Realistic Expectations for the Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz are officially in re-building mode heading into the 2013 season, and the fans are excited that the team has decided to make the move to re-build rather than stay in mediocrity. They allowed both Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson to walk via free agency, which takes away the two faces of their franchise from the past few seasons. Utah will look completely different this season, but they’re young, and their fans are excited about the re-building movement.

Burke-decides-to-stay-at-MichiganThe first move that the Utah Jazz made to start the re-building movement was to get former Michigan point guard Trey Burke. They finally have their franchise point guard, and a guy who very well could become a legitimate #1 scorer in the future. He averaged 18.6 points and 6.7 assists per game in his Sophomore year at Michigan, and his game looks to translate very well into the NBA. That being said, he will have some learning to do about being an NBA point guard. He’s going to have to learn to balance his scoring ability with getting his teammates involved as well. It will be fun to watch him this year, there’s no doubt about that.

Gordon Hayward is expected to be a huge piece for the Jazz this season as well. He’s coming off of a very strong season in which he averaged 14.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game. He is learning very quickly how to use his game to his advantage. Hayward never has been an incredibly athletic player, but he has the unique skills that he can use to his advantage to beat opposing defenders. The Jazz are expecting him to take yet another step this year and become a leader for this young Utah Jazz roster.

Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are taking over the front-court this season for the Jazz. Favors was the #3 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, and will finally get consistent starts and the ability to reach his full potential. He averaged 9.4 points per game last year to go along with 7.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. He definitely needs to step up his defense this year, and you can most certainly expect him to do just that. Kanter on the other hand is an absolutely huge player at 6’11″ and 267 pounds. He’s had a very slow start to his NBA career, and averaged just 7.2 points per game last year. They are going to ask a lot more from him this season, and only time will tell if he’s able to step up and answer the call.

The Jazz do have other talented players in Alec Burks, Marvin Williams, Brandon Rush, and Rudy Gobert. All of these guys are going to have to step up for the Jazz this year for them to play at their highest level. Burks is one of the most intriguing players to take a look at with the Utah Jazz. At age 22, he’s still very young, and has a lot of potential scoring the basketball. He averaged 7.0 points per game last year, and is expected to improve that number by a lot this season. At 6’6″ he’s got a size advantage on most shooting guards in the league, and also has a very nice all-around offensive game. He’s very athletic and can finish at the rim, has a great mid-range game, and is a great perimeter shooter as well.

Overall, this Utah Jazz team has a ton of young talent. They more than likely won’t compete for a position in the Playoffs, but they’re also not going to be a team that gets walked over each and every night. There’s no doubt that they have question marks surrounding their team, but they also have many players who are more than capable of stepping up to keep them competitive. Utah Jazz fans definitely have reason to be excited about their future.

Evan Massey is the Lead Editor at Hoops-Nation. Follow Evan and Hoops-Nation on Twitter.

Evan Massey

Evan is a diehard basketball fan with a lot of writing experience. His work has been featured on ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, Sports Illustrated, and various other publications. If you would like to contact Evan, you may email him at emasseysports@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.

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