According to some recent NBA win projections released by SportsLine, the Utah Jazz’s outlook for 2017-18 isn’t all that promising.
One of the most exciting parts of the NBA offseason is trying to predict how all the various trades, free agency signings and draft picks are all going to end up affecting the final outcome of each of the league’s 30 teams. As players jump around or as recent draft picks impress in the Summer League, fans can’t help but ask the question, how good is my team going to be next season?
And even teams that have seemingly solid offseasons don’t always live up to their potential or hype. Injuries can occur, chemistry issues can arise or a number of other circumstances can hinder a team, making it a near impossibility to know just exactly how each squad will fare. Nevertheless, it’s still fun for experts and fans alike to project what teams’ win totals will be as they get hyped up for the upcoming season.
Just over a week ago, CBS Sports’ Colin Ward-Henninger released an article with win projections for all 30 NBA teams based on data from Stephen Oh of SportsLine. These figures vary somewhat from the Vegas lines, but for the most part the trend was quite similar.
In the projections, SportsLine had the Jazz finishing the 2017-18 season with a measly 38.3 wins. That’s quite the disappointing figure for a team that had leaped each year in the win column from the 20s, to the 30s, to the 40s, then finally to the 50s with 51 total victories last season. Obviously, the Jazz took a major hit when they lost Gordon Hayward as well as now having to deal with the vast improvement of several teams in the Western Conference.
Of course, these projections which were accurate as of July 5th, didn’t take into consideration any of Utah’s latest three signings which include some nice depth in Thabo Sefolosha, Jonas Jerebko and Ekpe Udoh, so this could very well change, but I definitely think 38.3 is on the low side. The following is what the excerpt from the CBS Sports piece said about Utah’s chances next year:
"Utah’s win projection was hit by a sledgehammer when Gordon Hayward decided to sign with the Celtics. According to SportsLine, the Jazz dropped seven games by losing Hayward, and they now have just a 21 percent chance to make the playoffs after earning the No. 5 seed last season."
I won’t deny the line about the sledgehammer, but luckily the Jazz have a couple of guys in Rudy Gobert and head coach Quin Snyder who in my mind are made of steel. With Quin’s genius and Rudy’s ever-improving set of skills, as long as the rest of the guys rally around them, I feel quite confident that the Jazz could smash the 38.3 win mark out of the park.
And although Sefolosha, Jerebko and Udoh by themselves aren’t exactly making any team shake in their boots, add their veteran leadership and defensive abilities into an already elite defensive system and this Jazz team could have the potential to be a scary match-up.
The SportsLine win projections for the rest of the league are listed below:
Atlanta Hawks – 28.2 wins
Boston Celtics – 54.0 wins
Brooklyn Nets – 14.2 wins
Charlotte Hornets – 42.4 wins
Chicago Bulls – 36.8 wins
Cleveland Cavaliers – 54.2 wins
Dallas Mavericks – 38.6 wins
Denver Nuggets – 44.8 wins
Detroit Pistons – 41.4 wins
Golden State Warriors – 65.9 wins
Houston Rockets – 55.2 wins
Indiana Pacers – 34.1 wins
Los Angeles Clippers – 34.3 wins
Los Angeles Lakers – 36.2 wins
Memphis Grizzlies – 39.9 wins
Miami Heat – 37.3 wins
Milwaukee Bucks – 42.1 wins
Minnesota Timberwolves – 47.7 wins
New Orleans Pelicans – 39.1 wins
New York Knicks – 36.3 wins
Oklahoma City Thunder – 48.4 wins
Orlando Magic – 27.9 wins
Philadelphia 76ers – 41.9 wins
Phoenix Suns – 22.8 wins
Portland Trail Blazers – 44.1 wins
Sacramento Kings – 34.7 wins
San Antonio Spurs – 52.4 wins
Toronto Raptors – 49.3 wins
Utah Jazz – 38.3 wins
Washington Wizards – 45.8 wins
Utah’s projection puts them in 11th in the Western Conference, which perhaps wouldn’t be absolutely surprising, especially given the major improvements made by the likes of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets who are both projected ahead of the Jazz here, but still seems too low. That projection has them finishing only ahead of the Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns.
That would be quite the underachievement and quite frankly, I think the Jazz will be much more capable than that with their current personnel.
The good thing about projections is that they’re little more than guesswork. At the end of the day it will be up to the Jazz to prove that they can exceed such meager expectations.
And given all the reasons they have to play with a chip on their shoulder next season, I can’t see why having one more would hurt.