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NBA 2015-16 Team Previews: Utah Jazz – Return To Old School Jazz

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Utah Jazz

Our NBA 2015-16 Team Previews begins in the Northwest, next up the Utah Jazz

Record:  (38-44) 11th in the Western Conference, 3rd in Northwest Division, failed to make playoffs

Rank: Offense: 102.5 (15th)   Defense:102.1 (12th)  Differential/Net: plus +0.5 (16th) Pace: 92.8 (30th)

2014-15

Key Stats:

  • Won 19 of their last 29 games with the best defense post All-Star break holding opponents to 89 ppg and 42.2% from the field
  • Post All-Star the Jazz had the biggest improvement in net rating from a negative of 3.1 to a positive of 6.9 (which subsequently also coincided with the trade of Enes Kanter and emergence of Rudy Gobert in the starting line-up)
  • While the Jazz had amazing second half defense their pace was worst in the league and their offense suffered to improve their defense

Off Season Moves

Key Areas Needing Addressing:

  • Pace
  • Offense
  • Lack of veterans and Back Court Starters

Draft: Trey Lyles selected 12th, Olivier Hanlan selected 42nd in second round

Player Additions/Players Re-Signed:

Players Exiting:  Jeremy Evans, Daniel Diez 

2015-16

Core Players:  Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert

Key Reserves:  Trevor Booker, Trey Lyles, Rodney Hood

Outlook

Rising Star: Derrick Favors is the best kept secret in the Association and is due to have a break through season where the NBA loving public will suddenly discover him. Alongside front court mates Rudy Gobert and Gordon Hayward they offer arguably a top 3 front court in the NBA.

On The Bubble:  Trey Burke came in the league thinking he was a starting point guard then promptly lost his position to rookie Dante Exum last season. Now with Exum out for the year with the torn ACL he’ll get another opportunity to prove the naysayers he is a starter. His ability to achieve this goal could be the difference in whether the Jazz make a trip to the post season.

X-Factors: Trevor Booker/Trey Lyles: Booker had the best circus shot of the year last season and plays with a high motor, so his ability to maintain defensive intensity as he comes in off the bench will be key. Lyles though just a rookie has received high praise for his ability to do everything well. Jazz management and those in the Association are high on him as he was even voted by his peers as one of the rookies who was a steal at his selection spot and even got votes for potentially winning Rookie of the Year!

Best Case: As mentioned expect a big year from Derrick Favors along with his front court mates, so it’s a matter of whether the back court can raise their game to meet that level. Additionally someone other than the front court is going to need to score, but if the team on a whole can increase their pace while maintaining their defensive effort a playoff berth is well within their reach.

Worst Case: Most pundits have the Jazz making the playoffs this season either in the 7th or 8th seed, but with the loss of Dante Exum and an unproven back court is this realistic. Certainly teams will be ready to face the daunting defense of Utah this season, however the bigger issue may be where Utah generates their points.

Finishing with the slowest pace in the Association allowed the Jazz to dial in defensively, but if they can’t maintain that prowess or generate their own points it’ll be difficult to garner wins.They start the season playing 10 of their first 14 games on the road, so it’s imperative they get out to a good start or face an uphill battle in the tougher Western Conference. Worst case scenario for the Jazz would be more health woes and missing out on the playoffs again.

Prediction: They’ll do enough to stay in the mix for the bottom seeds and end up playing in the post season.

Games versus Rockets:

  • January 4th: At Energy Solutions Arena in Utah
  • January 7th: In Houston at Toyota Center
  • February 23rd: At Energy Solutions Arena in Utah
  • March 23rd: In Houston at Toyota Center

Fansided Affiliate Site: Purple and Blues

Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions to help you get through the early season. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.

Next: Nuggets Preview

Next: SCS Complete Round Table Sessions

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