After the decision of 3 teams Miami Heat, Utah Jazz, and Boston Celtics, Gordon Hayward took his talents to Boston as the the 2017 Allstar is gonna team up with Kyrie Irving and Head Coach Brad Stevens. People in Salt Lake City did get a little salty as for just last year Utah had its 15th time, 50 win season in Jazz history with the help of their star player Gordon Hayward. But with him and a couple of key players gone the real question is can Jazz can contend for a playoff spot? Utah has a lot of questions this season as “Who will step up in Hayward’s absence?”, “Can Rudy Gobert help this team more than defense?”, etc. Well I have some answers to those questions and some trade/ideas that could help this team could go as high as the 4th seed if they really fight their hardest.
1. Who Can Step-Up When Gordon Hayward Is Gone?
When Gordon Hayward left the Jazz to the Boston Celtics everyone thought the Jazz were doomed and it would just turn into the Oklahoma City Thunder part 2. However, with Hayward gone this just means that more minutes could go to players that are still developing or new star players. One of those star players is Center Rudy Gobert. The Jazz have elected to give the keys to the team to him making him so which that this will be he’s breakout season. I predict that Gobert will go for 20.6 PPG, 13.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, and 2.7 BPG while shooting around 65% from the field.
And with the help of he’s partner Derrick Favors who is supposed to take off this year as well the Jazz backcourt is gonna go OFF the only problem with this is spacing. Both Favors and Gobert can shoot midrange shots but in 2017 either you know how to shoot the 3 or not. But other than that there is more players to be talked about. With George Hill also walking in free angency but quickly replaced him as they get Ricky Rubio from the Minnesota Timberwolves for a 2018 first round pick. In my opinion both Hill and Rubio are great the difference is tho Rubio is not the shooter Hill is but is a better passer. They also aquired guys like Ekpe Udoh, Thado Sefolosha, Dovan Mitchell, and Jonas Jerebko as the big guys to come in. Jerebko is a nice 3 point shooter next to Gobert when needed, Thado is a nice defensive player the Jazz need to come off the bench, Ekpe Udoh is a player to replace Jeff Withney who when to the Dallas Mavericks, and Dovan Mitchell showed very nice promise in the Summer League put up 28 PPG in the summer League! Also he hasn’t been under the radar for long as he was choosen by other rookies as the #1 Steal in the draft. The future is bright for this guy I can see him this year as high as 11.2 PPG, 3.4 APG, 2.3 RPG with 42% FG and most likey making All-Rookie 2nd Team. There are some disadvantages tho with him being a Shooting Guard undersized at 6’3 but he really reminds me a Avery Bradley type like player that the Jazz need.
The Utah Jazz have one of the best staffs in the NBA. With there Head Coach Quin Snyder one of the best coaches to know the game. Quin has bounced around the league with him Clippers, 76ers, Lakers, and Hawks all as Assistant Coaches then finally picked up with the Jazz in 2014. Quin is one of those “let the game do the talking” type of guy most likely a Gregg Popovich. But without Hayward, which he likes to give the ball, to the offense will struggle. Other than that there is not much to talk about they have a loyal fanbase and a strong staff.
3. Trades/Moves Needed To Help
Let’s be honest Jazz are basically doomed on offense without Hayward but there defense is very scary. But in the West where now it’s harder to compete due to superteams Jazz look like there BARELY gonna slide in the playoffs. So here are some moves Utah NEEDS to make go past that.
Move #1: TRADE
JAZZ TRADE: Alec Burks & Joe Johnson
HORNETS TRADE: Nicolas Batum
This is a move that makes sense for both teams Jazz will get back there offensive player that they need DESPERATELY and the Hornets get 2 serviceable vets to help them in the East. Batum averaged 15.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 5.9 APG. While shooting 40% from the field. That’s not perfect but good enough numbers to put up in Hayward’s absence. As for Burks and Johnson, Burks had a lot of injury problems with them and could be a nice mentor for Malik Monk and as for Joe same thing with Burks but he has just regressed as he is 36 final year of he’s contract and can teach Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Overall good trade on both sides and if needed tho in a pick from Utah.
Move #2: Minutes
Dante Exum has been quite disappointing from the Jazz has coming into the from several years back he was supposed to be this “Wonder Horse” from Australia. This is basically a make a break year for him. With that being said give him enough time so that either he impresses us all or be traded before the Allstar Break. Joe Ingles broke out last season as a A+ 3 point shooter with incredible defense personally he needs to get more touches to help the offense. More of a 3 and D type of guy and a good backup to Nicolas Batum if the Jazz actually make the trade. Now on to Rodney Hood who has a lot of upside. Hood averaged 7.1 PPG, 2.7 APG, and 2.9 RPG overall very disappointing year for him as well has he was supposed to help this teams offense out a lot. Injuries really affect he’s career but I say if he stays healthy don’t be surprised if he’s stock rises.
Move #3: Shooting
Shooting right now is a weakness for the Jazz but there are some very good players in FA thag could help. Just to name a few:
Mike Dunlevy, Isaiah Cannan, Anothny Morrow, Maruc Thornton, etc. you knkw guys who can just come in and SHOOT!
But overall those are just some ideas that I came up with that could make the Jazz compete for a championship one day…