Celtics Town’s team-by-team NBA season preview continues today with the Northwest Division. Look out for our Portland Trail Blazers preview tomorrow.
Last year’s record: 48-34
Head coach: Jerry Sloan
Projected Starters: Deron Williams, C.J. Miles, Ronnie Brewer, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Ohkur
The Jazz aren’t quite a contender, but still one of the NBA’s better teams. Look for them to make the playoffs, but don’t expect them to make much noise once they get there.
Jay – Carlos Boozer’s mentality. Is he going to harbor a grudge about the Jazz re-signing Paul Millsap too a huge deal, or is Boozer going to bring his hardhat and prove that he still deserves to be the starter? When he’s on his game, Boozer can be one of the league’s best power forwards. But he might be looking over his shoulder at Millsap…
Tommy – Jerry Sloan; With Carlos Boozer already asking to be traded and his team in limbo, Sloan will have to do a great job managing turmoil and focusing his team. But he’s a Hall of Famer for a reason, and the reason isn’t John Stockton or Karl Malone, like Sloan claims.
TJ – Paul Millsap has a new contract and Boozer wants out. How will Millsap feel when he has to come off the bench if the Jazz do not move Boozer by the trade deadline?
Biggest question mark:
Jay – Does Deron Williams really have 4% body fat? He said so this summer, but can it really be true? If it is, he either lost a lot of excess fat or his physique appears very misleading. But I don’t really care what his body fat % is as long as he can still do things like this…
Tommy – How long will Carlos Boozer be in a Utah Jazz’ uniform? Will Boozer give his full effort, or pull a Vince Carter on his way out of town? Unfortunately for Jazz fans, I’m leaning towards the latter.
TJ – If Jerry Sloan is considered one of the greatest coaches of all-time, how is it that he has not won an NBA title in his career? Before I rank him among the all-time greats he will have to win a championship. Is this the year for the Jazz to help get a ring for their legendary coach? (Most likely not)
Most compelling storyline:
Jay – Will Andrei Kirilenko use his free pass for cheating on his wife, former Russian pop star Maria Lopatova? She allows him to cheat on her once a year, but he says he’s never taken her up on her offer. And no, I’m not even kidding.
Tommy – With Boozer and Okur re-signing, Utah is in the dreaded situation of being good enough to be competitive, but not good enough to challene the West’s elite teams. When will Jazz GM Kevin O’Connor decide to make some big changes around Williams? Either Boozer, Kirilenko, or both need to find new homes.
TJ – The Carlos Boozer saga continues, with The Booze still wanting out of Utah. If the Jazz front office is smart they will trade for something because after next summer he will likely be heading to Miami, where he has a home and has said he wants to play. Please get something in exchange for this double-double machine.
Player to watch:
Jay – Paul Millsap. He could develop into an all-star type player. But I think he’d really benefit if the Jazz get rid of Boozer. Either way, he’ll be very productive.
Tommy – Deron Williams; I’m most interested to see how he leads this team amidst all the distraction. A world-class PG has to be a world-class leader,too.
TJ – Pay attention to Deron Williams this season as he will challenge the likes of Chris Paul for the league’s best point guard. He is a stud and I am going to enjoy watching him grow into a perennial all-star over the next decade.
Jay – 46-36
Tommy – 45-37
TJ – 47-35