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Utah Jazz rookie Trey Lyles needs to take advantage of Trevor Booker's suspension - Downbeat 1758

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The season starts tonight for the Utah Jazz. And today's Downbeat looks at the first road trip the team takes, what Quin Snyder is doing with his starting lineups, and how the Trevor Booker suspension could be a blessing in disguise for rookie lottery pick Trey Lyles. These stories and more in the first downbeat of the 2015-2016 Utah Jazz season!

The Utah Jazz start off the 2015-2016 season with an Eastern Conference road trip starting tonight in Detroit. It's the Utah Jazz @ Detroit Pistons (game starts at 5:30 PM MT), then a day off, then a back-to-back set against the Philadelphia 76ers, and then the Indiana Pacers. Stronger Jazz teams from previous eras would not have had any trouble. This year's Jazz, one doomed to be bereft of Dante Exum all season long, will find some trouble. Philly, on paper, are big -- but both Detroit and Indy will attempt to use more and more face-up bigs against our traditional line of Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. Detroit has players like Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, and Anthony Tolliver (his wife just had a baby so I don't know if he'll be ready to go) out there drawing one of our two bigs out to the three point line. Indiana could stretch things out with Paul George at the PF (he's 6'10 after all), while guys like Myles Turner and Jordan Hill both have legit midrange/close range shooting ability. I like to believe Turner can be Mehmet Okur -ish if he develops, but hopefully he won't be by the time we play them.

The East Trip isn't easy, but it's far from playing the beasts of the East. I think our guys can go 2-1 to start the season off with a little bit of defensive attitude.



The rumblings out there today suggest that the Jazz will start the season off with Raul Neto, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert. This is a good lineup, and while I think Trey Burke and Alec Burks have "earned it" we have to recognize that starters don't only play with starters, and so forth. Quin Snyder is going to be running people in and out all day long like Gregg Popovich anyway.

I think the building blocks are here, Hood is a legit shooter who could benefit from being open more. He's also a third ball-handler on this unit. Neto is a better defender than Burke, but we'll see if that translates to anything appreciable. He's a great passer and at this stage both Favors and Gobert are better at finishing when they've been set up, as opposed to having to be their own scoring threat.

Probably best of all, it's supposed to help out with the anemic scoring off the bench. But the secret to this move is that . . . if Trey comes off the bench all season long it's in preparation for NEXT SEASON, when Dante Exum returns to the starting lineup. This is a good way of setting up that continuation and making the transition easier for his reintroduction (and for Trey too).

Smart move Quin. Not the moves I would make, but then again, I would start five Kyrylo Fesenko type players.

What do you think about this starting line-up? If you were to introduce someone else into it who would it be? Joe Ingles? Elijah Millsap?



ESPN's Tom Haberstroh tweeted this yesterday (caught by Basketball John, founder and icon of this site):

It shows where each team's top 10 players fall on their subjective NBA Ranking scale. The Jazz have three players in the Top 100, but then the wheels fall off. Other teams that have at least four players in the 100 club are the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, and Washington Wizards. Also known as: playoff teams.

Perception tells us that our 4th best player is worse than the Spurs' 8th best player. Is this true? Who are the top Spurs players? Tony Parker, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw have got to be in their top five. Following them would be Manu Ginobili, David West, and Danny Green. Is Alec Burks worse than Manu or Danny at this stage of their careers?

We'll see.



Today's #4 is brought to you by the People for Trey Lyles organization. Trey will be the back-up power forward tonight, unless Quin enlists Gordon or Joe to do it for match-up reasons. Trevor Booker is suspended for this game because of his pimp slap on Roy Hibbert in the preseason. As a result, in a normal way, Lyles may get about 15 minutes of action if he can handle it. It could be a good step for him to get out on the court early in his career so he can build a frame of reference. Going up against guys like Ilyasova and Morris tonight could be where he finds his niche on this team. It's going to be exciting.





On a personal note, I wish to apologize for a lack of "anything" over the last while. At the risk of exposing more of my personal life to the internet, I've been out of the country for months now taking care of a few family emergencies. Real life responsibilities have to put this hobby blog on the back-burner. As a consequence, we didn't get to put up all the pieces we wanted to during the preseason. That said, in the next few days (weeks?) expect a lot more content, from the normal stuff you have come to expect from this site -- to EXTRA stuff that we've all been secretly working on.

Sit tight, it's not how this season starts that matters. It's how it finishes. And that's something to keep in mind when our team goes on another late-season surge.

It's going to be a fun season Jazz fans. Thanks for letting this website be a part of your fan experience in 2015-2016!