I know this has probably been covered 42 times on this site alone since the season ended. But what am I to do? I haven't followed the Jazz (or this blog, sadly) since the Game 3 loss to the Lakers (or was it Game 2?… whichever came on a Saturday night), largely because I've been in India since then. But whatever… my take on the team needs.
Starter: Deron Williams
Back-up: Ronnie Price
Free agents: Sundiata Gaines
Thoughts: There is no need for a starter here, so maybe its good the Jazz didn't win the lottery? (Okay, I'm just trying not to be disappointed here.) Deron has his issues (turnovers, for example) but is a star and unquestionably the team leader. Back-up wise there are questions though… similar to last off-season. You've got Ronnie Price, who really isn't a PG… he's a spark-plug/undersized 2-guard. You've got a guy who might get a look this summer… Sundiata Gaines (though I read online somewhere… the SL Trib maybe?.. that the team brass wasn't too high on his attitude). I know Gaines had the game winner against the Cavs, but is that enough to earn him a spot? They did seemingly fill the spot in the draft last year (Eric Maynor in the 1st round), but we all know how that turned out.
Need: Maybe a back-up or 3rd string guy
Need level: Very, very low
Starters: CJ Miles, Andrei Kirilenko
Free agents: Wes Matthews, Kyle Korver, Othyus Jeffers
Thoughts: Big questions here. CJ took a step forward this season (especially late in the season and in the playoffs), showing a willingness to attack the hoop that had been missing in the past. Will he keep doing that though? AK is injury-prone, and nearing the end of his contract. Will he be traded this off-season (or during the season)? Matthews was a starter last year, and is a RFA this year that the Jazz want back. Will he be back though? Or can the Jazz find an adequate upgrade? Korver was hitting 3-pointers at a record clip, but the same can't be said of his FT shooting. He's a fan favorite, but is that enough to bring him back? Are the Jazz confident with this quartet, if they're all back? Or will they look for an upgrade? An all-around guy (offense & defense) would be nice given the inconsistencies of CJ & AK on both ends of the court… is Matthews that guy? The Jazz don't have the money to go after a top-tier guy, so that could impact things. Othyus Jeffers has a long battle ahead of him to make the roster. Still, checking in on Dwyane Wade is a must, right?
Need: Depending on who's back, anything from a starter to a 7th/8th man
Need level: Medium-to-high, depending on who is retained
Starter: Paul Millsap
Free agent: Carlos Boozer
Thoughts: Can Millsap be a full-fledged starter? Or is he too foul prone for that? And what will the Jazz do with Boozer? Let him go? Resign him? Sign and trade? There's options. Bringing him back would cause major issues money wise, and potentially cause Millsap to want out. Who do the Jazz want more? Boozer is a definite force offensively and a matador defender. Millsap shows up defensively, but you really don't want him taking FT-line jumpers all the time. There is the option of resigning Booze and then trading Millsap, but that might not go over so well with the fans that have seen Booze constantly get hurt and miss time… and not play defense when he does show up. And does the injury to Okur impact this at all?
Need: If Booze is back, nothing. If he isn't, a 6th man.
Need level: Very low or very high, depending on what happens with Boozer
C Starter: Kosta Koufos
Back-up: Mehmet Okur (injured)
Free agent: Kyrylo Fesenko
Thoughts: Obviously, Okur is the starter… the question is when will he be back? He's going to miss the beginning of the season, so you need another guy. Koufos hasn't shown much in limited time. Fesenko plays well at times, but also isn't always "in" it and frustrates Sloan to no end. If he is retained, he would be the starter (assuming no one is added) it seems… but only until Sloan got completely sick of him and made a change. He's our best bet defensively (he has the potential, and does alter shots in the paint), but is also enjoying the experience too much for the Jazz brass' liking. Koufos needs more time to show something, but also has questions. Okur is hurt, and is seemingly nearing the end. And if the Jazz go into the season with a Koufos/Fesenko duo, they could be in a lot of trouble. Do the Jazz want to give Fesenko another year/contract/shot? Koufos' NBDL time is up as well, so the Jazz don't have that option anymore.
Need: Most likely a starter that will be a key man off the bench when Okur is back
Need level: Very high
That leaves the needs as...
- PF (unless Boozer stays)
- PF (if Boozer stays)