There are a lot of things to be excited about where the Utah Jazz are concerned.
After three preseason games we’ve seen a whole host of areas in which the Jazz have either upgraded or improved, which is actually surprising considering how little movement they made in the offseason.
So what are the main takeaways from the preseason?
With Bogey the Jazz don’t lose a 3-1 lead
It’s not super helpful to live in the past so I promise not to bring up those horrible memories too often, but for just a moment we need to discuss the Jazz’s first round loss to the Denver Nuggets in the most recent playoffs.
The Jazz exploded to an almost unlikely 3-1 lead against the Nuggets and then watched that lead slowly slip through their fingers.
Since September Jazz fans have had the go-to argument of “if we’d had Bogey, we wouldn’t have lost.” Well I’m here to fully and unequivocally agree. Bojan Bogdanovic continues to be underrated and had he not been recovering from surgery and instead been on the court with the Jazz in the bubble, the Jazz would have won that playoff series with ease.
With Bogdanovic on the floor the Jazz are a better team and they have one of the most lethal starting units.
The bench might be incredible
Derrick Favors is obviously an upgrade over Tony Bradley or Ed Davis, but I think it’s worth noting how much his presence is going to change things on the bench. It’s not just about Favors elevating the defense of the second unit. It’s also the fact that Joe Ingles is going to (hopefully) thrive with him as he has in the past. Favors’ presence in the paint is also going to open up things for Jordan Clarkson and give him some confidence and space to work in that he didn’t have with Bradley last season.
So those are the main guys. Then there’s Georges Niang, who continues to improve and can shoot the lights out, Shaquille Harrison, who is an absolute lockdown defender, and a bunch of other players who are better than their years or experience say they should be.
If I were a Jazz fan, I’d be more excited about this bench than I have in a long time.
Donovan Mitchell is worth every penny
I haven’t heard from very many people that think Donovan Mitchell’s max extension was a bad idea, but there has been a lot of hemming and hawing about whether Mitchell can be anything more than what we’ve already seen from him.
If what Mitchell did in the bubble and then what he’s already shown in the preseason isn’t enough for you, I don’t know what is.
Mitchell is going to be a bonafide superstar and have a very long NBA career. He really has a chance to evolve into one of the best two-way guards in the league and I really hope to see that happen.
There are a lot of players who mail it in during the preseason and who save things and pay a lot of lip service about improvement, and Mitchell is none of those things. He plays hard, he means what he says and he is trying to get better all the time.
Now, not everything we saw during the preseason from the Jazz was perfect or good. There are areas to clean up and there are things that need fine tuning, but this is a really good starting point.