First off, sheridanhoops.com has an interesting article on the "Wiggins Sweepstake", and three of the teams they think are most likely to win it ( http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2013/09/05/handicapping-the-andrew-wiggins-sweepstakes-who-will-be-nbas-worst-team/ ), and yes, one of the teams is our very own Utah Jazz.
Is this team really going to be that bad? Personally, my W prediction remains at 28 games. (That would be about where Sacramento, New Orleans, and Washington were.) I think our best comparison would be the
Hornets Pelicans of last year. We look to have a few good starters with an average bench that just doesn't end up winning that many games in a competitive Western Conference. There are a few reasons as to why I think that our club isn't going to win that many games, starting with:
1) PG play
Trey Burke has a chance to break out into a pretty good player this season. But odds are that it'll take a while for him to get there if he isn't a bust in the first place. Right now, he looks like he'll be a downgraded version of Mo Williams-but a slightly better playmaker. He should be able to discover his shot again sometime through this season, which will help the team immensely when that time comes. Until then, he'll have to stick with the PnR, with his man going under screens and playing the passing lanes. That could cause some troubles for the offense. Pair that with an inability to get into the paint, and potentially bad defense, and you're going to have a hard time winning games. Especially if he is the main ballhandler.
I'm not convinced that JLIII is a terrible backup PG yet. I think it's best-especially for this season in particular-to start with a clean slate of opinions about all the players and coaches.
2) We have no idea what our bigs can do
I think Kanter and Favors will end up being fine, they should put up some pretty good numbers this season. (By the way, Kanter was 100% cleared to play by doctors this week, just fyi.) It's the bench bigs that worry me. We have absolutely no idea what Jeremy Evans can do. We also have no idea what Biedrins can do in a new setting, having "reinvented" himself over the offseason. We do know that Gobert will be somewhat decent if he can work on his mobility a bit, but we don't know how effective he'll be in the NBA.
3) Injuries could be deadly
It is almost guaranteed for players on any team to get injured at some point of the season. If/when one of our main starters becomes injured, we have absolutely no depth to replace their production.
4) We don't have a giant teddy bear in the locker room to bring everyone together
As much as some people hate to admit it, Big Al was a very good leader, and helped our players to come together. Because of him and Corbin, we had some of the best teammate chemistry in the league. Hopefully Corbin will be able to keep this group together without very much help from other players. (This may also be a factor in JLIII's true worth. He may be someone who can help with this.)
5) Busts are always a possibility
It doesn't matter where you pick in the draft, or how much of a "sure thing" a player is supposed to be. Our C4/F5 are all probably going to end up being fairly good players. Just don't flip out at the Front Office if none of them turn out to be allstars. As fans we have to understand that there is a lot of chance involved in drafting and developing players.
So there you have it. All of those reasons, mixed with the probabilities of whether they will happen or not, are why I picked the Jazz to win 28 games. It's certainly possible that they win more or less, based on some less likely occurrences that aren't predictable (ie. Kanter breaking out into a 25/12/3/1/3 season, or Hayward suffering a season-ending injury in the preseason. Or smaller things like Kanter's turnovers being a bigger problem than we thought they would be). But I find this to be the most likely outcome. And while tanking might seem like something we should resort to, I think that we could easily find an allstar-caliber player at the 6th-9th spot in this "historically deep" draft, especially with the investments we've recently made in our scouting program. Having "Ender Wiggins" on our team would certainly be a welcome experience though.