LOCAL NEWS

Will A Quiet Offseason Equal Success For The Jazz?

Aug 29, 2018, 5:44 PM | Updated: Sep 18, 2018, 6:46 pm
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With a fantastic 2017-18 season in the books, there was some chatter that the Utah Jazz might make some big moves in the offseason to bolster their roster even more. With the majority of big name free agents already locked up, it appears that the Jazz will stand pat and not make a major move.

Other than adding former Duke star Grayson Allen in the draft, the Jazz will make another run with mostly the same roster as last season, re-signing Derrick Favors, Raul Neto and Dante Exum while retaining the rights to Thabo Sefalosha.

The reason why was simple, according to Exum.

“I’m glad to be back with this team. I think we’re building something special,” said the 22-year old Australian in a press conference announcing the re-signings on July 6.

After all, why would the Jazz need to make a major change? They did quite well with the current group when everyone was healthy. Case in point was the second half of last season, with the Jazz finishing the year 29-6, the second best mark in the league behind Houston. Rudy Gobert received Defensive Player of the Year honors while Donovan Mitchell was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year.

The story of the year was Mitchell, who showed megastar potential and has continued to show it on and off the court and into the offseason.

If there is a glaring hole in the Jazz roster, it’s the lack of scoring depth behind Mitchell. Last season the Jazz finished in the bottom half of the league in points per game. However, the Jazz mentality seems to be to score enough to win, and make it hard for the opponent to score. Anchored by Gobert in the middle, Utah finished with the fifth-best differential in the league, behind Golden State, Toronto, Houston and Philadelphia.

As the Utah stood pat over the summer, many teams in the league regressed. Houston, who eliminated the Jazz in the playoffs, added an aging Carmelo Anthony while losing a key role player in Trevor Ariza. Many national media pundits believe that they’ve taken a step back.

Perhaps it was The Ringer’s D.J. Foster who put in best in an article titled, “Are We Sure That Utah Isn’t the West’s Second-Best Team?”

Foster wrote: “If multiple teams in the conference get better, other teams have to get worse, or at least stay stagnant. When the most notable addition you make to your roster comes in the form of a rookie Grade-A irritant with the face of a senator, you’re bound to lose a little hype. The problem with that? The Utah team that finished the 2017-18 regular season may already be good enough to become Golden State’s biggest challenge in the West.”

That rookie Grade-A irritant with the face of a senator is Grayson Allen, who bares an interesting resemblance to Senator Ted Cruz. Allen is best known for his scrappy play and ability to get in an opponent’s head. This was apparent right from the get-go, when he got in kerfuffle with Atlanta’s Trae Young in a Utah Jazz Summer League game. Imagine him on the floor at the same time with Joe Ingles, who put on a masterclass in trash-talking and mind games in the Jazz’s first round defeat of Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

This offseason the Jazz did very little and that should be exciting enough to their fans.

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