This season, the team will play 14 sets of back-to-back games (and only seven of the Friday-Saturday back-to-backs), which is about par for the course around the league. Only three teams will play fewer back-to-backs than Utah, and every team plays between 13 and 16. There’s no reason to complain about just 14 back-to-back sets2.
but I'm sure they will
The Christmas Day game is the surest sign that the Jazz are being noticed. Of course the league needed a Pacific or Mountain time zone location for the nightcap, which limited the options. The headline team (Warriors) and headline market (LeBron James’ Lakers) were likely already on the schedule. That left Portland, Utah and Denver as potential hosts, because let’s just say the Kings, Clippers and Suns are not ready for prime time. Still, it’s good news: the league could have easy picked a solid matchup like Denver @ Portland or San Antonio @ Denver, but went with Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and your Utah Jazz. Plan ahead to get those presents unwrapped, stuff your face, sleep off the food coma, and wake up in time for that 8:30 p.m. MST tip off.
Clippers should be almost as good as the Lakers.
The first half of the season is similar to last year’s, and it will certainly take a toll in one way or another. That said, the team should have the opportunity for a better record, despite the schedule. Based on preseason play, it feels like Dante Exum should help the team add a few wins, and the same can certainly be said if Rudy Gobert avoids another lengthy injury absence. Last year, Ricky Rubio struggled in the first half of the season, so any improvement should also help in the win column, although in fairness Rubio hasn’t looked his best in the preseason.
The Summer League and pre-season HOFer to the rescue!
Is it possible? Has the national media given the Utah Jazz... Too much hype?
Never be as much as the locals do
The Jazz played three of their five games against international teams and the Kings, so take their gaudy preseason point differential (a league-best plus-27.6 points per 100 possessions) with a grain of salt. They were outscored by five points against Toronto when Kawhi Leonard was on the floor and by 22 points against Portland when Damian Lillard was on the floor, so it wasn’t as perfect a preseason as the overall numbers might indicate. Still, this team has continuity, an elite defense, and depth. It’s another year where we wonder if Dante Exum will stay healthy and become an impact player, except this time he’s getting paid like one.
Was paid about half as much to suck the past 4 years.
I honestly had a really hard time after the Warriors coming up with more teams that I am 100% positive are better than the Jazz right now. I ended up settling on 4th, behind the Warriors, Rockets and Celtics. Seeing Utah finish as the second best team in the Western Conference wouldn’t stun me, though. I think everyone is underestimating how much worse Houston got this summer, but I’ll leave them at No. 2 until it is proven on the court.
Remains to be seen rather Houston is better or worse. Still have their 3 best players though. Jazz still have Rubio, Exum, Favors, Snyder and Lindsey though
One thing is for certain, and that is that the Jazz are the deepest team in the NBA. I don’t think it’s that close. Utah is going to have DNP-CD players that would be playing 20+ minutes a night for some teams.
We hear this every year and it hasn't really been the case since they let Millsap and Demarre go to tank
Sounds reasonable to me. TOR and PHI should also challenge in the Leastern Conference. Western Conference is just epicly good. HOU I consider the second best until someone knocks them out but I agree that losing Ariza and adding Melo is a step backwards.Quite a few national media dudes pick OKC above UTA. I don’t see it. Sure, OKC was missing Roberson while UTA kicked OKC to the curb in the first round but rookie Mitchell was the best player on the court during that series. Is he not going to improve? DEN and NOP could be really good but I think not as good as UTA. POR (mostly Dame) often gives UTA problems but I don’t see them as better. LeBron is prolly still the world’s best but I don’t know how even he can bring that roster to great success. Even the "weaker" teams in the west look good other than SAC and, maybe, PHX. DAL could be quite good although I doubt they make the playoffs.
If Mitchell was the best player they wouldn't have lost a huge lead with Rudy on the bench. The disrespect he gets is unreal!
Estimates put Roberson out until around Thanksgiving or so. They are also starting the season without Westbrook who had knee surgery. Paul George is good and healthy but the there are some tough opponents at the beginning of their schedule. They could definitely start the season off slow and struggle to catch up.
As could the Jazz with their schedule
OKC gonna be in trouble if he declines sooner than later (pun unintended, but I’ll keep it there)
Westbrook can only take you so far
You take a 59 win team and trade DeRozan for Kawhi, and they are scary. They’ll be top 5 offensively and defensively. So I put UTA at 5.
Yep. Kawai was the best player on the floor against the Jazz and when I saw them last year with CJ out I said now that is deep. Jazz can't even compare with their depth.
This allows teams to see their 2-way guys for a longer timeframe before having to make the decision on keeping or cutting them. The two guys on 2-way deals to start the season for the Jazz are Naz Mitrou-Long and Tyler Cavanaugh.
