Welcome to “Pretty Much Screwed,” our definitive guide to the upcoming NBA season. This team-by-team preview details why it’s probably not your favorite team’s year. Next up, the potentially talented but baby-faced Utah Jazz.
Ah, finally, I get to sink my teeth into a team that nobody can argue is not “Pretty Much Screwed.” These guys are screwed. Which isn’t to say I don’t like the team — minus the coach — because I really, really like this roster.
They’re just way, way too young.
This team is more raw than Adrian Peterson’s sex life. This team is more green than the inside of Ricky Williams’ glove compartment. This team is like a zygote. Just look at Gordon Hayward’s face. That dude probably needs his mother with him to get into PG-13 movies.
The Jazz were in an awkward position last year because they had so much young talent, but it was sitting behind so much old talent. Al Jefferson and Mo Williams were still around to eat up minutes, and Paul Millsap was a good player that everybody knew was headed elsewhere. Now all the geezers are gone, and Utah can get around to developing the youngins.
Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors are both fantastic athletes with tons of potential. Last year, due to a logjam of big guys and injuries, and Favors only averaged 23 minutes a game (Kanter averaged 15). If the two of them grow together, they could be a beastly frontcourt.
The backcourt also has potential. Every time I turned on a Jazz game last season — which, to be fair, was not often — I was struck by how much I liked Hayward’s game. He’s lanky and can shoot well from deep. He’ll have a true running mate this year in rookie Trey Burke, whenever he returns from his broken finger. And Hayward is actually a little big for the 2 — maybe Alec Burks, who’s more of a true shooting guard, will get some run this season and show he’s startable.
See what I’m getting at here? This team will be good — in a few years. If they want to speed up the process, they can flip some picks for a veteran scorer (sorry, but Richard Jefferson doesn’t count). The “veteran” in their projected starting lineup is Marvin Williams. That would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
So here’s the plan for the Jazz:
Let the young guys finally play ball.
Let them lose games. Let them hit the Western Conference cellar hard and emerge with a top draft pick. See who’s worth keeping around and who’s worth dealing with somebody with hair on their chest (and by that I mean older and good at basketball, not like, a weird old man at the YMCA). Maybe do some yoga. Practice patience. Be disciplined. Get rid of Ty Corbin and find a coach who can teach young guys to play together. Try again next year.
Actual season prediction: 25-57, 14th in the West.
Photo via Getty