March 20, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20) tries to block the shot of Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) during the second half at Energy Solutions Arena. The Jazz defeated the Thunder 97-90. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

How the Utah Jazz Can Make the Playoffs This Year

A lot of people think the Jazz are tanking this season because they let go of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, those are the same people by the way that were baffled when the Jazz didn’t trade Al and Sap at the deadline.  The prize for tanking is Canadian standout Andrew Wiggins who has athletic ability similar to Lebron James.  The problem is the Jazz are not tanking, not like most of the media thinks.  And definitely not in the traditional fashion of blowing games and sitting starters.. at least not yet anyways.  Again I repeat the Jazz are not tanking in 2013-14.

The Utah Jazz however are developing which is a very good thing and something I feel fans have been asking for for far too long.  Well here it is and now the young players can prove they belong by winning games.  The question is do the Jazz really have any chance of making the playoffs cause obviously (and for good reason) nobody is giving them a chance.  This is what will need to happen for the Jazz to have a legitimate chance of making the playoffs:

1. Make Utah forget about Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.

Big Al averaged 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds while Paul averaged 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds.  That means combined Kanter and Favors need to average at least 32.4 points and 16.3 rebounds.  Looking at those numbers and evaluating Favors and Kanter makes it clear that the 16.3 rebounds will not be a problem whatsoever but the 32.4 points will be a little more difficult.  The good news for both Favors and Kanter is their ability to get offensive rebounds and put backs which will help them get the points they need to sustain what Al and Paul did last year.  In the only game that both Enes and Derrick started they posted an impressive combined 31 points and 29 rebounds.

2. Trey Burke needs to play like Rookie of the Year

Last years rookie of the year Damian Lillard played all 82 games and averaged 19 points and 6.5 assists.  The reason why Portland missed the playoffs was their lack of depth and injury situation.  If the Jazz can stay away from injuries and the bench can hold its own then Trey Burke having a stellar season would not only be great but needed if the Jazz want to taste the playoffs.

3. Bench play needs to be better than expected

As mentioned before the Blazers bench was atrocious averaging only 10.5 points a game.  That was good for last place by a long ways!  The Jazz are going to need at minimum 22-25 points a night from their bench which means Rush needs to average 10 or more and Jeremy Evans need to do 8-10.  I don’t see the other bench guys really putting up points until maybe Marvin gets back which means a new bench guy is going to have to step up every night.

4. Hayward needs to lead and play like an All-Star

17.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.1 assist is what Paul George, an All-Star, recorded last year.  In my opinion (and yes it’s very biased), but Hayward is just as good if not better than Paul George.  In the USA scrimmage, just to confirm what I’ve thought since they’ve entered the league, Hayward dominated George.  Yes it’s just a scrimmage but trust me Hayward is just as good.  The only difference is one got 38 minutes a night and the other didn’t.  Hayward will put up similar numbers if not better as the focal point of the offense.  And anybody that says George is a better defender has never watched a Jazz game.  Again I’m biased but barely.

Throw all of these things into next season with their ability to defend and the Jazz will surprise everybody and make the playoffs.  Long shot? Yes. Impossible or inconceivable? Absolutely not.


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Tags: Derrick Favors Enes Kanter Gordon Hayward Trey Burke Utah Jazz

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