When the 2011-12 NBA season kicked off on Christmas Day. No one gave the Utah Jazz a fighters chance into making the NBA Western Conference Playoffs. The Jazz were coming off not only the loss of legendary head coach Jerry Sloan. But also the loss of Deron Williams; their best PG since John Stockton. Yet somehow the Jazz fought there way through the shortened, compact season to make the eight seed in the playoffs, only to be swept off the court by the San Antonio Spurs.
With all of that said, here are my top three reasons why the Jazz will make the playoffs yet again this season.
#1 Covered the holes: The big issue for the Jazz last season was shooting from the outside, which proved to be the death of them in the playoffs, where they shot a sad .200 throughout the four playoff games.
This season, however, the Jazz have added some depth on the outside. By drafting SG Kevin Murphy, a shooting phenom out of Tennessee Tech, and adding PG Mo Williams to the starting rotation will really open the outside shot. The Jazz have pieces to perform better from the outside, it’s just up to them to perform on the court that will be key.
#2 Still have the “other big four”: In recent Utah Jazz history, the issue has always been that the Jazz have never had a down low presence to stop opposing teams from getting rebounds and second chance buckets. Well now the Jazz not only have one or two, but they have four. Enes Kanter, Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, and Paul Millsap all have been able to control the glass and have kept the Jazz in games they should of been blown out in.
The key for the Jazz here is that one person has to go for the others to grow. With having four big men on the team, it leaves no room for a good solid daily rotation. So I would like to see Big Al taking a trip to another team during the season. Not because he isn’t a good player, but because his contract is ending after this season, and there is no sign he wants to resign with the Jazz.
#3 Another year under the belt: Last season was suppose to be rebuild year that it was. But without the result of making the playoffs. With the Jazz players having at least a partial season, and now a full off season to learn head coach Tyrone Corbin‘s system.
The Jazz should be well suited to have a break out year. It is also important to mention the additional experience training received by Favors and Gordon Hayward. Both received the opportunity to play on the practice squad for the USA Olympic team, which was a great learning opportunity for them.