The Utah Jazz have something they haven’t had in a very long time this season: depth. The team has so much depth it’s almost tempting fate with lady luck — they’ll probably finish the season with very few injuries. There just isn’t enough minutes to go around for the point guards, wings, and bigmen. That just means that the players who fight the hardest to establish their spots will probably have the most to gain. And for Quin Snyder — it seems like the pecking order isn’t fully established just yet. New additions of Boris Diaw, Joe Johnson, and George Hill will all have to fight off the incumbents for a piece of the playing time pie. Regardless of who starts or finishes, this should be a Jazz team that wins a lot of games.
And that leads us to the other thing the Jazz haven’t had in a very long time: expectations.
Dennis Lindsey has constructed a very smart, versatile, defensive-minded club. This is a team that should win. Moreover, there are talented veterans who know how to finish games with a lead. Wins shouldn’t occur as a surprise anymore. Furthermore, losses will be scrutinized even more than before. (This is no longer the “Tyrone Corbin is the head coach, so everything is made up and the points don’t matter” era anymore.)
We fully expect the main three cogs to remain Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert. And honestly, why should it change?
Honestly, there’s no reason for it. What may change is who gives them the most support this year. And as far as supporting casts go — this season Utah has a great one.
There’s a lot to take in with that image, but it’s all the handy info in one place. You see where each player is from (where they were born, when they were born, and what college they went to); you can see where they were drafted; and how much NBA Experience they have (regular season and playoffs combined). Furthermore, you can see how frequently in their career they have started games, how much they are getting paid this season, and all the other anthropometric data that we gush over.
Oh yeah, and their versatility on the court. That’s one of the biggest pluses with this roster.
As far as training camp is concerned, the NBA has a maximum roster size of 15 players. (I wish it was 20 or 25 — to fully develop a true farm system) Right now 14 of those players has guaranteed money coming their way. The players who have names in red (Marcus Paige, Chris Johnson, Quincy Ford, Eric Dawson, Jeff Withey, and Henry Sims) either have non-guarnateed or partially guaranteed contracts for this season. These are the final six players fighting for the one remaining spot on the roster if the other 14 players do their part.
Of course, I don’t think that is a given.
Some of these contracts (Mack’s $2.4 million and below) are small enough to eat, while cutting that player, in order to add someone the team likes better. After all we’ve seen this happen under Dennis Lindsey when they cut Jordan Hamilton to make space for recently waived Clippers camp invite Joe Ingles.
Our assumption here is that Jeff Withey will lock down the #15 spot on the roster, while players like Ford and Paige will be offered starting spots with the D League’s Salt Lake City Stars. Or at least I hope so.
Anyway, 20 guys in camp, and 5 will get cut. But all five of them have been brought in to work hard and really push this team. Internal battles will be the story all season long, and this team needs to remain hungry if they are going to meet or possibly surpass the expectations that they now have.
Starting training camp and preseason off with that battle ready state of mind is only going to help when the #PlayoffPush comes around in March and April.