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NBA Daily: 2022-2023 Season Preview #22 – Utah Jazz


PhilBoxing.com




In this limited 30-part series, we shall be discussing each team’s latest developments, current roster, and future prospects in the upcoming 2022-2023 NBA season. For every team, we will examine bit-by-bit the important aspects that may shape its progress and provide a rough projection of how it will fare vis-à-vis its previous year’s performance and versus the rest of the league.

UTAH JAZZ

2021-2022 Season Win-Loss Record:

49-33

Depth Chart:

PG – Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Leandro Bolmaro
SG – Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson, Talen Horton-Tucker
SF – Malik Beasley, Ochai Agbaji, Rudy Gay
PF – Lauri Markkanen, Jarred Vanderbilt, Stanley Johnson
CE – Kelly Olynyk, Walker Kessler, Cody Zeller, Udoka Azubuike

Injury Updates:

No significant injuries.

Head Coach:

Will Hardy

Headliners:

The Utah Jazz lost two All-Stars this past off-season. Rudy Gobert now forms a twin-tower tandem with Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota, while Donovan Mitchell joins fellow All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen to create a formidable trio in Cleveland.

Just as he did in Boston, Danny Ainge is once again working his magic in Utah as alternate governor and CEO of basketball operations. His imprint in the latest Jazz dealings is hard to miss. In exchange for Gobert, Utah got Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverly, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, and a total of four first-round picks (Unprotected: 2023, 2025, & 2027; Top 5 Protected: 2029) and a pick swap (2026).

Utah also got Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027, and 2029), and two pick swaps (2026 and 2028) in the trade for Mitchell.

Three key players from these two trades will become potential starters for Utah in this upcoming season. Collin Sexton, now healthy, will most likely start at the two-spot, while Markkanen, fresh off a solid FIBA qualifiers performance, will start at power forward.

In his best season way back in 2020-2021, Sexton averaged 24.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists for the Cavaliers. He is, no doubt, a capable scorer. His efficiency, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. The veteran presence of Mike Conley at the point guard spot, will hopefully address this issue to some extent.

Malik Beasley, now in his 6th season in the league, used to be the top wingman for Minnesota prior to Anthony Edwards’ arrival. When it was clear that the reins would be given to the explosive Edwards, Beasley’s usage rate significantly dipped, resulting to a 7.5-point drop in his scoring production down to 12.1 points last season from 19.6 markers per game the season prior. Beasley will probably get back to his productive self, as he turns over a new leaf with his new team.

Former sixth man of the year awardee Jordan Clarkson, will probably maintain his role, if he isn’t promoted as a starter or traded for more draft assets and/or younger talent. Talen Horton-Tucker, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Rudy Gay, Jared Vanderbilt, will join Clarkson as the team’s shock troopers.

Ochai Agbaji, the 14th overall pick in the recent NBA Rookie Draft out of Kansas, was also major acquisition. He is arguably among the most NBA-ready rookies in his class. Rookie center Walker Kessler, another part of those trades mentioned earlier and the 22nd overall pick out of Auburn, should get a lot of minutes from the get-go, particularly because Kelly Olynyk is the only notable center Utah has on its fold.

This team may seem lottery bound at first glance, especially when you consider the departure of two bonafide All Stars in Mitchell and Gobert, but make no mistake about it. This year’s Utah Jazz is an essentially very deep team. With able and well-experienced Will Hardy leading the way as head coach, the Utah Jazz may be in it for a surprising playoff run.

Comments are highly appreciated. You may send them to reylanloberternos@yahoo.com.ph and you may follow me @reylan_l on twitter.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Reylan Loberternos.


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