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Utah Jazz (Last Year: 43-39)
2012-13 Season Summary:
Had the Jazz been in the Eastern Conference, the team would have finished at the No. 7 seed and earned a trip to the playoffs. However, in the more competitive Western Conference, Utah missed out on the postseason despite finishing four games above .500.
It is hard to say that was a disappointing finish considering the questions Utah had in the backcourt. With Mo Williams sidelined for half of the season, the Jazz had to turn to veterans Earl Watson and Jammal Tinsley to run the point while even using Alec Burks at the one for stretches. The shooting guard position was just as problematic. By default, Randy Foye ended up winning the majority of the minutes since Burks was not ready to assume the responsibilities.
With a lack of talent at guard, the frontcourt carried most of the load. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap were once again a formidable duo inside with their versatility as scorers on the offensive end and physicality on the boards. Young reserves Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter each made strides with their game given the limited opportunity they received playing behind Jefferson and Millsap. Newly acquired small forward Marvin Williams did nothing to rejuvenate his career, but Gordon Hayward has developed into a solid role player.
2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Enes Kanter
SF: *Marvin Williams/Jeremy Evans
SG: Gordon Hayward/^Kevin Murphy
PG: Alec Burks
NBA Free Agents:
C-Al Jefferson (UFA)
PF-Paul Millsap (UFA)
PG-Mo Williams (UFA)
SG-Randy Foye (UFA)
PG-Earl Watson (UFA)
SG-Raja Bell (UFA)
PG-Jamaal Tinsley (UFA)
F-DeMarre Carroll (UFA)
*SF-Marvin Williams (PO)
^SG-Kevin Murphy (TO)
2013-14 Team Salary: Approximately $26.5 million
NBA Offseason Team Needs:
1. Point Guard:
Alec Burks is the only point guard under contract for next season and he's not even a true point guard. The Jazz will likely use one of its first-round picks on a young floor general, but I can't see that player being ready to take the reins of the offense from Day 1. Therefore, Utah must bring in a veteran point guard and someone who is preferably more talented than either Earl Watson or Jamaal Tinsley.
2. Frontcourt Depth:
Assuming Jefferson and Millsap do not return to Utah, the keys of the frontcourt will be handed over to Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors who have both shown the capability of stepping into more prominent roles. Still, the Jazz will need some frontcourt depth behind the duo and should look to add at least one veteran via free agency and likely another big with either the No. 14 or No. 21 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
3. Scoring Two Guard:
While Foye did an average job of filling the void at shooting guard this past season, he is by no means a long-term solution. As I stated above, Burks does not seem ready to take over this role and Hayward is better suited playing small forward. Depending on the type of point guard Utah brings in this offseason, the Jazz need to find a shooting guard capable of creating his own shot and making something exciting happen on the offensive end. Otherwise, who will be Utah's go-to option next year?
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