Utah Jazz Will Play the Same Tune This Season

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Deron Williams Jazz

Can you name the three teams that went undefeated in the NBA pre-season?  I will give you a second to think about it… The Magic, Grizzlies, and Utah Jazz.  Of course that fact carries as much weight as a cracked out Amy Winehouse but it has to be an encouraging sign considering the roster changes the Jazz underwent this off-season.

By: David Kay

Utah Jazz (53-29 in 2009-10)

2010-11 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Al Jefferson/ Kyrylo Fesenko/Francisco Elson/Mehmet Okur
PF: Paul Millsap/Jeremy Evans
SF: Andrei Kirilenko/C.J. Miles
SG: Raja Bell/Gordon Hayward
PG: Deron Williams/Ronnie Price/Earl Watson
Head Coach: Jerry Sloan (23rd season)

2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $76.1 million

Offseason Moves:
-Jazz sign SG Raja Bell to 3-year, $10 million deal
-Jazz acquire PF Al Jefferson from Minnesota for C Kosta Kofous and two first round picks
-Jazz acquire trade exception from Chicago for PF Carlos Boozer
-Jazz extend qualifying offer to C Kyrylo Fesenko

Off-Season Grade: B
The Jazz were faced with the task of replacing three valuable players this off-season when Carlos Boozer, Wesley Matthews, and Kyle Korver who all left for greener pastures this off-season.

Utah used the trade exception from the Boozer deal to absolutely steal Al Jefferson from the T-Wolves.  The Jazz signed veteran Raja Bell to take over Matthews’ role of lockdown defender/three point threat.  The team turned to the draft to replace the sharpshooting Korver when they selected a younger, more athletic version in Gordon Hayward.

Considering the tight cap situation Utah found themselves in entering the summer, that is one heck of a job by general manager Kevin O’Connor.

2010-2011 Outlook:

Despite all the major changes to the roster, the Jazz should remain competitive in the Western Conference because of Jerry Sloan.  In Sloan’s 23 years as Utah’s head coach, the team has only missed the post-season three times and finished with a below five-hundred regular season record just once.

Everything Utah does this season will run through Deron Williams who some argue is the best point guard in the league.  D-Will can score and create, and has been teetering on the verge of taking his game to the next level which is what Utah will need him to do if they are going to be more than a one-and-done playoff squad.

Al Jefferson JazzBig Al steps inside to replace the production of Boozer, but will end up playing a lot of center especially at the start of the season while Mehment Okur recovers from a ruptured Achilles injury that will likely keep him out until at least December.  Paul Millsap has proved the past couple years that he more than capable of handling an expanded role and gets the opportunity to do so this season.

The wing play is an uncertainty.  Andrei Kirilenko just cannot seem to stay healthy which has caused a drop in production compared to what his impact was in the mid-2000’s.  Bell was limited to just six games in 2009-10 due to a wrist injury but will likely assume a pretty prominent role in the backcourt alongside Williams.  C.J. Miles is coming off his best year as a pro and really impressed in the post-season.  He should see plenty of time off the bench while the rookie Hayward could also work his way into the regular rotation.

A lack of depth especially early in the season with no Okur in the line-up concerns me a bit.  But as is the case with any Sloan-coached Utah team, the Jazz will be playing more than 82 games this season.  How many more will depend on whether or not D-Will can truly take the leap this season and how Big Al acclimates himself to his new surroundings.

Looking Ahead to Next Summer:

AK47 becomes a free agent after this season which will free up about $17.8 million in cap space.  (Yes, Kirilenko is making nearly $18 million this season.)  Clearing that contract will still not give the organization enough flexibility to make a major move in free agency.  However, Utah could shop that expiring deal before the trade deadline to a team looking to dump some salary.