They don't have to decide anything after 45 days. They just can't play for the Jazz after that on a 2 way and would have to be converted if they wanted them like Quinn Cook last year. Doubt either gets much if any time with the Jazz. Cavanaugh might if they have some injuries up front. Long is behind many guys
Let's begin with the boldest of the bold. You just can't get any more bold than this. But if the Jazz -- specifically Rudy Gobert -- are healthy and resemble the team that ended last year's regular season on a 29-6 romp, with the NBA's best defense (by far), then this isn't outside the realm of possibility even in a world where the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets reside in the same conference. It would take Donovan Mitchell to make the All-Star team and be in the MVP conversation, and Ricky Rubio to build on his shooting efficiency from last season. Dante Exum would need to stay healthy, and Jae Crowder would need to turn back the clock a couple years. But it could happen. The Jazz are one of the best-run organizations in the sport.
Would take fixing the roster and replacing Rubio and Favors with shooters. Exum might have to be injured as well.
If Mitchell progresses at the same rate he did in his rookie season, he'll make the second-year jump the Jazz are expecting from him this season. That would make him a shoo-in All-Star if he were in the East. He'll have to be that much better in the West, where an already incredible slate of A-list stars has been joined by LeBron James. Still, Mitchell will post impressive numbers (and the Jazz will have an impressive record) and make the All-Star squad. It'll be just as difficult for Jokic to make the Western Conference All-Star team, but given the Nuggets' high-flying offense and the confidence Jokic played with the last couple months last season, when he realized the Nuggets were his team, difficult does not mean impossible. In a much easier Eastern Conference, Myles Turner will make the jump many expected from him last season to become an excellent two-way player and an All-Star, shooting in the high 30s from three and averaging 2.5 blocks per game.
Gobert was already robbed by Hayward. Now Mitchell?
That dovetails with the need for a leap from Donovan Mitchell, who figures to have a greater target on his back after a historically great rookie season at the rim for someone his height. Getting the more aggressive version of Ricky Rubio that we saw in the Oklahoma City series would help Utah’s cause as well.
Who will be their biggest threats? That’s the real question, and while most believe it’ll be the Houston Rockets, I can’t count out the Utah Jazz. Led by Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz surprised many last season by knocking off the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.
You have no credibility when you say Mitchell is leading them. Without Gobert they are horrible
One thing we knew for certain coming into the preseason was that the Jazz run really deep at every position. Grayson Allen, the 21st overall selection by the Jazz this summer, had a stellar preseason and proved beyond doubt that he can be an immediate contributor, but he still isn’t in the rotation.
He didn't prove anything other than he can shoot and likes to shoot. The games are meaningless. See tomorrow if he's worthy. I'd say he should be with the Stars until he actually proves himself
Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Royce O’Neale, Jae Crowder and Georges Niang (due to Thabo Sefolosha‘s suspension) will likely be the bench players earning minutes on opening night.
Exum, O'Neale and Crowder for sure and probably Allen. Niang, Udoh, Burks depending on the situation after that?
Between his incredible frame, explosive first step and elite athleticism, Exum has all the physical tools to be an elite two-way player in today’s NBA.
All the tools but actually basketball skills.
Dante missed two preseason games due to knee soreness but looked incredibly impressive in the other three outings. Despite averaging just 6 points per contest, Exum showcased his all-around game, getting to the rim at will, making the right reads as the ball handler in the pick and roll, and finding the open man for 4.7 assists in just 19.6 minutes of action.
Still can't finish, hang on to the ball or shoot.
If Exum can stay healthy and play 70 or more games this season, it’s not outlandish to picture him in the Sixth Man of the Year race leading Utah’s second unit.
Not as outlandish as the ones that think he can be an all-star but really hard to imagine with all his flaws
So although the Jazz fought back to take the victory in each of these two games, speaking once again to the incredible depth of the team, the preseason wasn’t as much of a breeze as Utah’s record might indicate.
“I’ve got the solution,” Calipari told ESPN on Tuesday. “The NBA, you want these kids in the G League, you want to do all this? Everyone that goes in the G League is guaranteed eight semesters of college education if you don’t make it. You give them a signing bonus, you pay them. And then if they don’t make it after two years, the NBA pays to have them on my campus. They have to sit out their first year, to prove they really want to be in college. So you can come to college, the NBA is gonna pay for it, for eight semesters. You come back, sit out a year to prove you really want to be in college, then you start playing and your clock starts.” – via ESPN
Players should negotiate that stuff or put some of their contract aside for it. They will never be allowed to play pro and go back to playing in college though
Calipari thinks that protection should apply to players drafted in the second round, too. “If a kid is picked in the second round, he doesn’t have to go. He can go back to college,” he said. “Everybody is telling him he’s a first-round pick, and you slip to the second round, ‘Nah, I’m going back.’ If you’re gonna let kids stay in the draft and then say they’re coming back a week later after they don’t get drafted, why not put it on the second round? Because the kids that went in the second round are pissed. They all were told they were gonna go in the first. Do we care about the kids or is this about the NBA or is this about college?” – via ESPN
College should be for student athletes. If you don't want to go to college there are leagues all over the world to play professionally