2017-2018 NBA Previews – Utah Jazz Name Odds
Looking for 2017 Utah Jazz Predictions? We’ve got your back. This summer saw the Jazz end up on the wrong end of one of the biggest offseason moves we all seemingly knew was coming. Star guard/forward Gordon Hayward took his talents east to join the Boston Celtics and his former head coach Brad Stevens.
Utah Team Season Preview
Head Coach: Quin Snyder
2016-17 Record: 51-31
TEAM Odds to NBA Title: +20000
TEAM Odds to Win Conference: +10000
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Although the feel-good story of Hayward joining familiar ties out East is great for the Celtics, it’s left fans in Utah wondering what comes next.
The good news is that this team—a defensive-minded squad that shouldn’t take much of a step back in that category—still has its identity in place. That’s rare for a team that has lost its best player—or at least the player most believed to be its best (more on that momentarily).
The bad news, of course, is that as this squad lost its star, other teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets got better.
Can the Jazz make another run at the playoffs in 2017-18? Let’s examine.
Utah Jazz Strengths:
The Jazz have a very obvious, clear-cut strength: Defense.
Despite Hayward’s departure, this group is going to remain one of the toughest defensive teams in the league. Not only has coach Snyder instilled a defensive culture, the team has arguably the best defensive center in the NBA in Rudy Gobert.
Gobert, also known as the Stifle Tower, dominates rims.
He is a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate, he led the league this past season in block percentage, per Basketball-Reference, and he really was—despite popular opinion pointing to Hayward—Utah’s most impactful (if not overall best) player this past year.
Offensively, many casual fans pegged the Jazz as one of the worst in the league last year because of their dreadfully low points per game. But if you were in that boat, it’s time to look a bit closer.
The Jazz, yes, scored just 100.7 points per night. That number was only good enough for 28th in the league.
But what most casual fans didn’t realize was that this team was also constantly in the top seven in terms of offensive efficiency.
How is that possible? The Jazz played at the league’s slowest pace last season, yet still managed to finish 12th in points scored per 100 possessions.
Utah Jazz Weaknesses:
Okay…now that we have the offensive efficiency out of the way, we do have to talk about where the scoring is going to come from. With Hayward gone, that’s a big question.
New starting point guard Ricky Rubio is going to help create offense, but he’s not going to be a go-to scorer himself. Joe Ingles was criminally underrated last season, but the odds of him turning into a premier points-per-game player are highly unlikely.
Rodney Hood? He could certainly see an uptick in his offensive production with Hayward gone. The most likely scenario, however, is that Gobert becomes an even bigger presence in the offense.
Really what this all comes down to is that the Jazz lack star power, which if you’ve watched the NBA recently you know is where success starts and ends.
For Utah, they’re going to win a lot of games because nobody will be able to score against them. And that’s just fine—until you reach a team as good (or almost as good) on defense.
The Jazz will struggle this season when they play teams that have strong defense to combine with a solid offensive presence.
Utah Jazz Betting Prediction: 45-37
Vegas has set the over/under on Utah at 40.5.
If you’re considering putting money down on this, do it now before they change their minds, and do it on the over.
Yes, it’s true that Utah will take a step back without its All-Star. And yes, it’s also true that it will be a night-to-night question as to who the leading scorer is going to be.
But what shouldn’t be in question is that this team is going to will itself to many wins throughout the year.
That may not necessarily be a recipe for success in today’s postseason, but at least throughout the regular season, you can count on this team finishing with better than 40.5 wins.
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