The Utah Jazz are traditionally known around the league as a gritty team that plays hard defense and shoots the ball with great percentages. Led by Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz made it into the playoffs only to fall victim to the Houston Rockets in the first round. This offseason, they strengthened their bench with Emmanuel Mudiay, Ed Davis, and Jeff Green along with some incoming starters. The Mike Conley trade marked the end of an era in Memphis and started a potential dynasty in Utah. The Bojan Bogdanovic signing was another step in the right direction as the Jazz look to be a very complete team on the verge of serious playoff contention.
Starting nearly every game of his career as a starter of the Grizzlies, Mike Conley will take the familiar spot of starting point guard with the Utah Jazz. A small market team like the Jazz likely doesn’t have the same appeal as most other teams so trading for a veteran star like Conley was necessary to improve the position. Last year, he averaged 21.1 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.4 rebounds in one of the better years of his entire career. With so many weapons around him, Conley projects to be even better of an all around player and has the skills needed to emerge as one of the league’s most underrated players.
Donovan Mitchell got even better last year after staring as Utah’s best player in his rookie campaign. He led the team with 23.8 points per game and will likely be the top dog this year. Even with fellow scoring guard Mike Conley, Mitchell will remain the first option on offense and certainly has room to grow. With more weapons around him, Mitchell will be given more room to drive and better spacing across the entire floor. While he’s likely to give up a few shots to the newcomers, his percentages remain encouraging. If he can repeat the same level of success with fewer attempts, Mitchell should once again be one of the most fun guards to watch in his road to becoming a star.
Currently projected to start at the small forward position is Joe Ingles. However, he suited up at power forward last year and could easily swap places with Bojan Bogdanovic who’s the projected starting power forward. Whatever the case may be, Ingles is a savvy veteran that remains one of the game’s best three point shooters. While he’s not going to be beating anyone off the dribble, Ingles is a dependable marksman who only converted 39.1% of his 3’s last year. That’s a drop from the 44.1% and 44% from his two prior years. Ingles will continue to be a solid defensive forward who averages a steal per game and can be an all around player in the offensive game. He set a career high 5.7 assists last season and will continue his shooting prowess this year.
Another newcomer to Utah is former Indiana Pacer, Bojan Bogdanovic. This was perhaps one of the most underrated signings of the offseason as the Jazz added a sharpshooter for the price of $73 million dollars over 4 years. He’s become lethal over the past two years and averaged 18 points per game last season. Bogdanovic will likely be used as a three point scorer after converting on 42.5% of those shots last year. Expect heavy minutes and open shots from Bogdanovic who’ll likely benefit from driving guards who kick it out to him for an open look. However, he won’t provide much else as the assist and rebounding numbers only sit at 2 and 4.1, respectively. The Jazz paid him to be a shooter and that’s exactly what Bogdanovic bring to the table.
On the defensive end, Rudy Gobert is the man for the job. He’s landed three times on the all defensive team and already gained 2 Defensive Player of the Year Awards. He’s already averaging a double-double over the past three years and will project to do so once again. While Gobert does average 15.9 points and led the league with a 66.9% conversion rate on field goal attempts, Gobert’s main strength is on the defensive front where he averaged 2.3 blocks per game. He’s going to be a force for offensive guards that try to drive against Utah and offensively, can dominate other centers as he fights for rebounds.