I may come across a bit biased in this slide, so forgive me. I am a lifelong diehard Utah Jazz fan. My mood during most days can be attributed to whether or not the Jazz won or lost that day. I live for the Jazz. But I will attempt to take a non-biased look on this, my favorite team. If you'd like more details about why I like this team next season, check out a slideshow I dedicated specifically to them :
Projected starting lineup
PG- Deron Williams
SG- Raja Bell
SF- Andrei Kirilenko
PF- Paul Millsap
C- Al Jefferson
Key reserves- Mehmet Okur, Ronnie Price, CJ Miles, Gordon Hayward
Some may say that this team looks pretty much exactly the same as it did last year with Bell being Matthews, Jefferson being Boozer, and Hayward being Korver. These people are sadly mistaken. This team is and will be better than they were last season.
First of all, Al Jefferson is an improvement on the vastly overrated and oft-injured Carlos Boozer. He is younger and fits Jerry Sloan's system a little better. Teaming up with Deron Williams, his number should improve from what they already were in Minnesota- fantastic. Plus, the guy has only ever played on a Boston Celtics team that was rebuilding and the Timberwolves (enough said). He will bring lots of heart and a thirst for victory to a team that rarely misses the postseason.
The Jazz were smart in picking up Raja Bell as a replacement, rather than overpaying for Wesley Matthews. Matthews did come out of nowhere and played a pivotal role on the roster, but he still has lots to prove. Instead, the Jazz picked up an already-proven three point threat and a fantastic defender in Raja Bell.
Rookie Gordon Hayward was also a nice draft pick, one that I did not expect. He is a hard worker, and a Jerry Sloan type of player. The guy got where he is by working hard and defying the odds. Sure, he looks like a 17-year-old farmer's boy, but when you watch him play, you can see he's vastly different. He is a terrific defender, has a decent outside shot, and does a lot of the little things that don't show up on the stat sheet. He may take a little time to adjust to the NBA game, but once he does, he will be a good player for years to come.
The Utah Jazz will do some damage in the postseason and I believe they will match up against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. They are that good, with Deron Williams at the helm.