The Utah Jazz Playoff Guarantee!
Salt Lake City, Utah – Entering their 38th year in Utah, the Jazz franchise has found itself struggling recently as they’ve missed the playoffs in each of the last 4 seasons and 5 of the last 6 seasons. The transition away from legendary Head Coach Jerry Sloan hasn’t been as smooth as the Jazz faithful may have liked but entering the 2016-17 season, the sweet sound of optimism is trumpeting throughout the streets of Salt Lake City.
Unlike other fan bases, the optimism of Jazz fans isn’t delusional. The Jazz have a young core of talented players, coupled with a constantly improving Head Coach in Quin Snyder and a front office willing to take risks to produce a smash hit. This organization has finally put all the right pieces together to get back the band back touring. With that being said, I’m going to hip-hop on the bandwagon right now and get ready to listen to Utah’s opponents singing the blues as the Jazz swing their way into a top 8 spot in the Western Conference.
Now people may wonder…why so optimistic about the upcoming season for this Jazz organization? While I don’t have a simple answer, I believe there are 5 good reasons as to why the NBA should be worried about Utah this season.
Reason #1 – Youth, youth, and more youth! The Jazz continue to operate with one of the league’s youngest rosters as 7 of their top 10 players are all 26 years old or younger.
Reason #2 – Growth and development! In 5 full seasons with the Jazz, PF Derrick Favors has increased his Points per Game (PPG) average every season from 8.8 PPG in year 1 to 16.4 PPG last season. C Rudy Gobert, G Rodney Hood, and SF Gordon Hayward can all say the same in their respective tenures with the Jazz.
Reason #3 – Veteran additions! Acquiring SG Joe Johnson (7 time NBA All-Star), PF Boris Diaw (NBA Champion), and PG George Hill (starter on 2 Eastern Conference Finals teams) provides Utah with 3 NBA proven players who have a tremendous amount of playoff experience and leadership skills to help bestow upon the youthful core of the Jazz.
Reason #4 – Winning the close games! Last season the Jazz lost 17 games by 5 or less points, they lost 29 games by less than 10 points. With the addition of the three veterans mentioned above and another year of experience for the young guys, winning tight games should be far less difficult this season.
Reason #5 – Weaker Western Conference! The Warriors may have added former MVP Kevin Durant this offseason but to think that means the Western Conference has improved would be a misinformed assumption. The Spurs saw future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan retire, as did Kobe Bryant with the Lakers and Kevin Garnett with the Timberwolves. As mentioned, Durant departed the Thunder for the Bay Area, Dwight Howard flew away from the Rockets and landed in another conference, and Dirk Nowitzki (and his Mavs team) gets another year older.
Based on these five reasons, I am going to purchase all the Jazz albums that I possibly can and dance the night away as I look forward to watching a successful basketball team in Utah this season. Mark it down folks, I am personally guaranteeing that the Utah Jazz will make the playoffs this season!