Record last season: (40-42, 9th place in West)
Projected 2016-2017 Win total: (47.5)
Odds to win NW Division: (2/1)
The Jazz made some noise this offseason by adding veteran guards Joe Johnson and George Hill. They also were able to acquire Boris Diaw, a move that opened up cap space for the San Antonio Spurs to sign Pau Gasol. With the new faces on the roster, the Jazz have one of the deepest teams in the NBA. Combining them with the young, capable players already under contract like Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert, Utah is in a great position to make a leap up the Western Conference standings this year.
Utah’s strength the past few seasons has been on the defensive side of the ball where they finished 2nd in opponent PPG last season at 95.5 PPG. However, this can partially be contributed to Utah’s pace of play as they finished dead last in the NBA last season in possessions per game. The Blazers will likely look to push the pace against Utah to try and take them out of their comfort zone on both ends of the court. Scoring in transition before their defense can get set will help neutralize the shot blocking ability of Gobert and Favors. The Jazz will likely look to play a half-court oriented game, leaning on execution and veteran leadership. In order to overcome this tough Jazz team, pace of play and execution will be crucial for the Trail Blazers.