It’s now 2020. New year, new us. A new year means new opportunities for growth, learning, success, and more. What will 2020 bring for the Utah Jazz? Here are some New Year’s resolutions for each Jazz player and what they can add to themselves this coming year.
Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell: *****ALL-STARS*****
I think this finally may be the year the Jazz get some All-Stars. Rudy and Donovan are 1A and 1B on a team that’s just a few games out of a top 4 seed in the West. Both are playing on an extremely high level and helping their team win games night in and night out. The only question here remains on the people that have the power to get them to All-Star status.
They are probably not going to get in as starters from the fan/player/media vote, so it will be up to the coaches to put them in as reserves. Remember, there are 2 backcourt reserves selected, along with 3 frontcourt and 2 “wildcards”. Assuming the starters are Luka Doncic, James Harden, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Kawhi Leonard, that leaves 7 spots for two Jazz men to make it. The only other “locks” for reserves are probably Damian Lillard and Nikola Jokic. Which leaves 5 more spots. The next pool of players is probably Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Devin Booker, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Kristaps Porzingis. You would have to think that as of right now, Donovan and Rudy are both in along with Westbrook, Towns and Paul George. It always helps when Golden State loses three of their perennial All-Stars (KD, Klay, Steph), which opens up spots for other players in the Western Conference.
Regardless, both Donovan and Rudy are playing like All-Stars this season. Getting two All-Star bids on the Jazz would be incredible, and so much fun for Donovan and Rudy to get that type of recognition they both very much deserve.
Mike Conley: Get Healthy
The Mike Conley experience in Utah wasn’t much to write home about in 2019. He’s having the worst shooting season of his NBA career, and has been dealing with a hamstring injury which has kept him out of the last couple of games. He might have been trying to play through that injury before sitting out as well, which could have been an explanation for his poor play. In 2020, the Jazz need Mike Conley healthy. They’ve been winning games lately, but they’ve benefited from a pretty soft schedule. Once the schedule picks up, and especially come playoff time, the Jazz will need Conley’s experience and grit to help them win games that matter. In order for that to happen, he needs to be healthy.
Bojan Bogdanovic: Taking care of the basketball
Bojan has been everything the Jazz hoped he would this season. You really couldn’t have asked for much more when the Jazz signed him this off-season. He has been so good, and saved the team so many times in multiple games in 2019. If there’s anything that Bogdanovic can improve on in 2020, it’s turnovers.
Bogey is currently leading the Jazz in turnovers per game with 2.8. That’s a lot of turnovers for a non-primary ball-handler. What’s strange, is that Bogdanovic has never had a turnover problem his whole career until this season. He’s never averaged more than 1.7 per game, and somehow this season it’s skyrocketed to almost 3 per game.
Joe Ingles: Keep splashin’ mate
Joe Ingles went bonkers in the month of December. He broke out of his shooting slump, and caught fire. He finished the month shooting 43-81, which is a scorching 53 percent. That was the highest mark in the NBA for December for players shooting that type of volume. For 2020, Joe Ingles needs to keep this up. Once Conley comes back to the lineup, Quin Snyder will need to decide if he’s going to move Ingles back to the bench. If Ingles can keep up this play coming off the bench, really good things are going to happen for the Jazz in 2020.
Royce O’Neale: Shoot more!!
I think every Jazz fan agrees with me when I say this.. Royce O’Neale needs to shoot the basketball more!! O’Neale is currently leading the Jazz in three-point shooting at 45%, which is awesome. He’s also sixth on the Jazz in three-pointers attempted per game at 3.0. There’s nothing wrong with Royce being a conservative, smart, shot-taker, which is what he has been this season. But if he can increase his volume and be a more aggressive, confident shooter, it might be enough to Jazz the destination of this Jazz team.
Jordan Clarkson: Keep it up
The Jazz bench situation looks completely different than it did two weeks ago, and that’s because of Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson has come in off the bench and given the Jazz exactly what they needed: scoring.
He scored 20 points the other night in just is third game, which was a season-high for a Jazz bench player this season. If Clarkson can be a consistent bench scorer, he’s going to change games for the Jazz.
Emmanuel Mudiay: Stay locked in
The Mudiay experience was a roller coaster in 2019. Some games he would come in and look super controlled and composed, and good things would happen. Other games he would come in, and all hell would break loose. For 2020, Mudiay needs to work on being “locked in” every time he touches the floor. Staying calm, and holding true to the Mudiay we’ve seen him be in great games.
Ed Davis: Something... Anything..
If you’re like me, you were really excited about the Ed Davis signing this offseason. And also, if you’re like me, you’ve been incredibly disappointed in his play so far this season. For 2020, Ed Davis needs to show us something. This can be like, one big block, or a tough offensive rebound, or a hustle play getting a ball that’s going out of bounds. It really can be anything. Just show us something, Ed! I feel like I can’t remember the last time he made a play. Here’s to hoping Davis makes a rebound (literal and figurative) in 2020.
Georges Niang: Put the phone down
Niang has come in and done some really good things for the Jazz at moments this season. He’s splashed threes at a pretty good rate, and is a fun player to watch and root for. He also recently picked up the habit of replying to people’s critique of him on Twitter. He has every right to do this if he wants, but it’s just not a great look in my opinion. Name searching to actively search out slander, and responding to it seems like an unhealthy habit. Every single player in the NBA has people talking bad about him on Twitter. I get the motive that he might have behind it, but sometimes, you just gotta put the phone down and walk away George.
Tony Bradley: Be ready for an opportunity
With the recent struggles of Ed Davis, Tony Bradley has seen some additional playing time. He’s held his own as backup big, and should continue to be ready at any given time to make plays. This might be his time to shine, and really show people what he can do as an NBA player. Make the most of it!
Rayjon Tucker: NBA Dunk
Rayjon Tucker can FLY. He got his first NBA bucket the other night on a nice drive to the hoop. It would be awesome to see him get a big dunk in his next NBA game.
Nigel Williams-Goss/Juwan Morgan/Miye Oni/ Jarrell Brantley/ Justin Wright-Foreman: Keep Grindin’
Whether it’s getting minutes in garbage time, dominating the G-League, or stepping up into the rotation due to an injury, just keep grinding. Your time will come!