Five Reasons We’re Pumped for The 2018-2019 Utah Jazz Season
It is finally here. The Jazz preseason starts this Saturday. The Jazz will have their first preseason test against the Perth Wildcats. The team from Australia includes the one time Jazz man, Bryce Cotton, who was the MVP of the NBL this past season.
With the regular season around the corner, here is a list of five things to look forward to this Jazz Season.
5. The Style
Style has always been an important aspect of the NBA. It’s funny the same guys that criticize their wives for watching “Project Runway”, tune in early to an NBA game to see what crazy style Westbrook is rocking that game.
The Jazz have never been a team known for their style, but this particular group seems to have a certain swagger that make them fun to watch. Some of the style questions fans will watch for are:
- Will Ricky Rubio keep the Samurai hair?
- Is Rudy going to bring back the salute?
- Will Donovan get his signature shoes?
- Will the Classic jersey receive the same support as the City jersey from last year?
4. The Improvement
This summer the Jazz committed to the plan to bring everyone back from last year. Because of this, we don’t have a lot of new players to analyze and predict how they will fit in. Grayson Allen is of course the exception, but he’ll be mentioned more below. Since the roster looks similar to last years’ the big question is, where will the Jazz improve?
The first place to look is at the Jazz stars. Rudy Gobert is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. If he can maintain his defensive presence while continuing to improve his offensive game, he is going to be in the conversation for best center in the league. Donavan Mitchell took the league by storm last year. If he plays every season at the same level he finished last year, he will be one of the best Jazz players ever. The crazy thing is that he might, and in my humble opinion will, get better. Mitchell is well on his way to becoming a very special player not just recognized in Utah, but in the league.
The second place to look for improvement is at the backup guard position. Dante Exum still leaves so many questions for Jazz Fans. While the optimism seems to be waning a bit, it is still hard to not see the incredible upside that Exum has. Alec Burke is another question mark. Last year he was a consummate professional racking up DNPs, while at the same time being prepared when his number was called. Most players usually don’t have a huge improvement year as late in their career as Burke is, but then again, Quin Snyder isn’t most coaches, so it would be great to see Alec take a step forward and be a veteran presence and contributor. Other players that hopefully can show some improvement include Royce O’Neale, Jae Crowder, and the return from injury of Thabo Sefolosha.
3. The Bromances
This one is kind of an odd one, but the comradery of this version is fun. Whether it’s Gobert and Neto doing their camps together over the summer or Mitchell and O’Neale attending BYU and UofU sporting events, the players seem to genuinely like spending time together. Hopefully the Jazz have another season of pranks, jokes, and Instagram jabs to look forward to this year.
2. The Awards
Last year the Jazz were in the awards discussion for the first time in years. Mitchell won the dunk contest, Gobert won the DPOY, and Mitchell and Snyder were finalists for the ROY and COY honors. Obviously Donovan won’t be in the running for the Rookie of the Year, although a sophomore did win it last year, but Quin and Rudy will hopefully be right back in the conversation for their respective honors at the end of this season.
To put Donovan in the MVP conversation would be wildly optimistic. However, there is a fair chance that the Jazz could have two all-stars for the first time in ages. The stacked Western Conference may impede this a bit, but it is still possible. If Mitchell and Gobert do make it to the All-Star Game, they’ll hopefully spend more time showing their talents, and less complimenting John Wall’s handles.
The number one thing to look forward to this Jazz season, is the attitude of the team. There is a toughness in this team that is rare in the NBA. Quin Snyder has the team committed to defense and for the most part, there is buy in by each individual player. Other teams in the NBA are going to hate matching up against the Utah Jazz. Win or lose, the Jazz had a tendency to make their opponents work last season, and there are a lot of teams that don’t want to do that.
The players always had each other’s backs last season, and the first full season of Jae Crowder in a Jazz uniform will only add to that. Then there is Grayson Allen. All antics aside, Allen is a tough kid. It is to be seen how much playing time he will get his rookie season. If this were the Jerry Sloan era, the answer would probably be very little. But we will see. What can be expected, is that when Grayson plays, he’s going to play hard. This will only strengthen the overall attitude and swagger of the Jazz.
Regardless of the final record and the playoff position, this year is almost certainly going to be a good one to watch. The Jazz are back and we couldn’t be happier.
About The Jazz Fan Show
The Jazz Fan Show is a podcast and blog focusing on all things Utah Jazz. Founded by Ryan Van Dorn and Kelby Jones in September of 2018.
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