clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Utah Jazz 2015 roster: Jazz hope a young roster can take the next step

With Rudy Gobert and Gordon Hayward, Utah has one of the more intriguing young rosters in the league. But will that be enough in the powerful Western Conference?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Jazz have quickly emerged as the trendy sleeper pick for the 2015-16 season, and for good reason. They went 19-10 down the stretch last year, following their decision to send human turnstile Enes Kanter to Oklahoma City. The trade opened up playing time for Rudy Gobert and soon after the Stifle Tower was born.

In those 29 games, Utah held opponents to a minuscule 94.8 points per 100 possessions, the top mark in the league over that span. Prior to the Kanter trade that number was a 106.1. That defense, paired with an offense led by Gordon Hayward and the creative mind of second-year head coach Quin Snyder, has many believing the Jazz could sneak into the Western Conference playoffs.

But questions abound. For one, who's to say that results from a 29-game sample are ones we can expect to see replicated over an 82-game season? Gobert is fantastic -- players shot 11.5 percent worse than they normally did from within six feet when Gobert was guarding them -- but he still has to prove he can avoid many of the pitfalls that younger centers often fall victim do, like foul trouble.

There's also the problem of point guard, namely, who's going to be running the Jazz's offense. Utah scored just 102.5 points per 100 possessions last season, and it's hard to see how that number improves this year. Perhaps Hayward, who averaged 19.3 points and shot 45 percent from the field last season, can continue to improve. But it certainly seems as if he's hit his ceiling. Derrick Favors had his best year as a pro last season, but he doesn't have much range on his jumper which creates spacing issues when he and Gobert share the court.

And of course there's the Dante Exum injury, which robbed Utah of one its best athletes and talents. Now there will be even more pressure on third-year point Trey Burke, who has yet to prove that he can connect on enough jumpers to warrant major minutes at the NBA level.

If the Jazz were in the Eastern Conference they'd likely be a lock for the playoffs based on their defense alone. Unfortunately for them, they play in the tough and crowded West, where championship contenders have to fight just to make the postseason. Utah knows this, and that's likely the reason they stayed quiet this offseason. This year is a transition one for the Jazz. A trip to the playoffs would be nice, but it's also not needed for the season to be considered a success.

LAST YEAR

RECORD: 38-44 (11th in Western Conference)
OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY: 105.1 (17th)
DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY: 104.9 (13th)

ROSTER

No.
PLAYER
POS
HEIGHT
WEIGHT
AGE
COLLEGE
2 Joe Ingles SF 6'8 226 28 Australia
3 Trey Burke
PG
6'1
191 22 Michigan
5 Rodney Hood
SG 6'8 206
22 Duke
8 Bryce Cotton PG 6'1 166 23 Providence
10 Alec Burks PG 6'6 212 24 Colorado
11 Dante Exum SG 6'6
190 20 Australia
13 Elijah Millsap SG
6'6 225 28 UAB
15 Derrick Favors
PF
6'10 265 24 Georgia Tech
17 Grant Jerrett
PF 6'10 233 22 Arizona
20 Gordon Hayward SG 6'8 226 25 Butler
22 Tibor Pleiss C 7'3 190 25 Germany
24 Jeff Withey C 7'0 231 25 Kansas
25 Raul Neto
PG 6'1 179 23 Brazil
27 Rudy Gobert C 7'1 245
23
France
33
Trevor Booker
PF 6'8 228 27 Clemson
41
Trey Lyles PF 6'10
234 19 Kentucky
45
Jack Cooley SF 6'9 260 24 Notre Dame

Coach: Quin Snyder
Assistant coaches: Johnnie Bryant, Alex Jensen, Brad Jones, Igor Kokoskov, Antonio Lang, Mike Wells

OFFSEASON CHANGES

IN: Trey Lyes, Raul Neto, Joe Ingles, Tibor Pleiss
OUT: Jeremy Evans, Patrick Christopher, Jerrelle Benimon

Not much action from the Jazz this offseason. The plan is to let the team's young players develop.

DEPTH CHART

POINT GUARD
SHOOTING GUARD
SMALL FORWARD
POWER FORWARD
CENTER
STARTER
Trey Burke Alec Burks Gordan Hayward Derrick Favors Rudy Gobert
RESERVE
Bryce Cotton Rodney Hood Joe Ingles Trevor Booker Tibor Pleiss
RESERVE
Raul Neto Elijah Millsap
Trey Lyles Jeff Withey
RESERVE

Dante Exum

PREDICTIONS

BEST CASE: Rudy Gobert emerges as the best defensive player in the league, Gordan Hayward and the rest of the team's young guards continue to improve and the Jazz grab the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

WORST CASE: The Dante Exum injury derails the team, no point guard emerges from the pack and Gobert turns out to be a one-year wonder.