The Utah Jazz are a difficult team to predict. They lost a great player in Gordon Hayward. but also gained a player that may fit in better with the team in Ricky Rubio. Although the offense of Hayward will be sorely missed, the playmaking ability of Rubio could open up the offense to greater opportunities. There may be a large culture shock that comes to Utah, and there are many questions whether or not this is a good or bad thing.
2016-17 Record: 51-31 (5th Seed, lost to GSW in the 2nd round)
Players Added: Ricky Rubio (via Trade w/ MIN), Ekpe Udoh (via FA)
Players Lost: Gordon Hayward (via FA)
What To Watch For: Who Takes Over On Offense?
The Utah Jazz were by no means an offensive force last season. However, they had a go-to player on offense with Gordon Hayward. With his departure, there is no major scorer on the Jazz at the moment. So who will take over? First thoughts would be Dante Exum, but his injury erases that option. Perhaps Rodney Hood or Donovan Mitchell? Whoever it is, the Jazz better figure it out sooner rather than later.
Best Case Scenario: Defense Wins Championships…..or at least a lot of games.
If there is anything to truly look forward to with the Jazz, it is the absolutely dominant defense that they will bring night in and night out. Rudy Gobert is a fantastic rim protector, and with Derrick Favors and Ekpe Udoh around him, the rim will be a difficult destination for opposing offenses. The Jazz will not need to score in bunches if they can keep their opponents to low scoring games. Similar to the Hawks, this team works tremendously well together to make the sum of Utah’s parts look far better than the individual players seem. As long as their scoring can keep up, Utah will competitive all year long.
2017-18 Prediction: 6th-8th Seed