2012-13 Result: 43-39, 9th in the Western Conference, missed the playoffs
Key Additions: Trey Burke, Rudy Gobert, Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush, John Lucas III, Lester Hudson
Key Departures: Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Randy Foye, Earl Watson, Mo Williams
The Jazz will lose a lot of their offense and inside presence in 2013-14. Al Jefferson did not renew his contract and was signed by the Charlotte Bobcats, while Paul Millsap was lured away by the resurgent Brooklyn Nets. Jefferson and Millsap accounted for 32.4 points and 16.3 rebounds a game.
But what the Jazz lost in offense, they gained in height as a couple of European seven-footers join the team. Latvian center Andris Biedrins, who averaged a double-double for Golden State in 2008-09, joins forces with rookie Frenchman Rudy Gobert. Gobert, who was drafted 27th overall by the Denver Nuggets over the summer, is still young at 21, and is considered a project. Nevertheless, he just has enough height (7'1") and athleticism to be a serviceable big man in the league. The Euro duo join another European big man, 6'11" Turkish center Enes Kanter, who averaged 7.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in just over 15 minutes a game. Center Derrick Favors will be coming back along with 6'9" pogo stick Jeremy Evans, and they are a fierce shot-blocking duo who will make opposing slashers think twice.
The wings will not be affected much, even with Millsap's departure, as Richard Jefferson teams up with Marvin Williams, Brandon Rush and Alec Burks. Their numbers might not be glaring, but at least they are consistent, and any of the wing players can just heat up at any given moment. Gordon Hayward is expected to have a breakout offensive season as he averaged 14.1 points in 2012-13. Hayward is a light-out, high-efficiency outside shooter who made 41.5 per cent of his three-point attempts.
Utah's first-round pick, point guard Trey Burke out of Michigan, is out indefinitely with a broken index finger. With Burke not in the rotation, the Jazz are forced to rely on John Lucas III, Lester Hudson and Scott Machado in the backcourt. Unfortunately, the trio averaged under 10 points and 3 assists among them, and Hudson was not even in an NBA roster.
Season Prediction: The Jazz are parading an intriguing mish-mash of role players, has-been offensive threats and a plethora of giants. It will be interesting to see how Tyrone Corbin will be able to extract offense from his team, especially if his point guard of the future, Burke, is not yet at 100 per cent. They will win a few close games and be blown out in others, and will miss the playoffs yet again.
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