I was skeptical when Quin Snyder, a Coach K disciple, was hired in Utah. He can obviously coach, but he had been banished to the fringes of the sport after a very promising start at Missouri was derailed by a mountain of recruiting violations. I was not at all convinced that he was what the Jazz needed. Two years later I have to admit that I think I was wrong. He has done a decent job so far with the team, and here in his third year with the team he has a chance to take a huge step forward. He has built a disciplined team that is clearly well run. It is a credit to the Jazz that they know exactly what they have - he has already gotten a nice extension. The Jazz enter this season in great hands - especially because it's not possible to commit recruiting violations in the NBA.
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2016 Utah Jazz Betting Storylines
There is a lot of young talent to get excited about here in Utah. At the front of the list, of course, is Gordon Hayward. At this point it stands as an oversight that he has not been an All-Star. He would have been one a couple of years ago if he were on a better team. He is an efficient scorer who is very effective in the pick and roll. He carries a big burden for offense on this team - a burden that will hopefully be somewhat reduced this season - but he does it responsibly. The team is built around him, and in these eyes that is a very good thing.
Hayward does not have to do things alone by any means. He is part of a strong frontcourt. Rudy Gobert is a truly excellent defensive player, and will hopefully be healthy this year after injuries were a continuous factor last year. Derrick Favors is also a very strong defensive player - one who has also been good for 16 points and eight rebounds a night the last two years. These three are not a unit that are going to overwhelm teams offensively, but there are many teams in the league that would love to half a frontcourt nearly this good.
Point guard is a potential strength for this team after too many years of disappointment and uncertainty. George Hill was added via trade and will be the starter early on. He's a very good offensive point guard - a guy who can score himself and who helps those around him score, too. He and Hayward should have some real fun on the pick and roll. Rodney Hood emerged last year at shooting guard, and he and Hill could be a nice pairing. Dante Exum will be there behind Hill as well. He showed some nice promise as a rookie two seasons ago but last year was lost to a knee injury. If he can come back strong then he has almost limitless potential in this league. That knee injury, though, makes his future less certain, so it's a very good thing that Hill was brought in.
2016 Utah Jazz Additions and Departures
Hill was brought into the fold via trade - he was part of the Jeff Teague deal that sent the Atlanta point guard to Indiana. Utah got Hill and sent the draft rights to Taurean Prince to Atlanta. Great trade for Utah. Veterans Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw were also added. Neither is near their prime, but they still have something to give, and bring valuable experience to a young team. In the draft they picked up three second-rounders - Marcus Paige in a draft-day trade for Isaiah Whitehead's draft rights, and Joel Bolomboy and Tyrone Wallace. Notable departures included Trevor Booker to Brooklyn and Trey Burke, the former college player of the year and lottery pick who never truly found his stride in Utah, to Washington.
2016 Utah Jazz Futures Odds and Trends
Utah against the spread was a dismal 41-41, so there was no way to make money there no matter what. Money could be made in bulk betting the "under", though - they went under the total in 47 games and "over" in just 33.
Utah Jazz Futures Odds (from Bovada)
NBA title odds : +10000
Western Conference title odds : +5000
Gordon Hayward MVP Odds : +17500
Season win total (from Westgate): 47.5
2016 Utah Jazz Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
For the first time since the days of Malone and Stockton it would truly be a major disappointment if this team didn't make the playoffs this year. I don't think they are yet ready to do any damage when they get there - they will run into a very good team in the first round in likelihood - but they will look like they belong. This is a team that is moving very confidently in the right direction.
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