Last December, just before the lockout-shortened season kicked off, the projections for the Utah Jazz season were universally dismal.
Few predicted the Jazz would have a winning season, and even fewer thought the Jazz would make the playoffs. But the Jazz did make the playoffs, showing growth with a young core that steadily took time away from the veterans.
The Jazz finds itself opening camp with higher expectations this year. A litany of moves have been made, and camp opens Tuesday.
The greater expectations come not only from the growth and maturation of the young core expected to lead the team in the near future.
Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward both were invited to the team USA camp prior to the London Olympics, while Enes Kanter and Alec Burks showed improvement in their games during the Summer League.
Even higher expectations come by the additions to the team via trades and free agency.
Last season, Devin Harris and Raja Bell opened as the starting back court. Now, Harris is in Atlanta in a trade that sent back Marvin Williams. He was added after sending a trade exception to Dallas to help facilitate a trade for that team.
Williams will replace Harris. The other guard position is still in the air, but Bell will not be starting. Bell will be replaced by Hayward, Burks or free agent-addition Randy Foye. But for all the offseason moves the Jazz made, Bell’s situation remains in limbo.
He survived the amnesty process after working a deal with the front office where it would buy out his contract at a lower cost to the franchise, allowing the difference to be made up by whatever team signed Bell. Bell began to look for a team.
For more information check out the Sept.27 edition of Davis Clipper.