There are only blues tunes being played in Utah right now. The Jazz aren’t coming into the season with a whole lot of confidence, mostly because of Carlos Boozer’s contract distractions.
Boozer unexpectedly stuck around even though it was widely believed he would opt for free agency, and his decision cost the Jazz dearly in the luxury tax department.
Soon after, he asked to be traded, and Utah was unable to grant that request. Adding to the Boozer whine-fest 2009, the all-star power forward feels he is the incumbent starter, and has already written off backup Paul Millsap, who is fighting for the starting four position.
Basically, all these distractions aren’t helping Jerry Sloan at all.
Utah still has Deron Williams, who should be an all-star by now. Mehmet Okur is one of the most underrated bigs in the league, and can shoot threes as an added bonus.
Ronnie Brewer is a great perimeter defender, and so is Andrei Kirilenko, who also has the coolest nickname in the NBA (AK-47).
The Jazz bench is a shadow of its former self, however. Matt Harpring no longer provides the same hustle and defense that he used to, mostly because he’s coming off two major surgeries. He might even be forced to retire. Ronnie Price and rookie Eric Maynor are fighting for the backup point position, but neither will make an impact this season.
The backup center position is held by Kosta Koufus, who is a virtual unknown even amongst some of the most diehard NBA fans. At least the Jazz still have Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap, but they are extremely weak in other key positions.
Utah also plays in the tough Northwest division, which is definitely no cakewalk. I expect the Blazers and Nuggets to be the Jazz’s superiors all season long. Utah will sneak into the playoffs, but it will be a short trip.
Next off-season will likely resemble that of a soap opera, as a new chapter in the Carlos Boozer saga will unfold.
Predicted Record: 48-34