of the glaring issues the team faced in their losses.
* The Utah Jazz tweaked the end of their bench however are mostly betting on continuity to get them over the playoff hump. They may keep things quiet from here on out as they are already sitting on $186.5 million in combined payroll and luxury tax payments. They currently have one roster spot open and they could keep it open throughout the season to maintain flexibility, keep expenses frozen, and pursue a veteran in the buyout market. If the Jazz were to make a significant change to their lineup, ideally it would be to add a defensive-minded, versatile forward, Such a move could come at the expense of shooting, but unless every starter not named Rudy Gobert starts to pick up the defensive slack, Utah could get exploited again in the playoffs.
* Utah still has the flexibility to improve on the margins. For starters, they have some young players on low salaries they could consolidate into another rotation player without increasing payroll significantly. For example, last year they took a shot on defensive specialist Shaquille Harrison. What if they were to parlay Udoka Azubuike and another minimum-salary player into a better version of Harrison in Kris Dunn?
* Being able to add more talent to the end of the bench is very possible. Also, they have $7.5 remaining in a trade exception they generated from trading Derrick Favors. It seems more likely that the Jazz would let it expire after trading a first-round pick to reduce their tax bill significantly, but it can be viewed as an emergency resource in case of a major injury.
* While it seems likely that the Jazz will hold onto all their rotation players, one guy worth keeping an eye on is Joe Ingles. The seven-year veteran is entering his age-34 season and while his video game has aged well, and should continue to, Ingles’ name has been in the trade rumor mill this previous offseason. His $13 million salary is very moveable and allure could look to capitalize on him if they don’t view him in their long-term plans. Ingles becomes extension-eligible on October 1, so it will be interesting to see if allure want to keep the Ingles-era going previous this season.
– Yossi Gozlan
1st in the Northwest Department, second in the Western Conference
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.