The Utah Jazz (6-9) are in a particularly strange spot. Many fans want the Jazz to tank, with only one win in the last 7 games, and a particularly brutal, road-heavy December schedule. On the flip side, teams like the Clippers (5-8) have lost 6 straight, and the Jazz still have a top-5 defense in the league. We’re nearly one-fifth of the way done with the season, but there’s still potential for a Miami-like 30-11 second half of the season once everyone gets back and healthy - the question is if this is “useful” or not. The Jazz in theory should win this game against the Nets, who they beat just about a week ago, but this season has been wild.
When: Friday, November 17, 5:30PM MDT
Where: Barclays Center • Brooklyn, NY
TV: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, YES Network
Radio: 1280 and 97.5 The Zone, WFAN
Rudy Gobert - Knee - Targeting mid-December
Joe Johnson - Wrist - 1-2 weeks
Dante Exum - Shoulder - Out indefinitely
Ricky Rubio - Achilles - Questionable
Thabo Sefolosha - Right Knee Soreness - Questionable
D’Angelo Russell - Knee - Out for a “few games,” day-to-day
Jeremy Lin - Knee - Out indefinitely
What To Watch For:
Who are the point guards?
Ricky hasn’t been looking good over the past couple games, and now we might know why - he’s questionable with achilles soreness. Ricky’s had a history of injuries, so it might make sense to shut him down until he’s healthy. Unfortunately, that leaves Raul Neto as the only active point guard left on the roster, so we’re probably going to see a lot of him, Donovan Mitchell, and maybe even Alec Burks (or the triple wing??) run the point if Rubio is out.
The Nets themselves have point guard injury issues - Jeremy Lin suffered a gruesome, season-ending injury (again), and D’Angelo Russell is also out with a knee injury, so they’ll be playing Spencer Dinwiddie (38th Pick, 2014 draft) and Isaiah Whitehead (42nd Pick, 2016 draft - by the Jazz) - not exactly the most amazing lead guard lineup. Advantage: Jazz.
The first road win... still
The Jazz still have yet to win one on the road this season. The Jazz will need to banish that demon eventually, and what better to do that with a team they beat already? The Nets have been famously inept over the past few years, and their attendance is only 28th in the league, so it’s nothing like playing in Madison Square. But knowing the Jazz’s road woes this season, they’ll likely have an uphill battle to get that win.
Most Likely Jazz-Killer: Trevor Booker
The Nets do have quite a few young, promising players, like Caris LeVert and Allen Crabbe. DeMarre Carroll, the old Junkyard Dog, found his place in the NBA with the Jazz. However, who else would be a Jazz Killer other than Trevor Booker? He’s the entire reason why Rudy’s not playing, which basically would kill the Jazz on any other night.