2022 Season Outlook: Utah Jazz

After a very up-and-down season last year, the Utah Jazz were forced to make a decision. Do they try and re-tool their current roster or enter a rebuild?

2021 Recap:

The Jazz put together a solid season in 2021, finishing as the 5th seed in the Western Conference, and a record of 49-33. The Utah Jazz would play the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. The big news in this series was that Dallas would be without Luka Dončić in the first three games.

The Jazz took game 1, behind 32 points from Donovan Mitchell. The Mavericks would go on to win the next two games, where Jalen Brunson scored 41 PTS and 31 PTS. The Jazz would even out the series in game 4, winning by just 1 point. The Mavericks won game 5 by 25 points, led by Luka Doncic’s double-double. The Jazz were eliminated in game 6, and many started to question if the Jazz should rebuild or retool their current core. After this playoff series, the Jazz fired Quin Snyder.

Many started to question if the Jazz could ever win with this core, led by Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

Utah’s off-season

The Jazz were coming off of a very disappointing playoff series against the Mavericks. The Jazz looked horrible, and their current core was not enough to win a championship. Because of this, the Jazz decided to enter a rebuild.

The Jazz started the rebuild by trading all-star center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves, receiving a massive return. The full trade:

  • Jazz acquire: Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler (No. 22 pick in 2022 Draft), Jarred Vanderbilt, 2023 first-round pick, 2025 first-round pick, 2026 pick swap, 2027 first-round pick, 2029 first-round pick.
  • Timberwolves acquire: Rudy Gobert.

Trading away Gobert was a big step for Utah, but they got a very good haul in return. Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley were the two key players in that trade and two players who the Jazz hope to develop and be a part of their future. The draft capital is also very important as the Jazz re-tooled their draft stock. 

Jazz traded their young superstar

After trading Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz knew that entering a rebuild would result in their young superstar Donovan Mitchell being upset with the state of the team. Weeks after the Gobert trade, the Jazz decided to trade Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The full trade:

  • Jazz acquire: Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, 2025 first-round pick, 2026 pick swap, 2027 first-round pick, 2028 pick swap, and a 2029 first-round pick.
  • Cavaliers acquire: Donovan Mitchell.

After trading Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz have high hopes that Collin Sexton can become a future superstar for their franchise. Sexton is a well-rounded guard, who can score and has shown that he can be the number one option for a franchise.

Lauri Markkanen is a very valuable player in this trade as well. Markkanen averaged 14.8 PTS, 5.7 REB. and 1.3 AST. Markkanen has a lot of upside, and if given the opportunity, will be a huge contributor for the Jazz.

2022 Outlook

Potential starting 5:

  • PG- Collin Sexton
  • SG- Jordan Clarkson
  • SF- Rudy Gay
  • PF- Jarred Vanderbilt
  • C- Hassan Whiteside

Potential bench: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Mike Conley, Lauri Markkanen, Malik Beasley, and Ochai Agbaji.

The Jazz will look to see improvement from their young core this season, and start a new era in Utah. They will most likely not be a top seed in the West, because they entered a rebuild but hope to see improvement from Collin Sexton and Jarred Vanderbilt under new head coach Will Hardy.

Will Hardy is entering his first season in the NBA as a head coach, making him the youngest coach in all of basketball. Jeff Hornacek will serve as his assistant coach. Hardy is a young coach, that will fit in with Utah’s young core.

While the Jazz traded their two best players, they did a very good job for the value they got in return. They acquired young players who can contribute right away, and got a lot of draft capital, setting them up well in the future.

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