One of the Western Conference teams that has gotten more buzz this summer/off-season is the Utah Jazz, who added three key pieces to their team in point guard Mike Conley, stretch forward Bojan Bogdanovic, and point guard Emmanuel Mudiay. In 70 games with the Grizzlies last season, Conley averaged 21.1 points, 6.4 assists, and 1.3 steals per game, bouncing back nicely from his Achilles injury. Bogdanovic averaged 18.0 points per game on 42.5% shooting from 3-point range (4.8 attempts per game) with the Pacers, playing in 81 regular season games. As for Mudiay, he averaged a solid 14.8 points per game last year with the Knicks.
When looking at this Jazz team, what makes them so dangerous is their ability to get after it on both ends of the floor. Gobert is one of the best interior defenders in the NBA, giving the Jazz their best defensive weapon since Andrei Kirilenko. As for Mitchell, he is a budding superstar that isn't afraid of the big moment. He attacks the rim really well, is developing a solid perimeter game, and is actually a pretty solid defender. Conley is a killer floor general that knows how to get his teammates involved while Bogdanovic is an absolutely lethal shooter from the perimeter. The Jazz are much more multidimensional now, which is why many see them going far in the playoffs this year.
The big question that's on everyone's mind with the Jazz is can they reach the conference finals and possibly represent the West in the NBA Finals. Personally, I think this Jazz team is at least one more year away from reaching the NBA Finals, but if all goes according to plan, they should be a top four seed in the West, win their opening round series, and maybe even reach the conference finals. They're really talented. The only concern I have is there are a lot of other talented teams in the West. The Clippers, Warriors, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Rockets, and Lakers also project to be really good. I feel like the West is really deep this year and any number of combinations could reach the conference finals. A lot of it will come down to playoff seeding and match ups.
Casting playoff scenarios aside, one thing that is clear is that the Jazz have the pieces to have a breakout year. They're young, hungry, and have greatly upgraded their roster over the summer. If you are a Jazz fan, you have every right to be excited.
Note: This blog post also appears on my Utah Jazz blog. Click here to check it out.
To connect with NBA Lord on Twitter, click here.
To connect with NBA Lord on Facebook, click here.
To connect with Ben Parker, click here.