For last week’s downbeat, I focused on 538’s NBA Player Projections and how their model viewed the Utah Jazz starting 5. That can be found here. For today, let’s look into the rest of the Utah Jazz rotation. Now by rotation, I mean the guys getting regular minutes, not the end of bench or garbage time guys.
So let’s get right into it!
Joe Ingles certainly is on a decline from his peak. However, I think we can expect solid production from him again this year. The signing of Derrick Favors should especially help given their chemistry in the pick and roll. Joe had somewhat of a down and inconsistent year last year, but hopefully staying in Utah all offseason and getting his body right again will help. Joe only has this year and next on his deal, at which point I wonder if he’ll call it a basketball career or not.
The Return. The Jazz front office prioritized Derrick Favors this offseason in hopes of addressing the defensive issues whenever Rudy Gobert isn’t on the court. We probably won’t see big raw numbers from Favs, but he contributes to winning basketball. His 5-year market value is surprisingly high at over 66 million. Personally, I still think it was an overpay to give your backup center the full MLE, but I love Favors and he’ll definitely be a key role player this season.
This is your reminder that the Jazz got Jordan Clarkson for Dante Exum and a couple 2nd round picks. I was shocked at the $$$ got in his new contract... until I saw some of the other contracts that guards/wings got. Clarkson was an absolute revelation for the bench last season and he’s been great so far this year. He’s an instant spark whenever he comes in and can absolutely torch opposing benches. I would argue 538’s model doesn’t appreciate Clarkson enough.
I don’t mean to be too harsh here, but scrub sounds about right for Niang. I was really frustrated by the # of minutes he got last season, but I did recognize the Jazz were fairly shallow at his position. Fortunately, the Jazz seem to have addressed that and his minutes are down to just 7-10 per game. That feels a lot more in line than 14 minutes per game last season. He’s a great shooter and that spacing helps. But that’s about it.
I couldn’t agree more with Adam Bushman that Utah’s defensive woes weren’t strictly when Rudy was off the court. Their perimeter defense was lacking severely. Harrison was one of the best perimeter defenders this offseason and the Jazz brought him in for cheap. So far he hasn't got much burn for coach Quin Snyder, but I think that will change as he gets more comfortable. Early signs from camp confirmed that he can indeed defend at a high level. I look forward to seeing more of him.
Miye Oni was probably the winner of “summer” camp this year. The Jazz front office and coaches were raving about the strides he made as a player, especially defensively. 538’s model feels like Oni will have a place in this league and it would appear that Oni will get the chance to prove that. Now it’s just up to him to perform when given the opportunity.