The Utah Jazz announced their training camp roster today for the 2021-22 season with no surprises. For what is probably the best roster the Jazz have had since the WCF Deron Williams teams, it makes sense.
Here is the roster for the Utah Jazz:
Though this is very much a year that the Jazz will be “running it back”, there are some interesting storylines going into this one around the edges of this team.
Udoka Azubuike vs Hassan Whiteside
The first thing I’ll be paying attention to is the play of Udoka Azubuike. The Jazz brought in Hassan Whiteside as their backup center and it is likely set, but maybe not in stone. Azubuike was impressive in his first summer league games. He was too much to handle for any opposing summer league center and showed why he garnered the interest of the Jazz’s former general manager, Dennis Lindsey. He still has some polishing to do on his game but if he’s given a fair shot, he could definitely slide into that backup role at some point during the season. The Jazz front office and coaching staff have obviously not been on the same page for years now and so seeing Udoka thrive would be a welcome sign for a coaching staff that hasn’t successfully developed a drafted player since Donovan Mitchell.
Trent Forrest vs Jared Butler
This is another matchup around the edges of the Jazz roster that should be a fun one. Trent Forrest was fantastic in summer league. It was clear he was beyond the talent level of the other players on the floor pretty quickly. The only issue was still the 3-point shot. If he can get that to fall with more regularity, and he may never do that, he has a chance to be a very nice NBA rotation player. The player he’ll be competing against will definitely be Jared Butler.
Butler comes in as a steal in the draft. Questions about his health lead to him dropping but he was slated as a late lottery pick/late first round pick in most mock drafts. If he’s healthy, Butler looks to be a very nice option for the Jazz as a third guard. He can handle the ball, drive and shoot it (47% FG and 41.6% 3PT in college). He’s also got good size at the position at 6’3.75” with shoes. Theoretically, he’s the perfect player to play off of Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley. The only issue is we haven’t seen it. Butler was held out of summer league and it would have been nice to see what he can do. Training camp will be the first time we hear how Butler fits on an NBA court against NBA talent. The Jazz will likely always give Butler the edge because of his talent level, but he needs to outplay Forrest to solidify any sort of solid rotation minutes. If he’s as good as so many draft experts said, that should be no problem.
Jazz basketball is almost back and things are about to get really exciting!