2009 NBA Offseason: Utah Jazz

Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Utah Jazz (Last Year: 48-34)

Live 2009 NBA Draft Grades:

20. Eric Maynor, PG, Virginia Commonwealth
The Jazz are likely going to lose Carlos Boozer or Paul Milsap in the offseason so I don't see why a power forward wasn't the pick. Maynor will be solid, but not spectacular at the next level. How will he fit in with Deron Williams in the backcourt? (Pick Grade: Don't Get It)

50. Goran Suton, F/C, Michigan State
This is the guy the Jazz take to possibly replace Carlos Boozer, Paul Milsap, or Mehmet Okur? Suton has a nice from the outside, but is nothing more than a "few minutes a night" type of player if he even makes the roster. (Pick Grade: Meh)

2009 NBA Offseason Transactions:
  • Jazz re-sign PF Paul Millsap
  • Jazz receive player option from C Mehmet Okur
  • Jazz receive player option from PF Carlos Boozer
  • Jazz receive player option from SG Kyle Korver

    2008-09 Season Summary:
    In financial terms a "correction" is defined as a sharp, relatively short decline that temporarily interrupts a persistent upward trend in the market. The Utah Jazz experienced a "correction" in 2009. After back-to-back Northwest Division titles, the Jazz had a much tougher season with siginifcant contributors like Deron Williams, Andrei "AK-47" Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer missing large amounts of time due to injuries. Despite a locker room resembling an infirmary, they finished the season with a 48-34 record and 8th seed in the playoffs.

    They were eliminated in five games by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1st round. Other than Williams' clinching fadeaway jumpshot in the final moments of game 3, the lopsided series provided very little excitement for Utah fans. After the breakthrough Western Conference Finals appearance in 2007, the Jazz were eliminated by the Lakers in the second round of '08 and then a round sooner this past season.

    The Jazz play in the league's smallest market, but a 2008 Forbes.com study ranked the team No. 16 in NBA team value at $342 million. A new ownership regime will seek to maintain this efficiency. On February 20th, Jazz owner Larry H. Miller died of complications from diabetes. During his final months as team owner, his family, led by son Greg Miller, ran the day-to-day business operations. The younger Miller inherited a team with a roster in transition.

    2009-10 Projected Depth Chart:

    C: Mehmet Okur/Kosta Koufos/Kyrylo Fesenko

    PF: Carlos Boozer/Paul Millsap/Goran Suton

    SF: Andrei Kirilenko/C.J. Miles/Matt Harpring

    SG: Ronnie Brewer/Kyle Korver

    PG: Deron Williams/Eric Maynor

    NBA Free Agents:

    PG Brevin Knight (UFA)

    PG Ronnie Price (UFA)

    C Jarrron Collins (UFA)

    SG Morris Almond (UFA)

    2009-10 Team Salary: Approximately $71.2 million

    2009-10 Expected League Salary Cap: $57.3 million

    NBA Offseason Needs:

    1. Size does matter - Before a road loss in Milwaukee the always glib head coach Jerry Sloan lamented his team's lack of size. "Even when we're healthy, we're small" he told the media after being resigned to giving Kyrlyo Fesenko his first NBA starting assignment. Sloan's problems were exacerbated by the rash of injuries the team endured. Bigger problems could be on the way if Carlos Boozer opts out of the final year of his deal, like many expect he will. The team believes Paul Millsap can step in and provide Booze's front line scoring and rebounding. However, Millsap is an unrestricted free agent. Plus, starting center Mehmet Okur has a player option and could walk as well.

    2. If you don't have your health, you don't have anything! The list of players who weren't bitten by the injury bug is tiny compared to the ones who were. If most of their players recover, return to form and remain in Salt Lake next fall, the Jazz could find themselves back in front of the Denver and Portland in the division. "I've been with the team 24 years; as you rebuild a team there are some down times, but we've come back as strong, if not stronger, than we were in the ?90s," Utah Jazz President and Chief Operating Officer Randy Rigby said.

    This franchise especially excels in a statistic calculated by Forbes magazine: wins-to-player cost ratio, a formula that compares the number of wins per player payroll relative to the rest of the NBA league. In this formula, postseason wins count twice as much as regular season wins. A score of 120 means that the team achieved 20 percent more victories per dollar of payroll compared against the league average. Utah has a phenomenal 152 in this cost efficiency statistic. Given that their depth chart could see a major overhaul this summer, they'll need to keep up that success playing the NBA version of "Moneyball" when acquiring new players.

    3. Depth and Leadership - Despite being named All-NBA second team in 2008, Deron Williams has yet to make an All-Star appearance. He's probably the best active player never to have represented in the midwinter classic. Ironically, the player argued to hold that distinction in league history, former Mavericks and Knicks point guard Derek Harper played the same position and went to the same school (Illinois) as Williams. One honor D. Will has earned though, is premier player on his team. He, along with Boozer, give the team a star point guard-power forward combination reminiscent of John Stockton-Karl Malone. However in 2009 things changed as Williams played in twice as many games as Boozer and while Booze's numbers in most major categories saw a marked decline, D. Will's produced new career highs in the most vital statistics. He needs more help though.

    Last year, Ronnie Brewer, the team's starting two guard was expected to make a huge leap forward from his rookie season. His stats did see a slight noticeable improvement, but his development was far from spectacular. If it's truly last call for Booze in Salt Lake City, someone will need to step up and give D. Will some help.

    Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
    Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
    All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: wpc112@gmail.com

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