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Hayward Hurt, Jazz Down but Not Out

The "Hey, maybe we won't suffer any injuries!" optimism of the summer has been ripped away from us. Now what?

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Well, you all probably saw Amar's article about the current state of things. Or you saw it on Twitter. Or you felt a great disturbance in the force. If none of those things are true, though, here's the latest from longtime Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy:

Jody's sources are almost always accurate, so we can expect that the Utah Jazz will be Hayward-less for 18% of the season, or about 15 games, by my estimation.

Hayward Is Hurt, edited by Daniel West

Anyway, last season this would have been earth-shattering. Hayward was the team. We would have been talking about a starting lineup of Raúl Neto, Rodney Hood (maybe Alec "Government Name" Burks), Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. That's not the worst lineup ever, but Joe Ingles ain't Gordon Hayward.

A funny thing happened on the way to the 2016-2017 season, though: lest we forget, the Jazz--yes, the Utah Jazz--made some key off-season acquisitions. Here's what we're looking at now, in my humble (and totally fallible) opinion:

PG: Hill/Exum (or Mack, depending on Dante's knee)

SG: Hood/C. Johnson (Burks, if healthy, which doesn't look likely to start the season)

SF: J. Johnson/Ingles

PF: Favors/Diaw

C: Gobert/Withey

Call me crazy, but even without Hayward the '16-'17 Jazz are far and away better than the '15-'16 Jazz, on paper at the very least. George Hill is a legitimate NBA starting point guard which, with no disrespect to Devin Harris, John Lucas III, Trey Burke, Raúl Neto or Shelvin Mack, we haven't had since Deron Williams. I love Joe Ingles, but we all know which Joe is the better option to fill in for G-Time, and it's not close.

Will our guys go 15-0 without Hayward? No. Will they remain competitive? Almost certainly. I predict that the team will finish the stretch with a record of 9-6, which really isn't too bad. Here's the other thing that we have to remember, which Amar so calmly pointed out to us: Tyrone Corbin isn't at the helm anymore. It's Quin Snyder's team, and Quin Snyder knows what he's doing.

So take heart, Jazz fans! All is not lost. We're still primed to have the best season in years. What do you think, Jazz fans? Everyone has their own opinions on rotations, and I can't wait to hear yours in the comments.