As you already know, the Utah Jazz had a pretty quiet offseason by re-signing their free agents, Derrick Favors, Dante Exum and Raul Neto. They also stayed at pick #21 in the draft and selected Grayson Allen. And this was the best course of action the Jazz could have taken.
Well, besides signing Lebron James. But let’s talk about things that were actually possible.
The Jazz now get to roll the same lineups that got them to the second round of the playoffs last season. Don’t think that’s a good thing?
But get ready for that lineup, and the team, to get better. Here’s why!
Ricky Rubio’s production should continue
It took half the season but once Ricky Rubio became comfortable in the Jazz offense, the team started rolling. It was one of multiple reasons the turnaround happened for the Jazz. Rubio’s three point shooting also exploded the last half of the season, ballooning his season percentage all the way to 35%, the highest of his career!
Can I get greedy?
Yes, because I’m the one writing this!
It seems reasonable to expect that a comfortable Rubio can get his season average one percentage higher to 36% for the season. That’s consistency will be huge and a big reason the Jazz will win more games this year.
Donovan Mitchell is going to get better!
With all that Mitchell accomplished, it feels like he’s already a veteran player. But he’s going to improve next year. Mitchell has mentioned defense, efficiency and fitness as things he wants to improve on this season. With his work ethic it would be surprising to not see him make a jump. And that only means a more potent point of attack for Utah. Is it October yet?
Joe Ingles will be the glue that holds things together
Ingles will continue to be the most underrated player in the league next season. But you can bet that he’ll get more recognition as the Jazz will surely get a lot more national games with a star like Donovan Mitchell. What most people will notice is Ingles’ ability to play in any lineup Quin Snyder wants to play.
It’s that versatility that makes Ingles so valuable. And that’s why probably the most important step Ingles can make this season is more endurance. The more he can stay on the floor while playing at a high level the better the Jazz will be.
Oh and also shoot more. Ingles should always shoot more.
Derrick Favors is back!
Re-signing Favors almost assures the Jazz a top 5 defense, if not the best in the league. On top of that, Utah really found a groove with Favors and Rudy Gobert on the floor at the same time. It also gives the Jazz options to alternate rest while keeping an elite big man on the floor.
Favors also just makes winning plays. Whether it’s getting all the 50/50 balls, a game winning floater, an offensive putback or a monster block, Derrick Favors makes your team better.
Rudy Gobert is going for two-time defensive player of the year.
Now that the league has taken note of the Jazz and Rudy Gobert, they’re going to notice even more when the Jazz win a bunch of national TV games this year.
Rudy is a rim-protecting force and the cornerstone of the most dominant defense in the NBA. If he can stay healthy this season there’s no reason he can’t lead the Jazz to another league best defense and high playoff seed.
There’s so many young talented players on this team that will only get better. Donovan Mitchell, Royce O’neale, Dante Exum and Grayson Allen will not only play big roles but will improve as the season goes along.
It’s going to be as exciting a bench this year as I can remember.
Recently, Jabari Parker signed a $40 million deal with the Chicago Bulls. Jazz fans, including myself, have considered Parker an interesting prospect and may have been disappointed the Jazz weren’t able to bring him onto the team.
But that would have been much too high a cost.
Reminder tweet: for the Jazz to have signed Jabari Parker to the offer sheet he just got, they would have had to have not resigned/waived: Derrick Favors, Dante Exum, Raul Neto, Thabo Sefolosha, Jonas Jerebko, and Ekpe Udoh.— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) July 14, 2018
The Jazz can now keep their continuity and depth that made them so strong this season. And besides, they’ll have more money available next offseason when more viable free agents are available that play defense.
We’re now on 2K rating watch and it looks like Jayson Tatum already has his rating. A surprising 87! Count me as one that will be unnecessarily angry if this rating is any better than Donovan Mitchell.
Lebron James also got his 2k rating and it was a 98 overall.
So what will Donovan Mitchell’s rating be? Here’s what he had to say...
Just need a 90 dunk rating and I’ll be straight https://t.co/1kB6e6TTxu— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) July 17, 2018
Seems only fair for the reigning slam dunk champion.
Rudy Gobert’s basketball camp concluded in France. But one of the best things about it was seeing Raul Neto and Thabo Sefolosha in attendance.
This team definitely has comradery and it’s no wonder it shows up on the court.
A few familiar faces at Rudy Gobert's camp pic.twitter.com/lam5u7hYTu— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) July 16, 2018
Aaron Falk, who now works for the Jazz, put out a great video talking with Derrick Favors about his re-signing.
If there’s one thing I like, it’s Jazz players talking about winning a championship.
Donovan Mitchell is a candidate for Best Breakthrough Athlete at the ESPY’s.
It seems like every month something happens with Donovan that I never expected would happen with a Jazz player. How is he only going into his second season?