Thursday, July 19, 2007

Utah Jazz 2007-2008 Season Preview

Q: So what do you think the chances are for the Jazz this year? I'm excited about Almond (especially if he gets referred to as Almond "Joy")

A: Ummm, the guy that the Jazz just signed (Jason Hart) is a much cheaper version of Derek Fisher (backup point guard, combo guard) so that was a good move. Almond could be a good role player, but the knock on him is that he doesn't play defense. So it looks like we still need a guy to step in as a perimeter defender, and Brewer is the only real shot at that at the two-guard rotation (Gira, CJ, Brewer, and Almond). Signing Mo-Pete would have solidified the two-guard starter spot, but then the Jazz would have squashed the confidence of the four (mentioned above) beyond all recognition.

Q: So do the Jazz have a chance this year?

A: No. Not this year. Last year they exceeded expectations because they faced a two-man choker team in the Rockets, then got lucky when Golden State defeated the Mavs and Stephen Jackson tried to do too much against AK47 (he lost that series for them). Then they were overmatched against the Spurs (as was everybody else). So people will expect them to go far. But I expect them to lose in the second round (maybe the first) next season, with Phoenix, San Antonio or Dallas winning it all. Then the following year, 2008-09 will be the year (Deron's 4th year, lower expectations, Memo playing in a contract year, and Boozer out to prove something, and who knows if we will have AK) but not this year, but the following year, will be the Jazz' real shot at the Finals. They won't get past a hungry Phoenix or Dallas team in the playoffs this year.

Q: So will we even make the playoffs this year? Do you think the pick up of Durrant in Seattle or Oden in Portland will kill our division right away?

A: Nah, Denver is still more dangerous than those two teams. So the Jazz and Nuggets should have a tough time battling it out for the top spot in the division and the winner of the division will get the 4 spot (just behind Dallas, Phoenix, and San Antonio) and heck, I think the Rockets will be fine next year with the new up-tempo offense that Rick Adelman installs (plus they traded for a real point guard by giving up Juwan Howard to get Mike James from Minny), so the seeding will almost be identical to last year with

1. Dallas
2. Phoenix
3. San Antonion

4. Houston
5. Utah
6. Denver

7. Golden State
8. Lakers/Clippers

So that should be the seeding in 08. And Utah may not make it past the first round, depending how they finish 4-6. This is why the NBA isn't as exciting as the NFL. In an 82-game schedule with guaranteed contracts, there are few surpises. Even if you get a sleeper (see Toronto, and Seattle two years ago) they don't make it past the first round against better teams.