Utah Jazz Predictions Roundup

October 26th, 2016 | by David J Smith
Rodney Hood's progress will continue to elevate this season. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

Rodney Hood’s progress will continue to elevate this season. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

Outside the Golden State Warriors, few teams had a better off-season than the Utah Jazz1. They managed to add three savvy veterans in George Hill, Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw, all while retaining the entire rotation aside from reserve guard Trey Burke. Add to that the healthy return of Dante Exum and — cross your fingers — Alec Burks and it makes sense that there is great optimism surrounding the Jazz. The season opener, while a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, actually added momentum to the positive feelings. There were many great things to take away from that game.

The national media, for the most part, shares this sentiment. Many have jumped on the Utah bandwagon. Here is your one-stop projection shop, a quick repository of some of the many prediction articles that have been surfacing in the past few weeks. This is by no means inclusive, but hopefully will provide some solid reading for the rabid Jazz fans out there.

ESPN.com: Few writers approach Zach Lowe in combining sheer basketball knowledge and insight with readability and humor. His traditionally fun predictions article was entertaining, as always, and it was replete with numerous Jazz-related predictions: 50 wins, extensions for Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, and Hayward re-upping in Utah next summer. If you haven’t read this yet, that should be remedied immediately.

ESPN has been extremely bullish on the Jazz. Their many season preview articles included a lot of Jazz mentions. In their annual picks, Utah was second in their Team Turnaround piece, George Hill was mentioned as best newcomer, Quin Snyder got some well-deserved Coach of the Year love, and a trio of Jazzmen garnered votes for first-time All-Stars. Utah earned a lot of attention for the Northwest Division picks, Gobert for Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player and some Sixth Man mentions.

Insider took an even deeper look, with their 5-on-5 predictions. For those sans Insider, the quintet of experts are all high on the Hill acquisition, the roster’s depth and the team’s chances of making it into the Western Conference’s second round.

Kevin Pelton is also one of the best in the biz, and he knows the Jazz very well. His real-plus-minus rankings have the Jazz finishing with 47.6 wins, good for third in the Western Conference and sixth in the league. Not too shabby. ESPN’s summer forecast sees Utah winding up fifth in the West.

NBA.com: David Aldridge feels Utah has what it takes to secure home court advantage in the Playoffs, while finishing second in the division. Also, Shaun Powell breaks down the Jazz,

CBS Sports: With Zach Harper now calling Salt Lake City his home (and co-hosting the Salt City Hoops radio show), he has a great perspective on the Jazz. Here is his take. This was covered a few months ago, but once again, CBS Sports proclaimed the Jazz’s bench the best in the NBA. They also lauded the starting lineup, which came in fifth.

Deseret News: As always, the DNews Jazz preview is a must-read. Mike Sorenson shares 11 predictions for the Jazz and the NBA. His prognostications are very grounded, and several could come to fruition.

Salt Lake Tribune: The Trib also put out a wonderful Utah preview, covering a myriad of Jazz-related story lines.

Sports Illustrated: It was refreshing to see five Jazzman in SI.com’s Top 100 Players rankings. SLAM was not as effusive in its Jazz praise in their top 50 ranks.

The Ringer: Danny Chau goes with the audacious, actually picking the Jazz to knock off the Warriors in the second round. Bill Simmons does not feel the same about Utah:

In its squad goals, the Ringer also thinks the Jazz will make some noise.

Hoops Hype: They see the Jazz making the Playoffs, but do not have them nearly as high in their season preview.

Basketball Insiders: Writer Joel Bingham tabs Gobert and Hayward are some potential first-time All-Stars. While Hayward’s injury could add difficulty to that, if Utah starts out well, a Jazzman could receive that honor (Favors should also be among those considered).

There are probably some others that were missed, and if that is the case, add a comment with a link.

Just for kicks, here are some of this writer’s predictions, with varying degrees of boldness.

  • Rudy Gobert will finish with 1,000+ points and 1,000+ rebounds this season.
  • The Jazz will have seven players average double digits: all five starters and two of three bench players: Joe Johnson, Alec Burks, Trey Lyles — most likely the first two. The members of the starting lineup will also all sport 16+ PERs.
  • Quin Snyder will finish in the top three in Coach of the Year balloting, but will not come away with the award.
  • Gordon Hayward will get a triple double this year. He will not make the All-Star team, mostly because of a slower start coming back from his injury.
  • Rodney Hood will jump up to 18 PPG, thanks largely to his eclipsing 40 percent from downtown.
  • Derrick Favors will continue to be criminally underrated (one of basketball’s constants), but will once again increase his scoring. He and the Jazz will finalize a renegotiation and extension, keeping him in Utah for several more years.
  • The Jazz will consummate one trade in February, but not involving any core players.
  • George Hill will lead the team in assists.
  • Dante Exum will struggle a bit in the first half of the season, but will blossom post-All-Star break.
  • Dennis Lindsey will bring home Executive of the Year honors. And deservedly so.
  • Final record prediction: 49-33, good for fourth in the West.
David J Smith

David J Smith

Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News and has written for the Utah Jazz website and Hoopsworld.com (now Basketball Insiders). He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. He and his incredibly patient wife, Elizabeth, have some amazing children--four girls and two boys. Voted "Most Likely to Replace Jerry Sloan" in high school.
David J Smith

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