2013 Utah Jazz roster: Opening doors for a young core

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Trey Burke will have room to grow in 2013-14.

The Utah Jazz indeed belong near the bottom of the NBA's totem pole, but unlike other rebuilding squads, they already have a direction. That's because there's a young core already established in Salt Lake City. For those young players, the offseason opened up more playing time and more room for growth.

Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are gone, and it's now time for Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward to shine. That trio of surefire starters will be joined by rookie point guard Trey Burke, and possibly third-year pro Alec Burks, on a team that has high expectations relative to its youth.

Projected starters

Trey Burke -- Utah had been searching for a point guard since losing Deron Williams more than two years ago, and the team hopes the rookie out of Michigan is the answer. There's no reason he won't start as a rookie. Burke will learn on the fly this season but he will have a deep group of post players to work with in pick-and-rolls. Gordon Hayward could also take ball-handling duties off of Burke.

Gordon Hayward -- Hayward has been one of Utah's promising young players who should finally break into a full-time starting role. He'll probably see time at both shooting guard and small forward, but no matter where he's playing, Hayward will be asked to do a lot. Last season, he averaged 14.1 points, 3.0 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game and started 27 of 72 games.

Derrick Favors -- With Millsap and Jefferson out of his way, Favors finally can settle in with heavier minutes and at one position. He's as big as many centers, but athletic enough to handle power forward. There's not much depth behind him unless the Jazz go with two centers or a small lineup. Expect Favors to average something close to a double-double and around two blocks per game.

Enes Kanter -- Kanter was beginning to gain confidence last season before a shoulder injury derailed his progress. The starting center position is his in 2013-14. The true low-post scorer will team with Favors in a frontcourt that should already have quite a bit of chemistry.

Alec Burks -- Will Burks be ready to earn a rotation spot? Could he even start? Probably and possibly. He, Marvin Williams and Brandon Rush will be fighting for a starting spot alongside Hayward, but Burks has one advantage over his two elder teammates: he's not coming off a major injury. Burks can score, but he'll need to find consistency defensively.

Rotation Players

Marvin Williams -- If Williams is able to return from an Achilles injury that'll keep him out for the beginning of the season, he could be the starting small forward and bump Hayward to shooting guard. He's in a contract year and will need to provide midrange shooting, strong defense and rebounding if he wants to see a good amount of playing time.

Brandon Rush -- He could be a significant rotation player or even a starter for the Jazz, but an ACL tear just a few games into last season with the Golden State Warriors could hamper Rush from the onset. Still, he's relatively young, and has the ability to score off the dribble and defend. He has more upside than Williams and more experience than Burks.

Andris Biedrins -- The former Warriors center could use a change of scenery. For a short time, he was one of the better centers in the league, but his confidence has been shot in the last few years, which relegated him to the bench in Golden State. Biedrins will provide depth behind Kanter but will also be fighting for his own place in the league.

John Lucas III -- The Jazz don't have much experience at point guard, but Lucas has earned his dues as an NBA journeyman. He can provide a scoring punch in a small package off the bench but also has the ability to run an offense.

Deep on the bench

Richard Jefferson -- Jefferson could be used on the wings early on if Williams isn't able to play right away, but with an emphasis on development, he won't see minutes ahead of Burks or Hayward.

Rudy Gobert -- As a project at center, Gobert might be used in brief stints, but still must gain more experience while he grows into his incredibly long, athletic frame.

Jeremy Evans -- The former dunk champion hasn't found a niche, but gives Utah length and athleticism off the bench.

Ian Clark -- One of the most deadly shooters in the college game last season, the rookie would be a jump-shooting threat at the point guard spot. The Jazz signed him after he dominated the Las Vegas Summer League with the Golden State Warriors.

Scott Machado -- The former Iona point guard has made his rounds in the last year and will fight for a roster spot in camp. The second-year pro is a pass-first, pass-second point guard.

Dominic McGuire -- The journeyman forward is another player fighting to make the opening day roster.

Mike Harris -- The 30-year-old will be battling McGuire for a spot as an insurance forward.

Head coach

Ty Corbin -- With such a young roster, there seemingly are a lot of expectations for the Jazz this season, and there's already a bit of pressure behind Corbin from his last two seasons. Corbin will need to stay in his players' ears to keep their confidence high. His biggest task will be ushering Burke along the way, keeping the point guard's head straight through what could be a brutal season.

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