The Utah Jazz are coming into this season with a much different set of goals than last year. Here are some of the most important questions that will be answered this season.
What’s the ‘Best Case’ scenario for your team this season?
Like I said, this is a much different set of goals for the Jazz this year. With the best record in the league being the goal last year, this year it’s going to be the opposite.
Yes, there is talent still on this roster, but you can bet that the Jazz are motivated to move some of that talent to have a chance at getting Victor Wembanyama in a Jazz jersey.
Even though this will be a tank year for the Jazz, there are rookies on this team that need developing too. Walker Kessler and Ochai Agbaji have shown nice flashes in summer league and preseason. Can the Jazz develop them so that their skillset improves for when the Jazz draft their future all-stars? If they can lose a lot of games and also do that, this season will be highly successful
What’s the ‘Worst Case’ scenario for your team this season?
The Jazz end up with a record better than the bottom three. Sure, the lottery odds have been flattened, but you still want the worst record possible. Why? If you get passed up you still shift down to the next spot in the draft. Having the worst record ensures a top-5 pick. That has to be the outcome this year, or you’re looking at a waste of a year. For a small market team like that Jazz you can’t get away with that type of recklessness.
What’s the ‘Most Likely’ scenario for your team this season?
There will be lots of trades and lots of losses. Danny Ainge and Justin Zanik have been very active this offseason and that won’t change any time soon. Utah has very good veteran players ready to contribute for contenders out there.
The Dallas Mavericks are a perfect landing spot for Mike Conley. The Lakers could really use the shooting of Malik Beasley. As turmoil hits those teams this season, they’ll want ways to improve, and the Jazz will be ready to take their calls.
What are you most excited for going into this season?
Watching young players develop. The Jazz filled their roster with a lot of young, interesting prospects and they have no choice but to play them. Ochai Agbaji has a smooth jumper combined with good athleticism and Walker Kessler is looking like a solid NBA rotation center. Seeing them develop will be satisfying and fun.
Predict your team’s win/loss record for the season.
The Jazz line should be somewhere around 25 wins. But my guess is they win about 18 games. Sure, as the roster stands, they probably win about 25-30 games, but there’s no way this roster stays the same throughout the season, even month to month. There will be adjustments that happen as the season goes along and most of those adjustments will be to improve the Jazz’s chances at a better pick while also getting reps for the younger players on the team.
In reality, there’s some urgency here for the Jazz to get these players developed. Timelines and windows for this team are not what they used to be, and when you have a set of all-stars on your team, you have to be able to maximize your chances. If the Jazz continue to do silly things like play Mike Conley and Rudy Gay over their young players, it’s messing with valuable development time. Every minute counts!
Predict your team’s conference seeding.
Last season the Houston Rockets had the worst record in the league with 20 wins. My guess is the Jazz will want less than that. If the Jazz win 18 games, that might not be good enough. Knowing that the worst-case scenario usually happens with the Jazz, I don’t think the Jazz will end up with the worst record in the league, but my guess is they’ll try. There’s going to be a few games the Jazz win that they shouldn’t and it will cost them. This season the Jazz end with the 3rd worst record in the Western Conference and they’ll go into lottery night with everything depending on the roll of a dice. Sports really are the best!
This is a long list so get ready!
Last season’s team record
Last season’s conference ranking
Last season’s offensive and defensive rating (From basketballreference.com)
Offensive Rating - 117.68 (1st)
Defensive Rating - 111.52 (9th)