Utah Jazz 2017 Season Preview
Gordon Hayward finally got Utah past the first round of the playoffs. Can he build on that in 2017?
The Utah Jazz will likely miss the playoffs once again. Utah looked like they had so much promise last season. They traded Enes Kanter who was their starting center to Oklahoma City who now has him as a backup power forward.
Trey Burke posted 12.8 points per game after posting 12.3 points per game as a rookie. Utah believed 2014 first round pick Dante Exum could post more points per game in 2015-2016 than Burke, but Exum is out for this season meaning Burke will get a third year to prove himself where he gets at least 30 minutes per game at point guard.
Shooting guard Alec Burks will need to show the Jazz that he's fully recovered from a shoulder injury that put him on injured reserve in 2014-2015. I'm not sure if Burks will be the same shooter after such a brutal injury. It may be time to replace Burks in Utah.
Small forward Gordon Hayward did worse as a rookie only averaging 5.4 points per game. He has improved as a scorer with the Jazz in each of the past three seasons posting 11.8 points per game in 2011-2012, 14.1 points per game in 2012-2013, and 16.2 points per game in 2013-2014. Last season in 2014-2015, Hayward averaged 19.3 points per game. Gordon is the best player on the Jazz and has surprised people after many expected him to be a college stud that would turn into an NBA dud.
Hayward has met expectations as a leader of a struggling team. He plays like a franchise player and continues to be reliable. Calling him an All Star feels wrong because the Jazz have yet to win in the NBA Playoffs despite the success of Hayward. While you may be able to get an upgrade, getting rid of him creates outrage in Utah and ruins the overall team chemistry for the Jazz.
Favors has struggled throughout his career. People forget that the former Georgia Tech power forward was drafted third overall by the New Jersey Nets in the 2010 NBA Draft after Kentucky point guard John Wall and Ohio State small forward Evan Turner went 1 and 2 as the unanimous top 2 picks in every NBA Mock Draft. Favors did better than Evan Turner in 2014-2015 averaging 16 points per game after struggling to live up to the hype for so many years.
The biggest weakness that the Utah Jazz have lies at center. The Utah Jazz will not be able to compete until they get a center that averages at least 10 points per game.
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Posted on 3/6/2016.
Utah Jazz Prediction
Our starting 5 predictions segment will feature a brief one paragraph prediction from 5 of our basketball analysts at Draft Utopia.