NBA Power Ranking: 13th

Other NBA Season Previews:
#14 Denver Nuggets
#15 Phoenix Suns
#16 Charlotte Bobcats
#17 New Orleans Hornets
#18 Memphis Grizzlies
#19 Philadelphia 76ers
#20 New York Knicks
#21 Los Angeles Clippers
#22 Indiana Pacers
#23 Golden State Warriors
#24 Washington Wizards
#25 Detroit Pistons
#26 New Jersey Nets
#27 Sacramento Kings
#28 Cleveland Cavaliers
#29 Toronto Raptors
#30 Minnesota Timberwolves

Check out David’s Fantasy Basketball Rankings

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Can you name the three teams that went undefeated in the NBA pre-season? I will give you a second to think about it… The Magic, Grizzlies, and Utah Jazz. Of course that fact carries as much weight as a cracked out Amy Whinehouse but it has to be an encouraging sign considering the roster changes the Jazz underwent this off-season.

By: David Kay

Utah Jazz (53-29 in 2009-10)

2010-11 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Al Jefferson/ Kyrylo Fesenko/Francisco Elson/Mehmet Okur
PF: Paul Millsap/Jeremy Evans
SF: Andrei Kirilenko/C.J. Miles
SG: Raja Bell/Gordon Hayward
PG: Deron Williams/Ronnie Price/Earl Watson

Head Coach: Jerry Sloan (23rd season)

2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $76.1 million

Offseason Moves:

Jazz sign SG Raja Bell to 3-year, $10 million deal

Jazz acquire PF Al Jefferson from Minnesota for C Kosta Kofous and two first round picks

Jazz acquire trade exception from Chicago for PF Carlos Boozer

Jazz extend qualifying offer to C Kyrylo Fesenko

Off-Season Grade: B

The Jazz were faced with the task of replacing three valuable players this off-season when Carlos Boozer, Wesley Matthews, and Kyle Korver who all left for greener pastures this off-season.

Utah used the trade exception from the Boozer deal to absolutely steal Al Jefferson from the T-Wolves. The Jazz signed veteran Raja Bell to take over Matthews’ role of lockdown defender/three point threat. The team turned to the draft to replace the sharpshooting Korver when they selected a younger, more athletic version in Gordon Hayward.

Considering the tight cap situation Utah found themselves in entering the summer, that is one heck of a job by general manager Kevin O’Connor.

2010-2011 Outlook:

Despite all the major changes to the roster, the Jazz should remain competitive in the Western Conference because of Jerry Sloan. In Sloan’s 23 years as Utah’s head coach, the team has only missed the post-season three times and finished with a below five-hundred regular season record just once.

Everything Utah does this season will run through Deron Williams who some argue is the best point guard in the league. D-Will can score and create, and has been teetering on the verge of taking his game to the next level which is what Utah will need him to do if they are going to be more than a one-and-done playoff squad.

Big Al steps inside to replace the production of Boozer, but will end up playing a lot of center especially at the start of the season while Mehment Okur recovers from a ruptured Achilles injury that will likely keep him out until at least December. Paul Millsap has proved the past couple years that he more than capable of handling an expanded role and gets the opportunity to do so this season.

The wing play is an uncertainty. Andrei Kirilenko just cannot seem to stay healthy which has caused a drop in production compared to what his impact was in the mid-2000’s. Bell was limited to just six games in 2009-10 due to a wrist injury but will likely assume a pretty prominent role in the backcourt alongside Williams. C.J. Miles is coming off his best year as a pro and really impressed in the post-season. He should see plenty of time off the bench while the rookie Hayward could also work his way into the regular rotation.

A lack of depth especially early in the season with no Okur in the line-up concerns me a bit. But as is the case with any Sloan-coached Utah team, the Jazz will be playing more than 82 games this season. How many more will depend on whether or not D-Will can truly take the leap this season and how Big Al acclimates himself to his new surroundings.

Looking Ahead to Next Summer:

AK47 becomes a free agent after this season which will free up about $17.8 million in cap space. (Yes, Kirilenko is making nearly $18 million this season.) Clearing that contract will still not give the organization enough flexibility to make a major move in free agency. However, Utah could shop that expiring deal before the trade deadline to a team looking to dump some salary.

NBA Power Ranking: 13th

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    I would agree that the biggest concern is on the wings. especially at shooting guard, I don’t see that situation improving over last year. Millsap filling in for Boozer I’m surprisingly confident about though. It does not worry me.

    D Will…”some argue” hahahha. I’ll just stop right there. because is I do any more Williams whoring I’ll just get another meatball idiot starting an argument with me like the guy on my Rose-Williams piece

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