Utah Jazz Fantasy Basketball Season Preview

Widely expected to improve into a top-four seed in the West after not making the playoffs since the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, the Jazz have a lot of positive buzz heading into this season after bringing back the core of last year's team and adding a lot of veteran depth.

Player Movement

Notable Ins Notable Outs
Boris Diaw San Antonio Spurs
George Hill Indiana Pacers
Joe Johnson Miami Heat
Dante Exum Injured
Trevor Booker Brooklyn Nets
Trey Burke Washington Wizards

Utah Jazz Depth Chart

Point Guard Shooting Guard Small Forward Power Forward Center
George Hill
Dante Exum
Raul Neto
Shelvin Mack
Rodney Hood
Alec Burks
Chris Johnson
Gordon Hayward
Joe Johnson
Joe Ingles
Derrick Favors
Trey Lyles
Boris Diaw
Rudy Gobert
Jeff Withey

Rotation Player Projections

POS PLAYER USG MPG PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG% FT% TO
SF Gordon Hayward 25.7 34 18.5 4.7 3.5 1.1 0.3 1.7 43.3 82.4 2.3
PF Derrick Favors 23.9 32 16.4 8.1 1.5 1.2 1.5 0 51.5 70.9 1.7
C Rudy Gobert 14 32 9.2 11.1 1.5 0.7 2.2 0 55.9 56.9 1.9
PG George Hill 18 30 12.1 3.5 3.9 1 0.2 1.7 44.1 76 1.5
SG Rodney Hood 24 30 15 3.2 2.9 0.8 0.2 2.1 42 86 1.7
PF Trey Lyles 18 18 6.3 4 0.7 0.3 0.2 0.6 43.8 69.5 0.8
PG Dante Exum 19 18 4.7 1.9 3 0.9 0.1 0.9 39 68 1.3
SF Joe Johnson 18.4 18 7.5 1.6 2 0.5 0.1 0.8 45.5 76.5 1
SG Alec Burks 25.8 12 6.2 1.6 0.9 0.3 0 0.5 41 75.2 0.7
PF Boris Diaw 17 10 3.5 1.7 1.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 52.7 73.7 0.7
C Jeff Withey 15.1 6 2 1.6 0.2 0.2 0.5 0 53.7 72.9 0.2

Position Battles

Rotation Players

The Jazz have a strong rotation heading into this season. The five starters will all be fantasy relevant, projecting as standard-league value as shown above. Bench veterans like Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw will get minutes - but how many? Barring injury, they won't be fantasy relevent so it doesn't matter for our purposes, but young players like Exum and Whitey have a chance to player more minutes than we expect if they improve more than we project.

Rise in Value

Dante Exum

Most of the Jazz's improvement will be health and the addition of veterans, but Exum returning from injury could provide a huge boon as well. While his game is not fantasy friendly, Exum should average 20 minutes or more this year as Hill's primary backup. The former #5 pick has a lot of potential and by all accounts looks good this summer. Exum could be a future star and the Jazz have a lot of motivation to see what he can do for them, but he is more of a dynasty option.

Decrease in Value

The Deep Bench

Most of the Jazz will continue to give what we expect - they are who we think they are. The biggest changes will be deep-league only players like Ingles and Mack who aren't going to get the playing time they had last year. This team got deeper and won't be playing fringe NBA players very many minutes any more.

Injury Risks

Alec Burks

Burks only missed one college game, and played quite a few games his first three seasons in the NBA, but since then has not been so lucky. He played 27 games in 2014-15, and 31 games in 2015-16 due to a shoulder injury and ankle fracture. Soft-tissue injuries are the concern for re-occurance so his ankle fracture does not concern me. Burks has seen his three point percentage rise significantly from 33% his rookie year to over 40% last year and would have a lot more buzz around him if he was returning for his fourth year after shooting 40% instead of this, his sixth year. Consider Burks a sleeper, but he does have a cap on his minutes due to the stars ahead of him in the depth chart. 

Other Player Summaries

Gordon HaywardSuper Star

If the difference between a star and a super star is public perception (I think so), this is the year Hayward makes the leap. He is Utah's biggest star and Utah is about to be a very good team. Expect the same thing he did last year, but this year people will be talking about him.

Rudy Gobert

Gobert is only 24 years old this season. He has lots of room to grow still as a player, and the Jazz are building around him and Hayward. Gobert took a step back last year, statistically - why shouldn't we expect him to regress back to his sophomore levels, when he was ranked 45 at the end of the year? I think Gobert's floor is in the 60's or 70's and his ceiling is probably in the 20s. I'll own Gobert in a lot of my leagues this year.


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