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NBA 2016-17 Team Previews – Utah Jazz: The Depth Squad

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Feb 9, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) celebrates with forward Trey Lyles (41) and guard Raul Neto (25) after making the game winning shot in overtime to defeat the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 9, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) celebrates with forward Trey Lyles (41) and guard Raul Neto (25) after making the game winning shot in overtime to defeat the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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Feb 9, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) celebrates with forward Trey Lyles (41) and guard Raul Neto (25) after making the game winning shot in overtime to defeat the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 9, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) celebrates with forward Trey Lyles (41) and guard Raul Neto (25) after making the game winning shot in overtime to defeat the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 9, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) celebrates with forward Trey Lyles (41) and guard Raul Neto (25) after making the game winning shot in overtime to defeat the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

 NBA 2016-17 Team Previews – Utah Jazz: The Depth Squad

To prepare our readers for the regular season SCS provides our NBA 2016-17 Team Previews.  Who will return to the playoffs? Which team will fall from grace and who will be the Cinderella team?

Get a complete break down of each team. Included in the profiles are:

  • Where the team finished 2015-16
  • Key 2015-16 stats
  • Future draft pick status
  • Current and future salary rank
  • Off Season Moves
  • 2017 Free Agents
  • Schedule, NBA League Pass and Win Projection Ranking
  • Team Overview entering season (Starting 5, reserves and notable injuries)
  • When each team will play the Houston Rockets
  • Strengths, Weaknesses and Prediction

NBA 2016-17 Team Previews now looks at arguably the toughest division – the Northwest. Next is the team many pundits predict to make the biggest leap in the West , the  Utah Jazz.

2015-16 Record: 40 – 42

Playoffs:

Missed playoffs finished 9th in NBA Western Conference

Key 2015-16 Statistics:

Points Per Game: 97.7 (28th )

Opponent Points Per Game:  95.9 (2nd)

Pace: 91.0 (30th )

Offensive Rank: 105.9 (16th )

Defensive Rank:  103.9 (7th)

Three Point Rank:  35.5% (12th)

Rebounds: 43.2  (18th)

Assists: 19.0 (28th)

Steals: 7.7 (18th)

Blocks: 5.2 (14th)

Turnovers: 14.9 (21st)

Next: Future postioning - draft, free agents

Feb 23, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) defends against Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 23, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) defends against Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 23, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) defends against Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

2017 Free Agents

Restricted:

Oct 3, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) drives to the basket on Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) during the first quarter at the Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Unrestricted:

Future Draft Picks

See Real GM for full details:

Incoming:

  • 2017 first round draft pick from Golden State Golden State’s 2017 1st round pick to Utah [Denver-Golden State-Utah, 7/10/2013
  • 2017 second round draft picks from Detroit and/or Golden State and/or New York (second and third most favorable incl. Utah) Utah will receive the second and third most favorable of Detroit’s 2017 2nd round pick, Golden State’s 2017 2nd round pick, New York’s 2017 2nd round pick (via Toronto) and Utah’s 2017 2nd round pick and Philadelphia will receive the most and least favorable of these four picks (via Utah) [Denver-Golden State-Utah, 7/10/2013; New York-Toronto, 7/10/2013; Toronto-Utah, 7/10/2014; Detroit-Oklahoma City-Utah, 2/19/2015; Philadelphia-Utah, 8/26/2016]
  • 2018 first round draft pick from Oklahoma City
  • 2021 second round draft pick from Washington
  • 2022 second round draft pick from San Antonio

Outgoing:

  • None (one of 4 teams without any outgoing picks)

Average Age of Team: 26.5 years

Next: Off Season Moves

Oct 17, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard George Hill (3) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Los Angeles Clippers at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

2016 Draft Picks

Round 1: N/A

Round 2: Joel Bolomboy (52), Marcus Paige (55), Tyrone Wallace (60)

2016 Free Agents prior to July 1, 2016:

Unrestricted:

Moves made following July 1, 2016:

Incoming:

Exiting: 

Unresolved:

  • None

Next: Schedule, League Pass, Win Projection Rankings

Oct 19, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless (4) defends against Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas over-under for wins: 47.5

Schedule strength:

As ranked by ESPN: 29th with 3.29 extra wins

The Jazz have eight of their 17 back-to-backs finish in Salt Lake City, and only one team has fewer three-in-four clusters.

