Everybody from the West Coast to the East Coast seem to all think the same thing when it comes to how the Jazz will fare this season. If they don’t agree on record it’s because it differs from bad to really bad. Vegas has the Jazz at over/under 27.5 games which means the Jazz are projected to lose 54-55 games this year. My question to everybody out there in the media the fans and almost all Jazz bloggers is why? Why? Why???
Let’s break this down how my brain thinks and see if anybody sides with me. I need to mention that this has nothing to do with the first preseason game because this is how I’ve thought the past two years.
1. Derrick Favors > Paul Millsap
When I compare players I look at their numbers, but more importantly do they outscore what they let in. When I look at Favors and Sap my mind obviously goes to defense vs offense. Two or three years ago I would’ve said Sap was way better at offense, but last year his offense wasn’t that great. On the flip side Favors defense is excellent, where as Millsap is below average. So lets say Favors averages 14 points a night but allows his guy to only score 6, then he has a +8 advantage. Whereas Sap on that same opponent might score 14, but allows that same guy to score 14 against him making it a wash for him to be on the floor. Obviously Favors disrupts so many shots inside from the entire other team that Favors value is much higher than Millsaps.
2. Enes Kanter = Al Jefferson
The same logic as before is used here. If Al averages 20+ a game and gives his guy 20+ a game then Al is a wash on the floor whereas Enes scores 12 and gives up 12. Enes has a lot more energy and brings down more boards at a higher rate that ultimately Enes will be a better player than Al, however we will just say that Enes is the same this year.
3. This years Hayward > Last years Hayward
We have to believe that Hayward improved over last year because that’s who he is. This means that a more balanced game will be have a positive effect on himself and the team making the overall team better. Expect Hayward to average more assists, rebounds and points as he leads this team.
4. This years defense > Last years defense
Is this even in doubt a little? Not a chance. This year players are longer, more athletic and have more of a desire to stop the opponent. The Jazz could easily have a top 5 defense this year which puts them miles ahead of last years team. From Favors down to the 12th guy this team has defensive talent that will make every team frustrated.
5. This years bench ? Last years bench
One of the biggest knocks on this team is the Jazz have no depth. Anybody still think that after Golden State? I know it’s one game, but the things we can take away from it is: Jeremy Evans is much improved, John Lucas can ball, Alec Burks is gonna kill it as a 6th man and the other guys can hold their own. Once Marvin and Rush are back this team is a lot deeper than any of us thought.
My point to all this is the Jazz are going to surprise every single person out there because nobody expects them to do anything. Zach Lowe on Grantland just barely said the Jazz are tanking this season. No one believes the Jazz are doing anything and that 35 wins is the best possible outcome. I don’t buy it. 35 wins should be the expected win total and last years 43 wins should be attainable with a team that plays defense and has a desire to not lose.
Not one part of me thinks this team is worse than last year. Just because a team is young and hasn’t started many games does not in any way point to the Jazz being a bad team. This year is going to be fun and to safeguard your hopes keep telling yourself that the Jazz aren’t going to even be close to the playoffs. My thoughts are the Jazz should be competing for a playoff spot and winning half of their games should be doable. Hell, what do I know… I’ve just watched every game since I was 5.