Posted on: October 1st, 2014 by Benny Nadeau Comments


Projected Record: 26-56 (15th in West)


Alec Burks , Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors

Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, and Derrick Favors have their work cut out for them in the West. (AP)

Head coach: Quin Snyder
2013-14 record: 25-57
2013-14 ORtg: 100.6 (25th)
2013-14 DRtg: 109.1 (30th)
Players in: Quin Snyder (coach), Trevor Booker, Dante Exum, Carrick Felix, Rodney Hood, Steve Novak
Players out: Tyrone Corbin (coach), Diante Garrett, Richard Jefferson, John Lucas III, Erik Murphy, Brandon Rush, Malcolm Thomas, Marvin Williams
Projected Starting Lineup: Trey Burke, Alex Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter

I’ve felt the same way about the Jazz every year since Deron Williams left: where are they going?

Paul Millsap left for nothing. Al Jefferson left for nothing. Derrick Favors’ annual scouting report still reads: “loads of potential, gets in foul trouble too easily;” a problem that's plagued him since the Nets drafted him in 2010. It's easy to believe that this is the 5th NBA season for DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall, it's harder to say that about Favors. You can’t help but wonder what’s taking him so long.

They added Trey Burke last year, and he could be pretty good down the line. But it might take him another four years. And then who's still around? Favors? Kanter? The Utah Jazz are full of players that any team would be excited for, but their entire team is filled with these players, so they never amount to anything. The roster is a jar full of tasty trail max without any of the superstar chocolate pieces to push them over the edge into deliciousness.

Help, however, may be on the way in the form of Australian guard Dante Exum. If his game translates anywhere close to as well as his current Foot Locker commercials, the Jazz could be onto something. Exum is a big, strong guard that can get to the basket and score with consistency. Consistency, in fact, is an important word for the Jazz in 2014-2015. Without it, Hayward was forced into many 8-for-19 shooting nights en route to 24+ point blowouts.

If Exum can hold his own, Burks takes the next step and the team as a whole stops leaning on Hayward for 25 points a night, then this Utah team could trend in the right direction this year. Of course, that is asking Kanter not to go on cold streaks so long that the coach opts for Marvin Williams and Jeremy Evans instead.

In some alternative universe, the Utah Jazz fulfill their potential, make the Western Conference semifinals, and the most interesting thing about their team is no longer the discrepancy in spelling between Burke and Burks.

But here’s the deal with Utah: I just don’t get them. Hopefully, with the leadership of newly appointed coach Quin Snyder and Gordon Hayward’s near-max contract, along with Exum, Favors, Burke and Kanter, the Jazz can finally start making strides towards becoming a relevant NBA team again. It’s well stated, mainly by Jazz fans themselves, that Tyrone Corbin was an awful coach, marred by poor rotations and an inability to manage games and his young players—so have they finally hit the reset button for the last time?

Having young players with inexperience is no longer an excuse in the NBA, just look at the Phoenix Suns last year, a roster with far less raw talent than Utah, the same one that missed Eric Bledsoe for 39 games, and they almost made the playoffs in the treacherous Western Conference.

They ranked 29th in the NBA in points per game and 25th in points per possession just ahead of a Chicago Bulls team that ranked below watching painting dry on a list of pleasurable activities. Even worse, they were dead last at 30th in points allowed per possession and their pace was slightly slower than the creaky retirement home the Nets ran in Brooklyn.

In the Western Conference, that’s a recipe for disaster.

What the Utah Jazz really need more than anything else is a reliable post scorer to take off the pressure from their young core of Exum, Burke and Hayward. Hey, Al Jefferson would be a perfect fit.

Wait. Shoot. Back to square one. Again.



The Brooklyn Nets earned Jason Kidd his first victory on the sidelines Tuesday night. (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets earned Jason Kidd his first victory on the sidelines Tuesday night. (AP)

Check out the advanced box score from last night's 104-88 Brooklyn Nets blowout victory over the Utah Jazz here.

