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Utah Jazz Preseason Optimism - The Downbeat #1476

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Everything is Awesome

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Thus far this preseason, we've been enamored with Kanter's three point shooting, dazzled by Burks' scoring and athleticism, and silently observant of everything Exum does. You know who was very solid in the two game stint against the Blazers? Trey Burke.

From Tony Jones of the SL Trib, Coach Q thinks so, too:

"The best thing so far about Trey is that he’s defending," Snyder said. "That’s starting to become who he is, and we’re pleased about that. He’s getting people involved and he’s playing unselfish basketball. He’s realizing when to move the ball and when to look for his offense, and we need that from him."

His stat line has looked impressive, too:

He averaged 16.5 points, 5.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds a game last week

What's even better is that he's done it while shooting well; 40% from the field in the first game, and 56% in the second, for an average of 48% thus far. The question for Trey this season will be if he can continue to maintain that level at shooting (not that high, but in the mid 40%'s would be great), and much of that will depend on his ability to finish around the basket (I couldn't find any shot chart data for the preseason).

On Friday, Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk), of Pro Basketball Talk, posted his season preview for the Jazz. The overall theme of Kurt's preview seems to be optimism. He even gives the Jazz a generous season prediction of 33 wins.

Prediction: 33-49, which lands them back in the lottery and not with a thrilling record, but this needs to be a bridge season to better things in the coming years. If they play better defense, run more, find those go-to scorers and if Hayward steps up this is a season that can be a step forward, it’s just hard to predict that translating to many more wins because they are in the brutal Western Conference.

On my commute the past few days, I've been listening to the Steven Lebron Podcast (@steven_lebron). He has great guests on his pod, like Myles Brown (formerly of Wolf Among Wolves), Zach Lowe, and most recently (and the one I was listening to) Steve McPherson (Rolling Stones/The Classical/Grantland/Wolf Among Wolves, you may know his internet famous daughter from this). Steve is credentialed to cover the Wolves, so obviously the conversation went that direction. In the podcast, Steve said something that made me thin of the Jazz. He talked about the optimism surrounding the team this year and how, even though everyone knows they will suck, fans are excited because of the type of basketball they can expect to see out of Rubio, Wiggins, Thad Young, and Lavine (p.s. if you google "lavine" the biggest picture in the sidebar is of Kyle Anderson). This is the same excitement I see from Jazz fans this year. The team has already played two preseason games, and shown a beautiful new style of basketball. The difference being, (if I may don my rose colored glasses) the Jazz could come out and shock people this season. They have 4 players (Hayward, Favors, Burks, Kanter) that are primed to make a "leap" this season. The more that do, the better the Jazz will be.

But 2 games into the offseason, and the injuries are mounting: KD out for 6-8 weeks, Bradley Beal just underwent surgery, and we all know about Paul George. Other than a few minor dings (Felix, Clark, Hood), the Jazz have been healthy. Does it scare you how much Coach Q is playing the main guys?

Tonight the Jazz play preseason game #3 against the Clippers. I love games against the Clippers and the Jazz seem to match up well against them; and all of the matchups are intriguing. Burke will get another test against CP3, Kanter and Fav will deal with Griffin and Jordan. Plus, the Clippers are just so easy to despise. Check back here at SLC Dunk later for game preview/game thread.