Who is going to take a leap in production?
Losing an All-Star is never easy. Rarely do you see a team lose it’s lone All-Star and remain a competitive team. I strongly believe that the Jazz can do it though, but it’s going to hinge on a few players making a jump in production.
I don’t know if Rudy Gobert can make another. He is already an elite rebounder and Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Last season he averaged 14 points per game, and with his offensive skill set, it’s difficult to see him raising that to anything more than 16 points. Maybe he gets one or two extra lobs at the rim with Rubio in the fold, but it’s hard to see it being much more than that.
The players most primed to take a leap in production this season are Derrick Favors and Rodney Hood.
Derrick Favors was primed to break out during the 2016-17 season. He was coming off two consecutive years of averaging 16 points, 8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Jazz fans were ready for him to take the leap, but injuries led to inconsistent play and less minutes. He only averaged 9.5 points, 6 rebounds and under a block a game.
In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Dennis Lindsey addressed what they need from Derrick Favors heading into next season, and how he was never truly 100 percent last season.
"“We challenged him to get even leaner so he can reduce the stress on the joints, and he did that. Last summer when he was hit in the knee, it basically took all season.”"
I wrote a couple weeks ago that if Favors can simply get back to his 2015 production, the Jazz will benefit greatly.
No one on the Jazz roster is going to benefit from Gordon Hayward’s departure more than Rodney Hood.
Heading into a contract year, he is going to be able to take advantage of roughly five extra shot attempts per game. Last season he averaged 12.7 points per game on 11 field goal attempts per game.
Largely due to injuries, he struggled with his shooting consistency, making only 40 percent of his shots. If healthy next season, it is not improbable to envision him upping his overall field goal percentage to 45 percent, getting to 38 percent from three, and finishing the season averaging 18 points per game.
Hood has always seemed a bit reluctant to take over and to be more aggressive on offense. With Hayward gone, the Jazz need him to be more aggressive and to take over the role as the go to guy on the offensive end.
Honorable mentions for this section were Dante Exum and a healthy Alec Burks. In a perfect world, they all maximize their potential and have breakout seasons, but a revitalized Favors and a healthy Hood would most help the Jazz remain in the playoff picture.