A Preview of the 2022-23 Utah Jazz

September 9th, 2022

By Alan Lu

The Utah Jazz will rely on Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic, and former All-Star point guard Mike Conley to lead their team into the 2022-23 NBA season.
(Photo:
Justin Ford/Getty Images, via Fansided’s Valley of the Suns)

The Utah Jazz essentially pulled the plug on the Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert experiment, as they had continually reached the playoffs, but had fallen short of the Western Conference Finals or the NBA championship each time under then head coach Quin Snyder.  Now with all three of them having departed the organization, the Utah Jazz have signaled to go full steam ahead into rebuilding mode.

They will certainly miss the presence of Mitchell and Gobert, but they have mainstays from last year’s team such as Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, and Bojan Bogdanovic, and they will also be getting numerous players, one of whom will be Collin Sexton, a speedy scoring combo guard that they landed in a trade from Cleveland that could be Utah’s newest rising star.

Star Players:
None

With the Utah Jazz having traded both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert respectively to Cleveland and Minnesota, the Utah Jazz are opting for a full scale rebuild. 

That said, they still do have a good set of role players in which they dealt for guard Collin Sexton who will provide most of the scoring, they also have a veteran playmaking point guard in Mike Conley, who has made one NBA All-Star team, and Jordan Clarkson is a former Sixth Man of the Year award winner.

Additions:
G Collin Sexton, F Lauri Markkanen, F Jarred Vanderbilt, C Walker Kessler, G-F Ochai Agbaji, G Malik Beasley, G Talen Horton-Tucker, F Stanley Johnson, F Simone Fontecchio, and G-F Leandro Bolmaro

The Utah Jazz were able to get numerous players through trades, the draft, and free agent signings, but landing Collin Sexton in a sign-and-trade may be the biggest one.  They finally were able to get him out of the purgatory that was restricted free agency, and after having traded for him, signed him to a 4-year, $72-million deal, so they were able to get a key player for their future.

Subtractions:
G Donovan Mitchell, C Rudy Gobert, G-F Danuel House Jr., C Hassan Whiteside, F Eric Paschall, and G Trent Forrest

Obviously, losing Mitchell and Gobert will hurt their team a lot, especially in the short term, and it’s expected that trading them away will effectively take the Jazz out of playoff contention.  What’s surprising though, is that no team has signed free agent center Hassan Whiteside, whose shot blocking skills and efficient scoring has made him a mainstay in the NBA in previous years.

Rookies:
C Walker Kessler, G-F Ochai Agbaji, F Simone Fontecchio, and G-F Johnny Juzang

Walker Kessler is a strong, energetic rim-protecting center that has great shot blocking skills, and he will give them great size and will provide an interior presence to help the Jazz right away. He may be one of the most polished players in the draft, and he could be an immediate contributor for them this year. Also, he was named the 2021-22 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year last season in college basketball.

Ochai Agbaji is an athletic, skilled sharpshooting swingman that can shoot and score the basketball. He is a very good spot-up shooter that can also get out on the break to score, and he could be a solid role player for the Jazz both this season and for the long haul. He helped Kansas win the 2022 NCAA Tournament, and he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

Simone Fontecchio is a sharpshooting forward that can knock down threes and can throw down dunks above the rim, but he will need to prove that he can shoot and defend at the NBA level to be able to regularly see the floor this season.

Johnny Juzang is an athletic, skilled swingman that also can shoot and score the basketball. He wasn’t drafted, but he helped UCLA reach the Final Four in 2021, and he may be a very underrated acquisition for this squad.

Expected Rotation:

Collin Sexton will play a huge role for the Utah Jazz during the upcoming season, and with continued development, he could develop into a star player for them over time.
(Photo:
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images, via Fansided’s Daily Knicks)

Projected Starting Lineup:

C Walker Kessler

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F Lauri Markkanen

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F Bojan Bogdanović

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G Collin Sexton

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G Mike Conley

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Key Bench Players:

Utah Jazz’s scoring guard, Jordan Clarkson won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2021.
(Photo:
Jordan Clarkson’s Facebook, via Good News Pilipinas)

G Jordan Clarkson

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F Jarred Vanderbilt

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G-F Ochai Agbaji

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F Rudy Gay

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G Malik Beasley

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The Rest of the Roster (projected to make the team):

G Talen Horton-Tucker

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G Jared Butler

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C Udoka Azubuike

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F Stanley Johnson

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F Simone Fontecchio

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G-F Johnny Juzang (Two-Way)

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G-F Xavier Sneed (Two-Way)

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Others in Camp:

G-F Nickeil Alexander-Walker

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G-F Leandro Bolmaro

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Head Coach:

Utah Jazz’s new head coach Will Hardy will lead his new team into the 2022-23 NBA season.
(Photo:
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images, via NBC Sports)

Will Hardy (2 stars, 3.5 stars potential)
2021-22 (BOS): Was an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics
Career: 0-0, 0-0 in the NBA Playoffs

Will Hardy is a rookie head coach that will be in his first-year in leading the Utah Jazz for the upcoming season.  He is a well-schooled and well-traveled coach that worked under head coach Gregg Popovich and he also worked with Ime Udoka as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics that made it to the NBA Finals last year.  He brings a great resume and a welcome basketball mind, and he could develop into a very good NBA head coach in the future.

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Outlook:

The Utah Jazz could be in for a trying year without Mitchell and Gobert this season, and as they are competing in a very tough Western Conference, they will probably miss the playoffs in 2023.
(Photo:
Justin Ford/Getty Images, via DraftKings Nation)

The Utah Jazz may not likely win many games this year, but they still have talented players to work with, and they have a slew of players that could give their fans a reason to watch their team this season.  Conley and Clarkson are well-accomplished veteran guards, and Collin Sexton will join their talented backcourt for the upcoming season.  The Jazz are in a very tough and competitive Western Conference, so they won’t likely make the playoffs, but working towards a rebuilding process may suggest that they could move in that direction in the future.

Projected 2022-23 Win-Loss Record and Finish:
Projected Regular Season Finish: 36-46, 12th in the Western Conference
Expected Playoff Finish: Projected to miss the playoffs

I went to Basketball-Reference and Spotrac to look up some information for this write-up.  It will be an exciting basketball season this year, and the NBA season will start on October 18th.  Thank you for reading my write-up of the 2023 Utah Jazz.

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