(Sports Network) - The Utah Jazz narrowly missed a spot in last season's
Western Conference playoff race.
You'd think a team that close would keep its pieces intact and make another
run, with some mild tinkering. That probably won't happen next year in Salt
The Jazz could lose four of their five starters from last year's team. Al
Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Mo Williams and Randy Foye are all unrestricted free
agents. It's unclear, at best, what interest Utah has in bringing any of them
One of the reasons for letting them test the waters is that their backups are
ready to blossom. Derrick Favors is a beast waiting to explode on the NBA.
Enes Kanter will be a fine center in this league and Gordon Hayward started
early in the season, then became a great wing bench player.
Also there to help bolster the roster will be two first-round picks, the 14th
Point guard seems to be a glaring need for Utah. Problem is, the two best in
the draft - Michigan's Trey Burke and Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams -
will probably be gone by 14.
They could take a flyer on Dennis Schroeder, a 19-year-old from Germany. It's
too high to take Shane Larkin from Miami.
Or, the Jazz could pluck one of the big men who will probably be there for
depth. Cody Zeller of Indiana will probably be gone by then, but Pitt's Steven
Adams, or Kelly Olynyk of Gonzaga could be available.
With the 21st pick, expect the Jazz to take whichever position they didn't
address at 14.
If it's point guard, there's a chance Schroeder could be there then. Shane
Larkin of Miami would definitely be available.
As for big men, Lucas Nogueira of Brazil is intriguing. Rudy Gobert of France
is another name, as is Kansas center Jeff Withey.
Under Contract: C/F: Derrick Favors; C: Enes Kanter; G/F: Gordon Hayward; G:
Alec Burks; F: Jeremy Evans; G: Kevin Murphy; F: Marvin Williams (early
Free Agents: C: Al Jefferson; F: Paul Millsap; G: Mo Williams; G: Randy Foye;
G: Earl Watson; G: Jamaal Tinsley; F: DeMarre Carroll
Recent Draft History:
2012: Kevin Murphy (47)
2011: Enes Kanter (3), Alec Burks (12)
2010: Gordon Hayward (9), Jeremy Evans (55)
2009: Eric Maynor (20), Goran Suon (50)
2008: Kosta Koufas (23), Ante Tomic (44), Tadija Dragicevic (53)
Draft picks: 1st round (14th overall, 21st overall), 2nd round (46th overall)
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