2019 Jazz May Have Best Roster in Franchise History
2019 Utah Jazz Betting Storylines
The Utah Jazz have really been one of the more impressive stories in the NBA the last couple of years. Fresh off a 51-win season in 2017, they lost their best player, Gordon Hayward, in free agency. The narrative at that time was that they were in for a rough rebuild, and that being in an unattractive market for players would only make things tougher. But in the two seasons since, they have won 48 and 50 games. And after a very strong summer, they are poised to be better now than they ever were with Hayward.
A big part of the reason for that success goes to the addition of Donovan Mitchell, of course, who has turned into a true elite player in two years. And heading into a big year for him, it's worth revisiting the trade that brought him to Utah. The Nuggets picked him 13th overall in the 2017 draft, and then traded him on draft day for the 24th pick and Trey Lyles. The 24th pick was power forward Tyler Lydon on Syracuse. Mitchell scored an average of 23.8 points per game last year. Lydon scored a total of 23 points in his two seasons with the Nuggets. Ouch. Denver did not pick up his option, and he's trying to make the Kings now. And while Lyles has been a solid enough rotation player in Denver, he hardly makes up for Mitchell. This could go down as one of the worst trades of all time by the time things are all done.
The Jazz have improved. But so have several other teams as the West has really turned into an arms race. How good can Utah be this year?
2019 Utah Jazz Additions and Departures
Heading into last year, the biggest question area for the Jazz was at the point. On paper, they didn't have a world-class duo in Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum. Rubio had limitations, but he had really come into his own in the 2017-18 season and might be able to be a long-term fit. He certainly had chemistry with the key pieces. And while Dante Exum had struggled to stay healthy, the potential that he had shown leading into the draft was still there. But despite the 50 wins last year, it became very clear that the position was going to be a limitation for the team's aspirations. Rubio took a big step backwards, and really struggled at times, and Exum continued to struggle to stay healthy. Mitchell was having to do too much to carry the backcourt, and it was wearing on him and limiting the team. So, the team addressed their issues on the point in a very big way this summer, trading for Mike Conley from Memphis. The cost, predictably, wasn't insignificant - they sent Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, 2018 first-rounder Grayson Allen, 2019 first-rounder Darius Bazley, and a protected 2020 first-round pick back. Conley is a great playmaker and he should be revitalized being back on a contender after some rough years in Memphis. The floor for him is that he is an improvement on Rubio - that's all but certain as long as he stays healthy. And the upside for him is so much more than that. If he and Mitchell gel, it could be a backcourt that gives opponents nightmares. He could be a real boost to the offensive game of Rudy Gobert as well, which is a nice bonus.
Rubio left to Phoenix, but he's not the veteran that fans will miss most. Derrick Favors no longer fit into the plans and the cap, so the popular player was sent to New Orleans for two second-round picks. The addition that made that move make sense was the excellent addition of Bojan Bogdanovic, who had a career year for the Pacers last year and adds a nice offensive boost to this roster.
The team made another nice veteran addition in Ed Davis, who vacuums up rebounds in relief. And adding vets like Jeff Green and Emmanuel Mudiay on veteran minimum deals are low-risk moves with upside.
2019 Utah Jazz Futures Odds and Trends
Utah Jazz Futures Odds
Western Conference title odds : +800
Northwest Division title odds: +125
Donovan Mitchell MVP Odds : +3300
Mike Conley MVP Odds : +10000
Season win total: 53.5
Will the Utah Jazz make the playoffs: Yes -800, No +600
At 44-36-2 ATS last season, the Jazz were not only profitable to bet on long term but were the eighth most profitable team in the league. They went under the total 42 times and over 39, so they were less useful when it came to totals.
2019 Utah Jazz Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
The Jazz have really improved their offense this offseason with the additions of Conley and Bogdanovic. Conley can score himself and will help others do so as well. And Bogdanovic is dangerous in a way the team hasn't had in his position. But they have made those additions without having a big impact defensively. They were one of the best defensive teams in the league last year, and they are again. Take a team that defends aggressively and add more offense, and it's hard to think they do anything other than improve significantly from their 50 wins of last year. And Donovan Mitchell is only entering his third season. He took a jump from year one to year two - especially in the latter half of the second year when the team was clicking - and there is plenty of room with him for another big jump this year. His shooting hasn't been great so far, so improvement in that area alone could see him enter a whole new realm.
On top of that, there is an opportunity in the West. As good as the conference is at the top, the four teams that they probably fear most - the Lakers , Clippers, Warriors and the Rockets team that has knocked them out of the playoffs the last two years - are probably going to be managing their rosters. Kawhi Leonard mastered load management last year, LeBron isn't getting any younger, Golden State knows how damaging injuries can be, and the two superstars in Houston need to be kept healthy. Utah is mostly younger and a little deeper than some. They have a chance to have the best record in the conference even if they aren't necessarily the best team. And home-court advantage could be huge in the playoffs.
If the Jazz get off to a good start, and find chemistry with their new additions, the potential is very high. I like the over in the season win total a lot and view them as a true title contender - one that is at a fair price in the futures odds.
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