Five final thoughts on the game after the jump.
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Jazz Nets Basketball

Brook Lopez & the Brooklyn Nets dominate the paint en route to a blowout home victory. (AP)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Following Brooklyn's 107-86 loss at the hands of the lottery-bound Orlando Magic Sunday night, Kevin Garnett had some choice words for his teammates on the franchise's charter flight back to Brooklyn.
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The last time Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, and Lawrence Frank were in the same building, it was for the 2007-08 New Jersey Nets. Even though it's 2013, RJ is still giving Nets fans a taste of the good ol' days. Jefferson, now with the Utah Jazz, went vintage against the Brooklyn Nets, throwing down a nasty reverse dunk midway through the 2nd quarter.

To my amazement, Jefferson still has a little bit of gas left in the tank. No matter what team RJ is playing for, I'll always appreciate one of his classic dunks.


Deron Williams

Deron Williams looks to beat his former team for the first time tonight. (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets take on the Utah Jazz tonight, at 7:30 P.M. at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, in a matchup of two teams with wildly contrasting managerial styles. Four of Utah's top five minute-getters in the early season are under 23 years old; not one Nets rotation player is under the age of 25. (23-year-old Mason Plumlee has played a grand total of three minutes.) The Jazz are built for 2018, the Nets now.

The Jazz have been in frantic rebuilding mode since the trade that sent Deron Williams to the Brooklyn Nets for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two first-round draft picks. Harris is since gone. Favors is a full-time starter. One of those two picks is full-time starter Enes Kanter, and the other was packaged in the 2013 draft in a deal that netted the Jazz seventh overall pick Trey Burke. Burke is also a full-time starter, but is out following surgery to repair a broken right index finger.

Williams has never beaten his former team, and the Nets haven't beaten the Jazz since January 19, 2011. But that fortune could change with the team's new additions: Kevin Garnett & Paul Pierce haven't lost to the Jazz since March 22, 2010, losing to a point guard who put up 22 points and 11 assists named... Deron Williams.

Watch: YES Network, 7:30 P.M. EST
Listen: CBS WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM

Discussing tonight's X-Factors:
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Jerry Sloan, Deron WilliamsThere's always been major speculation surrounding the tenuous relationship between former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan and former Jazz point guard/current Brooklyn Nets franchise player Deron Williams. The oft-told story is that Sloan's strained relationship with Williams, branded a "coach killer," forced him into retirement.

For the first time, Jazz CEO Greg Miller spoke with reporters about the incident, which he says he wrote down in a journal and kept to himself for the past two years.... MORE →



The Game Starts Now... MORE →


Tonight: The 42-30 Brooklyn Nets, six games into their eight-game, 17-day road trip thanks to Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey taking over Barclays Center, take on the 37-36 Utah Jazz at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City. The Jazz  are 26-9 at home and winners of their last three overall following a four game losing streak. The Jazz return home after beating Portland last night, 105-95, to snap a nine game road losing streak. The Nets are 4-2 so far on the road trip, losing convincingly to the Nuggets, 109-87, last night in Denver.  The Nets are 11-8 in the second half of back-to-backs, but only 1/3 when both contests are road games. Deron Williams is 0-3 against his former team as a member of the Nets.

The BK Game Streak: Play "The BK Game Streak," where you can build a streak of wins along the betting line over the course of the season. Three prizes will be awarded at the end of the year, with first prize a $200 Amazon Gift Card. Log in with Facebook to get started, vote in the box above, and good luck!

Watch & Listen: Tonight's game is broadcast on YES Network. Ryan Ruocco and Jim Spanarkel are on the call. The game is radio simulcast on WFAN, and in Spanish on WADO.

Out: For Brooklyn, Joe Johnson is OUT for the fourth straight game as he rests his sore quad. Keith Bogans will again start in his place. The Jazz will be without backup Enes Kanter for the second straight game with a dislocated shoulder.

Starting Lineups:
Utah Jazz: Mo Williams, Randy Foye, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, Keith Bogans, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans, Brook Lopez

Go Nets!


After a blowout loss in Denver, the Nets don't have any time to dwell, traveling to Utah to take on the Utah Jazz tonight. Along with a shot at redemption, you know what that means: another shot at "The BK Game Streak," where you can build a streak predicting how well the Nets will do in each game for a chance to win a $200 Amazon Gift Card!

The game is as simple as it sounds:
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Ye old days... (AP)

Tonight, the 13-10 Brooklyn Nets take on the 13-12 Utah Jazz tonight at 7:30 P.M. at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.... MORE →