How The Jazz Can Build On Post-All Star Success In Offseason


The Utah Jazz had a mediocre record of 38-44 in the 2014-2015 NBA season. On the surface, it is nothing too impressive. However, their record of 19-10 following the All-Star Break (and not coincidentally, the trade of Enes Kanter), was 7th in the league, trailing only the Warriors, Clippers, Spurs, Celtics, Cavaliers and the Rockets.

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This was in part because Rudy Gobert ate up the minutes that Kanter played. According to, before the All-Star Game, the team’s defensive rating was 106.1, 4th worst in the league. However, post All-Star Game and Enes Kanter, the Utah Jazz suddenly had the league’s best DefRtg with 94.8.

The Utah Jazz are not far from being a very good team.

Heading into the offseason, the Utah Jazz look to continue the success. The Jazz have seven contracts locked in for 2015-2016, which are Hayward, Favors, Exum, Burke, Burks, Hood and Gobert. These seven are likely to be the core for the foreseeable future. With the 12th pick in the NBA Draft, the Jazz are likely to add one more talented young piece (Stanley Johnson of Arizona is a good fit and has been mocked for Utah).

This leaves eight players on the roster, with four having team options and one a qualifying offer. Assuming the qualifying offer is extended to Ingles, and team options for Trevor Booker and Bryce Cotton are exercised, that leaves the roster at possibly eleven players. GM Dennis Lindsey still has two second-round picks this year slotted at No. 42 and No. 54. My opinion is that these picks are going to be traded for future assets, sold for cash, or used to pick a player to stash overseas.

Assuming Ingles is being paid $3M a year, the Jazz will have approximately $11.2 Million in cap space to nab two more rotation players and one veteran.

The two rotation players I had in mind both come from the Los Angeles Lakers – Jeremy Lin and Ed Davis. They had great success running the P&R in LA last season.

According to, as the roll man Davis shot 61 percent, which was good for 5th in the league (min. 100 possessions). He’s six-foot-ten with a seven-foot wingspan and mobile defensively, and would be a great back up for Gobert.

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Lin would join a crowded Utah backcourt, but would allow flexibility and increase the pace, which the Jazz desperately need. He shot 55.6 percent in the restricted area last year with a poorly-run Lakers offense. The previous year in Houston, he was an excellent 62.4 percent in the restricted area. He runs the pick-and-roll well and finishes at the rim at a rate among the best in the league. Lin would add in an aggressiveness not yet seen with Dante Exum. With a career average of 34.9 percent from three, he would make opponents pay for leaving him open.

Drew Garrison (@DrewGarrisonSBN) compiled a couple Lin / Davis P&R’s that occurred in the preseason.

Imagine a Lin, Hood, Johnson, Booker, Davis backup as the second unit. The Jazz could even have a two-PG lineup depending on their rotations, having Exum in for Hood. This would be similar to the way the Lakers started Jordan Clarkson and Lin together in the latter portion of the season. The last spot in the roster would be a 5th big. This could be a veteran signing (think along the lines of Ryan Hollins), an undrafted prospect or someone in summer league.

PG: Exum / Burke / Cotton

SG: Burks /Lin / Hood

SF: Hayward / Johnson / Ingles

PF: Favors / Booker / 5th big

C: Gobert / Davis / 5th big

"“We feel like we could field a team, a functional team that can get better just with internal improvement.” – GM Dennis Lindsey"

Of course, internal improvement is a big thing for a young team. Utah is among the most inexperienced teams in the league, with its most experienced player at five years last season. It’s a team full of talented two-way players, and if they continue to improve and add a solid bench unit, I see no reason for this team not to be able to compete for the playoffs this year, even if they end up not making any moves at all.

Utah Jazz fans should be excited for this upcoming year. With one of the best cores in the NBA and cap space, who knows what’s going to happen? You can only guarantee two things–tons of fun and a competitive team.

Next: 2014 Draft Flashback: Utah Jazz Make a Play for Top Pick

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