The Utah Jazz finally won again. Crazy how expectations change how you feel about the team. Last year all of us here would have been, "WOOOOOO! WE'RE 11-14! WE DON'T SUCK AS BAD AS LAST YEAR!!! *shoots confetti cannon*" Now it's trying to match expectations. Expectations were the Jazz could be a playoff team. But unfortunately, injuries tend to do things to a team. Prior to the season, Amar and I talked about who could go down with an injury and if the Jazz could withstand the blow. Without question, the answer was Rudy Gobert. His dominance on defense is just too much to replace by committee. Gordon Hayward's absence can be covered up through committee through Joe Ingles, Alec Burks, and Rodney Hood. Derrick Favors, as of last year, could have been replaced through committee (This year I'd have to change my answer. He's so dominant now.) But Rudy, he's one of a kind. At least he's starting to get back in the groove. Here's to hoping Rudy Gobert's competitive fire doesn't push him to the court earlier than needed. We need him for his career. Not for a short stretch in January.
Somebody proposed at last night's game. Now if you are one of our Dunk readers, congratulations. If this is the place she wanted to be proposed at, kudos to you. You are luckier than most of us here at the Dunk. I know, for one, if I proposed at a Utah Jazz game, I would be walking home ... alone ... sigh . With that said, congratulations. And may you guys have a better present and future than the Utah Jazz.
Trade season is now upon us as most players are trade eligible. I will make my bold prediction that the Jazz will not make a gut move trade just to jostle for playoff position. The Utah Jazz and most GMs in the West can see the West is having a down year. In fact, the Jazz can still do nothing as far as trades go and still make the playoffs. The West isn't the same as it has been. So how will the Utah Jazz front office adjust to that?
If they make a trade it will be for a big man. That was their point of weakness in the offseason, it was their point of weakness when the season began, and with Rudy Gobert down, it's a glaring weakness. If they are able to get a point guard with an expiring contract that does not interfere with Exum's return to the starting rotation next season they'd pull the trigger, but it should be known that any point guard brought back in trade would be an addendum to the deal. The real prize will be for the Utah Jazz to nab a big man. If Dennis Lindsey is able to do that without sacrificing part of the core and this year's lottery pick (because the Jazz could just miss the playoffs) then kudos to Dennis Lindsey. But I don't see a lot of wheeling and dealing from teams in the West just because of the down year.
Obligatory Star Wars reference here:
The force was with us tonight! Big win #jazznation— Gordon Hayward (@gordonhayward) December 19, 2015
At the beginning of the season I wrote how the Jazz didn't need to go out and make any big trades. The Jazz see themselves at year 2 of a 3 year build into a playoff contender. I wrote that they didn't need to go out and prove it by trading for a point guard or a "star" because they believed they had them. That they would grow into their roles. With the Jazz sitting at 11-14, welcome to year 2 of progress. If anyone is frustrated with the results look at the Jazz's recorded last year at this time. They had 7 wins and 19 losses. NINETEEN. That's progress. And they are doing that without Dante Exum and Rudy Gobert. That's huge progress.
Dennis Lindsey is well ahead of year over year progress and the Jazz most likely with a .500 record will be in the playoffs just because of the odd nature of the west this year. We all knew the Jazz would be fighting for a spot in the playoffs. I guess we all wanted to imagine it would be with the Utah Jazz playing hard for 50+ wins and the 7th or 8th seed. If the Jazz are playing hard for 43 wins and the 7th or 8th seed does it change how you feel about the playoffs? Let us know in the comments below.