It’s a battle of the tanks tonight in SLC!
Well, sort of. The Utah Jazz play host to what appears to be popular choice for worst team in the NBA this coming season: the San Antonio Spurs. Tankathon currently projects the Spurs with the top lottery spot while the Jazz are projected as 5th.
Each team boasts some veterans (i.e. former Ute Jakob Poeltl), intriguing youngsters (i.e. Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell), rookies getting their first aciton (i.e. Jeremy Sochan nad Malaki Branham) and a lot of...well, unknowns. Frankly, pretty ideal recipes to give yourself a shot at Victor “The Alien” Wembanyama and the other handful of prospective franchise players.
Tonight’s game will be a first step in determining just how far the Jazz are from the worst team in the league. Just how big is the talent gap?
Ultimately the Jazz needn’t be the most egregiously tanking team in the league but understanding our place in the league is vitally important as the front office eyes pivot points during the season to accentuate a direction.
The San Antonio Spurs got throttled by state rival Houston Rockets in their first preseason game, falling 94-134. They suffered across the board, being at a disadvantage in every category but turnovers.
They fared much better against the Orlando Magic but ultimately fell 99-102. They generated a modest volume advantage but couldn’t budge off 50% eFG for the game.
In their 3rd preseason context, they fell again by double digits in a 97-111 loss to New Orleans. They continued their abysmal shooting for which no volume advantage could aid.
So far for the preseason, San Antonio ranks: 29th in differential, 29th in eFG% advantage, 15th in TOV% advantage, 26th in OREB% advantage, 10th in FTArate advantage.
The Utah Jazz, on the other hand, began the preseason against the Toronto Raptors in Canada. Unfortunate shooting luck and a vastly superior team in talent and cohesion meant the Raptors obliterated the Jazz: 82-114.
They followed up that contest with a 118-101 win over the Portland Trailblazers on the road. Shooting luck swung back their way and they secured major volume advantages to ensure a big win.
So far for the preseason, Utah ranks: 21st in differential, 23rd in eFG% advantage, 12th in TOV% advantage, 24th in OREB% advantage, 19th in FTArate advantage.
Malik Beasley (ankle sprain), Udoka Azubuike (ankle surgery), and Mike Conley (rest) are OUT for the Utah Jazz, per Eric Walden of the SL Tribune.
Based on past rotations, it’s likely the Jazz will see a lineup of Collin Sexton - Jordan Clarkson - Lauri Markkanen - Jarred Vanderbilt - Kelly Olynyk as the starters tonight.
As of this morning there’s no sign of formal injury report announcements on the part of San Antonio.
We should expect San Antonio to feature Tre Jones - Keita Bates-Diop - Jeremy Sochan in the starting lineup, with either Poeltl or Zach Collins at the 5 and either Vassell or Josh Richardson at the 2, depending on availability.
When: 7:00 PM MT
Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Radio: 97.5/1280 The Zone