SALT LAKE CITY — Hype for the upcoming Jazz season is at levels not seen in Salt Lake since the Stockton-Malone finals runs at the tail end of the '90s. With the additions of Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic along with Jeff Green, Emmanuel Mudiay and Ed Davis, the Jazz have improved their roster — but how much the team has improved will be seen when they hit the court in October. Utah has to play in a tough Western Conference, competing with the revamped Clippers, Warriors, Rockets and Lakers.
FiveThirtyEight took a look at how good the new-look Jazz can be:
"Beyond that, perhaps the most important question to ask is whether Utah’s last two playoff exits — both at the hands of the Rockets — were short-term blips, or if there’s a more stylistic issue at play. In 2018, the Rockets neutralized Gobert by feasting from midrange, and this past postseason Houston was more than willing to exploit a flawed scheme the Jazz tried using in Games 1 and 2.
"Funneling action toward Gobert will almost certainly be a winning defensive strategy for the Jazz during the regular season. And with the Rockets having traded Chris Paul for Westbrook, the plan may have more success in the playoffs now if the two teams were to face off yet again. But the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard loves attacking from midrange. The Warriors’ ability to space the floor (especially if Klay Thompson gets healthy) is nothing new. The Lakers, seeking to make up for last year’s lack of shooting, have plenty of sharpshooters to open up the floor for LeBron James, who won’t hesitate to test a rim protector.
"It’s too soon to know how it will all pan out. But we know one thing: If the Jazz reach their ultimate goal, this time next year, their fans won’t be complaining about the lack of a Christmas Day game."