2009-10 Utah Jazz Predictions
by Justin Johnson - 10/21/2009
2008-09 Record: 48-34
Home: 22-19 Away: 17-24
Home: 18-23 Away: 24-16-1
Projected Starting Five: PG, Deron Williams. SG, C.J. Miles. SF, Ronnie Brewer. PF, Carlos Boozer. C, Mehmet Okur.
Breakdown: Jerry Sloan has been the constant figure in Utah despite roster turnover and losses of Hall of Fame players. Now he may be coaching another future Hall of Famer in Deron Williams.
Williams, one of the best point guards in the league, is a lock for 20 points and 10 assists per night again this season. He not only sees the floor well he also creates his own shot.
Along with Williams will be a deep, although somewhat frustrating, forward situation.
Utah was more than ready to move on with Paul Millsap at power forward. However, Carlos Boozer did not opt out of his contract. Now they are stuck with both players sharing time. The situation may not be ideal, but if it keeps Boozer healthy it could allow for a long run in the playoffs.
Andrei Kirilenko has seen his offensive numbers decline despite being an outstanding defender. A few seasons ago "AK47" was one of the premier players in the league and looked destined for stardom. He is now splitting time with equally enigmatic Ronnie Brewer.
Brewer is an average defender (despite his 1.7 steals per game) and while he shot 51 percent from the floor he only averaged 13 points per game.
Mehmet Okur is an underrated center that can stretch defenses by shooting 44.6 percent from three-point range. He picked up his contract option for this year and will be playing for more money. The health is not yet a concern for the big man and he still probably has another solid three years in his legs.
The biggest weakness on the roster is at the off-guard position as C.J. Miles brings almost nothing to the table. He started 72 games in 08-09 and is a poor defender and equally bad scorer. Sloan may move Brewer to the shooting guard and keep Kirilenko as a full time small forward. However, that move has not been made yet.
Sharp shooting Kyle Korver will be coming off the bench for the Jazz. His ability to come in and knock down clutch threes is invaluable but often overlooked. The rest of the bench has limitations, especially behind Williams.
Utah Jazz Predictions: Utah has been a consistent playoff team for almost the entirety of Sloan's tenure and this year should be no different as long as the team stays healthy. In 08-09 many people predicted a championship run would be possible but Boozer, Williams, Okur, and Kirilenko all missed serious time with injuries. If the team can stay healthy then they can make the Northwest a three-team race with Denver and Portland. If they have to deal with being banged and bruised they should settle in to another third-place finish in the division and playoff berth. A win range from as low as 44 to as high as 50 wins could be in order for the Jazz.
Futures considerations - BetUS
The Jazz were the chic pick for NBA finalists in 08-09 yet they enter this year as +1000 to win the West and +2200 to win the league title. They are exciting to watch and talented at all positions. The likelihood is that they can compete for the West but have too many questions to think the bet presents good value.
The better play may be on the MVP race as Deron Williams enters the season at +2000. A 20 point 10 assist season with a 50+ win team would instantly make him a Steve Nash-type candidate. His value is still good and is just as viable option as any in the West.
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