The season is nearly upon us, which means it’s time for all of us to put ourselves out there and make unnecessary predictions. I’ve got 17 of them for you. Be forewarned: these aren’t your grandfather’s predictions. Unless your grandfather was the crazy old guy wearing a David Benoit jersey I talked to on TRAX the other day. Then some of these might be your grandfather’s predictions. Let’s get started.
1. Boris Diaw will lead the Jazz in assists per 36 minutes. Rest assured, these won’t all be stats predictions. Last year with the Spurs Diaw averaged 4.6 assists per 36 mins. That would have been second most on the Jazz behind Shelvin Mack (who averaged 6.1). Boris will edge out all 4 point guards on the Jazz and Gobert will be the benefactor of the French Connection. Side prediction: I’ll be tired of the French Connection nickname by about 5 games in.
2. The Jazz will have the fewest amount of technical fouls in the league this year. I don’t see this team getting many technical fouls. Last year the Jazz had the 6th least amount of technical fouls at 0.134 per game. The Spurs had the fewest at 0.049 per game. Rudy and Quin will get their fair share but I think those decrease with the Jazz getting more calls this year. Booker was usually good for a few techs every season and he’s gone.
3. George Hill will go back to being blonde. This needs to happen. George, you know you want to. It even goes with the Jazz color scheme.
4. Rudy Gobert will win the NBA’s Most Improved Player. This is a bold prediction and I think that Rudy would need to increase his scoring by about 8-10 points to get it done. He’d have to continue the preseason tear he’s been on but why not? Stranger things have happened.
5. Shelvin Mack will get traded to the Boston Celtics. Not a ton of real analysis here. No trade machine to make the numbers work and I’m not even predicting what they get in return. Brad Stevens coached Mack at Butler with Hayward. Boston seems like they’re are always willing to make a move and maybe they think it helps their chances at luring Hayward in free agency (a stretch, I know).
6. Jazz fans will get free Chik-fil-a sandwiches 3 times. I’m not sure what the official over/under on this is but 3 sounds about right. One day I hope to love something as much as Matt Harpring loves this promotion.
7. Jazz fans will get 50% off online orders at Papa John’s 49 times during the regular season. This is a sneaky way to make a non-off-the-wall prediction. Papa John’s offers 50% off the day after Jazz wins. If you are good at math you know I’m predicting 49 wins. I think early injuries will prevent them from getting to 50.
8. The Jazz will bring back their milk sponsor and Trey Lyles will become the new face of the terrible milk mustache. Sorry about this one Trey. Hopefully you wear it better than CJ Miles. This is the only picture I could find. Here is a fun Twitter conversation between Basketball John and CJ himself about that photo:
9. The best lineup for the Jazz this year will be: Hill, Exum, Hayward, Diaw, & Gobert. By best lineup I mean best offensive rating and defensive rating combination. There is a good mix of defensive prowess and enough offensive firepower to make this work (if Exum and Gobert continue to make offensive strides).
10. Rudy Gobert will make the all-star team. Rudy’s improvement will be most notable on the offensive end. He will shoot 70% from the free throw line and the trend of the Jazz finding Rudy more often down low in the preseason will continue into the regular season. Rudy will be his same ol’ dominant self on D and he will be chosen to replace a slightly injured Deandre or Boogie as an alternate in the game.
11. Gordon Hayward will get a triple double. Do you know the last time a Jazz player got a triple double? Unless, I’m missing something, the last player to ring the triple double bell was Carlos freaking Boozer back in 2008. Gordon was one assist shy back in 2014. In 2012, Amar wrote about all 7 triple doubles in Jazz history here. This is the year.
12. Dante Exum & Trey Lyles will play all 82 regular season games. Exum repeats his rookie feat (on reduced minutes some nights). Lyles’ style of play and backup role will enable him to bring scoring off the bench in every game this year.
13. The Jazz will beat the Warriors on the road. The second-to-last game of the season is at Golden State. Jazz will be fighting for playoff positioning and the Warriors will rest. Even if they are not resting, the Jazz are playing great basketball at the end of the year and want to prove they can beat the Warriors. Final score 106-101.
14. George Hill & Joe Johnson will each have game-winning buzzer beaters. One of these games will come against Lebron because that’s just what happens with Lebron and the Jazz. Hill and Johnson each have the clutch gene. Teams will forget this as they focus on Hayward and Hood and leave too much space for these wily vets in critical moments at the end of games.
15. The Jazz will have a 14 game win streak. This is where the depth starts to pay off for the Jazz. They able to withstand multiple sets of 3 games in 4 nights. In a vacuum, all of these games are individually reasonably winnable. It won’t be easy but it’s not completely out of the question either. Here are the games:
16. Matt Harpring will miss 15 games. Well, I wouldn’t say he’s missing them, Bob. This is actually written into his contract. Ok, not really but he seems to miss more games than anyone else on the broadcast team. Am I the only one that wonders what in the world Harpring could be doing? It’s 82 nights a year man!?! Ron Boone hasn’t missed a game since his ABA days.
17. Rudy will give us the salute 6 times. If you’re gonna have a signature celebration in NBA 2K you gotta let it loose more often than Rudy let us see the salute last year. That being said, the moment has to be right. Like this:
We will end on a salute. I’ll check back at the end of the season to see how we fared. In the meantime, make your own prediction in the comments section. Go Jazz.