Games versus Rockets:

  • Saturday November 19th in Houston at Toyota Center at 5PM EST
  • Tuesday November 29th at Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT at 9 PM EST
  • March 8th in Houston at Toyota Center at 8PM EST

Zach Lowe NBA League Pass Rank: 20th

We’re all excited about the Jazz, but can they speed it the hell up already? Utah ranked dead last in pace, and their possessions after snagging defensive rebounds — opportunities to run! — were egregiously slow, per the tracking site Inpredictable. Utah frittered away the first 10 seconds of every possession with rote sequences of passes and cuts before getting to the real stuff.

Next: Team Overview

Oct 19, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Trey Lyles (41) shoots the ball during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Trail Blazers won 88-84. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Committed Salary

2016: $79,538,192 – ranked 16th entering free agency, rank 27th post free agency

2017: $60,672,611 – ranked 25th, but notably have several free agents who could be extended in season.

Team Salary Ranking as per Hoops Hype, and team salary overview also via Hoops Hype

Starting 5:

Point Guard: George Hill – 12.1 points, 3.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds

Shooting Guard: Rodney Hood – 14.5 points,  2.7 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 35.9% from deep

Small Forward: Gordon Hayward – 19.7 points, 3.7 assists,  5.0 rebounds

Power Forward: Derrick Favors – 16.4 points, 8.1rebounds, 1.5 blocks

Center: Rudy Gobert – 9.1 points 11.0 rebounds 2.2 blocks

Reserves:

Guards: Dante Exum, Raul Neto

Wings: Shelvin Mack, Alex Burks, Joe Johnson, Joe Ingles

Bigs: Trey Lyles, Boris Diaw, Jeff Withey, Joel Bolomboy (R)

Injury News:

  • Hayward remains out after breaking his left ring finger on a teammates shirt. Expected to return mid to late November
  • Burks remains out following knee and ankle surgeries, no time table for return
  • Favors is suffering from T band syndrome to his left knee, is questionable for opener

All injury news as per rotoworld

Next: Strengths, Weaknesses, Prediction

Oct 19, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder reacts during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Trail Blazers won 88-84. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Strengths:

  • Utah added experience and depth this summer via the trio of Hill, Diaw and Johnson. With a squad full of young talent it should be what is required to garner wins in late game situations.
  • The three vets bring a cumulative 284 playoff games to the table.
  • Competition: there are so many solid players on this team who all want minutes. The under rated Favors and up and coming Lyles are both solid power forwards who offer an exciting forward tandem. Eight players enter free agency this summer if extensions aren’t negotiated beforehand.
  • Utah – any team who rolls into Utah on the back end of a back to back knows how difficult it is to win in the high altitude.
  • Quinn Snyder is one of the more under rated coaches in the NBA

Weaknesses:

  • Last season the Jazz ranked 30th in pace. With a slew of teams looking to increase the pace over last season this could present an issue. Sure the Jazz play great defense, but use simple math – quicker pace equals more shot opportunities.
  • The Jazz ranked 28th in points and 28th in assists last season. Some of these issues will be offset by the presence of the new experienced trio. Look for Utah to find a happy mix of working quicker (than they did last season) and using more ball movement.
  • Last season the Jazz went 14-28 in games within 5 points in the last 5 minutes. That was the third worst record in those situations (Suns, Sixers). Again, look for Diaw and Hill to make a huge difference in these scenarios. In fact, I’ll point you to the Spurs last season as back-up.  Repeatedly, even if Diaw wasn’t in the game he was brought into the game to either be the in bound passer or initiate offense on the court. Hill will also be a major factor in this regard.
  • Pressure: almost every pundit has the Jazz pegged to make the play-offs with some even anointing them as a home court seed. That’s a ton of pressure to live up to.
  • Staying healthy:  Utah has been unfortunate with injuries and this season is no different as they start the season without Hayward, Burks and Favors dealing with a lingering knee issue. Fortunately the team is so deep it shouldn’t pose a problem.

Prediction:

Ask yourself one question – – only two times in memory has anyone witnessed Gregg Popovich get upset. Recently Pops got choked up when discussing Tim Duncan’s retirement. One other occasion stands out in my memory: when the Spurs traded  “Georgie” Hill. Sure they got Kawhi Leonard in the deal, but it was no less difficult for Popovich who called Hill his favorite Spur.

With the glut of point guards in the NBA, Hill just isn’t on anyone’s radar, but he should be. For my money he’s the most under rated point guard in the NBA. Not for his stats, rather,  for what he does on and off the court.

Utah return to the playoffs after a 4 year hiatus. Assuming health doesn’t become an issue look for the Jazz to compete for a position on the ladder as high as 4th and as low as 8th.

FanSided Affiliate Site: Purple and Blues

Next: Blazers Team Preview

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